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Hiking Death Valley National Park and the Valley of Fire

Program Number: 7608RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/27/2014 - 11/1/2014; 11/17/2014 - 11/22/2014; 1/12/2015 - 1/18/2015; 1/24/2015 - 1/30/2015; 2/2/2015 - 2/8/2015; 2/23/2015 - 3/1/2015; 3/1/2015 - 3/7/2015; 3/7/2015 - 3/13/2015; 10/26/2015 - 11/1/2015; 11/9/2015 - 11/15/2015; 11/15/2015 - 11/21/2015;
Duration: 6 nights
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Price starting at: $1,397.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking; National Parks Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 17; 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 6 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Tread the sands of time to discover Mother Nature’s diverse palette of colorful rock formations in this stunning corner of the desert Southwest. Among layers that span every major geologic era, find history hidden in the rocks. 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."




Highlights

• 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, Mesquite Dunes, Grotto Canyon, Mosaic Canyon, Ubehebe Crater, Willow Canyon and Zabriskie Point.



Activity Particulars

Hiking up to five miles daily over uneven terrain. Shorter, slower paced hikes on "active" weeks.




Date Specific Information

10-27-2014, 11-17-2014

2014 departures are 5-nights duration, with 3-nights inside the park
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



1-12-2015, 1-24-2015, 2-23-2015, 3-1-2015, 10-26-2015

2015 departures are 6-nights duration, with 4-nights inside the park.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



2-2-2015, 3-7-2015, 11-9-2015

2015 departures are 6-nights duration, with 4-nights inside the park. We will offer shorter hikes and a more leisurely pace on this departure which is in the "active" activity level category.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



11-15-2015

2015 departures are 6-nights duratuion, with 4-nights inside the park.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Las Vegas, 2 nights; coach to Death Valley, Furnace Creek, 3 nights (4-nights in 2015); 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.



Accommodations
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.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   La Quinta Las Vegas Airport North Convention Center
  Las Vegas, NV 2 nights
   Furnace Creek Ranch
  Death Valley National Park 4 nights
 La Quinta Las Vegas Airport North Convention Center
Type: Hotel
  Description: The first wonderful feature the hotel offers is a Free Airport Shuttle. To use the Shuttle from airport call the hotel at (702) 796-9000 (24 hours a day) and they will pick you up. They also provide a convenient Shuttle on-call service for hotel guests within Las Vegas to a variety of prearranged locations. This allows you the opportunity to explore the area by means of the convenient hotel transportation! This beautiful hotel is located near the airport and is in the hub of Las Vegas' activities. Close to the Strip, MGM Mirage, Cirque du Soleil Theater, nearby shopping centers and malls, 60 area golf courses. Nearby are the Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood, the Luxor, Sam Boyd Stadium and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Shopping nearby includes the Boulevard Mall, the Fashion Show Mall, the Belez Mall and the Bridge Meadows Mall. Nearby restaurants include Lawry's The Prime Rib, PF Chang's Chinese Bistro, Gordon Biersch Brewery and Restaurant, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, Morton's of Chicago, McCormick and Schmidt, Buca di Beppo. Best of all, courteous staff is here to ensure your pleasant stay!
  Contact info: 3970 Paradise Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89109 USA
phone: 702-796-9000
web: laquintalasvegasairportnorth.com/
  Room amenities: Each spacious room provides free local calls, dataport phones, premium cable channels, coffee maker, hair dryer, iron/board, voicemail, alarm clock radio.
  Facility amenities: The hotel has a beautiful Spanish mission style exterior with spacious rooms, outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, it has nearby golf / jogging trail, airport shuttle, complimentary breakfast includes fresh waffles, fresh fruits, pastries, bagels, cereals, muffins, juices, milk, and coffee.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior:  Check with hotel for rates before and after your program.
  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
web: www.furnacecreekresort.com
  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:
Meet in Hotel Lobby between 3:00 to 5:00 pm You will be staying at La Quinta Las Vegas Airport North Convention Center 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 Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Free parking for the week is provided at Las Vegas hotel.
Transportation
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
 

To La Quinta Inn & Suites - Airport North Convention Center

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
La Quinta Inn & Suites - Airport North Convention Center
phone: 702-796-9000

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Complementary
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

5 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

2 miles

   

Upon arrival call the hotel and let them know which terminal you are calling from. For Terminal 1 meet the shuttle on Zero level. For Terminal 3 meet the shuttle at Door 53. Shuttle runs 24 hours a day - 7 days per week.

