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Hiking Death Valley National Park and the Valley of Fire

Program Number: 7608RJ
Start and End Dates:
1/28/2013 - 2/2/2013; 2/28/2016 - 3/5/2016; 3/6/2016 - 3/12/2016; 10/23/2016 - 10/29/2016; 11/6/2016 - 11/12/2016; 11/13/2016 - 11/19/2016; 12/4/2016 - 12/10/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Price starting at: $998.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking; National Parks; Natural History Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 12; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 3 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Tread the sands of time to discover Mother Nature's diverse palette of colorful rock formations in this stunning corner of the desert Southwest. Study geology, ecology and human history through lectures, daily walks and hikes with geologists and other experts in their fields. Travel in our own comfortable Road Scholar 32-passenger bus with an upgraded video/audio system allowing our instructors to teach 'while on the go.'


• Learn why the sun-lit rocks inspired the park's name 'Valley of Fire', as you view fascinating petroglyphs.
• Find a world of sand dunes, rugged canyons and landscapes carved from primeval rock in Death Valley.
• Hikes include visits to Badwater, White Dome, Mouse Tank, Golden Canyon, Gower Gulch and more.

Activity Particulars

Varies by date. Jan 31, 2016, Feb. 21, 2016, Nov. 6, 2016: Active - Hiking up to two miles over varied terrain. All other dates Moderately Challenging - Hiking up to five miles.

Date Specific Information

2-28-2016, 3-6-2016, 10-23-2016, 11-13-2016, 12-4-2016

Hiking up to five miles daily over uneven terrain.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.


Hiking up to two miles daily over varied terrain.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Las Vegas, 2 nights; coach to Death Valley, Furnace Creek, 4 nights; coach to Las Vegas, departure.

Coordinated by Dixie State University.

Valley of Fire State Park

The oldest state park in Nevada was established in 1935 and is named for its huge red sandstone formations dating to the age of the dinosaurs. The park is home to fine examples of rock art left by ancient Anazasi people who inhabited the nearby Moapa Valley for centuries and may have visited the Valley of Fire for hunting and religious ceremonies.

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley, a place of unexpected contrasts, is also one of subtle beauty. From the blush of dawn's light across its badlands to the awe-inspiring red-gold sunsets and the riot of color from spring wildflowers, this great national park covering over 3.3 million miles offers fascinating history and nature's splendor in large servings.

Las Vegas (Nevada)

Located in the Mojave Desert, Las Vegas is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Between the world-class entertainment and gambling on “The Strip” and the region’s amazing natural resources including beautiful Red Rock Canyon it is clear why people love this desert community.

Las Vegas: Non-casino hotel, close to strip. Death Valley NP: Furnace Creek Ranch Resort, located inside the park with recently remodeled rooms, in a western themed ranch setting.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Darrell McMahon

Darrell McMahon has worked in natural resource management for more than three decades and has extensive experience as a wildlife biologist, entomologist and habitat biologist. In addition to teaching college courses in geology and natural history, Darrell has taught at Dixie State University and Southern Utah University the past seven years and has knowledge of natural history, forest ecology and wildlife.
Paula McMahon

