Scotty's Canyon had been sitting near the bottom of my Death Valley To-Do List for quite a long time.  What got me interested in it finally was the challenge of getting into the upper canyon to see some of the narrows.  I had long known that the lower canyon was for hikers and provided access to three pretty grottos and Scotty's Camp Holdout.  Camp Holdout is a small cave where Scotty used to temporarily live when he wanted a break from living at the Castle.  I had also known and was reminded recently that the upper canyon was for canyoneers to rappel down only.  This is because the upper canyon is full of dry falls and narrows.  Thus, we set out on our Fall 2010 trip to check out Scotty's Camp Holdout, the three grottos, and to look for access into the upper canyon.  We found the lower canyon to be quite interesting and enjoyable to hike through.  And we were thrilled to find out later that some of our pictures as seen below had been chosen by the park service to be used as representative of Scotty's Canyon in the new Furnace Creek Visitor Center which was reopened in 2012.
SAFETY ALERT-- This hike contains sections of climbing, exposed bypasses and/or high dry falls and requires safety ropes & equipment in order to complete the entire hike.  Those without the proper training, experience, and safety gear should stop at the 1st major dry fall which is located just past Camp Holdout.
Panoramic from end of Ashford Canyon Road
Return to Home
Starting the hike at the end of the Ashford Canyon Road.  We parked and then began hiking downhill here:
Panoramic view from beginning of hike of Owlsheads & Southern Panamints (click to enlarge):
Perfect view into Talc Canyon from starting area for hike:
Crossing the Ashford Canyon wash early on:
Steve and Daria heading up the clearly marked trail leading from Ashford Canyon to Scotty's Canyon:
Daria and Tiffany on their way up and over:
The trail is easy to follow once you find it.  The first mile is a breeze:
Steve heading down the colorful side canyon which leads into Scotty's:
Tiffany getting her first view into Scotty's Canyon as she arrives in the wash:
First view up Scotty's Canyon from the spot where we joined it:
Daria checking out one of the many huge ant mounds found in the canyon wash:
Tiffany hiking up the early part of the canyon.  It was good to have her back hiking on another adventure:
There were many sections of this natural concrete-like rock surface to walk on and examine:
Small twin dry falls early in the canyon give us a glimpse of what is to come:
And early indications of the caves and grottos we would come across later:
Another cool formation found in the canyon wash:
Steve and Daria continuing to push hard as they headed up canyon:
Three more pictures of rock formations that we passed by:
Ultra thorny mesquite trees were growing in the wash:
Another thorny mesquite tree guarding passage into Camp Holdout:
First view of Camp Holdout (right) and the 1st Grotto (center back):
Standing in Camp Holdout and looking towards the Grotto:
Full view of the 1st Grotto.  It was up high and we couldn't reach it from down below:
Steve and Tiffany getting their picture at the base of the 1st Grotto:
All three hikers taking refuge in Scotty's Camp Holdout, more than a half century after he last used it:
Bypassing Camp Holdout to continue up canyon:
It was an easy bypass and drop back into the wash above the 1st Grotto:
Water flowing in Scotty's Canyon.  This was one of several places which we found it:
There was a good flow.  Definitely enough to drink if we had brought our water pump and it had been a hot Spring day:
Reaching the 2nd Grotto required carefully working past a particularly nasty thorny mesquite tree:
Tiffany wisely climbing around the thorn-ridden tree:
Looking out from the lower end of the huge 2nd Grotto:
Looking out the upper end of the 2nd Grotto at my dear youngest sister:
The 2nd Grotto goes deep into the canyon wall.  Tiffany went all the way inside and took this picture looking back out at Steve:
The girls heading up the waterfall in a very basic climb:
Looking back down at the 2nd Grotto before moving on:
The canyon narrowed considerably from the 1st Grotto on, as seen in the next two pictures:
And this is the 3rd Grotto, which is the biggest of all of them:
Looking further up canyon from inside of the 3rd Grotto:
And looking back down canyon from the same spot:
Tiffany posing at the 1st major dry fall of Scotty's Canyon.  The climbing route is actually to the right, but we deemed it a little too risky for our group.  This is the spot where it is a good idea to turn around and exit the canyon:
Thus, we headed back down canyon:
Bypassing Camp Holdout on the way back down canyon: