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
38 Reviews
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4.97 Average
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.

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.

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!!!!

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 Claire
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.

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!)

Anne
(5)

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

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.

Michael
(5)

The Death Valley trip was just the right mix of hiking and discussion/education of the geological and historical past of this region.

Adriana
(5)

This program was a beautiful marriage of short distance hikes and climbing with educational information and led by two lovely people.

Susan
(5)

One of the best Road Scholar programs I have attended. The leaders were informative and well organized. The background information for each area was a big addition to our hikes and side trips.

Pat
(5)

The program was a bit more than I anticipated. I was most likely the oldest person hiking so no fault of yours. I'm older than I feel so it was a good thing to find out. I will not choose "spirited " next time. Will look at Art and Culture in Canada and maybe Iceland spring of 2019.

Judith
(5)

This is a great program. It far exceeded my expectations, bringing Death Valley and its natural history and geology "to life" in a way that I had not anticipated. The scenery is magnificent, and the leadership for the program was outstanding.

Maureen
(5)

You will never look at a pebble, boulder, or mountain in the same way you do today if you take this trip. Having fun while learning is the way to go and this trip was fun.

Jerry
(5)

With his daily "Burst forth with enthusiasm" as we debarked from the bus, our guide Darrell never disappointed us with his own fascination at the geological and historic wonders we explored.

Carol
(5)

If you have an interest in geology and hiking, Death Valley with leaders Darrell and Paula is a trip not to be missed. You could not get more knowledgeable leaders who eagerly share their love of Death Valley and who make it a deeply moving experience.

Bob
(5)

I took the "No Sweat" version of this program. It was terrific! A typical day began by getting on the bus at 8 am to go (30 minutes to one hour) to the starting point for a hike. There were hikes in the morning and afternoon for a total of about 3 hours. The hikes were usually up rocky canyons in the mountains. The primary educational component of the program was on the geological history of the canyon's formation. Our leaders, Janice and John, were wonderful instructors and leaders. The scenery was spectacular. We also visited other, non-hiking, sites as well. Two of the dinners were at gourmet restaurants --- the best meals that I have had on any Road Scholar program.

Howard
(5)

This was our 5th Road Scholar trip and, while we've been very pleased with each of the 4 prior trips, this one was the best!

Edward
(5)

Had a great time. Weather was pleasant and no crowds. Great time of year to visit. Group Leaders were extremely knowledgeable and caring. They put forth maximum effort for us. Pix at: https://studio808.smugmug.com/Travel/Death-Valley-2017/ Vids at: https://vimeo.com/album/4893055

Michael
(5)

Great trip, but be prepared for some serious hiking over challenging terrain. Some of the trails included serious rock scrambles.

Jeffrey
(5)

My husband and I joined an interesting and welcoming group to tour Death Valley. We have traveled the world and found this experience to be one of the best group tours we've ever had. Not only was the landscape inspiring and stupendous, but our Road Scholar leaders were incredibly well informed in a variety of fields and had the ability to communicate historical, cultural and scientific information with detail and humor. Their love of this area was readily apparent, and we left feeling a great debt to Road Scholar for an exceptional trip to Death Valley National Park. See it; it's incredible!

Laura
(5)

The program was more than we had hoped for. Death Valley and Valley of the Fire were beautiful. Our leaders Darrel and Paula were very informative and funny to boot. Thoroughly enjoyed the trip.

Nasrin
(5)

Fabulous learning experince about Death valley and Valkey of Fire State Park. Bucket list item enjoyably crossed off.

Ellen
(5)

A fascinating guided tour through the Valley of Fire and Death Valley with an experienced hiking team, one of whom is a geologist. Their love of the subject matter (rocks!) made all the participants burst forth off the bus and toward the next adventure, with great enthusiasm!!






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