Mosaic Canyon is a popular hike in the Death Valley area. The name comes from the textured and colorful patterns of mosaic breccia, dolomite, and marble in the canyon walls. The trail has both narrows and wider spots as it goes up into a fault in Tucki Mountain for about 1.8 miles (2.9 km). The canyon has been scoured by flash floods for millions of years, polishing the marble, and carving chutes and dry falls. The vertical walls of the canyon on either side of the trail rise hundreds of feet above.
This hike is best done in the morning before the crowds arrive and the sun heats up the canyon.
The lower slopes of the mountains near Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Wells are barren, rugged, and deeply eroded. At the end of February the temperature was 21C (70F) with sunny skies. This is wonderful hiking terrain when it is not too hot.
There are 4 sets of narrows up the canyon. The final section requires a climb up a steep and rocky rim trail and then some additional up-climbing past where most hikers turn around. Most hikers turn back at the steep dryfall before the rim traverse, a hike of 3.6 miles (6 km) return. We hiked this trail first, then added a second hike in the afternoon in the Furnace Creek area.
Death Valley has a number of rewarding hikes and so we are planning a return trip to do some more. From this February, 2017 hiking trip we also hiked Sidewinder Canyon, Furnace Canyon, Titus Canyon, the Mt. Perry Traverse, Golden Canyon – Gower Gulch, Twenty Mule Team Canyon, and some of the sand dunes.