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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
2,549
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.
Length
7 days
Starts at
2,549
Length
7 days
Rating (4.88)
Starts at
2,549
Program No. 7608RJ

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climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
Activity Level: Outdoor: Spirited (2)
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 23 - Oct 29, 2022
Starting at
2,549
Dec 4 - Dec 10, 2022
Starting at
2,549
Activity Level: Outdoor: Spirited (2)
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 23 - Oct 29, 2022
Starting at
3,199
Dec 4 - Dec 10, 2022
Starting at
3,199
Activity Level: Outdoor: No Sweat (13)
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Nov 6 - Nov 12, 2022
Starting at
2,549
Itinerary Note

Hikes on OUTDOOR: NO SWEAT departures are shorter, totaling approximately 2 miles in length over the course of the day on varied terrain.

Nov 13 - Nov 19, 2022
Starting at
2,549
Jan 22 - Jan 28, 2023
Starting at
2,899
Jan 29 - Feb 4, 2023
Starting at
2,899
Feb 5 - Feb 11, 2023
Starting at
2,899
Feb 12 - Feb 18, 2023
Starting at
2,899
Feb 19 - Feb 25, 2023
Starting at
2,899
Feb 26 - Mar 4, 2023
Starting at
2,899
Mar 5 - Mar 11, 2023
Starting at
2,899
Oct 22 - Oct 28, 2023
Starting at
2,899
Nov 5 - Nov 11, 2023
Starting at
2,899
Nov 12 - Nov 18, 2023
Starting at
2,899
Dec 3 - Dec 9, 2023
Starting at
2,899
Activity Level: Outdoor: No Sweat (13)
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Nov 6 - Nov 12, 2022
Starting at
3,199
Itinerary Note

Hikes on OUTDOOR: NO SWEAT departures are shorter, totaling approximately 2 miles in length over the course of the day on varied terrain.

Nov 13 - Nov 19, 2022
Starting at
3,199
Jan 22 - Jan 28, 2023
Starting at
3,739
Jan 29 - Feb 4, 2023
Starting at
3,739
Feb 5 - Feb 11, 2023
Starting at
3,739
Feb 12 - Feb 18, 2023
Starting at
3,739
Feb 19 - Feb 25, 2023
Starting at
3,739
Feb 26 - Mar 4, 2023
Starting at
3,739
Mar 5 - Mar 11, 2023
Starting at
3,739
Oct 22 - Oct 28, 2023
Starting at
3,739
Nov 5 - Nov 11, 2023
Starting at
3,739
Nov 12 - Nov 18, 2023
Starting at
3,739
Dec 3 - Dec 9, 2023
Starting at
3,739

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: 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 13 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.
  • Hike Badwater, White Dome, Mouse Tank, Golden Canyon, Gower Gulch and more.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Dan Krupicka
Dan Krupicka is a 24-year resident of the St. George area, having moved here from Salt Lake City Utah, his home for 23 years. A geologist with an Engineering Consulting Company, he works mainly with soil and groundwater issues, as well as on geological engineering projects. In the Salt Lake area, he previously worked with mining exploration and oil and gas companies. When he isn’t working, Dan enjoys hiking, biking and golf — all of which can be easily enjoyed in Southern Utah.

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

Profile Image of Dan Krupicka
Dan Krupicka View biography
Dan Krupicka is a 24-year resident of the St. George area, having moved here from Salt Lake City Utah, his home for 23 years. A geologist with an Engineering Consulting Company, he works mainly with soil and groundwater issues, as well as on geological engineering projects. In the Salt Lake area, he previously worked with mining exploration and oil and gas companies. When he isn’t working, Dan enjoys hiking, biking and golf — all of which can be easily enjoyed in Southern Utah.
Profile Image of Maggie Francke
Maggie Francke View biography
Maggie Francke has worked 43 years as a nurse during which time she also raised a family. The first half of her career was spent working in various hospital departments. The last half she worked in home health and hospice, and mainly hospice the last 10 years. Now her days are so filled, she wonders how she ever had the time to work so much. She spends her time hiking, biking, gardening and going to yoga five times per week.
Profile Image of Dixie Krupicka
Dixie Krupicka View biography
Dixie Krupicka is a long-time resident of Ivins, Utah. She is from Salt Lake City where she received a degree in recreational therapy at the University of Utah. She worked for Intermountain Health Care for 30 years in an inpatient psychiatric unit. Currently, she is a private consultant for skilled nursing facilities in the Southern Utah area. She spends her summers at a cabin in the Uinta mountains. She is an avid hiker, biker and reader.
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.
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.
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.
Mojave Desert Wildflowers
by Jon Mark Stewart
Field guide to 80 of the most common flowers of the Chihuahuan, Mojave and Sonoran 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.
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.
36 Reviews
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4.88 Average
(5)

Our trip to Death Valley was an extraordinary visit to an incredibly diverse part of our country. I want to go back. I learned a great deal about the geology of the region and had rewarding interactions with the other participants on the trip. It was our first Road Scholar trip and we plan to do more!

(5)

This program is the perfect introduction to desert desert geology, fauna, and geology.

(4)

Awesome educational experience. Stunning scenery. Great hiking experience. Try this program even if you've never considered visiting Death Valley.

(4)

The hikes on this trip are incredible with a wide variety of terrain and sites to see, and winter weather in Death Valley and Valley of Fire is ideal for hiking. There also are a lot of interesting things to learn about these unique areas. However, if you are not a fast hiker or you like to take a lot of pictures you may feel rushed at times or may not have time to complete some of the hikes. Accommodations were comfortable and most of the food was very good, but the 1849 buffet at the ranch was disappointing with limited choices and inconsistent food quality.

(4)

This trip offers a good overview of Death Valley and Valley of Fire. Darrell shared so much of his vast amount of knowledge. Paula is very organized.Participants should have some experience hiking. There were some steep hikes as well as areas with loose footing. Both hotels were comfortable. There is room for improvement with the meals; unfortunately that has been the case for many years at many of the National parks.

(5)

death valley should get a better name. it's a beautiful area i am so blessed to have experienced. paula and darryl are the best leaders ever!!! they make the whole trip exciting...

(5)

Death Valley was a place I always wanted to visit. I found it very unique and interesting. It was very diversified in many ways. Sometimes one feels like your on a different planet. I'd like to go back someday. Like many others, I don't think it should be called Death Valley. Look close and you will find lots of life there. My husband and I met some very nice people and made new friends we hope to see again soon.

(5)

Great guides and bus driver! Lots of surprises! Highly recommend it!

(5)

We highly recommend this vacation. This "no sweat" itinerary was perfect for us, we kept up with our hike leader and learned so much from Darrell about the geology, biology, and history of Death Valley. Darrell's lectures were held on the coach so that we could look out the window to supplement the learning - and no after dinner lectures to put us to sleep. The hikes and nature walks were easy, and well spaced bathroom breaks were provided. While the food at the hotel "Oasis at Death Valley" was appallingly bad, the hotel room was comfy, and the location was ideal. Bring your hiking boots & walking poles, and your sense of adventure, this is a spectacular trip.

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

(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.

(5)

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

(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!

(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.

(5)

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

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.

(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!

(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!

(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.

(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!

(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.

(5)

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

(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.

(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!!!!

(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.

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.

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.

(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.

(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.

(5)

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

(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.

(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!)

(5)

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

(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.

(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.

(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.






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