Last updated: December 5, 2023
This is an extremely rewarding trail, offering both the variety of McKittrick Canyon and the grandeur of the high ridges that surround it. The floor of McKittrick Canyon provides a panoramic experience through the unique environments of the canyon; to protect this special habitat, visitors are asked to stay on the trail and stay ouf of the water.
If you'd like to visit this beautiful ridge without quite the workout, begin instead at Dog Canyon. The trail ascends up to the area of Lost Peak where you pass through many grassy areas that define the northern portion of the park. The trail gradually ascends from the McKittrick Canyon junction to a high point of 7,916 feet before descending along the ridge above South McKittrick Canyon where views are spectacular into the canyon and ridges that border it.
Overnight backpacking is recommended at the McKittrick Ridge Wilderness Campground.
Distance: 15.2 miles (24.5 km) round-trip, out and back starting from the McKittrick Canyon Trailhead. 14.8 miles (23.8 km) round-trip, out and back starting from the Dog Canyon Trailhead.
For more detailed information on trails, check our trail descriptions page.
Elevation Change: 2,700 feet from McKittrick Canyon Trailhead. 1,900 feet from the Dog Canyon Trailhead.
Time Estimate: 4-6 hours to reach the campsites
Duration: Minimum of one day, but two days and one night recommended.
Trailheads: McKittrick Canyon or Dog Canyon Trailheads. The drive between the two trailheads is two hours. No shuttle service runs between the two trailheads.
Trail surfaces are loose rock or hardened rock surfaces. Hiking or trekking poles are highly recommended. Trail widths vary from two to six feet depending on the trail.
All trailhead areas have accessible parking available.
Only service animals that have been individually trained to perform specific tasks for the benefit of persons with disabilities are allowed in the park and on trails.