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Dantes Peak Trail
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Death Valley National Park
Dantes Peak
Dante's Peak
Dante's Peak Trailhead (view N)

Overview

This is an easy 45-minute (0.7 mi) round-trip hike up a ridge to a summit with spectacular views. The summit overlooks Death Valley, and mountain ranges running out to the horizon in all directions can be seen, much of which is included in the Death Valley Wilderness Area. Although it is true that the view from the parking lot is almost as good, this short hike to a quiet summit is worth the effort; plus, hikers likely will have the view all to themselves; that is, not having to share the experience with lots of people and noisy vehicles in the parking lot.

Link to map.

Dante's Peak

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ...this hike is pretty safe, but stay off the ridge if lightning threatens, and stay back from the edge of the cliffs -- it's a long ways to Badwater from here.

While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, even though this hike is short, be sure to bring what you need of the 10 Essentials.

Dante's Peak
Steep initial trail up hillside (view N)

Getting to the Trailhead

This hike is located in Death Valley National Park, about 3 hours northwest of Las Vegas.

From town, drive out to Death Valley. From the Furnace Creek Visitor Center (Table 1, Site 712), drive south on Highway 190 for about 1.25 miles to the Badwater (Highway 178) turnoff (Site 741). Continue east on Highway 190 for about 10.7 miles to the Dantes View turnoff (Site 777). Turn south (right) onto the Dantes View Road, and drive for about 13.2 miles to a parking lot the end of the road (Site 776). Park here; this is the trailhead.

Dante's Peak
Gentle trail across hillside (view N)
The end of the road is steep, narrow, and winding, and trailers are not permitted up there, but there is a paved parking lot 7.5 miles from Highway 190 (Site 752) where you can drop them off. Also, there are no restroom facilities at the end of the road; however, about 0.5 miles before the end, there is a parking area with a restroom on the west (left) side of the road.
Dante's Peak

The Hike

From the parking area (Table 2, Wpt. 01), the trail runs north on road for about 0.06 miles to the first curve in the road (Wpt. 2) there the trail departs the pavement. From the turn, the unmarked Dantes View Trail runs north and starts up the toe of the ridge. For the first few steps up the ridge, the angle of the slope and the size of the cobbles makes the walking particularly difficult because all of the little rocks in the trail seem to turn under your feet.

After a few yards, the trail starts to level out as it cuts up and across the west face of the ridge at a more pleasant grade and the walking is easy. Above the trail, there are low cliffs formed from a pale brown volcanic ash deposit, perhaps a pyroclastic flow, that contains many larger irregular-sized cobbles. The knob at the top of the cliff is a good viewpoint, but it is not on the easiest route to the summit.

Dante's Peak
Fork in the trail (view N)

Beyond the low cliffs, the trail forks (Wpt. 03). The west (left) fork runs slightly down and west for about 50 yards to a rocky promontory (Wpt. 04), while the east (right) fork runs steeply up to the top of the ridge. The easiest way to the summit is to take the western fork; be sure to stop on the rocky promontory and enjoy the view.

From the rocky promontory (Wpt. 04), the trail runs northeast to a saddle on the crest of the ridge (Wpt. 05). From the saddle, the trail runs along the east side of the ridge to the summit (Wpt. 06). The summit has two little peaklets of almost equal height. The western peaklet has a benchmark that reads "Dante," while the other has a benchmark that reads "Marker #2" and has an arrow pointing back to Dante. Dante is higher by inches.

Dante's Peak
Approaching first overlook (view N)

 

The vegetation here is relatively dense and diverse compared to lower elevations. The visually dominant species is Nevada jointfir (a type of Mormon tea), which is a bit unusual, but there are many other species too (e.g., turpentine broom, California buckwheat, bunchgrasses, desert globemallow, cholla cactus, and others, but no creosote bush).

Views from the summit are spectacular, and hikers can see mountain ranges running out to the horizon in all directions. Views include the Sierra Nevada mountains to the northwest, the Grapevine mountains to the north, Mt. Charleston to east, and the mountains around Los Angeles to the southwest. In addition, hikers can see down to the floor of Death Valley and up to the summit of Telescope Peak to the west (a vertical difference of some 12,000 feet!).

Dante's Peak
Trail across west-facing slope (view N)

The summit knobs are set back from the edge of the cliffs by about 50 ft. Hikers should walk out to the rocky outcrop on the edge. All of the mountain ranges are still visible, and there are views down to Badwater and to the tip of the Dantes View parking lot. Before heading down, take a good look at the summit because when you get down and look back from the parking lot, you will see a knob that looks like the summit, but you will realize that it is not the right knob.

When ready, head back down the trail following your footprints to the trailhead. As an alternative, walk back to the saddle, then stay on the top of the ridge and visit the southern-most knob on the ridge, which is a good place to wave at people in the parking lot.

Dante's Peak
Trail climbs onto ridgeline (view NE)
Dante's Peak
Trail across east-facing slope (view N)
Dante's Peak
Summit is just a blip on the hill (view E)
Dante's Peak
USGS marker on the summit
Dantes peak
Mt. Charleston in the distance (view east)
Dantes peak
Northern Death Valley (view north from summit)
Dante's Peak
Mt. Charleston in the distance (view east)
Dante's Peak
Ridge route to Mt. Perry (view N)
Dante's Peak
Overlook at summit (view NW from summit)
Dante's Peak
Death Valley (view NW from Summit Overlook)
Dante's Peak
Returning via ridge route (view S)
Dante's Peak
Hikers on First Overlook (view NW from ridgeline)
Dante's Peak
Approaching First Knob on the ridge (view S)
Dante's Peak
Hiker on main trail (view into Badwater Basin)
Dante's Peak
Hikers on main trail below First Knob (view SW)
Dante's Peak
Dante's View Trail (view SE from First Knob)
Dante's Peak
Returning on main trail (view S)
Dante's Peak
Returning to the trailhead (view S)

Table 1. Highway Coordinates (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Highway GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Site Location Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Easting Northing Elevation (ft) Verified
0712 Furnace Creek Visitor Center 36.46159 116.86574 512030 4034954 -186 Yes
0741 Hwy 190 at Badwater Rd 36.44841 116.85192 513271 4033494 4 Yes-2
0752 Dantes View Rd, trailer parking 36.26884 116.66323 530250 4013619 2,315 Yes
0776 Dantes View Parking 36.22083 116.72572 524652 4008276 5,450 Yes
0777 Hwy 190 at Dantes View Rd 36.36302 116.70826 526174 4024052 2,000 Yes-2

Table 2. Hiking Coordinates Based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Hiking GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Wpt. Location UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (feet) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi) Verified
01 Dante's View Trailhead Parking 524652 4008276 5,450 . . Yes
02 Dante's View Trailhead 524678 4008368 5,460 0.00 0.00 GPS
03 Trail Forks 524686 4008580 5,590 0.13 0.13 GPS
04 Rocky Promontory 524653 4008608 5,579 0.01 0.16 GPS
05 Saddle 524723 4008737 5,621 0.09 0.25 GPS
06 Summit 524748 4008891 5,704 0.10 0.35 GPS
01 Dantes View Trailhead Parking 524652 4008276 5,450 0.35 0.70 Yes

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 130330

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