7608
California/Nevada

Hiking Death Valley National Park and the Valley of Fire

Death Valley isn't as scary as it sounds. Join experts to learn about unique rock formations, local ecology and ancient petroglyphs as you hike and explore these two stunning parks.
Program No. 7608RJ
Length
7 days
Starts at
2,099
32 Reviews
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4.96 Average
Shirley
This reviewer did not give a star rating.

This trip was very good. Not the best, but not anything big to complain about. I do have some suggestions that would have made the trip more enjoyable for me. 1. There were multiple videos and lectures given while we were riding in the bus. I have hearing aids and could not hear a lot of the time. On day 1, I told the tour guides of my problem and they did turn up the volume, but after that they seemed to be turning it up and down. Most of the time it was too low for me to hear. I would suggest that those with hearing impairment and hearing aids not have to sit in the back of the bus where the engine noise is so loud. We are all adults here and I did not like that when I wanted to do something I was told not to, such as climb down a particular stretch of the trail. Although I am 70 yo, I am an avid hiker, biker and am in excellent physical shape. I know what I can and can't do. The arrangement for changing seats didn't work really well. For 4 of the days I was sitting in the back of the bus where the engine noise was very loud. That also meant that whoever was in the front of the bus on the first day, was in the front of the bus for 4 days. Finally, this will be my last RS trip. Please DO NOT SEND ME ANYMORE STUFF IN THE MAIL OR EMAIL. This is not because of this trip, as I stated above, the trip was okay. It is just that I prefer more independence and more active trips. Thank you, Shirley Lowe

Elizabeth
(5)

Come and explore the "terrain wreck" that is the geology of Death Valley.

Kathleen
(5)

This trip was an outstanding opportunity to exercise both body and mind in a varied and challenging environment. One also gains an appreciation for how Death Valley came to be and the beauty of the region.

Dorothea
(5)

I learned so much about Death Valley from our Roadscholar Leaders. Janice, Marcia and Kelly were very knowledgeable of geology, history, flora and fauna. Even on the long bus rides, we watched educational movies and listened to historical events that happened in Death Valley. Everything I learned about Borax, I will take back to my special education classes, and reteach. We use Borax to make slime but I never knew where it came from. Our bus driver, Kelly, was wonderful, patient, caring and supportive of every participant. He led some of the longer hikes, always making sure everyone was safe. Janice's geological knowledge is above and beyond anyone can ever expect. I learned so much. Marcia was super organized, kind and caring, always making sure everyone was taken care of. What a wonderful trip, Roadscholar!

Trisha
(5)

Great trip to see a good part of Death Valley. Various activities in morning and afternoon made this interesting. Not very strenuous. Would of liked a longer hike on one day or have one leader take part of the group farther.

Laurie
(5)

Death Valley (& the Valley of Fire in NV) are not to be missed with leaders Darrell and Paula McMahon! Outstanding program!

Joyce
This reviewer did not give a star rating.

A great trip to a fascinating place. Outstanding leaders and a spirited group. Highly recommended for those looking for an active trip.

Dianne
(5)

I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Death Valley. This was my 10th trip with RS . Darrell, Paula, and Paul were all amazing in their own way. Darrell was so enthusiastic about the geology. Paula's administrative skills were put to the test on several occasions and she came through with flying colors. She also doubled as mother hen and problem fixer for some of our individual needs. Paul's driving skills were great, especially on the switchbacks to and from Artist's Palette. Paul was also great with hikers who were nervous on some of the narrow trails. The food and accommodations both in Las Vegas and Death Valley were top notch. We had total flexibility in food choices. Our final dinner at the Inn of Death Valley was a dining experience I will never forget, not only for the food, but also interesting conversations with people we had met during the week. However, I went for the hiking and I was not disappointed. The hikes were varied, both in length and type. Darrell's narration on board the bus as well as during some of the hikes increased my understanding of the region. People could go at their own pace, so different hiking abilities were accommodated. I liked all the hikes, especially when we climbed over rocks and through crevices(optional) and around the Ubehebe Crater and Titus Canyon. The blue sky and fresh air made me want to walk forever. I highly recommend this trip. It is definitely a 5 stars trip!

