Dead Horse Canyon is a brush-filled canyon with flowing springs and small waterfall which is mostly a stop for backpackers crossing over from Cottonwood Canyon to Marble Canyon. Difficulties encountered on the hike include needing high clearance (or better yet 4WD) to reach the ideal starting point for the hike, dealing with sections of overgrown brush which require some bushwhacking, and good route-finding abilities if attempting to crossover into the canyon from Cottonwood Canyon. A Google Earth map of the hiking route can be found by visiting our very detailed Cottonwood-Marble Backpacking Loop page. GPS coordinates can also be found on that page.
Dead Horse Canyon is not exactly a major hiking destination within the park but it receives a considerable amount of visitors. This is because the canyon is an important route connection for backpackers who are crossing over from Cottonwood Canyon to Marble Canyon. Because of this, most people only hike the one mile stretch of canyon in between the side canyon used for the crossover and the mouth. But Dead Horse Canyon actually goes on much longer. In looking at satellite imagery, you can continue hiking an additional three miles past more springs, trees, and brush before the canyon splits into quite a few forks in the flatlands. Dead Horse Canyon has a strange name, but there is a lot of history behind it. Most people who pass through the canyon probably figure that it is named for the scattered horse bones which can be found at various places along the canyon floor. But the name actually goes back to the mid to late 1800's, when a group of people were passing through Death Valley trying to escape the heat and reach another part of California. For some reason, these people decided to kill their horses at what is now called Dead Horse Springs. I don't know the whole story, but that will give you a brief overview. As for Dead Horse Canyon, it is a narrow brush-filled place with flowing water during the last half mile before you reach the canyon mouth. If you're coming into Dead Horse Canyon from Cottonwood Canyon and Dead Horse Pass, be patient as you hike down canyon. You will not see flowing water at first but you will find it. And there is a very pretty small waterfall in the canyon. I don't have a whole lot of pictures of the one mile of canyon that we hiked, but there are several nice ones which showcase the beauty of the area. Our hike took place on February 22, 2009.
Many more photographs taken during our visit are available for viewing for this destination. To see all of them, choose one of the two options presented below. The two options are Slideshow viewing and Trip Report viewing. The Slideshow option allows for viewing larger images with an autoplay option and a full screen option (available on most browsers). This option works very well for large computer screens and tablets. The Trip Report option allows for viewing smaller pictures in a standard scroll-down format and enlarging of any panoramic photos taken during our visit. Click on the option of your choice to view all of our photos from this destination. The Slideshow format opens in a new browser window and the Trip Report format uses the same browser window for viewing.
TRIP REPORT FORMAT