Telescope Peak

Climate Recreation Hydrology

Telescope Peak, located in the Intermountain West mountain range, is a prominent summit in Death Valley National Park, California. Standing at an elevation of 11,049 feet (3,368 meters), it offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding desert and Sierra Nevada mountains. With an impressive rise of over 11,000 feet from the nearby Badwater Basin, Telescope Peak is recognized as the highest point in Death Valley and the entire Panamint Range.

During the winter season, Telescope Peak experiences significant snow accumulation, transforming it into a winter wonderland. The snowpack range can vary depending on the year, but it often exceeds several feet, offering ample opportunities for winter sports such as snowshoeing and skiing. The snowpack typically lasts well into spring, gradually melting and providing important water resources for the surrounding area.

Telescope Peak contributes to the hydrological system of the region as several creeks and rivers receive runoff from its slopes. The most notable is the Furnace Creek, which originates near the mountain and flows through the heart of Death Valley, helping to sustain the unique desert ecosystem that thrives in this extreme environment.

The name "Telescope Peak" is believed to have been given by James L. Cogswell, a member of the Whitney Survey team who surveyed the area in the 1860s. It is said that the name was inspired by the clear and far-reaching views from the summit, likening it to looking through a telescope. In local lore, there are tales of Native American tribes considering the mountain sacred and using it as a place of spiritual significance.

1. Death Valley National Park, "Telescope Peak." Accessed from
2. SummitPost, "Telescope Peak." Accessed from

June 22, 2024







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