Titus Canyon is the longest canyon in the Grapevine Range, north of Furnace Creek in Death Valley. A signed gravel road 15 miles north of Highway 190 goes north from the Scotty’s Castle Road to a parking area at the mouth of the canyon.
The canyon narrows off right away with bulging colorful rock slopes on both sides. Right away, hikers find themselves in a narrows with layered cliffs on both sides. This is a stark change from the alluvial fan-gravelly approach on the 2.7 km gravel road.
The hiking route was an old road bed as a route to the abandoned mining town of Leadville. The narrows on the lower end is about 4 miles long. Past the 2.2 mile mark, the canyon becomes wider. At this point, we climbed up the side slopes for a wider view of the Grapevine Range. Erosion features and ripple marks from an ancient (500 million years) sea show the extent of flash floods up the sides of the canyon.
For most of the hike through the narrows, limestone and dolomite cliffs rise up to 500 feet above the floor of the wash. There are overhangs, alcoves, buttresses, and twisted folds of layers above. The whole hike through the narrows asks for silent, leave no trace hiking.
This is not a difficult hike, but it is an impressive route into the heart of the Grapevine Mountains, best done in the early morning before the noise of larger groups or motorcycles/utvs spoils the cathedral-like quiet of the Titus Canyon Narrows.