 

Las Vegas, NV

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Dixie State University Road Scholar Bus

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Free
Prices are subject to change.

   

Our Dixie State Road Scholar Bus will deliver you to the airport or arrival hotel on the final day.

 
Driving Directions
  Interstate 15 to LaQuinta Airport North Take Tropicana Exit heading East. Turn left on Paradise Road. Stay on Paradise Road past Harmon Avenue and past Flamingo Road. You'll see the hotel on your left.
Elevation Note: We travel from 2200 ft in Las Vegas to over 5500 ft. We walk/hike to see the natural beauty.

Equipment Requirements: No special equipment is required for this program but we suggest broken-in walking shoes/hiking boots with good tread and a hiking poles.
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
(Sunday, March 1)

Note: Please remember to bring your National Park Pass and hiking poles if you have them.



   
 Afternoon: 3:00-5:00 pm - Arrive and check-in at Hotel Lobby.
 Dinner: Dinner at Hotel
 Evening: Welcome, introductions and orientation. Followed by an introduction to Geology in the hotel meeting room.
   
Accommodations: La Quinta Las Vegas Airport North Convention Center
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Travel to the Valley of Fire for hiking among colorful rocks and unique formations.
(Monday, March 2)

Note: Hikes in Valley of Fire are mostly short, 1 mile round trips. Plan on hiking 2 to 4 miles today.



   
 Breakfast: 6:30 to 7:45 am - Continental breakfast buffet which includes waffles, fresh fruits, pastries, bagels, cereals, muffins, juices, milk, and coffee.
 Morning: Travel with your geologist to the Valley of Fire. Geology lecture on the bus. Explore the unique formations and view fascinating petroglyphs!
 Lunch: Box lunch on the trail.
 Afternoon: Enjoy the brilliant landscape and learn about Desert Ecology with your instructor on short hikes/walks to include White Domes, Mouse Tank and Atlatl Rock.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Free Time
   
Accommodations: La Quinta Las Vegas Airport North Convention Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Death Valley National Park/Hike Willow Canyon and Badwater Basin.
(Tuesday, March 3)

Note: The Willow Canyon trail is a 4 to 5 mile round trip, moderately strenuous hike. We'll hike in and out on the same trail, so you can shorten your hike as you choose. Badwater Basin is a short easy walk of less than a mile.



   
 Breakfast: 6:30 to 7:45 am - Continental breakfast buffet which includes waffles, fresh fruits, pastries, bagels, cereals, muffins, juices, milk, and coffee.
 Morning: Check out 8:00 am - Depart and travel to Death Valley National Park. Hike Willow Canyon a beautiful 4 mile round trip hike up an alluvial fan, through a deep narrow canyon ending at a 40 ft waterfall. The rock here is well polished with pretty bands of white, red, green, and gray.
 Lunch: Box Lunch on the Trail.
 Afternoon: After lunch explore Badwater basin, noted as the lowest point in North America, with an elevation of 282 feet below sea level. After viewing a beautiful, colorful sunset check into the Furnace Creek Ranch, a hotel nestled against the Funeral Mountains in the heart of Death Valley.
 Dinner: Dinner at Wrangler's Steakhouse
 Evening: Free Time
   
Accommodations: Furnace Creek Ranch
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Scotty's Castle, Ubehebe Crater, Stovepipe Wells, and Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
(Wednesday, March 4)

Note: Ubehebe Crater trail is a moderate 2 mile hike around the rim. At Mesquite Sand Dunes we'll give you some free time to explore at your leisure. Plan on 1 to 2 miles.



   
 Breakfast: 6:30 to 7:45 am - Furnace Creek Ranch Breakfast Buffet includes fresh fruit, yogurt, hot & cold cereal, eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, roasted potatoes, biscuits & gravy, toast, muffins, pastries, coffee, tea, milk and assorted juices.
 Morning: 8:00 am - Depart and travel to Scotty's Castle. Enjoy a living history tour of this fascinating land mark!
 Lunch: Box Lunch at Stovepipe Wells.
 Afternoon: After lunch hike Ubehebe Crater a large volcanic crater 600 feet deep and 1/2 mile across. We then proceed on to explore the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. These dunes have been used to film sand dune scenes for several movies including the Star Wars series.
 Dinner: Dinner at 49ers Cafe
 Evening: Free Time
   
Accommodations: Furnace Creek Ranch
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Sidewinder Canyon, Devil's Golf Course, Mosaic Canyon, and Salt Creek Marsh.
(Thursday, March 5)

Note: Sidewinder Canyon is a moderate 2 to 3 miles round trip. Mosaic Canyon trail is a moderate 1.5 to 2 mile round trip.



