Wildrose Peak Panorama

As with next-door neighbor Telescope Peak, Death Valley's Wildrose Peak features striking juxtapositions of desert and alpine landscapes. Wildrose is in the Panamint Range, squeezed in between Death Valley, to the east, and Panamint Valley, to the west—both places so severe and austere they practically demand contemplation.

I absolutely find these desert peaks irresistible. They combine the grandeur of the mountains with the harsh and introspective beauty of the desert, blending scenic serendipity and topographical tension. Death Valley is so much more than just a giant blank spot on the California map. There is incredible history here, and incredible diversity.

Should you be one of those reading folks, I highly recommend William L. Manly's Death Valley in '49 as an introduction to the area. Manly's book captures both time and place (1849) as it describes the catastrophic consequences a Gold Rush wagon train's decision to take an untested southerly short cut to avoid the snow-bound Sierra.

As for Wildrose Peak, it's an easy one; starting from Charcoal Kilns, it's four miles and two thousand vertical feet up a maintained trail to Wildrose's 9064' summit. Though it makes for a longish loop, take Highway 190 to Olancha on your way back home. I think you'll find yourself planning a quick return to continue exploring this incredible part of California...

— October 21, 2014

Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents

Matt D October 26, 2014 at 5:22 pm

The Panamints are just amazing. You gonna try to ski there this winter (conditions permitting)?

Andy October 28, 2014 at 5:34 pm

I was absolutely driving around a bit looking for winter access points. Just add snow!!