The Nova Slots are four short canyons located in close proximity to Nova Canyon which contain slots, conglomerate rock formations, and potential Bighorn sheep sightings. Difficulties encountered on the hike include route finding to access the four slots and crossing sometimes brutal terrain in order to reach Nova Canyon. 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 the parking area are 36° 20.541'N, 117° 18.661'W. GPS coordinates for the obscure side canyon leading to the Nova Wash are 36° 19.586'N, 117° 18.946'W. GPS coordinates for the mouth of Nova Slot 4 are 36° 18.275'N, 117° 17.873'W. GPS coordinates for the mouth of Nova Slot 1 are 36° 19.141'N, 117° 17.728'W.
For Part 3 of our three-day exploration of the major canyons located between Nova Canyon and Nemo Canyon, Tobin and I returned to the area the next day after completing Part 2. This time, we were targeting some small canyons in very close proximity to Nova Canyon. That being the case, we decided to park at the same parking area which I had used for my solo hike of Nova Canyon five years earlier. After that hike, I swore that I would never again hike cross-country from Hwy 190 to the mouth of Nova Canyon. In fact, on my trip report for Nova Canyon, I stated: "I don't recommend this route, as it was a total nightmare, with constant ups and downs over drainages. I would never take it again and regretted it about 15 minutes after starting out." It's amazing how much painful memories can fade after five years. One reason I decided to use this same parking area was that by using Google Earth and my GPS unit, I was able to chart out a route that would minimize drainage crossings. And it actually worked out fairly well on the hike over to the Nova Canyon wash. First, we parked at the Hwy 190 pullout located at 3,200 feet in elevation. Then, we hiked about 1/3 of a mile trying to stay mostly level until we reached our target drainage. We followed the drainage down for 1/2 of a mile until we reached the tip of a hillside at 2,950 feet. From there, we wrapped around the hillside to the south until we entered an obscure side canyon that cut a roundabout path for 3/4 of a mile towards two wide washes, the second of which was the Nova Wash. On the route map, you can see where we began crossing these washes and figure out exactly where the obscure side canyon is located. Upon crossing these washes, we followed the base of the hillsides for about 1 mile until we reached the beginning of Nova Slot 4. Along the way, we came across another unknown garden of Teddy Bear Chollas. We ended up expanding upon our Teddy Bear Cholla discoveries made the previous day by finding even larger specimens -- up to 9 feet tall! As we hiked up Nova Slot 4, a Red-tailed Hawk was spooked and flew down the canyon past us. Near the top of Nova Slot 4, there was a two-way junction. The left fork led to the best narrows of the day and also probably the most incredible rock-topped pinnacle I have ever seen. The right fork led to a giant wedged boulder just in front of a dry fall. Because the other three Nova Slots were all located at the mouth of Nova Canyon, we then cut across the hillside between the mouth of Nova Slot 4 and Nova Canyon. It worked out well. After catching sight of 9 Bighorn sheep, we went up Nova Slot 3. There wasn't much interesting to see up that slot, so we moved on to Nova Slot 2. This had a brief section of slot narrows. Finally, we wrapped things up by checking out Nova Slot 1, which was located to the left of the mouth of Nova Canyon. Nova Slot 1 had some nice conglomerate rock scenery but nothing extremely impressive. The two highlights of the day had been finding the additional taller Teddy Bear Chollas and exploring the slot junctions of Nova Slot 4. That made the hike worth the effort, but we still had the miserable 3 mile hike back to our vehicle from the mouth of Nova Canyon. That was not easy and I was reminded of my words five years earlier -- a promise to myself that I had not kept. Despite that, on the hike back I was able to reflect on our extremely successful exploration of some of the canyons located between Nova Canyon and Nemo Canyon. Three days of truly great and historic Death Valley adventures. Hopefully someday I can return to this area, as there are a couple more hiking days worth of areas that I would like to explore. Our hike took place on February 25, 2014.
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