Hiking and Exploring in Death Valley National Park!
Experience the land of America’s greatest extremes at Death Valley National Park, where the tallest peaks in the country surround the lowest depths. Though home to the highest temperature in America on record in the summer, autumn transforms the valley into a balmy climate for our hiking adventures.
Our guides lead us through the unexpected diversity of this vast landscape, introducing us to such curious life forms as the highly specialized desert pupfish and tufted scrub brush of the Devil’s Cornfield. We cross salt pans that mark the remains of ancient lakebeds, play on enormous sand dunes, and navigate canyons through the cliffs that are still rising inexorably from the valley floor. Visit the lowest point in the contiguous United States at Badwater Basin, where we explore salt flats 282 feet below sea level. For a change in perspective, we climb to the incredible Dante’s View. Traverse a ridgeline that looks down from a towering 5,600 feet directly over Badwater and across to the 11,000-foot Telescope Peak.
After each day’s expeditions, we relax at our lodging at the oasis of Furnace Creek Ranch before tucking into a delicious dinner. A weekend hiking through this extraordinary land will widen our perspectives and revive our spirits.
SPECIAL Photo Exploration Departure—with photographer Jeff Davis. November 6-9, 2014. Download special photo itinerary.
Hiking and Exploring Death Valley National Park
- Hike through Golden Canyon’s narrows to the phenomenal Zabriskie Point
- Visit the lowest point in the U.S. at Badwater and explore the salt flats
- Journey up Mosaic Canyon, a multi-hued display of Death Valley’s rock layers
Duration: 4 days Start Location: Las Vegas, NV End Location: Las Vegas, NVDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Pick up in Las Vegas and transfer to Death Valley National Park
We set out from Las Vegas across the Mojave Desert, following the footsteps of the original ‘49ers. These settlers’ dreams of California gold often transmuted into occupations much less romantic, but far more profitable. When we descend into the vast majesty of Death Valley itself, we’ll explore Harmony Borax Works. These preserved remains of the largest borax mine in Death Valley hold testament to the hard work and tenacity of early pioneers. Afterward, we check into our comfortable lodging at Furnace Creek Ranch, an oasis amidst the valley’s parched sands.
Day 2 : Hike Golden Canyon and visit Badwater
Our morning hike begins just down the road from Furnace Creek in Golden Canyon. As the sun rises higher, the truly golden rock walls brighten around us. We top out with a gorgeous view of the valley from Zabriskie Point before descending for lunch. Later on, we arrive at Badwater itself, an enormous salt flat resting 282 feet below sea level. We venture out across the salt flats and marvel at the power of nature as we imagine the prehistoric lake that rested in this desert over 10,000 years ago. We detour on our drive back to see a rainbow of colors hidden in the foothills at Artist’s Palette before returning to Furnace Creek
Day 3 : Hike Mosaic Canyon and Salt Creek
Today we journey north from Furnace Creek to explore Mosaic Canyon. Here, a surprising array of colors and textures appear as we journey between the jagged rock walls. After we emerge from this unexpected gem, our guides introduce us to the Devil’s Cornfield, where we hike over the expansive salt flats to Salt Creek. This highly saline waterway manages to sustain life. Tiny desert pupfish thrive happily in an environment most animals would find toxic. Play on Mesquite Sand Dunes as the setting sun illuminates the valley to end the day.
Day 4 : Hike Dante's View and transfer to Las Vegas
After a last hearty breakfast at Furnace Creek Ranch, we expand our horizons even further atop Dante’s View. This massive peak in the Funeral Range looms high over Badwater, where we can pick out the tiny figures of others retracing our steps on the salt flats. Across Death Valley towers 11,000-foot Telescope Peak, backed by the distant hulk of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. These mountains are home to Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous U.S., less than 100 miles from Badwater. As we hike across the ridgeline from Dante’s View, we take in the grand beauty of the valley and wonder at the natural forces that have placed such extremes side by side.
DATES: Best time to go: February - March, November - December Departures: Nov 6 - 9, 2014 Special photography trip with Jeff Davis—Download Photo Itinerary Dec 4 - 7, 2014 Feb 6 - 9, 2015 Feb 20 - 23, 2015 Mar 6 - 9, 2015
$2,399 Special Photogapher departure (Nov 6-9)
Furnace Creek RanchDeath Valley, California
The Furnace Creek Resort is situated in a lush oasis surrounded by the vast and arid desert of Death Valley National Park, California – just 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada and 275 miles northeast of Los Angeles, California. This is one resort with two hotels – the historic, four-diamond, 66 room Inn at Furnace Creek and the more family-oriented, 224 room Ranch at Furnace Creek.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
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