Dec 27, 2019 at 11:21 am #3624289Jeff McWilliamsBPL Member
My wife and I have been planning to visit Death Valley at the end of July and are interested in the Cottonwood Canyon / Marble Canyon loop.
The trail guides and online reports all sort of imply starting the loop at the Cottonwood/Marble Canyon road junction. But there’s a note on the NPS site that says the last two miles of the road require a 4WD.
As someone flying into Vegas from elsewhere I’m left wondering how people pull this off. Even if I could rent a 4WD SUV I’m unsure about asking s rental off-road like that.
Do people just add the two extra hiking miles each way to their hiking plan?Dec 27, 2019 at 2:38 pm #3624292A DBPL Member
I drove all the way to the junction last February in my stock 4Runner. I think I activated 4×4 for a short span more just for fun than anything else. If you’re going to do much else in DV, its worth it to have at least a high clearance vehicle.Dec 27, 2019 at 3:57 pm #3624296idesterBPL Member
@doug-iLocale: The Cascades
I drove all the way to the junction last spring in my Rav4 AWD. There wasn’t any place where I needed the AWD, but there were a few spots that definitely needed higher ground clearance than most cars would afford. I also did see some vehicles parked about a mile or so from the junction, so yes, some folks do that instead of driving all the way in.
The whole drive after leaving the main (paved) road was pretty slow for me, because it’s very washboardy (yes, that’s not really a word…), so the going was quite slow, FWIW.
And, FWIW, it’s easy to lose the trail, but generally just as easy to pick it back up again.Dec 27, 2019 at 4:06 pm #3624298Paul WagnerBPL Member
@balzaccomLocale: Wine Country
Me of course has given you good advice. Yes, there is a parking area about a mile short of the junction, and plenty of people just park their rental cars there and hike the extra mile each way.
On the other hand, we only did half the loop, up Cottonwood Canyon up to Cottonwood Spring, and we drove most of the canyon (all but the last 1/3 mile) in our Ford Escape 2WD. Yes, it has high clearance, and yes, we took a number of spots very slowly, but the road ain’t that bad if you have the ground clearance. Traction (in dry weather) is not an issue. The washboard character of the whole road will rattle your molars.
But I have to ask why in heaven’s name you are doing this in July…it will be hotter than Hades, and you will need to carry your own water. (Cottonwood Springs was a bug and horse manure infested swamp when we were there are few years ago—not really a source for drinking water.) We did this trip in February–perfect weather, although we did get frost in the morning on the way out. July? I can’t imagine how much water you are going to be drinking, and carrying…Dec 27, 2019 at 5:00 pm #3624309Jeff McWilliamsBPL Member
Ugh – stupid phone AND inability to edit the first post in a topic.
We are NOT planning to go in July. We are planning to go at the end of January. Not sure how that got entered incorrectly when I posted. My apologies. Flying into Vegas on Sunday the 26th, and flying out again on Saturday Feb 1st.
Currently torn between doing this loop in Death Valley or doing something in Zion. Zion has the potential for more interesting hikes, but my understanding is that anything at higher elevation in Zion will have snow. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.Dec 27, 2019 at 9:39 pm #3624354Ben H.BPL Member
@bzhayesLocale: No. Alabama
You are unsure about taking a rental off-road? Isn’t that what rentals are for?
“… you’ve got a Ford Fiesta that’s going to see more airtime than a skateboard at the x-games…”Dec 28, 2019 at 5:04 am #3624550Paul WagnerBPL Member
@balzaccomLocale: Wine Country
We’ve been pretty cold in Zion in April. I’d vote for Death Valley.
You might also look at Indian Pass Canyon…
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