Thimble Peak, located in Death Valley NP, is a very nice desert peak. It's got high returns, in the way of views and a pleasant hike, for minimal effort, and after hiking the peak you can take a very fun and scenic drive down the Titus Canyon Road. Thimble Peak is part of the Grapevine Range and is sometimes overshadowed by its more famous neighbor, Corkscrew Peak. I'm not sure why this peak has not been added to the DPS Desert Peak list, but it sure seems like a major oversight.
The hike starts along the Titus Canyon Road at Red Pass. It goes at only around 5-6 miles round trip, making for an easy half-day outing. Thimble has some impressive limestone cliffs towering above Titanother Canyon, that can be viewed along the hike to its summit. The summit itself is somewhat tiny for a desert peak, and the views from the top are breathtaking. Death Valley itself and the Death Valley dunes can be viewed from the top.
Don't skip over this peak if you're in the area!
From Death Valley NP, follow the Daylight Pass Road up and over Daylight Pass towards Beatty, NV. Seven miles east of the pass, and well before Beatty, turn left on Titus Canyon Road. There should be a sign indicating where to turn. Then follow the Titus Canyon Road 12 miles to Red Pass and park. You can't miss the pass - as the name implies, it's very red! The parking is kinda tight at the pass so hopefully a huge Sierra Club party doesn't get there before you, as happened to me.
The Titus Canyon Road is a one-way dirt road with somewhat steep grades. 4-wheel drive with high clearance is recommended, but 2-wheel drive with decent clearance should be able to make it. Since it's a one way road, you're committed to follow it all the way down after climbing the peak. This will drop you back down into Death Valley close to the Daylight Pass Road.
You may want to check with the Death Valley Info Center, to make sure the road is not washed out before starting out.
Red Pass is very, ummmmmm ... red!
There is a $20 dollar entry fee for Death Valley NP. The fee is an honor-based system
Camping is available at Furnace Creek and other various sites within the park. I've heard of people doing this as an overnighter and combining it with Corkscrew Peak.
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When to Climb
November through April is best. But May, Sep and Oct can be good as well. Summer tends to be very hot and is probably not the best time to do this peak.
Titus Canyon Road
Titus Canyon Road is a fun bonus after climbing this peak. It's a pleasant and scenic drive most of the way. Towards the bottom, it turns into a very narrow slot canyon - well, narrow for a car anyhow. As you drive through this twisty part, you'll have tall canyon walls towering above both sides of your vehicle. Leadville, a small ghost town, can also be visited along the road.
MoapaPk - Mar 30, 2008 2:39 pm - Voted 10/10Faster route
Consider going directly up the ridge, as shown in this map and in this photo. It isn't necessary to take the round-about way suggested in Zdon's book and older DPS TRs. In fact, the current, very clear herd path goes directly up the ridge. I saw NO herd path for the supposed way around the backside.
gimpilator - Jan 8, 2015 1:47 pm - Hasn't votedRe: Faster route
I second this advice. The path on the northeast ridge is easy to follow and there only one or two moves of class 3 scrambling without much exposure. It would be a waste of time to go all the way around and not any easier. Furthermore, 5 to 6 miles round-trip is not correct for this new standard route. It's more like 3.5.