Mosaic Canyon is easily accessible. The hike into the canyon is short (about 2.4 miles round trip) and easy. Therefore, do not expect solitude there. Despite the fact that there will probably be other hikers there, it is worth visiting this beautiful canyon.
Close Up of Breccia Wall
The canyon results from a fault in Tucki Mountain. Running water has worked its way into the fault, widening it and exposing marble and breccia walls. The marble walls are Noonday Dolomite, created when the limestone deposited on the ocean floor 900 million years ago was subjected to intense heat and pressure. The breccia walls, formed by fragments of various rock cemented together, give the canyon its name: Mosaic Canyon
Close up of Marble Wall
Shortly after entering the canyon, you will notice a metal handrail on the left side. Apparently it was once needed to safely hike up the canyon; as the canyon has changed and eroded the rail is no longer needed or even usable.
After a short walk, you come to some marble ramps that are easily scrambled up. There are several potholes that will have water in them after a rain. The next section of the canyon is narrow. You can walk along and run your hands along the marble walls, which feel quite silky.
There are a few sections that require more scrambling up marble. Be careful, because these sections can be slippery.
After a third of a mile the canyon opens up and you walk along a broad gravel bed. There are several erratic boulders in this section of the canyon, testimony to the power of the water that can move through the canyon. You will also see an example of an upthrust. If you look up at the canyon walls, you will notice many barrel cacti. There are are wild flowers growing along to the canyon walls, in the shade.
At about 9/10 of a mile, the way is blocked by a boulder pile. You can scramble around these boulders and continue up the canyon for another quarter of a mile until you reach a dry water fall, about 50 feet tall. This is normally the point at which most people turn around and retrace their steps.
The signed dirt road that leads to Mosaic Canyon is .10 mile south of Stovepipe Wells, on the left hand side of 190. There is a parking lot at the end of the rough road.
There is camping in Death Valley, including in Stovepipe Wells. Please see the main page for more information.
None. As far as precautions, the usual ones regarding water apply.