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
7 days
Starts at

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 32-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: SPIRITED - Hiking up to five miles per day over varied terrain. Elevations up to 5,500 feet. OUTDOOR: NO SWEAT - Hiking up to two miles per day over varied terrain.
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 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 and more.

General Notes

For a Women's-Only version of this program, see "Death Valley National Park: A Women's-Only Hiking Adventure" (#23880).
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
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
Paula McMahon
View biography
<%= Bio %>
Profile Image
Darrell McMahon
View biography
<%= Bio %>
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wildflowers of the Desert Southwest
by Meg Quinn
Wildflowers of the Desert Southwest, Meg Quinn, 2000. A field guide to common desert wildflowers.

Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback