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Salt Creek Trailhead

Walk along the platform hovering above the water and catch a glimpse of the remarkable Salt Lake pupfish.

The Salt Creek Trail comprises a 1-mile (1.6-kilomter) wooden boardwalk loop over a rare sight of water in Death Valley National Park. The salty creek provides a welcome change from the vast arid bowl surrounding it. Enjoy the views of the water, with a backdrop of the park’s dramatic mountains.  

Take a leisurely stroll along the wooden planks of the boardwalk and inspect the information boards to learn more about the local ecosystems. The Salt Creek pupfish is an unusual aquatic creature that is most frequently spotted here in spring. Get a closer look at this bizarre fish, which has golden translucent skin and is endemic to the region. 

Bring the whole family on this gentle walk that barely changes in elevation as it meanders between the scrub bushes along the creek. After about 1,300 feet (400 meters), the trail splits into two, before later reuniting as a loop. 

Take advantage of the tranquility to listen to the calls of the great blue herons and songbirds. Set up a picnic on a dry area amid the pickle weed and salt grass. 

This creek is thought to be a leftover from the enormous freshwater lake that once filled the entire valley. Consider how the Salt Creek pupfish evolved to prosper here, when the lake dried almost entirely and became salty about 10,000 years ago. The fish is formidable and can live in freezing or hot conditions. 

There is a fee to enter the national park to gain access to the hike. You’ll find the Salt Creek Trailhead between Stovepipe Wells and Beatty Junction in the northeastern part of Death Valley. Drive north from Furnace Creek for 15 miles (24 kilometers) to get here in roughly 20 minutes. Make sure to see other nearby attractions such as the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, the Mosaic Canyon Trail and the Stovepipe Wells Ranger Station.


Guide to Exploring around Salt Creek Trailhead


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Salt Creek Trailhead

See all 4 Properties near Salt Creek Trailhead
The Ranch at Death Valley – Inside the Park $239
The Ranch at Death Valley – Inside the Park

The Ranch at Death Valley – Inside the Park

Highway 190, Death Valley, CA
     
    2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in a national park, this family-friendly resort is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Death Valley National Park and 4.6 mi (7.3 km) from Zabriskie Point.

    The Inn at Death Valley – Inside the Park $459
    The Inn at Death Valley – Inside the Park

    The Inn at Death Valley – Inside the Park

    Highway 190, Death Valley, CA
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated in a national park, this historic hotel is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Death Valley National Park and 1.4 mi (2.3 km) from Furnace Creek Visitor Center. Golden Canyon and Harmony Borax Works are also within 3 mi (5 km).

      Motel 6 Beatty - Death Valley
      Motel 6 Beatty - Death Valley

      Motel 6 Beatty - Death Valley

      550 US 95 NORTH,, Beatty, NV
         
        2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated in Beatty, this motel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Death Valley Nut and Candy Company, Beatty Museum and Historical Society, and Cottonwood Park. Beatty Community Center is 1.2 mi (1.9 km) away.