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Titus Canyon Geology

Titus Canyon/Red Pass

GF2b. Location/Access:
(36o 49.733’N; 117o 01.953’W) Red Pass is an additional 2.7 miles from Volcanic Pass or a total distance of 12.2 miles from the pavement. The road from the last stop plunges down into the upper reaches of Titantothere Canyon and then climbs steeply up to the summit at Red Pass. It is downhill from here all the way to the main paved road (Scotty’s Castle Road) on the floor of Death Valley.

Best Time: Morning, all year.

Geology: At the bottom of the upper reaches of Titantothere Canyon which you passed just before the long ascent to Red Pass, a skull of a Titantothere was found. There is a cast of this skull in the Visitor Center museum at Furnace Creek. Once at the top of the pass there is a spectacular view to the north. The multi-colored rocks exposed here at the pass and in the walls of the valley below belong to the Oligocene Titus Canyon formation. They are composed mostly of conglomerate and sandstone. Looking towards the bottom of the canyon, the banded gray rocks on the left are mostly Cambrian limestones of the Bonanza King formation. The Bonanza King formation is one of the most easily recognizable rock units in southeastern California, especially when seen from a distance because of its distinctive banded nature. To the right and beyond are the volcanic rocks. You are looking down into the upper drainage of Titus Canyon. All of the water that falls as rain and snow in this broad topographic basin must drain through the narrows of Titus Canyon (hourglass) just before its exit.




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