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23880
California/Nevada

Death Valley National Park: A Women’s-Only Hiking Adventure

Alongside other supportive and spirited Road Scholar women, join experts to learn about unique rock formations, local ecology and ancient petroglyphs as you hike these stunning parks.
Program No. 23880RJ
Length
7 days
Starts at
2,449
California/Nevada

Death Valley National Park: A Women’s-Only Hiking Adventure

Alongside other supportive and spirited Road Scholar women, join experts to learn about unique rock formations, local ecology and ancient petroglyphs as you hike these stunning parks.
Length
7 days
Starts at
2,449
Program No. 23880 RJ
climate
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At a Glance

With other women who love the outdoors, hike along the diverse palette of colorful rock formations as you discover Death Valley National Park and the Valley of Fire. Study geology, ecology and human history through lectures, daily walks and hikes with geologists, field experts and newfound friends. Learn about the picturesque scenery while our instructors teach "on the go" and you enjoy the fellowship of this women-only adventure.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Learn why the sun-lit rocks inspired the park's name "Valley of Fire," as you admire fascinating petroglyphs.
  • Discover a world of sand dunes, rugged canyons and landscapes carved from primeval rock in Death Valley.
  • Build camaraderie as you conquer hikes to Badwater, White Dome, Mouse Tank, Golden Canyon, Gower Gulch and more with other active women.

General Notes

For a version of this program for both men and women, see "Hiking Death Valley National Park and the Valley of Fire" (#7608).
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Practical Geologist
by Dougal Dixon, Raymond Bernor
This book is a great introductory guide to the basics of geology. Great diagrams, pictures and is well written.
A Trip Through Death Valley's Geologic Past
by Kenneth E. Lengner
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.
Mojave Desert Wildflowers
by Jon Mark Stewart
Field guide to 80 of the most common flowers of the Chihuahuan, Mojave and Sonoran deserts.
Wildflowers of the Desert Southwest
by Meg Quinn
Wildflowers of the Desert Southwest, Meg Quinn, 2000. A field guide to common desert wildflowers.
Deserts, National Audubon Society Nature Guide
by James A. MacMahon
A comprehensive field guide, fully illustrated with color photographs, to the wildflowers, birds, reptiles, insects and other natural wonders of North America's deserts.
An Introduction to the Geology of Death Valley
by Michael Collier
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.
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7 days
6 nights
17 meals
6 B 5 L 6 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Las Vegas, NV
D
Hilton Garden Inn Las Vegas Strip South

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 4:00-5:30 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet meal including entree, salad, vegetables, iced tea, and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation will immediately follow dinner in the same conference room. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Please remember to bring your National Park Pass, hiking poles, a small backpack and a refillable water bottle. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
2
Hiking Valley of Fire
Las Vegas, NV
B,L,D
Hilton Garden Inn Las Vegas Strip South

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 50 miles, approximately 1 hour. Hiking up to 2 miles total throughout the day; most trails in Valley of Fire are unpaved; little change in elevation.

Breakfast: At the hotel restaurant, the breakfast buffet includes fresh fruit, yogurt, assorted baked goods, cereal, an egg dish, French toast, oatmeal, breakfast potatoes and meats, coffee, assorted teas, juice, milk, and water.

Morning: We’ll transfer by motorcoach to Valley of Fire State Park for a full day of hiking. Dedicated in 1935, Valley of Fire is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park and gets its name from the captivating formations of red sandstone throughout. The park is home to a vast array of desert creatures, most of them nocturnal due to blistering summer temperatures, and many floral species including indigo bush and a variety of cacti. We will begin our day with a hiking field trip to Atlatl Rock to view fascinating petroglyphs that have endured for over 3,000 years. At the petroglyph stop, our instructor will conduct a lecture on the wildlife and desert ecology of Death Valley.

Lunch: On the trail, we’ll find a spot to rest and eat our boxed lunches that includes a sandwich, chips, fruit, and cookies. Water provided by the motorcoach.

Afternoon: Continuing, we’ll enjoy the brilliant landscape on short hikes and walks that include Mouse's Tank and Rainbow Vista. At the conclusion of our hikes for the day, we’ll transfer back to the hotel.