Paula McMahon has spent a lifetime camping, hiking, backpacking and canoeing in the mountains and deserts of the American West. She feels honored to share her love and passion for these special places with participants on Road Scholar programs, which she has been doing for almost a decade. Paula has also worked for 18 years as an educational paraprofessional with autistic and deaf children and is a sign language (ASL) interpreter.
Meals and Lodgings
   Alexis Park Resort
  Las Vegas, NV 2 nights
   Furnace Creek Ranch
  Death Valley National Park 3 nights
 Alexis Park Resort
Type: Hotel
  Description: Welcome to the Alexis Park All Suite Resort, one of the most exciting resorts in Las Vegas. The Alexis Park All Suite Resort is the premiere all-suite, non-gaming resort in Las Vegas. Unrivaled in its Las Vegas Strip proximity (directly across the street from the Hard Rock Hotel) the Alexis Park All Suite Resort features all the hotel amenities along with casual boutique hotel services. From the moment you arrive at this oasis in the sun, you will experience all that makes Alexis Park All Suite Resort a special place to stay. Here, you’ll love strolling through the lush courtyard gardens surrounded by winding pathways that lead you to three sparkling pools. The Alexis Park All Suite Resort offers one-on-one personalized service, the privacy and convenience of a tropical oasis with immediate easy access to all that Las Vegas has to offer.
  Contact info: 375 East Harmon Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89169 USA
phone: 702-796-3300
  Room amenities: The Alexis Park All Suite Resort was the first non-gaming resort property in Las Vegas. With a long history of boutique experiences and guests, the hotel has been providing quality hotel service and hosting events in Las Vegas for several decades. Guests may stroll beautifully landscaped gardens to access a variety of relaxing and stylish choices in accommodations. Boasting 10 uniquely different floor plans and guest amenities to suit a variety of hotel stays, our guests can count on a comfortable and memorable Alexis Park Hotel experience. All of our Las Vegas hotel rooms are two room suites providing guests with spacious accommodations and privacy along with amenities for both Extended Stays and Last minute Getaways alike. All Hotel Suites at the Alexis Park Las Vegas include: Two Telephone Lines Wet Bar Refrigerator 32" Flat Screen with Pay Per View Movies WIFI Availability for a fee Exercise Room Laundry and Dry Cleaning Service Available All Guests of Alexis Park have access to Room Service, Guest Services, Free Safe Deposit Boxes and Business Center Services
  Facility amenities: The Alexis Park All Suite Las Vegas Resort is your oasis in the sun. Here, you'll enjoy walking along the lush courtyard garden pathways that lead you to our three sparkling pools. The Alexis Park All Suite Resort offers one-on-one personalized service, tropical landscaped grounds and FUN....LOTS OF IT. Resort Amenities include: Three Sparkling Swimming Pools Exercise Room Alexis Gardens Restaurant Pegasus Bar & Lounge Room Service Meeting & Banquet Service Las Vegas Comedy Showroom Free Airport Shuttle
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: $90.00 for dbl, $65 for single Based on availability, participants can book 3 days prior to program start date and/or 3 days after program end date at contracted suite price of $90 per night double occupancy or $65 per night single occupancy.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Furnace Creek Ranch
Type: Inn
  Description: The Furnace Creek Ranch is family oriented 224 room facility 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 resort presents a complete contrast to the desolate desert landscape and consists of an oasis 18-hole golf course (the world's lowest course at 214 feet below sea level), four restaurants, a saloon, a cocktail lounge, retail outlets, a Borax Museum, spring-fed swimming pools, tennis courts, horseback riding, horse-drawn carriage rides, massage therapy, a 3,000 foot airstrip, a service station and conference and banquet facilities for 10 - 120. (Some services are available only on a seasonal basis.) Furnace Creek Ranch Resort is the perfect vantage point from which to explore Death Valley National Park!
  Contact info: Furnace Creek Village Rte 190
Furnace Creek, CA 92328 USA
phone: 760-786-2361
  Room amenities: Rooms have views of the beautiful surroundings, nicely decorated. Wireless internet access available for a fee.
  Facility amenities: On site restaurants, adjacent to the Death Valley National Park Visitor Center and Borax Museum. Warm springs fed swimming pool and wireless internet access available for a fee.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Check out time: 3:00 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel conference room at 4:00 pm. You will be staying at Alexis Park Resort that night.
  End of Program:
Las Vegas Intl Airport at 11:00 am (Pacific Time) You will be staying at Furnace Creek Ranch the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Free parking for the week is provided at Las Vegas hotel.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Las Vegas, NV
  Nearest city or town:  In Las Vegas
  Nearest highway: I-15
  Nearest airport:  McCarran Intl, Las Vegas
  From End of Program
  Location: Las Vegas, NV
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Las Vegas


