Titus Canyon

Titus Canyon has it all, rugged mountains, colorful rock formations, a small ghost town, mines, petroglyphs, wildlife, rare plants and spectacular canyon narrows as a grand finale! Titus Canyon is the most popular back-country road in Death Valley National Park and just plain fun to run.  The canyon is easily accessible from Stovepipe wells and Furnace Creek.

Titus Canyon, a narrow canyon drive in Death Valley National Park, CA
Titus Canyon, a narrow canyon drive in Death Valley National Park, CA

Although the Grapevine Mountains were uplifted relatively recently, most of the rocks that make up the range are over half a billion years old. The gray rocks lining the walls of the western end of the Canyon are Cambrian limestone. These ancient Paleozoic rocks formed at a time when the Death Valley area was submerged beneath tropical seas. By the end of the Precambrian, the continental edge of North America had been planed off by erosion to a gently rounded surface of low relief. The rise and fall of the Cambrian seas periodically shifted the shoreline eastward, flooding the continent, then regressed westward, exposing the limestone layers to erosion. The sediments have since been upturned, up folded (forming anticlines), down folded (forming synclines) and folded back onto themselves (forming recumbent folds).

Leadfield Gost Town, Death Valley, California
Leadfield Gost Town, Death Valley, California

Although some of the limestone exposed in the walls of the canyon originated from thick mats of algae (stromatolites) that thrived in the warm, shallow Death Valley seas, most of the gray limestone shows little structure. Thousands of feet (hundreds of meters) of this limey goo were deposited in the Death Valley region. Similar limestone layers may be seen at Lake Mead National Recreation Area and at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
At one of the bends in the canyon, megabreccia can be seen.

Leadfield was an unincorporated community, and historic mining town found in Titus Canyon in Death Valley National Park.

Titus Canyon Trail Map

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