Dinner: At the Bellagio Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, we’ll enjoy the award-winning dinner buffet with coffee, iced tea, sodas, and water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
3
Death Valley National Park, Badwater Basin
Death Valley National Park
B,L,D
Oasis Ranch at Death Valley

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 140 miles from Las Vegas to Death Valley, approximately 2.5 hours. Hiking up to 2 miles roundtrip at Badwater Basin; easy terrain on hard packed salt flats.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Setting out by motorcoach, we’ll travel to Death Valley National Park where our instructor will provide en route commentary on the geology, ecology, and human history of the area. Death Valley is North America’s hottest, driest, and lowest location. Snow-capped mountains surround the sun-parched basins, colorful badlands, beautifully carved canyons, and rolling sand dunes. Despite its foreboding name, Death Valley has almost 400 species of native wildlife and more than 1,000 plant species.

Lunch: At a scenic location within the park, we’ll stop and have our boxed lunches including a sandwich, chips, and cookie.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll explore Badwater Basin, noted as the lowest point in North America, with an elevation of 282 feet below sea level. Our instructor will lead a walking field trip from the parking lot and across the hard pan of the salt flat of the basin. Along the way, they will discuss the geology of the overall basin, the formation of the salt deposit, and give us time to experience the vastness of this desolate location. After the Badwater Basin stop, we’ll continue by motorcoach to Devil’s Golf Course, an immense area of extruded and weathered salt deposits that have been eroded by wind and rain into jagged spires and rounded knolls. The area is so incredibly serrated that "only the devil could play golf on such rough links." We’ll then proceed to Furnace Creek Ranch to check in to our hotel that is nestled in an oasis against the Funeral Mountains in the heart of Death Valley.

Dinner: We'll transfer to the Last Kind Words Saloon at the Ranch at Death Valley and order from a select menu that includes vegetarian options, steak, salmon, and pork, plus salad and dessert. Coffee, iced tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Titus Canyon, Mesquite Sand Dunes, Mosaic Canyon
Death Valley National Park
B,L,D
Oasis Ranch at Death Valley

Activity note: Minimal driving throughout the day; multiple short transfers. Hiking about 2 miles total during group activities throughout the day: hiking about 1 mile round trip at Titus Canyon, relatively easy uphill grade on a gravel road in a narrow canyon; walking at Mesquite Sand Dunes according to personal preference; deep sand during independent exploration; Mosaic Canyon Trail is about 1 mile round trip, moderately difficult terrain.

Breakfast: At the 1849 restaurant, we'll enjoy a breakfast buffet that includes fruit, hot oatmeal, scrambled eggs, breakfast meats, potatoes, pancakes, and waffles, plus coffee, tea, milk, juice and water.

Morning: We’ll then transfer by motorcoach to Titus Canyon, one of the most visited sites in all of Death Valley National Park, for a field trip along a narrow gravel road within towering canyon walls that will take us through an area of fractured, cemented, and polished rock. The canyon narrows to less than 20 feet in some sections. Proceeding to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, we will have some time to explore the landscape independently. These iconic dunes have been used as a backdrop for film scenes for several movies throughout the years, including the Star Wars series.

Lunch: We'll find a spot along the trail to enjoy a box lunch of a sandwich, chips, cookies, and fruit.

Afternoon: Transferring by motorcoach a short distance to the trailhead for Mosaic Canyon, we’ll go for a hike through walls of polished dolomitic conglomerates and breccia, composed of tiny angular fragments of various types of rock locked within a natural cement. Formed over millions of years of geologic faulting and erosion, Mosaic Canyon is a beautifully sculpted canyon of unique natural art showcasing stratified sedimentary and conglomerate rock formations. After our hike, we’ll return to the hotel.