From Airport




Hotel Shuttle
Alexis Park Resort Shuttle
phone: 702-796-3300


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


5 minutes 




2.5 miles


The Alexis Park Hotel Shuttle departs every hour on the hour from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm. Please call hotel when you arrive in baggage claim. Shuttle picks up at Zero Level. (See attached schedule for changes) Before or after hours take Belltrans Shuttle which runs 24 hours per day. They are located outside door 9 of the baggage claim area. Look for the "Bell Booth". (Cost is $7.00 subject to change)


Las Vegas, NV


To Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
DSC Road Scholar Bus


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Our tour bus will deliver you to the airport or arrival hotel on the final day.

Driving Directions
  The Alexis Park All Suite Resort is easy to find: From Southern California - Take Interstate 15 from the California State border into Las Vegas and exit onto E. Tropicana, turn left on Koval and right onto E. Harmon Avenue. The Alexis Park All Suite Resort will be on the right side. From Southern Utah (St. George) - Take Interstate 15 South into Las Vegas and exit onto E. Flamingo Road, turn right on Koval and proceed to E. Harmon Avenue. Turn left onto E. Harmon Avenue and the Alexis Park All Suite Resort will be on the right side. From Northern Nevada (Tonapah) - Take Highway 95 South into Las Vegas and proceed to Interstate 15 South to Exit 39 on E. Flamingo Road. Right onto Koval and proceed to E. Harmon Avenue, turn left onto E. Harmon Avenue and the Alexis Park All Suite Resort will be on the right side. From Northern Arizona (Kingman via Boulder City, NV) - Take Highway 93 North through Boulder City, NV and into Las Vegas. Take Highway 215 West to Highway 15 North. Exit E. Tropicana and turn left onto Koval and proceed to E. Harmon Avenue. Turn right on E. Harmon Avenue and Alexis Park All Suite Resort will be on right side. From Las Vegas Airport - Exit Airport traveling north on Paradise Road. Travel one mile on Paradise and turn left on E. Harmon Avenue Alexis Park All Suite Resort will be on left side.
Elevation Note: We travel from 2200 ft in Las Vegas to over 5500 ft. We walk/hike to see the natural beauty.

