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Sidewinder Canyon - 2 members in 2 triplogs have rated this an average 5 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Dec 28 2020
kyleGChiker
avatar

 Routes 13
 Photos 182
 Triplogs 20

male
 Joined May 28 2019
 Phoenix, AZ
Sidewinder CanyonDeath Valley, CA
Death Valley, CA
Hiking avatar Dec 28 2020
kyleGChiker
Hiking5.19 Miles 2,318 AEG
Hiking5.19 Miles   5 Hrs   33 Mns   1.66 mph
2,318 ft AEG   2 Hrs   25 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout GPS Route Recorded on Route Scout View
This hike was part of a larger trip to Death Valley. In the family, most of us get off work between Christmas and New Year's, so this year, we decided to take a trip to Death Valley, figuring that the weather is better in the winter than in the summer. The itinerary was as follows:
  • Day 1: Drive from Phoenix, up the road to the north end of the park, camp just north of Teakettle Junction
  • Day 2: Visit Racetrack Playa and see the famous "sailing stones." These are incredible! If you ever visit death valley, you need to visit here! Drive back down the road with a stop at the Mesquite Flat sand dunes for sunset. Camp off Echo Canyon road 2.5 miles in (the campgrounds were closed for COVID, so camping was only permitted off 4WD roads).
  • Day 3: Sidewinder Canyon hike (don't worry, I'll get to the hike soon), Badwater Basin salt flats, Devil's Golf Course, and Artist's Palette.
  • Day 4: Sunrise at Zabriski Point, 20 mule canyon, Harmony Borax Works, the Wonder gold mine, Salt creek, and a good hike at the dunes, including going to the highest sand dune, sunset at Dante's view.
  • Day 5: The highlight was seeing our campsite off Echo canyon road for the first time in daylight! The drive home was easy enough and quite scenic, with a brief stop at Lake Mead overlook.

The hike in Sidewinder Canyon leaves the parking area and heads to the south up a short narrow trail that winds in wavy switchbacks, much like a sidewinder path. After a short hike up the canyon, we got to a large cairn on the right side of the drainage. Knowing this was not Slot #1 listed on the NPS website, but figuring that it was worth exploring, we started up it. While not one of the three official slot canyons on the NPS website, it was actually quite enjoyable to hike in till it dead-ended about 0.1 miles in. For the small amount of effort, it's a worthwhile canyon to explore. The first of the official canyons is just a short distance further up the main Sidewinder canyon. For some strange reason, a large arrow made out of rocks points tourists further up Sidewinder canyon, rather than into Slot #1. This arrow is best ignored, as Slot #1 is one of the most interesting ones! The slot canyon, while short in length, is so dark that at one point, headlamps almost become necessary for travel. The NPS trail description says they are required, so of course, that was an invitation to try to complete it without headlamps, which we were successful at doing! Slot #2 is much longer, at around 0.8 miles, although you could hike as far as you want, right up to the top of a mountain. We stopped when the slot canyon became no longer a slot, but more like a wide open drainage. Towards the upper end of the Slot #2, starting at the 0.4 mile mark, there were some "obstacles" involving climbing 8-10 feet to get to the next ledge or level of the canyon. The obstacles were few and far between, maybe 5 more challenging obstacles total. Slot #3 was perhaps the most adventurous, as it required climbing under large boulders and squeezing between small spaces, as well as climbing over large boulders. Similar to Slot #2, there is no official end, we went probably about 0.3 miles. All in all, this was a fantastic hike and a must-see if you visit Death Valley?

Are there more canyons to explore beyond Slot #3? Who knows? We didn't have time to check it out, but we sure will next time we're in the area!
Jan 29 2017
adv_trev
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 Guides 1
 Routes 13
 Photos 488
 Triplogs 36

42 male
 Joined Oct 01 2005
 Queen Creek, AZ
Sidewinder CanyonDeath Valley, CA
Death Valley, CA
Hiking avatar Jan 29 2017
adv_trev
Hiking5.00 Miles 1,580 AEG
Hiking5.00 Miles
1,580 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
_____________________
average hiking speed 1.66 mph

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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