Wildrose Peak is a hike on a frequently-used trail through a high elevation forest of pinyon pines and juniper trees which has outstanding views of central Death Valley. Difficulties encountered on the hike include adjusting to a significant altitude change in comparison to the valley floor and dealing with extreme heat of 100F+ if the hike is attempted during the Summer months. Route maps and GPS coordinates are not provided because there is only one main parking area (at the Charcoal Kilns) and the hiking trail is well known and obvious.
In planning my first lifetime hike of Wildrose Peak, I chose the slightly unorthodox idea of hiking it in the middle of Summer. As I found out during the hike, it is probably much more enjoyable to do it during the late Spring or early Fall. But as my sister Tiffany and I had mid-Summer plans to hike Telescope Peak, we decided to do Wildrose Peak as a warm-up hike the day before. The hike to Wildrose Peak starts right at the parking area for the Charcoal Kilns, which I have taken many of my family and friends to visit and explore in the past. Once you climb a very small hill and turn the corner to head east, you immediately realize that this hike is different than most others in Death Valley -- you actually almost feel like you are somewhere else. This is because you are hiking through a pygmy forest made up of pinyon pines, junipers, and other small trees. And even though it was close to 120 degrees F in Death Valley below us, the trees provided nice shade along the hike and the temperature was much cooler. For us it felt like it was somewhere between 85 and 95 F all day. After hiking for 1.7 miles, we went over our first ridge and were rewarded with a grand view of the Badwater Basin. We were able to look down into Death Valley Canyon at this point, which is on my To-Do list for future visits to the park. We continued through the forest for another 1.5 miles before we began our final ascent to Wildrose Peak. After some steep switchbacks and ever-increasing good views, we finally made it. The final total for our hiking was 4.2 miles each way (or 8.4 miles round-trip) and an elevation gain of 2,200 feet. I must say this is an excellent hike and I highly recommend it. In order to truly appreciate Death Valley, it is important to experience both the vast desert of the valley floor and the higher elevation forests. A couple notes for this hike that should be kept in mind. First, there is no water at the parking area or along the trail, so hikers need to fill up their bottles at Stovepipe Wells or Wildrose campground. Second, in the Winter and early Spring, there can be snow along the trail and even on the road leading up to the parking area at Charcoal Kilns. We have been stopped in the past and have not been able to drive all the way to the parking area. Our hike took place on July 18, 2008.
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