My reports for Talc Canyon and Owlshead Canyon kind of go together, since I hiked both of them on consecutive days during an overnight backpacking trip.  Talc Canyon is clearly visible from the intersection of the Harry Wade Road and the Badwater Road, as seen in the logo image above.  There is a nice parking area a very short distance down Harry Wade Road for hiking up to either Talc Canyon, Owlshead Canyon, or both.  I parked at this location in early March of 2010 and began backpacking down to the Amargosa River.  Since the river was flowing at this time, it took me a good half an hour to cross it.  The easiest way to cross would have been to just take off my shoes and carry them across.  But after getting some pictures, I set up large rocks across the river and managed to hop from rock to rock and get across while keeping my feet dry.  The next portion of the hike took me up into the northern end of the Confidence Hills.  If you look on Google Earth or any topographical map, you can see that there is a clear drainage which cuts through the Confidence Hills and provides easy access to Talc Canyon.  Somehow I ended up in the wrong drainage and had to cross back over, but it all worked out okay.  After dropping off my pack where I would be camping for the night, I hiked up into Talc Canyon.  The first half of Talc Canyon was not all that interesting, but the second half was much better.  Once the canyon started narrowing down, the scenery really picked up.  It was also interesting looking into each of the side canyons which I would pass, to see the dry falls and unique rock compositions.  The highlight of Talc Canyon is the massive headwall at the end of the canyon.  It looms ever larger as you hike up canyon, an intimidating spectacle.  On the way out of Talc Canyon, I had a scary moment as it got very dark outside and I was hiking by flashlight back towards where I had dropped my pack in a wash which was somewhere in between Talc Canyon and Owlshead Canyon.  The plan had been to camp in the middle of the two canyons.  The problem was I could no longer see, so I was having trouble figuring out where exactly my pack was.  After a while, I managed to find it, set up camp, and cook dinner.  The next morning, I awoke and could see a perfect view from my tent of the old 4WD road which goes up to some old prospects on the right side of the Talc Canyon mouth.  To continue this hike with me, click on the report for Owlshead Canyon.
Parking a short distance onto the Harry Wade Road after turning off of Badwater Road:
Looking directly towards Owlshead Canyon (left) and Talc Canyon (right) off in the distance.  My plan was to backpack up and camp in the middle of the two canyons:
View looking south down the flowing Amargosa River:
Looking straight across and wondering if there was an easy way to get across.  I was used to dealing with crossing rivers in Yosemite, but not in Death Valley:
Looking at a dust storm to the north:
Picture of Steve by the Amargosa River:
Backpack on once again and preparing to make the river crossing:
I had set these large rocks across the river to try to make the crossing easier:
I made it across without any trouble and was ready to continue the journey.  Looking back towards Telescope Peak and the Panamint Mountains:
Heading up the wrong drainage to try to cut through the Confidence Hills (I should have been just a little further south of here):
If you look at the map included on the Owlshead Canyon page, you can see that I am in the grey area, just a little north of the white area where I should have been:
This was actually my first ever solo overnight backpacking trip in Death Valley:
Once I ran into some dead-ends and high cliffs, I realized I was in the wrong drainage and managed to cross over into the correct one:
Looking up towards Talc Canyon  and the massive headwall at the back of it upon exiting the pass-thru drainage of the Confidence Hills:
After a while, I dropped my pack and headed straight up and across towards the mouth of Talc Canyon:
Talc Canyon appealed to me because there were no pictures of it on the internet and it is not covered in any guidebook:
Looking a long ways up the early wide portion of Talc Canyon:
The next two pictures show the grand scenery towards the beginning of the canyon:
Progressing up Talc Canyon.  Off in the distance you can see that the canyon does not continue forever, but it abruptly ends at high cliffs.  Those cliffs are the huge headwall with the canyon is famous for:
Looking back towards the Confidence Hills and Badwater Road growing farther away:
Talc Canyon was not extremely interesting early on, but it was still fun to hike.  The headwall keeps your focus as it draws ever closer:
Steve hiking into Talc Canyon on March 4, 2010:
The main wash would kind of wind back and forth between the northern and southern walls of the canyon:
Awesome picture of Steve standing by a majestic Talc Canyon wall:
Rock outcropping with typical Owlshead Mountains scenery:
Decomposing granite boulders covering the hillside:
Interesting bowl-like impression in the canyon rock.  I passed quite a few of these and wondered what natural forces caused them:
A brief constriction in the canyon:
The sun was setting while I was hiking in Talc Canyon, so that's why most of the pictures were in the shade:
The headwall of Talc Canyon becomes more visible the further you progress:
The wash once again moving from one side of the canyon to the other:
Passing by a couple of unique rock formations in the next two pictures:
To keep heading for the head of the canyon, simply aim for the low spot on the ridge far off on the horizon:
There are quite a few canyon junctions.  I tried a few of the side canyons and found that most of them all ended quickly in dry falls:
Passing between a huge boulder and the canyon wall as the narrows began:
The narrows were probably the most interesting part of the canyon:
The scenery was quite pretty throughout this last stretch:
Climbing some easy dry falls in order to continue the hike:
The steep head of the canyon continues to get closer:
One of the best pictures from Talc Canyon, check out the contrast of this round boulder with the background:
Getting very narrow in Talc Canyon from this point on:
This giant staircase section had to be climbed in order to keep going:
Above it, the canyon continued through the narrows:
I wondered how much closer I would be able to get to the canyon head.  The hiking had gotten kind of rough with lots of short and easy climbs happening on a regular basis:
This is where I decided to stop.  You can clearly see a large dry fall behind me. It could have been bypassed, but this seemed like a logical place to end the hike in the fading daylight:
Looking back down and out Talc Canyon on the hike back to camp:
The next morning I woke up and looked out my tent towards the mouth of Talc Canyon.  As you can see on the right side, the old 4x4 road leading up to the prospects is clearly visible:
And this was my tent camping at the spot marked on the map, which you can see by continuing this journey with me on the Owlshead Canyon page:
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