   
 Breakfast: 6:30 to 7:45 am - Furnace Creek Ranch Breakfast Buffet includes fresh fruit, yogurt, hot & cold cereal, eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, roasted potatoes, biscuits & gravy, toast, muffins, pastries, coffee, tea, milk and assorted juices.
 Morning: 8:00 am - Depart to hike Sidewinder Canyon. Explore the slot canyons & washes of this remote area. Visit "Devil's Golf Course" an immense area of rock salt eroded by wind and rain into jagged spires. So incredibly serrated that "only the devil could play golf on such a rough links."
 Lunch: Lunch at Furnace Creek Golf Course.
 Afternoon: After lunch hike Mosaic Canyon walled with both mosaic conglomerates and smooth marbleized rocks. Continue on to Salt Creek Interpretive Trail. The salinated stream is home to the Salt Creek Pupfish, a unique and bizarre creature that can survive in these harsh conditions.
 Dinner: Dinner at Badwater Saloon in Stovepipe Wells.
 Evening: Free Time
   
Accommodations: Furnace Creek Ranch
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Natural Bridge, Gowers Gulch, and Borax Works & Museum.
(Friday, March 6)

Note: Natural Bridge trail is a 1.5 mile easy hike up a narrow canyon. For the Gower Gulch hike we'll start at Zabriskie Point, dropping down into the Gulch for a beautiful 3.5 mile trek. The bus will drive around and meet us at the bottom. A shorter hike up Golden Canyon is an option.



   
 Breakfast: 6:30 to 7:45 am - Furnace Creek Ranch Breakfast Buffet includes fresh fruit, yogurt, hot & cold cereal, eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, roasted potatoes, biscuits & gravy, toast, muffins, pastries, coffee, tea, milk and assorted juices.
 Morning: 8:00 am - Depart for exploration of Death Valley's Natural Bridge Canyon. This is a short hike on a gravelly pumice-filled wash. The trail is actually an ancient flood channel, as evidenced by the large boulders strewn along the way. This is the largest of 14 natural bridges found in the Park. We then depart for Zabriskie Point and the Gowers Gulch trail. Gower Gulch is a monument to erosion as you wind through the highly erodible golden lake bed sediments of the furnace creek formation. In these sediments you will observe veins of borax and gypsum imbedded in the mudstone. We will stop and examine a borax mine about half way through the canyon. As the trail descends it narrows and twists into a passage of between steep high walls of strikingly colored walls.
 Lunch: Box Lunch on the Trail.
 Afternoon: After lunch learn about the fascinating human history, 20 mule teams, Borax Works and Borax Museum. Hike through the palm grove to visitor center.
 Dinner: Closing dinner at Wrangler's Steakhouse
 Evening: Board bus and depart for Star Gazing at Zabriskie Point. Our instructor will present a short Astronomy lecture and then we'll view the stars. Death Valley National Park harbors some of the darkest night skies in the world. The International Dark-Sky Association has designated Death Valley National Park as a "Gold Award Dark Sky Park". (http://www.darksky.org/night-sky-conservation/dark-sky-parks)
   
Accommodations: Furnace Creek Ranch
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Depart for Las Vegas
(Saturday, March 7)
   
 Breakfast: 6:30 to 7:45 am - Furnace Creek Ranch Breakfast Buffet includes fresh fruit, yogurt, hot & cold cereal, eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, roasted potatoes, biscuits & gravy, toast, muffins, pastries, coffee, tea, milk and assorted juices.
 Morning: 7:45 am - Check out and bring luggage to bus. Depart for Las Vegas, arriving Las Vegas Airport at 11:30 am.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Las Vegas, NV LasVegas.com
**PLEASE NOTE: There is very little free time during this program. The free time options noted here are helpful if you plan to spend additional time before or after the program. For additional information, visit www.lasvegas.com
  Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
If you have time to sightsee, this is an extraordinary place to go! A 13,573 square foot, indoor, glass-domed garden abounding in fragrance just beyond Bellagio's lobby. Exotic plants and flowers highlight every season and holiday. Do not miss the evening outdoor Bellagio Foutains and light show all set to music. Be sure to stroll into the lobby to see the stunning display of hanging blown glass flowers! For additional information, visit www.bellagio.com
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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