Corkscrew Peak is a popular and enjoyable peak hike with a partial trail to follow which features grand views overlooking Mesquite Flat, the Grapevine Mountains, and central Death Valley. Difficulties encountered on the hike include route finding to access the easiest path to the summit and fairly steep elevation gain during the second half. A Google Earth map of the hiking route (turned to the northwest for better viewing) can be found by clicking on the button above. GPS coordinates for Round Boulder are 36° 45.348'N, 116° 58.728'W. GPS coordinates for the exit point of the canyon and beginning of the ridge climb are 36° 45.558'N, 116° 58.864'W.
Corkscrew Peak was a hike that my sister Tiffany first embarked on in the Spring of 2010. She had traveled to Death Valley as a volunteer with her college Chico State as part of their alternative Spring Break program to assist the park. On her day off from volunteer work, her group attempted a hike up Corkscrew Peak. They were only able to make it up about halfway, but she seemed to really enjoy the hike. A year and a half later in December 2011, I attempted a hike of Corkscrew Peak. I had heard that there were two routes to the summit, one relatively easy in difficulty and one medium to hard. We decided to try both by hiking Corkscrew Peak as a loop. First, we took the easier route up, following a side canyon from the Round Boulder marker to the rock cairns directing hikers onto the ridge. Once on the ridge, a well-used trail continued all the way up to the summit. Along the way, we passed Keyhole Rock, which is a natural arch formation about 10 minutes below the summit. Looking around online, I could see that various hiking groups have given the arch a variety of different names. I've decided to use the name Keyhole Rock, which I came across in one of the previous trip reports that I read. Once we had reached the summit and returned to Keyhole Rock, our loop began as we took the Class 3 scrambling route back down. I must say, I did not enjoy the route between Keyhole Rock and the saddle far below it (as shown on the Google Earth map linked to on the button above). The route was nasty, very steep, and full of loose scree. We had to work our way carefully and slowly around some cliffs and it took the enjoyment out of the hike. Once we were on the saddle, though, we were able to follow another trail. The trail led us past a square hole in the ground (similar to the one we found at the base of Lower Death Valley Butte), on to the spring (where we saw a group of 6 Bighorn sheep in close proximity before they took off running), and then down a ridge to the wash below. Being that we did happen to run into the Bighorn sheep, we were very happy that we had done the hike as a loop and put up with the harder terrain. And the views from the top of Corkscrew Peak were outstanding. My favorite view is of Thimble Peak with Mount Palmer just behind it to the left (see the third sample picture below). Our hike took place on December 4, 2011.
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