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Motorcyclist rescued after following map app on closed Titus Canyon Road

Motorcyclist rescued after driving on closed Titus Canyon Road

Followed incorrect information on map app 

titus canyon road
The motorcyclists came through the east entrance to Titus Canyon Road. NPS photo

DEATH VALLEY, Calif. – Two men were rescued by helicopter after they illegally drove on a closed road in Death Valley National Park. The National Park Service (NPS) closed Titus Canyon Road temporarily due to hazardous conditions caused by flood damage.

On the afternoon of November 18, two men from California allegedly bypassed a locked gate, concrete barriers, and closure signs to drive motorcycles on Titus Canyon Road. They stated that they were following a map app that showed the road as open, so they bypassed the closure signs.

Many roads in the park have not been repaired yet after the remnants of Hurricane Hilary damaged them. Damaged roads are temporarily closed to due to safety and resource management concerns. The closures are listed at and marked with signs.

titus canyon road
A NPS employee walking through an eroded section of Titus Canyon Road. NPS photo

One of the men crashed his motorcycle. He broke his collarbone and had other non-life-threatening injuries. The men called 911 via a satellite phone just before sunset.

Park rangers were not able to reach the injured man in a timely manner due to the road conditions, so they called for helicopter assistance. The US Navy’s VX-31 helicopter responded from Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. They transported the injured man and his companion to Ridgecrest Regional Hospital.

Charges are pending.

Titus Canyon is one of the park’s most popular backcountry drives. When open, the 27-mile high-clearance road provides access to Leadfield ghost town, petroglyphs at Klare Spring, and spectacular canyon narrows.  

Death Valley National Park is the homeland of the Timbisha Shoshone and preserves natural resources, cultural resources, exceptional wilderness, scenery, and learning experiences within the nation’s largest conserved desert landscape and some of the most extreme climate and topographic conditions on the planet. Learn more at  

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