Andrea
(5)

This was an amazing place to visit! I learned a great deal about the geology of Death Valley, and had some amazing hikes in places that I might not have gone to had I gone there on my own. From the sand dunes, the craters, and the salt flats to the stars in the dark skies, I loved it all!

Lynn
(5)

This trip exceeded my expectations. I had no idea of the diversity and beauty of the desert. Through RS, I now have a greater appreciation of the desert and its many treasures. This trip was time well spent in an environment that many do not have an opportunity to experience.

Jean
(5)

an educational gem, learning about the extraordinary geology that made Death Valley is quite an experience. The sites are breathtaking and fascinating, the sky blue in the day and sparkling with stars at night; don't pass this one up!!!

Carol
(5)

I really enjoyed this program and discovered that Death Valley is more than just hot flat land. Most of the hikes were out and back on the same trail so that you could go as far or little as you wanted and then return to the bus. The guides were great.

Tim
(5)

For those who are prepared for hiking up to 5 miles (please review the itinerary!) this is an outstanding trip. The trip is well organized (thank you Paula!) and the instruction is truly outstanding. Darrell has an incredibly extensive and diverse fund of knowledge, and obviously works hard on his presentations. He really makes good use of the bus time to deliver information in addition to the trail instruction. His dry sense of humor is an added bonus!

Julie
(5)

Darryl McMahon was an incredibly knowledgeable instructor who showered us with his expertise in geology, botany, and wildlife. His deadpan sense of humor was a bonus to the experience. Paula, his wife, was a super organized coordinator; everything ran smoothly and on time.

Eileen
(5)

An excellent first experience of Death Valley. Our guides were very knowledgeable and informative making the whole experience educational and enjoyable.

Susan
(5)

What an amazing way to get to know another National Park! Great hikes, great sights and well paced for all. The leaders, Paula & Darrell, were so entertaining - that being aside from sharing their incredible knowledge of geology. It was fun to be "on the road again" in Death Valley, Amargoso River, etc...Willy's song will never be the same!!!!

Patricia
(5)

Thanks to the wonderful and enjoyable educational experience presented by Darrell, and the warm welcoming and fantastic organizational skills employed by Paula, this was an exceptional experience in a fascinating, beautiful part of our diverse country, The Mojave Desert.

Craig
This reviewer did not give a star rating.

Very interesting locality and incredible scenery. Our leaders, Daryl and Paula McMahon, did a great job working with several people with special needs, and rearranging the order of hikes because Death Valley got a year's worth of rain the first night we were there. A most memorable trip.

Judith
(5)

Another first rate program from Road Scholar and Dixie State. We attended the "Outdoor Spirited" version of this trip with Daryl and Paula, as our leaders, and 20 delightful fellow travelers. Death Valley is large so you will spend a lot of time on the bus, but Daryl fills that time with enlightened and well thought out lectures, slides and videos. We visited many of the Death Valley highlights with a variety of hikes/walking. We did not find any of the hikes challenging but they are rocky and there was some rock scrambling. The longest hike was 3 miles, but on many days we hiked several shorter hikes which easily added up to 5 miles or more. The visit to the ghost town was a delightful addition. The scenery is amazing 100% of the time. Without a doubt this trip fulfilled our goal of a well rounded introduction to Death Valley, focusing on geology, with some very active outdoor activity. Many thanks to our fellow travelers, Daryl, Paula, who handled the logistics flawlessly, Bus Driver Glenn who always hiked with us and Lois who is joining the Road Scholar Team.

Robbie
(5)

If you enjoy learning about geology and pushing yourself on hikes, this is a great program. But the leaders made sure that everyone felt comfortable with the activity level, and there was plenty of opportunity to either do shorter hikes or go at your own pace. Most of the hikes are out and back, so you don't have to go all the way to the end. Death Valley has very minimal internet, and even in the rooms, you won't be streaming movies or uploading photos. When you are outside the accommodations, there is essentially no cell coverage, but it was great to have an excuse to unplug for awhile.

Mary
This reviewer did not give a star rating.

This is probably the best Road Scholar trip we've been on. The narration of the landscape and instruction by Phil was excellent. Phil also instructed us on the stars and held a 2 hour star watch of the Death Valley sky one evening. Marcia and Kelly are excellent hosts and were always available for help and advice. We enjoyed the smaller group and the company of good people from all over the country. Humor and awe ruled during this trip. The "WoW" factor is Death Valley.

