Ubehebe Crater is a massive crater created by a volcanic explosion in Death Valley. The crater is 500 feet deep, a half-mile across, and 1.75 miles around. You can do this hike and see the crater from all angles if you like. We walked all the way around the crater, which was pretty fun. Because the hike sticks to the rim of the crater all the way around, you never lose sight of the car. Of course, this means that you can also see the entire trail from the parking lot and decide if it is for you. It’s easy to simply view the crater from the parking lot, but you may enjoy walking the Ubehebe Crater Trail around the rim.
The major obstacle to this Ubehebe Crater Trail in Death Valley is the up-and-down. The hike starts out counter-clockwise from the parking lot, and it is a straight climb to the first peak. Luckily, you get a great view of the crater.
Then the trail goes right back down again. This all happens within the first half-mile. After a short break, the trail climbs to an even higher point. From that point, you can see a sign pointing to Little Hebe Crater off to the west. This crater is smaller, but still deep and steep. You can walk over to the Little Hebe Crater, but this adds an extra 1/2 mile, so we opted to view from the Ubehebe Crater Trail.
The trail continues on along the crater rim, and now, you are rewarded for that climb. For the next third of the hike, it is consistently downhill. The rocks soften, and gravity pulls you along toward your destination. We enjoyed seeing the Ubehebe Crater from every side.
Finally, on the last quarter way around the crater, the Ubehebe Crater trail climbs back to the car. This trail is very open and exposed, so it would be brutal in any type of heat. Luckily we were there in January when it was only 55 degrees, but it was still windy around the edge of the crater.
This hike isn’t for everybody. The 1.75 mile distance isn’t too bad, but the climbing can be a challenge. Ubehebe Crater in Death Valley does look different from the opposite side, but at one point our youngest turned and said, “Why are we doing this, again?” Still, we did enjoy the hike as a family. For other hikes that we tried in Death Valley, visit our Death Valley Family-friendly hikes post.