If you and your pooch have ever wanted to walk through the Valley of Death, you should really consider checking out the Nadeau Trail! Well, it’s not Death Valley, exactly -- the trail runs through Panamint Valley, and while the northern end of the valley is in Death Valley National Park, most of the trail is in the Argus Range Wilderness Area in Inyo County, CA. Still, the trail makes a grrreat backpacking trip for pups and people interested in the history and desert landscape of this part of California. You’ll find a trailhead with parking on Panamint Valley Road. Dispersed camping is allowed along the route.
The Nadeau Trail is definitely something different to your average hiking route. The trail runs for twenty-eight miles through barren, desert landscape, passing relics of the past along the route. You and your buddy can expect to walk past ruins, old mines, ghost towns and even prehistoric sites. The trail itself is named after Remi Nadeau, a nineteenth-century entrepreneur who used the route to carry silver-lead bullion from mines in the area to Los Angeles and other urban centers in the region. Hound-dog history buffs may be glad to know that several trails branching off the main route lead to further sites of historical interest, while athletic animals might enjoy the paths that head off into the Argus Range Wilderness proper. As a bonus, pups can explore the trail off-leash!
In terms of safety and accessibility, please keep in mind that this is a desert hike. Bring plenty of water, and don’t attempt the path in high temperatures! The path is suitable for off-road vehicles, and it might be better to hire one and explore from the driver's seat if you’re unsure of the conditions. The area is also prone to flash flooding, so keep an eye on the forecast. Snakes can also be a concern, and restrooms are limited. But if you and your pooch are careful and willing to "ruff" it, hiking the Nadeau trail will be a trip that you and your pooch won’t soon forget!