Scramble up an unassuming but very pretty peak to fantastic views of the surrounding area.
|Total Distance: 10.4 miles out & back||Elevation Gain: 3,139ft. (1,833ft. to 4,949ft.)|
|Difficulty: Extremely Strenuous||10+ Mile Difficulty: Very Strenuous|
|View Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars||Author’s Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0 stars|
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|Pets: No||Horses: Yes|
|Best Seasons: November-April||Special Permits: None|
|Water Availability: None||Overnight Options: Yes at least 2 miles from CA-127|
|Trailhead Amenities: None||Crowd Factor: Solitude|
|Trailhead Access: 0.6|
Mile-by-Mile: Brown Peak (East Approach)
0.0 Approximate Trailhead on CA-127 (1,833ft.). You should be able to park anywhere in this general area (don’t block traffic!) and then head pretty much due west toward Brown Peak (the highest of the mountains to the west). You can follow various streambeds or whatever works for you. As you approach the hills, small dryfalls may need to be negotiated or bypassed. You will eventually pass to the right (north) of a small hill about mile 2.8 (36.112941, -116.348696); continue up the wash and into the foothills. Stay in the main wash, as a sidewash goes off about mile 3.6 (36.110065, -116.362252) on the left. (36.114436°, -116.301402°)
4.3 Leave Wash on left (3,488ft.). Turn left out of the wash to scramble up the ridgeline between two major washes. Eventually, about the head of the wash, cross over the wash to the left to scramble up to a saddle below Brown Peak. (36.112908°, -116.373185°)
5.0 Saddle (4,490ft.). Turn right up the gully that will feed you up the hillside to the top of Brown Peak. (36.112555°, -116.383525°)
5.2 Top of Brown Peak (4,948ft.). The top of the peak is flat, but the benchmark (Evelyn) is located along the western side. Enjoy far-ranging views, including west across Greenwater Valley and the east side of the Black Mountains (even to Telescope Peak in the Panamint Range), Eagle Mountain and the Amargosa Desert to the northeast, and south across Greenwater Valley and the Greenwater Range to the Dublin Hills, Ibex Hills, and more.(36.115157°, -116.385679°)
History & More
There are two routes up Brown Peak – one from Deadman Pass Road (West Approach) and another from CA-127 (East Approach – the one described here). The West Approach is shorter and more interesting, but the East Approach is more accessible and therefore slightly more popular.
The route requires a significant amount of finding your own trail. Don’t attempt it unless you’re very used to hiking without a trail in the desert.
The map of the route is approximate – please use common sense and don’t follow the map or directions at the expense of your safety!
Brown Peak is named after Charles G. Brown, who first settled in the region in the nearby town of Brownsville. The town itself was planted by two early prospectors, William D. Brown and Robert D. Brown, brothers on their way to fame with their 1875 rich strike named Balance. Despite similar surnames, there seems to be no connection between the Brown Brothers and Charles G. Brown. In 1877, the town was renamed Tecopa after a local Pauite leader.
Charles G. Brown moved from Brownsville to Greenwater. After moving to Shoshone, he was elected sheriff. Politics did him much better than prospecting, and he served as a California state senator for 25 years. The peak was named in his honor, as was CA-127 (the Charles Brown Highway).
Download Route Map
The trailhead for the east approach to Brown Peak is not parked. Simply pull over to the side of CA-127 (don’t trample vegetation or block traffic) 16.8 miles south of Death Valley Junction (the Amargosa Opera House) or 10.4 miles north of the town of Shoshone (8.7 miles north of where the Jubilee Pass Road T’s into CA-127).
Camping is not permitted within 100 feet of a flowing stream, spring, or other natural body of open water.
No camping is permitted on the floor of Death Valley, within one mile of Darwin Falls and Greenwater Canyon, on the active/shifting sand dunes, and certain other canyons and backcountry areas.
Camping is also prohibited within one mile of the Ubehebe Lead Mine, Leadfield Mines, Keane Wonder Mill, and Skidoo Mill.
Camping is limited to 30 days per calendar year within the park.
Fires are permitted in NPS-provided fire grates or grills ONLY.
Leave No Trace Principles are enforced
Drones and model aircrafts are prohibited
Camping is permitted only in designated sites or in areas open to dispersed backcountry camping
All park rules and regulations
12 Month Pass: $55/Death Valley Annual Pass (valid at Death Valley National Park). $80/America the Beautiful Annual Pass (valid at all national park and federal fee areas). $20/Annual Senior Pass (62 years or older US citizens; valid at all national park and federal fee areas). Free/4th Grade Pass (Valid Sept. 1-August 31 of the child’s 4th Grade school year). Free/Military Pass (valid for all active military personel and their dependents with a CAC Card or DD Form 1173).
Lifetime Pass: $80/Lifetime Senior Pass (62 years or older US citizens; valid at all national park and federal fee areas). Free/Access Pass (available to all US citizens with perminent disabilities). Free/Access for Veterans and Gold Star Families Pass (valid for all military and veterans with a CAC card, Veteran HJealth Identification Card, Veteran ID Card, or veteran’s designation on state-issued drivers license or identification card.)