Detailed trail and hiking information for Surprise Canyon Trail (DVNP) Back to TrailFinder


10 miles

Trail Type

Out & Back

Trail Difficulty


Δ Elevation (FT)

~3250 (+)

USGS Quad Map(s):  Death Valley National Park Topo Map

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Surprise Canyon Trail (DVNP)

California | Death Valley

  • Surprise Canyon in Death Valley National Park.
  • Surprise Canyon in Death Valley National Park.
  • Surprise Canyon in Death Valley National Park.

Activities & Features


Surprise Canyon Trail is a tough hike in Death Valley National Park. This hike may be too much for small children. Surprise Canyon lives up to its name. This oasis in Death Valley is a true pleasure to explore and one that not many venture into. The trail is tough, but one of the few places in the park where water is available. Consequently hikers have a great chance of seeing Desert Bighorn Sheep as they tend to be close to water sources. At five miles into the trek, hikers reach the ghost town of Panamint City and its ruins including a large smokestack. Free backcountry camping permits are available as well if hikers desire to extend their stay. There are plenty of campgrounds in Death Valley National Park.


Panamint City boomed for some time in the late 1870s. Silver and copper mining fueled this town that once was filled with saloons, mills along its mile long main street. It even had it's own newspaper. A flash flood leveled the city in 1876 and the town slowly died after that.

Red Tape

Entrance & Camping Fees
Contact: Death Valley National Park P.O. Box 579 Death Valley, CA 92328

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