Dinner: We'll transfer to the 1849 restaurant for a buffet dinner that includes salad, entrée and dessert. Coffee, iced tea, water included.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Ubehebe Crater, Salt Creek Marsh, Golden Canyon, Star Gazing
Death Valley National Park
B,L,D
Oasis Ranch at Death Valley

Activity note: Driving about 130 miles total for the day; about 55 miles to Ubehebe Crater, approximately 1.5 hours; short morning drive to Golden Canyon trail head. Hiking 2 miles for the day: about 1 mile round trip at Ubehebe Crater, moderate terrain with some loose footing; about 1 mile round trip at Golden Canyon, moderate terrain; about 1/2 mile round trip at Salt Creek Marsh boardwalk trail.

Breakfast: At the 1849 restaurant.

Morning: After transferring by motorcoach from the hotel, we’ll set out on a hike along the rim of Ubehebe Crater, a large volcanic crater 600 feet deep and a half mile across. Ubehebe Crater was formed by steam and gas explosions when hot magma came in contact with groundwater. We’ll then proceed via motorcoach to Salt Creek Marsh for a walking field trip along the boardwalk to view the elusive and endangered Death Valley Pupfish that lives in the spring-fed pools along Salt Creek. We’ll then return to the hotel for lunch.

Lunch: We'll transfer to the 1849 restaurant for a buffet dinner that includes salad, entrée, and dessert. Coffee, iced tea, water included.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll proceed via motorcoach to the Golden Canyon Trail where we’ll join our instructor for a hike through this canyon full of fabulous colors and rock formations at each turn and twist. We’ll then return to the Ranch at Death Valley to relax before dinner.

Dinner: We'll transfer to the Last Kind Words Saloon at the Ranch at Death Valley and order from a select menu that includes vegetarian options, steak, salmon and pork, plus salad and dessert. Coffee, iced tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: We will look to the skies as our instructor will help identify stars and constellations in the unique dark skies of Death Valley. The International Dark-Sky Association has designated Death Valley National Park as a "Gold Award Dark Sky Park."

DAY
6
Zabriskie Point, Natural Bridge, Gower Gulch, Borax Works
Death Valley National Park
B,L,D
Oasis Ranch at Death Valley

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 20 miles throughout the day to hiking options. Hiking about 2 miles total throughout the day. Zabriskie Point is a 1/4 mile round trip on paved trail to viewpoint; Natural Bridge hike is about 1 mile round trip; easy, gravelly terrain within a narrow canyon; Harmony Borax Works is a 1/4 mile round trip on paved interpretive trail.

Breakfast: At the 1849 restaurant.

Morning: We'll transfer by motorcoach to Zabriskie Point for a spectacular view from Telescope Peak at 11,331 feet, down to Badwater Basin at 282 feet below sea level. Then we’ll proceed to the trailhead for Gower Gulch for our first of two morning hikes. This canyon is made up of red mudstone and colorful mosaic conglomerates. Afterwards, we’ll transfer to the Natural Bridge Canyon trailhead for a 2-mile round trip hike that ascends a gravelly wash trail, which 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’ll then return to the hotel by motorcoach for lunch.

Lunch: At the 19th Hole restaurant, a unique veranda-style bar and grill, we'll order off a select menu of hot sandwiches, salads, and specialty burgers. Coffee, iced tea, soda, and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll drive to the nearby Harmony Borax Works where our instructor will lead a short walk and describe the history of borax mining in Death Valley, how it was processed, and the arduous journey it took by a 20-mule team to the railhead at Mojave, California. With this knowledge, we’ll return to the Ranch at Death Valley for independent exploration of the outdoor mining and transportation exhibits, and the interpretive borax history center.

Dinner: We'll board the motorcoach for dinner at the Inn at Death Valley and order from a select menu that includes steak, salmon, or vegetarian options, plus salad and dessert. Coffee, iced tea, and water included; other beverages available for purchase. During our farewell dinner, share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
7
To Las Vegas, Program Concludes
Las Vegas, NV
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by approximately 8:00 a.m. for transfer. Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 142 miles from Death Valley to Las Vegas, approximately 2.5 hours. Drop-offs at McCarran International Airport and the starting hotel will be at approximately 11:30 a.m. and 12:00 Noon, respectively.

Breakfast: At the 1849 restaurant.

Morning: Once checked out of the hotel, we’ll board the motorcoach for transfer back to Las Vegas for drop-off at McCarran International Airport and the starting hotel. This concludes our program. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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