Equipment Requirements: There is not any special equipment required for this program but we suggest broken-in walking shoes/hiking boots with good tread.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrive, check in, welcome and orientation
(Monday, January 28)
 Afternoon: 3:00-4:00 Arrive and check-in
 Dinner: Dinner
 Evening: Welcome, introductions and orientation. Followed by an introduction to Geology in the hotel meeting room.
Accommodations: Alexis Park Resort
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Travel to the Valley of Fire for hiking among colorful rocks and unique formations.
(Tuesday, January 29)
 Breakfast: Breakfast.
 Morning: Travel with your geologist to the Valley of Fire. Explore the unique formations and view fascinating petroglyphs!
 Lunch: Lunch
 Afternoon: Enjoy the brilliant landscape with the geologist on short hikes/walks to include White Domes, Mouse Tank and Rainbow Vista.
 Dinner: Dinner.
 Evening: 7:00 pm - Desert Ecology Class - "From Seeds to Kidneys".
Accommodations: Alexis Park Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Death Valley National Park/Hike Badwater, Golden Canyon & Gower Gulch Loop
(Wednesday, January 30)
 Breakfast: Breakfast.
 Morning: Check out 8:00 am - Depart and travel to Death Valley National Park. Hike Badwater, then travel to Mormon Point to see Shoreline Butte and Split Cindercone.
 Lunch: Box Lunch.
 Afternoon: After lunch explore Sidewinder Canyon, a unique slot canyon in the Black Mountains of Death Valley. 3:30 pm - Presentation, "Bird Brains to UFOs" by Darrell McMahon. Then travel to Zabriskie Point to view a spectacular sunset.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
 Evening: Free Time
Accommodations: Furnace Creek Ranch
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Scotty's Castle & Borax Museum
(Thursday, January 31)
 Breakfast: Breakfast.
 Morning: 8:10 am - Depart and travel to Scotty's Castle. Enjoy a living history tour of this fascinating land mark! After tour hike Ubehebe Crater and Mosaic Canyon.
 Lunch: Box Lunch at Stovepipe Wells.
 Afternoon: After lunch enjoy a short hike on an Alluvial fan. Learn about the fascinating human history, 20 mule teams, Borax Works and Borax Museum. Hike through the palm grove to visitor center. 4:00 pm - Presentation by Darrell McMahon, "Let's Get Wild".
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
 Evening: Free Time
Accommodations: Furnace Creek Ranch
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Stovepipe Wells & Grotto Canyon.
(Friday, February 1)
 Breakfast: Breakfast.
 Morning: 8:00 am - Depart for exploration of Death Valley's Natural Bridge and learn about the ecology of desert plants and animals.
 Lunch: Box Lunch
 Afternoon: Enjoy exploring Willow Canyon, our best chance to see Big Horn Sheep.
 Dinner: Closing Dinner at Wrangler's Steakhouse. Wrangler's Steakhouse provides table-service and a western steakhouse menu, consisting of chicken, seafood and a variety of specialty steaks. Full cocktail service, espresso service and a selection of California varietal wines are also offered.
 Evening: Free Time
Accommodations: Furnace Creek Ranch
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Depart for Las Vegas.
(Saturday, February 2)
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: 8:00 am Depart for Las Vegas, arriving at Las Vegas Airport at 11:30 am.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Las Vegas, NV
**PLEASE NOTE: There is very little free time during this program. The free time options found on this website are helpful if you plan to spend additional time before or after the program. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Trip Through Death Valley's Geologic Past

Author: Kenneth E. Lengner

Description: This is a chronological trip through the geological history of the Death Valley region. It departs from the typical geological history by anchoring the text to a series of rock samples, dating from an estimated 2.5 billion years old to the present. Numerous photographs of rock samples and historical photos are used to delve into the past. An enlightening and entertaining trip through Death Valley's geological past for geology enthusiasts.

An Introduction to the Geology of Death Valley

Author: Michael Collier

Description: Captures the drama of the processes that are constantly changing Death Valley's landscape. Michael Collier creatively weaves an account of Death Valley's one-hundred-and-fifty-year mining history into the one-and-a-half-billion-year geologic history of the valley. Through his writing and his perceptive observations of a slowly evolving landscape, there emerges a fresh perspective on Death Valley.

Death Valley A Scenic Wonderland

Author: Steven L. Walker, Dorothy K. Hilburn

Description: A brief history of early inhabitants, fourty-niners, geography, geology, flora, fauna, miners, Scotty's Castle and the National Park. Beautiful photographs highlight the geological, geographical and historical history of Death Valley.

Death Valley: Images of America

Author: Robert P. Palazzo

Description: Robert P. Palazzo, Death Valley scholar, evokes here in vintage imagery a stark, barren, desolate wasteland that gradually became one of the West's most iconic destinations. This book includes an extensive collection of rare photographs that shows Death Valley's geological features, notable personalities, industries, mysteries and tourism. This book is a rare visual record of Death Valley.

Deserts, National Audubon Society Nature Guide

Author: James A. MacMahon

Description: A comprehensive field guide, fully illustrated with color photographs, to the wildflowers, birds, reptiles, insects and other natural wonders of North America's deserts.

Mojave Desert Wildflowers

Author: Jon Mark Stewart

Description: Field guide to 80 of the most common flowers of the Chihuahuan, Mojave and Sonoran deserts.

Wildflowers of the Desert Southwest

Author: Meg Quinn

Description: A field guide to common desert wildflowers. $9.95

The Practical Geologist

Author: Dougal Dixon, Raymond Bernor

Description: This book is a great introductory guide to the basics of geology. Great diagrams, pictures and is well written. $16.00

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