Conquering the Cottonwood Canyon Road in Death Valley NP

Cottonwood Canyon Road is a very exciting desert drive located in Inyo County, in the eastern central part of the U.S. state of California. Please note it’s very susceptible to washouts after precipitation events. It’s one of the challenging Backcountry roads in the Death Valley National Park.

Cottonwood Canyon Road

Located in the northern part of Death Valley National Park, the dirt road is totally unpaved. The primitive road is 30.57km (19 miles) long, starting at Stovepipe Wells and running deep into the Cottonwood Mountains. High-clearance vehicle required on first eight miles due to sand, washboard and rocks. After, a 4x4 vehicle is required due to deep sand, rocky washes, tight corners, and small boulders. Final 1.5 miles are often washed out. 

Do not travel this road in severe weather conditions. Due to frequent flooding in the area, road conditions often vary throughout the park. For the most up-to-date information on road conditions, visit Death Valley’s website at Cottonwood Canyon is named for the tree-lined stream beyond road’s end. Hikers can also explore winding narrows in Marble Canyon, a tributary. The Marble Canyon spur road is marked by a metal post about 2 miles above the drop into Cottonwood wash and ends at the first narrows.