California/Nevada

Hiking Death Valley National Park and the Valley of Fire

Program No. 7608RJ
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.

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At a Glance

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 30-passenger bus with an upgraded video/audio system allowing our instructors to teach while "on the go."
Activity Level
Varies by date
Varies by date. OUTDOOR: NO SWEAT - Hiking up to two miles per day over varied terrain. Elevations up to 5,500 feet. OUTDOOR: SPIRITED - Hiking up to five miles per day over varied terrain. Elevations up to 5,500 feet.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

What You'll Learn

  • 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.
  • Hike Badwater, White Dome, Mouse Tank, Golden Canyon, Gower Gulch and more.
Featured Expert
All trip experts
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Darrell McMahon
Darrell McMahon has worked in natural resource management for more than four decades and has extensive experience as a wildlife and habitat biologist, entomologist and botanist. Darrell has spent many years hiking thousands of miles through this wild landscape and has pinned his soul in the high plateaus and deep canyons of the desert southwest. Darrell has discovered many secret places in the desert southwest and loves to share these places and his knowledge with his best friends and Road Scholar participants.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Darrell McMahon
Darrell McMahon View biography
Darrell McMahon has worked in natural resource management for more than four decades and has extensive experience as a wildlife and habitat biologist, entomologist and botanist. Darrell has spent many years hiking thousands of miles through this wild landscape and has pinned his soul in the high plateaus and deep canyons of the desert southwest. Darrell has discovered many secret places in the desert southwest and loves to share these places and his knowledge with his best friends and Road Scholar participants.
Profile Image of Janice Hayden
Janice Hayden View biography
Janice Hayden moved to St. George, Utah to work as a field geologist for the Utah Geological Survey after working as an oil and gas exploration geologist. For 20 years, Janice mapped eighteen 7-½-minute quadrangles of southwest Utah that delineate geological formations, structures, soils, water resources, mineral deposits, and geologic hazards. She is now full-time faculty at Utah Tech University and frequently leads local geology field trips as well as field trips to Utah's national parks.
Profile Image of Paula McMahon
Paula McMahon View biography
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.
Profile Image of Phil Moore
Phil Moore View biography
Phil Moore is currently an adjunct professor of Geology at Dixie State University. He has been involved with the Southern Utah University Geology Field Camp for several years. Phil taught Earth science for public schools in Hurricane, Utah for 28 years, he is also a semi-professional musician along with his wife Lori, who is also a Road Scholar Group Leader.
Profile Image of Diana Hawks
Diana Hawks View biography
Diana Hawks was fortunate to be able to work in a career she loved, as an archaeologist in both the southwestern United States and Mesoamerica. She completed a bachelor’s and a master’s in archaeology at Brigham Young and PhD courses in anthropology and law. She has worked most extensively as an archaeologist in southern Utah and northern Arizona specializing in ceramic analysis of Ancestral Puebloan cultures. She enjoys teaching and working with the public on archaeological projects, especially archaeological inventories and rock art recording.
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