While John and Jackie were in Death Valley, we visited Titus Canyon. Titus Canyon is a 27 mile long dirt road that goes up the side of several mountains via a series of narrow switchbacks and then comes back down the range through a narrow and spectacular canyon. Our truck is too long for the road, so we asked John and Jackie to rent a 4WD vehicle to take up the canyon.
John drove, and he is an excellent driver, but it took a while for Tom to stop being a back seat driver. The first part of the road was very narrow with extreme drop-offs on either side. We brushed the vegetation along the sides of the mountains several times. I just put my trust in John and enjoyed the scenery, but there were several times that the drop-off on my side of the car made me swallow hard.
Fortunately the Titus Canyon road is one-way, but we forgot to tell John that and it wasn’t marked at the beginning of the road. It wasn’t until he remarked that he didn’t know what he would do if another car met us that we remembered to tell him. That gave him one less thing to worry about.
It took a little over two hours to make the drive. We stopped in the ghost town of Leadfield, a little mining town so remote we don’t know how anyone got any lumber or merchandise in. We all needed to stretch our legs and John needed a break from the stress of driving. By the time we got to Leadfield we were through the worst of the road and could just enjoy the beauty of the canyon the rest of the way.
The walls of the canyon are over 300 feet tall and the canyon narrows to 15 feet in places. We would have enjoyed hiking a bit up some of the side canyons, but we wanted to get out of the canyon before dark. As it was, we reached the mouth of the canyon about the same time the sun set.
Titus Canyon empties out into Death Valley close to Scotty’s Castle Road. Once we reached the paved road, it was only a few miles to home.
Driving Titus Canyon is beautiful but not for the faint of heart. John did a terrific job getting us through safely and now he has another interesting tale to tell about his time in Death Valley.