Jayhawker Canyon was an unplanned hike that we undertook during our Fall 2009 trip.  It was one of those days where everything goes wrong (the story involves flat tires and driving long distances with nothing to show for it).  Because of all of the problems we had encountered, we decided that the only way to salvage the day was to do the hike into Jayhawker Canyon.  Usually when I undertake a hike in Death Valley, I have already spent months studying and preparing it.  But we had to head into Jayhawker Canyon unprepared with less than 3 hours of daylight remaining at the time we started.  My sister and I parked at the 3,000 foot elevation sign on Hwy 190 just past Emigrant campground, and headed out on the hike.  Apparently, we heard that a lot of people get lost looking for the canyon mouth.  But we had no problems, as the correct route seemed to be obvious.  Once we got into the canyon, there appeared to be a well established trail that was always clear on either the right or left side of the wash.  This appears to be a somewhat heavily visited canyon.  We ended up going almost 3 1/2 miles into the canyon, past the springs and through the short narrows, before turning around.  This wasn't the most interesting or enjoyable hike, in my opinion, but it was better than doing nothing (barely).
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We parked just past the 3,000 foot elevation sign to begin this hike.  It was about 2:15pm on a late November day:
Almost 1/3 of our hike would be hiking cross-country to the canyon mouth.  The entrance point is shown here in the left-middle of the picture, cutting sharply to the right:
Tiffany heading up the fan towards the canyon.  Tiffany had hiked Palmer Canyon and Smoke Tree Canyon the 2 days before, so it's remarkable that she still had energy left even for this short, easy hike:
Just about to the mouth of the canyon now:
Looking some 3,000 feet below us at the vast Mesquite Flat of Death Valley.  The Niter Beds can be seen (the white spot in the valley):
Early on in the canyon.  Much of the scenery would look like this.  A somewhat wide canyon wash with not a whole lot to see:
Reaching the first junction in the canyon.  At this point, the key is to turn left:
Looking back at Tiffany and out the mouth of the canyon:
If you look down in the lower part of this picture, you can kind of see footprints and a clear path.  This was evident throughout the portion of the canyon that we hiked:
Passing by a massive boulder slide which spreads out in all directions as the boulders tumble down the mountainside:
While I may have mostly negative feelings about this canyon, one thing I did like was the colorful displays in the rock formations high up on the mountains.  You will see quite a few examples of this kind of beauty:
Towering peaks in the distance as we progressed up canyon:
More colorful displays and interesting formations:
As you can see, the in-canyon scenery doesn't change much:
Reaching the multi-level Jayhawker Spring almost 2 1/2 miles into the hike:
The lower level of Jayhawker Spring has yellow and green reeds and grasses, as shown in the next two pictures:
Looking back down the canyon from just above the lower level of Jayhawker Spring:
From this vantage point, I could once again see down across the Mesquite Flat:
And this is the view looking further up canyon, where we were headed next:
The upper level of the spring had thick and thorny mesquite trees:
Above the upper level of the spring looking down at the canyon floor.  There are well established trails around both levels of the spring:
Two more views of the upper level of Jayhawker Spring.  We didn't find any surface water during this visit:
Back on the canyon floor after checking out some other interesting things close to the spring:
The next three pictures show the scenery in between the spring and the narrows:
Just up ahead those are the first and only narrows in Jayhawker Canyon:
I had low expectations going into these narrows, and my expectations were met:
Three pictures of the upper canyon walls heading through the beginning of the narrows:
The next eight pictures show us progressing through the narrows, which are short and not spectacular, but at least slightly interesting:
After we exited the narrows, this was the view looking further up canyon.  I believe the canyon continues to the base of Pinto Peak.  Thinking about this is probably what led us to actually hiking Pinto Peak the next day:
Looking back down into the narrows we had just come through.  We next headed back to our truck and arrived at about 5:30pm, which was after dark at this time of year.  The hike was completed by flashlight in 3 hours and 15 minutes:
Steve forcing a smile in the picture inside the narrows of Jayhawker Canyon.  Sorry for the negative tone of this report, but I'm not obligated to like every hike, am I?: