Mummy Canyon is a relatively short hike into a small canyon which contains honeycomb weathering on the walls, a giant mummy rock formation, and Jensen Natural Bridge which crosses above a dry fall. There are no real difficulties in carrying out this hike but it is important to park in a safe area away from fast-moving traffic and watch out for falling rocks from above when hiking through the slot canyon. A topographical map of the parking area and hiking route can be found by clicking on the button above. GPS coordinates for the parking area are 36.375978, -116.688947. GPS coordinates for the mouth of Mummy Canyon are 36.377450, -116.692606.
Mummy Canyon is a short but interesting hike which is located very close to Furnace Creek. It is essentially a family hike which takes no more than a couple of hours to fully explore and enjoy. The hike is about one mile each way, following a small wash up into a slowly narrowing canyon. Mummy Canyon has two outstanding features: (1) a towering rock formation which is standing guard and (2) one of Death Valley's smallest but most impressive natural bridges. The rock formation has the likeness of an Egyptian mummy which is standing upright, high above the canyon. When my group first hiked into Mummy Canyon, we didn't have any information about where the canyon had gotten its name. As we approached and got into the narrower part of the canyon, I speculated that perhaps it was named Mummy Canyon due to the unique rock type which surrounded us on the canyon walls. The rock type even reminded me of similar scenery which I had seen in Luxor, Egypt while visiting the Valley of the Kings. But on our hike back out, we spotted the rock mummy overlooking the canyon, and the reason for the canyon name became clear. The other special aspect of Mummy Canyon is Jensen Natural Bridge. Jensen Bridge is 1 of 17 currently known natural bridges in Death Valley as of October 2017. It is without a doubt the smallest canyon span to be considered a major natural bridge, but it does fit all of the qualifications. Jensen Bridge connects the two sides of Mummy Canyon just above the pour over of a large dry fall. As you are looking up at it, you can imagine flood waters flowing down the upper canyon and over the top of the dry fall but underneath the natural bridge. Jensen Bridge is definitely a unique sight to behold in person. The entrance to the natural bridge is through a short section of narrows, which adds to the beauty. Earlier in my report, I explained where Mummy Canyon got its name. During my hike, I also figured out (with some help from another hiker in my group) where Jensen Bridge got its name. But I will leave the challenge of figuring that out to future observant hikers, instead of spoiling everything. The NPS has authorized me to release the location of Mummy Canyon and Jensen Bridge for those who wish to see this very interesting place for themselves. Mummy Canyon is located close to the wide bend in Hwy 190 near the eastern park entrance. But the park service has requested that all hikers park their vehicles at the park entrance sign, as shown above in my map and photos. This is for safety reasons. There is a more safe place to stop and park near the entrance sign, while there is really no safe place to park at the wide bend. Once you park close to the sign, proceed over the small gravel bank so that you can hike a safe distance off the highway as you make your way towards the mouth of Mummy Canyon. In 2016, I returned to this area with my friend Josh and we hiked above Mummy Canyon's western rim. We wanted to see the mummy and slot narrows from above. And we also wanted to see if there was anything interesting in the upper canyon. Upon hiking above the canyon, we found out that it is not safe to scramble down into the upper canyon. There are multiple impassable dry falls. Also, there is no way to get a picture of Jensen Bridge from above or from the backside. But we still enjoyed the great views. This report has been updated with additional photos from the canyon rim hike. Our hikes took place on November 11, 2013 and November 24, 2016.
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.
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