Early March Trip -- Dry Bone Canyon or Bighorn Gorge?

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TacoLand
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Early March Trip -- Dry Bone Canyon or Bighorn Gorge?

Post by TacoLand » Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:13 am

Hey friends,

Haven't been down to DV in almost a year and I'm taking three friends who've never seen it before. We're limited on time (no one else was willing to quit their day job) so I've been trying to come up with a decent introductory trip of sorts. Guess I'll map it all out here, before getting to the Subject at hand, to see if anyone out there has some additional thoughts.

Driving down from Northern Nevada we'll be getting in later and camping outside of Beatty, so not much doing there.

The next morning was thinking of exploring Titus Canyon, before hiking Fall Canyon, and then spending the night in Cottonwood Canyon.

After that it's up to Ubehebe Crater, then hiking to the Ubehebe Mine & onto Corridor Canyon, and making camp near White Top Mountain.

On the last full day I'd like to avoid driving completely and either do a long hike in Dry Bone Canyon or Bighorn Gorge. I've never seen either, both sound like a blast, but was wondering if anyone out there had a preference for one over the other?

Next day it's back to Northern Nevada via Hunter Mountain or Lippincott, depending on Hunter's road conditions.

Pretty much everything is going to be new to me as well on this trip, so definitely looking forward to it and sharing my favorite place with new folks.

Cheers!

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MojaveGeek
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Re: Early March Trip -- Dry Bone Canyon or Bighorn Gorge?

Post by MojaveGeek » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:52 pm

That sounds like a really great trip! For springtime trips, I always recommend a plan B, though. It doesn't take much for the NPS to close the Titus road - the crux is, I believe, the steep part around Red Pass that gets rather muddy and has some intense dropoffs.

Titus is fun of course, and you should show them the wonderful breccia in the lower canyon. In fact we were just discussing this over dinner (I kid you not, we were looking at some old DV pix I put in the digital frame to get us in the mood for an upcoming trip) and if you look up breccia on wikipedia it shows at least one image from Titus ;-) And we were looking at images from Fall as well.

Fall is a nice easy walk from the parking area at the mouth of Titus, there may even be a sign now, near the vault toilet, but if not, just follow the only clear path. As you approach the wash outflow from Fall, if you see a slightly fainter path to the left, that one goes to Redwall, so stay right. When you get to the impassible dryfall, the bypass is a steep loose bit about 30? yards back on the south wall. It is pretty obvious once you start and it will probably be cairned. It goes over one slightly exposed smooth ledge just before getting to the dryfall. The narrows are just after that and they are indeed pretty cool, though not super long. I don't think you can expect solitude in Fall any more with increased visitation.

Another option while going through Titus is Thimble Peak. You get there from a small pullout on your right just at Red Pass. There is a very clear use trail that goes up the left side road bank and all the way to the peak. The final bit to the peak looks scary but it isn't - the route sort of curls around and ascends the north side. The views from Thimble are stunning. These are both good hikes.

Of course as you go from Titus to Cottonwood you'll probable take your friends out onto the dunes a bit, if you have time.

Your second day looks good. If you have time you may want to drive to the far end of the playa to look for moving rocks? Or take a stroll out to the Grandstand? But the mine and Corridor is a very very nice hike, one that I liked a lot. Good choice.

Can't comment on hiking from White Top as I've not been there.

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TacoLand
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Re: Early March Trip -- Dry Bone Canyon or Bighorn Gorge?

Post by TacoLand » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:32 am

Hey Mojave, thanks for taking the time to reply!

Doesn't matter the time of the year, always have to have a Plan B (and sometimes C) in Death Valley between the weather and my body. Figured out the other day that 25% of my trips have had some serious modifications done on the fly.

Titus Canyon is just so awe-inspiring for first-timers that I'm really hoping to drag them through there. I've got pretty good notes on the bypass route for Fall and will pin a bunch of spots in my GPS trails app as a backup. I'd love to take my friends all the way down to Sand Canyon in the Owlshead Mountains -- or something equally inspiring and remote -- but its just not going to fit in with this trip due to time constraints. That said, any better ideas than Fall Canyon in the area to try to showcase the park? I'll do some research on Thimble as well, but was hoping to drag them through some slot canyons.

I'd mentioned the Racetrack, but we've all spent so much time exploring the Black Rock Desert (almost 40 years for myself) that no one was too worried about visiting it. That said, if time permits I'm still going to drag them out to the Grandstand.

At this point I think we're going to check out Dry Bone Canyon as I haven't seen much about Bighorn Gorge that doesn't include overnight backpacking. I'd love to do an overnighter from White Top, through Dry Bone, and down to the valley floor ... but that'll have to wait until next time.

Thanks again for the feedback!

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MojaveGeek
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Re: Early March Trip -- Dry Bone Canyon or Bighorn Gorge?

Post by MojaveGeek » Thu Feb 22, 2018 6:21 am

If you want to hike narrows, a good plan B if the Titus road is closed is to hike up it from the bottom. When there's no cars in it, it's really a spectacular walk. I find that when I'm driving down it I don't stop enough. There's not that many places you can pull out and the draw of the road tends to keep me moving... until I'm out and it's over. Walking, you get to see lots of nice rock and you just cruise by when driving.

For Fall, you don't get real slotty narrows until above the dry fall. Down below, you have flat gravel bottom. Very nice rock formations on the canyon walls, but it's not overly narrow. Above the dryfall you get 10 minutes or so of real nicely polished granite. Navigation is a breeze, actually. You head over the berm from the Titus parking on the clear use trail (it may even be signed now?) going north, and turn right into the first major drainage. It's major - big flat wash.

Your Racetrack area day will be pretty full, though depends in part on what you do that night. And the Corridor is a long enough walk such that combined with checking out the mine that will fill most of the day. An alternative if you have extra time, like an hour or so, is to take the very clear mining trail up the ridge of Ubehebe just to where it crosses the ridge. The view from up there into the Saline totally blew me away the first time I went out to DV and probably was the hook I swallowed which keeps bringing me back. It's a very high quality trail, not some sketchy old track.

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