Grapevine Mountains
(Corkscrew, Palmer, and Grapevine)

Revised May 2008 - please send updates to the webmaster

home See Driving Directions > Mojave Desert for context and how to get here.
info view GPS waypoints: simple Waypoint+ format, download GPX file, or overlay on interactive map.
See also Daryn's trip report for Grapevine and Palmer
See also Steve's trip report for Corkscrew

These three peaks are all in the Grapevine Mountains, but separated by Titus Canyon. That means hours of driving to get between the two trailheads covered in this file (a pullout near Corkscrew and Phinney Canyon for Grapevine and Palmer).

To get to either trailhead, take your favorite route to Death Valley, specifically Stovepipe Wells (waypoint STOVEP), then take Hwy 190 (which is also Hwy 178) northeast to the junction with the North Hwy (waypoint 178NHW, where 178/190 turns south to Badwater). Turn left (northwest) on North Hwy, then turn right (northeast) toward Daylight Pass (waypoint NHWDPR). Follow the Daylight Pass Road to CORKTH for Corkscrew, or go over the pass, through Beatty, and use the dirt road up Phinney Canyon (from waypoint PHINNY) for Palmer and Grapevine.

Overall map: (see detailed topo maps for Corkscrew, Grapevine, and Palmer below)

Corkscrew details: (see area map above, and Steve's trip report)

Corkscrew is an easy dayhike with interesting rock formations to look at. (Screwtop would be a more appropriate name.) Some of the DPS mileages seemed to be wrong for Corkscrew. Find Hell's Gate (a sign board at a junction, waypoint HELLSG) and go north to the first turnout on the west side of the pavement. It's next to a 20' bank, which you scramble up to start your climb.

Grapevine and Palmer details: (see area map above, and Daryn's trip report for Grapevine and Palmer)

Take Hwy 95 north from Beatty, and turn west on the dirt Phinney Canyon Road (waypoint PHINNY). The DPS Guide says it's 0.6 miles north of Milepost 71, but doesn't say there's another road with an identical gate very nearby. The CORRECT road crosses the highway, forming a 4-way intersection, but is unmarked. Use your GPS to be sure, since there are many roads not on the map (which are not mentioned in these and other directions).

Phinney Canyon Road has a barbed wire gate near the pavement which you must go through and close behind you. There is no sign indicating whether that's OK. The dirt road (suitable for passenger cars at this point) goes mostly west for about a mile, then turns southwest. Ignore all the instructions you've seen elsewhere about this fork and that fork - just drive in a straight line through intersections at waypoints PHIN02-08. You will encounter a sharp dogleg and cattle guard at the Death Valley boundary (waypoint PHINCG), 7 miles from Hwy 95.

Keep going straight until waypoint PHINRF, where you take a right fork about 12 miles from Hwy 95. Almost 16 miles from Hwy 95 the road gets rougher (waypoint PHINRR). High clearance is enough, without 4WD, but passenger cars will be challenged by ruts and rocks beyond here. There were several vague forks, where we stayed right to avoid leaving the Phinney Canyon drainage, before we dropped into the wash itself.

In March 2008 there was so much snow we had to stop (in a Jeep) almost a mile down-canyon from the 2WD trailhead. That means the waypoint for the 2WD trailhead at 6800' (waypoint PHIN2W) is approximate. If you have a solid GPS waypoint, please send it! (Yes, we used snowshoes to walk up the road - the narrow portions of the canyon had 3-4 feet of snow - and yes, we got both peaks.)

Those with 4WD and high clearance can drive just under a mile and about 700' higher to the saddle at 7500' (waypoint PHIN4W). I can't comment on how bad the road gets because I didn't see any of it under all that snow.

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