Titus Canyon Road is a 4x4 trail located to the east of Death Valley in the Mojave Desert of southeastern California, in USA. It’s 26.6 miles long and one of the most famous trails in the zone. It’s one of the challenging Backcountry roads in the Death Valley National Park.
The trail, also known as Leadfield Road is a strip of dirt heads straight to the foothills of the Grapevine Mountains.The road is closed during the winter months when there is snow in the pass to the canyon. A well-maintained gravel road but steep and narrow in a few places. Four-wheel drive seldom necessary under dry conditions. Road is closed when rain is expected due to extreme flash-flood danger through narrowest part of Titus Canyon. May also close with winter snows.
The highest point of the road is Red Pass at an elevation of 1,589m (5,213 ft) above the sea level. As the road reaches the foothills, it starts to climb and meander among the sagebrush and red rock outcroppings. The road becomes steeper and narrower as it approaches Red Pass, aptly named for its red rocks and dirt.
The surface on this gravel road is often loose, especially along the sides of the road. It makes necessary to drive carefully and slow down whenever approaching an oncoming car. Two-wheel-drive, high-clearance recommended; four-wheel-drive may be needed after adverse weather conditions. Two-way section from west OK for two-wheel-drive, standard clearance vehicles. Many sections are steep and rocky that a passenger vehicle would not be able to pass.
Death Valley is one of the hottest places in the world, and climatic conditions in the park can be extreme. The world record highest air temperature of 134°F (57°C) was recorded here. Plan your visit in the park. Drink plenty of water. Avoid hiking in the heat. Travel prepared to survive: Stay on paved roads in summer. If your car breaks down, stay with it until help comes. Carry extra drinking water in your car in case of emergency. If you feel dizzy, nauseous, or a headache, get out of the sun immediately and drink water or sports drinks. More people die in single-car accidents than by any other means. To avoid an accident, follow the speed limits, shift to a lower gear on steep downhill grades, and wear your seatbelt. Never place your hands or feet where you cannot see first. Rattlesnakes, scorpions, or black widow spiders may be sheltered there. Avoid canyons during rain storms and be prepared to move to higher ground. While driving, be alert for water running in washes and across road dips. Do not enter mine tunnels or shafts. Mines may be unstable, have hidden shafts, pockets of bad air and poisonous gas. Hikers, backpackers and four-wheelers need to be self reliant and well prepared. Always plan ahead, carry detailed maps and let someone know your plans. Backpackers should obtain a free backcountry permit from any visitor center. Dial 911 from any telephone or cell phone. Cell phones may not work in many parts of the park. Do not depend on them. If you take this trip it's best not to do it in the summer as it gets very hot. Two cars would be safer then one if any problems come up. Infrequently patrolled, summer travel not advised. Canyon prone to flash flooding, avoid entering when rain threatens. Ask at ranger stations for current road and weather conditions.
Located in the Grapevine Mountains in the Mojave Desert of southeastern California, this trail starts in Nevada Highway 374 (Daylight Pass Road), 2 miles east of park boundary Road. The road is one-way road from east; this dirt road is rough, steep and narrow; often closed due to snow, mud, or wash outs; two-way section from west is graded dirt road. Infrequently patrolled, summer travel not advised. Canyon prone to flash flooding, avoid entering when rain threatens. Ask at ranger stations for current road and weather conditions.
The road is winding, in some places only wide enough for one vehicle. The main risk on this curvy and narrow mountainous road which rarely permits speeds over 30km/h is coming around a blind corner and discover a vehicle proceeding toward you. The final 1.5 miles of the canyon is the narrowest part. The walls squeeze down to less than 20 feet apart in some places. As the road enters the narrows it detours out of the wash and descends what is often the roughest part of the entire trip. It's a good idea to scout this section out before driving it. Portion of the road inside the canyon is very narrow, a lot of time it's only about 10 feet wide, so another reason to slow down if you dont want the canyon wall to scrape your car.
Pic: rich cirminello