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DURATION: 6 days / 5 nights
LEVEL: Easy / Moderate
TERRAIN: Flat / Steep
Explore the diverse sights in Death Valley National Park as you travel in the company of your on-tour expert. In addition to visiting the beautiful canyons, panoramic vistas and more within the park, you’ll learn about the dramatic geology and remarkably hardy flora and fauna. One very unique species is the pupfish which are endemic to the area and a few subspecies live in Death Valley as well as neighboring Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Beyond each day’s exploration of the park we will get out in the evenings to gaze as some of the darkest skies in the country allowing for top-notch stargazing. Our Death Valley National Park Tour is simply unforgettable! Come walk and hike with us.
Day 1 — Las Vegas
Arrive in time for a welcome orientation this evening before a group dinner together to get you ready for the adventure ahead. Meals included: Dinner
Day 2 — Death Valley National Park: Badwater Basin & Harmony Borax Works
We head across the border to California this morning and the entrance of Death Valley National Park. Enjoy a short walk at Badwater Basin, a saltwater flat at 282 feet below sea level, making it the lowest place in North America and the 8th lowest spot on Earth. You will be surrounded by the Panamint Range rising above 11,000 feet. After quick stop at the visitor center to orient you to the many sides of the park we will enjoy time at Harmony Borax Works to learn about the important mining industry that put this region on the map. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 3 — Dante’s View, Salt Creek & Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
One of the highlights of Death Valley is Dante’s View, providing panoramic views of the park including Telescope Peak the highest point in the park. While at the lookout point, take in the work of millions of years of constant erosion that led to the formation of the park’s famed alluvial fans. After an afternoon siesta we continue our exploration at Salt Creek to learn about pupfish, which are endemic to Death Valley and have adapted to survive in the park’s harsh environment. Before dinner take a stroll through the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes which can reach heights of 100 feet. This evening see firsthand why Death Valley is recognized as a Dark Sky Park with an opportunity to do some stargazing. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 4 —Titus Canyon & Ubehebe Crater
We continue our geological exploration of the park with a visit to Titus Canyon including a short hike to marvel at the rock stratifications formed over millions of years. The canyon also offers the opportunity to see the elusive chuckwalla, a lizard that has the unique defense mechanism of inflating itself in the cracks of rocks, so predators cannot pull them out. After a picnic lunch, explore the 500-foot-deep Ubehebe Crater, formed by a massive volcanic explosion, with a walk along the rim. As we make our way back to our hotel we will keep a look out for any possible seasonal wildflower displays. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 5 — Sunrise at Zabriskie Point / Golden Canyon
Watching the sunlight slowly illuminate the mountains from Zabriskie Point at sunrise is a real treat. After breakfast back at the hotel, we venture out for another short hike through the multi-hued walls of Golden Canyon and along the slopes of the Gower Gulch for views of the badlands region of the park. In preparation for our trip to Ash Meadows National Wildlife, your on-tour expert will do a short presentation this afternoon on the desert pupfish of the region. Enjoy one last sunset right from your room before a farewell dinner. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 6 — Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge / Return to Las Vegas / Home
After breakfast we head out of the park as the morning light begins to hit the bottom of the valley on our way to Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. We will visit the visitor center to learn a bit more about this unique refuge for the pupfish and many other species in the middle of the desert. Before returning to Vegas we will make a stop at the small sub-unit of Death Valley National Park located in Ash Meadows, Devil’s Hole. This unit is home to a species of pupfish that was threatened with extinction by groundwater pumping for farming and a proposed housing development that was halted by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to protect the world’s rarest fish. Take an evening flight or extend your stay in Vegas and the surrounding area including Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire State Park. Meals include: Breakfast & Lunch
DoubleTree Las Vegas or lodging nearby - 1 night
Located just a few minutes from the Las Vegas airport the DoubleTree features a free shuttle (and a free cookie) when you arrive. If you want to explore the strip before the trip begins simply hop on the free shuttle from the hotel to the Tropicana Hotel on the strip. If you prefer, take advantage of the outdoor pool or the PreCOR fitness center.
Stovepipe Wells or lodging nearby - 2 nights
Providing easy access to the western part of Death Valley National Park,this Old West-style hotel dates back to 1926. Comfortable rooms feature Western design touches including Native American Bedspreads and steel miners' buckets with modern conveniences.
The Ranch at Death Valley or lodging nearby - 2 nights
Right in the heart of Death Valley, the Ranch offers accommodations in a casual, open-ranch-like setting. You'll enjoy clean rooms with triple-sheeting, a spring-fed swimming pool, sports courts, large grass lawns and more. After a day of activities enjoy the spring-fed pool or take an evening stroll through the palm gardens. Right from the patio you can take in a gorgeous sunset or do some stargazing.
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