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Titus Canyon & Red Pass

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Titus Canyon & Red Pass
Death Valley National Park, California

Once again, having not done enough research, I ended up at another ranger station in Stovepipe Wells asking the ranger “if you were to pick one place in the park, where would you go right now?”

“Titus Canyon… well if you have a high-clearance vehicle.”

Yes, yes I do…

Titanothere Canyon

Titus Canyon is a one-way road starting from the east outside Beatty, NV off Daylight Pass Road (Route 374) and begins by heading west across the Amargosa Valley and climbing into the Grapevine Mountains. Colorful rock deposits along this section contain fossil beds 30-35 million years old. The fossil skull of a huge, rhino-like titanothere was found here in 1933.

Titanothere Canyon Death Valley National Park California

Red Pass

From Titanothere Canyon, you then climb up Red Pass, the highest point on the road is this divide between Titanothere and Titus Canyons.

As we got to the top of Red Pass and it was probably one of my favorite views I saw during my three days in the park. With it being later afternoon, we felt we were at a tipping point – We could either sit up top Red Pass for the next few hours to relax before shooting the beautiful vista at sunset OR we could continue down into the canyon with no plans on where to shoot sunset from… We might find a better spot for sunset or we might get skunked.

We opted for the former and set up the camp chairs, cracked some beers, and waited to shoot what turned out to be a pretty beautiful sunset. 

Titus Canyon Red Pass Death Valley National Park California

Titus Canyon Red Pass Death Valley National Park California

Titus Canyon Red Pass Death Valley National Park California

Titus Canyon Red Pass Death Valley National Park California

Leadfield & Titus Canyon

Below Red Pass, we popped into the ghost town of Leadfield, which “boomed” for less than a year in 1926-27 because the lead deposits bottomed out quickly. Being pitch-black out already, we barely even stopped and continued as the road enters the main fork of Titus Canyon. Fortunately the moon was almost full so we could still see the Limestone cliffs rising high above the broad wash we were in. The final 1.5-2 miles were even amazing under the headlights as the walls constricted down to the narrows and were less than 20 feet apart in some places.

My biggest regret of my entire 11-day road trip is not seeing Titus Canyon in the daylight and we even considered going and doing it again the next day, but there was too much more to see. There is a lot more to explore in Death Valley and I suspect I’ll go back one day and if I do, Titus Canyon will be on my list to see again.

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