Ruth
(5)

My experience was that it was a great trip if you can walk well on stones, hills, uneven services and climbing up and down rocks. I loved it but some participants found it more challenging. Some hikes were optional what level you would hike at, which was good.

Stanley
(5)

The amazing location and incredible leaders made this an outstanding adventure.

Sally
(5)

Death Valley is one of the places in the US that everyone interested in the outdoors should visit. It's unique, and fascinating, and rather like being on another planet. Weather the first week of March proved to be perfect.

Anne
(5)

A fun mix of hiking and science, with history, both ancient and recent woven in.

Jayne
(4)

The leaders for this program really made Death Valley come alive. Especially recommended for anyone who has even the slightest interest in geology and earth history. Physical requirements for the outings were not too strenuous (in fact pretty light for some of us) but sufficient to get to the places that corresponded to the educational component and some options were offered for those who may not have been able to complete a hike or outing. (but everyone did everything!)

Eunjoo
(5)

This was my first hiking trip through RS and I was able to manage most of time with walking pole. It was rated outdoor: Spirited and changed to "Varies by date "after our trip.. People were complaining they did not hike enough. We spent long hours in bus because park was so huge. People were very nice and friendly. I was solo traveler and felt welcomed. I am looking for more hiking trip in the future. I was well informed about geology and got to see stars at night. I got to swim at the hotel outdoor swimming pool and food were plenty. Death Valley sounds awful, but it was a great tour. I would like to see group leaders hike with us. They preferred to stay at the bus.

Eileen
(5)

Before our recent Death Valley program, we were concerned with the renovations occurring at the Oasis and the resulting lack of places to eat. The providers assured us that they would find alternative locations, but fortunately the renovations were completed prior to our arrival. Then we wondered how much the program’s schedule would be affected by the partial Government Shutdown. However, our marvelous guides, Darrell and Paula, revised the schedule to include excellent substitutions for those park sites that were closed. They revised the schedule for a second time when some previously closed parts of the park were reopened. They were always positive, flexible, and enthusiastic. The day in the Valley of Fire outside of Las Vegas was an excellent introduction to the geology of this area of the country, and the short hikes were a good introduction to what we could expect in Death Valley. Darrell showed us petroglyphs that are not obvious from the trails and gave us fascinating interpretations of this rock art. Our field trips in Death Valley including an amazing variety of sites, ranging from a short walk onto the salt flats at Badwater Basin to the breathtaking scenes at Dantes View to the hikes among the rocks of Gower Gulch and Golden Canyon. Our guides (and also our bus driver, Paul) were always ready to give assistance and encouragement. Some bus rides were fairly long, but Darrell made the travel time go quickly with his presentations on the history and geology of the park. The accommodations at the Oasis were adequate, clean, and comfortable, and we definitely never went hungry! Our final night dinner at the Inn was particularly memorable and definitely 4 Star! As always the participants, from 13 different states, were a friendly and welcoming group. I have posted pictures of our trip at https://ellieknesper.smugmug.com.

Deborah
(5)

This hiking trip is a wonderful way to learn more about Death Valley. Every hike was different and Darrell and Paula did a great job of making accommodations due to the government shutdown.

Richard
(5)

A great learning experience. Death Valley is so much more Than I expected.

Mary
(5)

Death Valley is such a fascinating place - everyone interested in the desert should go there, especially with a trained instructor. The accommodations were fine, the food was fine (especially the buffet at the Bellagio!) There was a lot of driving, but that is to be expected in such a huge park. I liked that we only had to change hotels once, and that there were no evening presentations. I'd definitely say go in the spring if you can; we went in November because another trip fell through, but I'm sorry we didn't get to see many blooming plants.

Teresa
(5)

Death Valley was so interesting and varied - and the guides (Janice & John) were fantastic!! Their knowledge enhanced the entire trip. A good variety of hikes (with splendid views) was just as described in the catalog. The Ranch in Oasis Valley is a bit dated, very noisy, and the food was adequate, but it was centrally located to all daytime activities.






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