Sidewinder Canyon

A great hike yesterday. Eight of us headed out about 7:30, heading for Sidewinder Canyon in Death Valley. It’s about a 40-minute drive south of Furnace Creek. There’s a gravel pulloff for parking, but no signposts or trailhead. 

Two years ago, 6 of us — Mel & Ann, Steve & Pam, Gerry & I — went in search of Sidewinder Canyon, known for its great slot canyons — steep, narrow, shaded side canyons that branch off the main canyon. This year we were joined by Frank & Susanah, SKP friends of Pam & Steve.

On our first trip we spent most of our time trudging up the wrong canyon. By the time we discovered our mistake we only had a short time to explore the right one. This year we decided to see what we’d missed.

It was well worth the return trip. We discovered three major slots, all coming off the right-hand side of the canyon. As we’d already been up the first one we focussed on heading up canyon and exploring the other two.

The 4 hikers from Ohio spent much of their time in slot #2. The Alberta team did likewise with slot #3. Both groups came back enthused with their discoveries — although it does sound like we should have spent more time in slot #2. Guess we’ll just have to make a return trip next year!

I was amazed at the number of bighorn sheep droppings we found, both in the main canyon as well as the slots — piles and piles of the stuff. Pam & Steve saw 3 sheep when they made a return trip there 2 years ago, but we didn’t sight any this time. Also found some coyote scat.

The slots are an excellent place to spend a hot day — cool and shady, with lots of twists and turns (hence the name sidewinder, I guess) and well worth the effort to reach them.



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