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Picture of Death Valley Delights
Picture of Death Valley Delights
Picture of Death Valley Delights
Picture of Death Valley Delights
Picture of Death Valley Delights
Picture of Death Valley Delights
Picture of Death Valley Delights
Picture of Death Valley Delights

Death Valley Delights

Destination: Death Valley National Park, CA

A Death Valley hiking tour is the perfect antidote to the winter blahs and one of the best warm winter vacations in the United States! In February the skies are clear and sunny (but not too hot!) and the hiking is excellent. In addition to unique ecology and engaging human history, there is fascinating geology that our guides will help us understand. We'll visit Rhyolite Ghost Town with its deserted ruins and famous 'bottle house'; a salt water river in the desert; the lowest point in the whole US; and an old volcanic crater. If you long to put away your down jacket and put on your shorts, feel warm sun on your deprived skin, and be totally immersed in a place that has a mythic status for many of us, join us for five days as we explore one of our newest National Parks. By the end of the trip you'll have higher Vitamin D levels and a whole new appreciation of this unique landscape. Maximum group size: 12

Highlights

  • Learning all about the fascinating geology of Death Valley
  • Visiting our hottest, driest, and lowest National Park
  • Hiking across badlands, through canyons, and around an old volcano
  • Visiting eerie and dramatic Rhyolite Ghost Town
  • Stargazing in one of the darkest skies you'll ever see
  • Wearing shorts in February!

Departures and Prices

February 13 to February 17, 2020
$1775.00 - FULL
Join Waitlist
November 11 to November 15, 2020
$1775.00 - Available
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Inclusions

  • 1 - 2 experienced AGC guides based on group size
  • Four nights of double occupancy accommodation
  • All meals from dinner on the first day to lunch on the last
  • Round-trip transportation from Las Vegas to Death Valley, all transportation during the trip and transportation back to the Las Vegas airport
  • National Park entry fees
Not included: Travel to Las Vegas at the beginning of the trip and to the trip hotel, trip insurance, alcoholic beverages and guide gratuities

Details

This trip is designed for any active woman who wants to explore Death Valley. This is an excellent trip for novice hikers: the hikes, while providing both variety and challenge, are moderate in length, and the guides will provide tips and instruction so that by the end you will be a confident hiker. A rating of 2 is suitable for any woman who regularly walks at a brisk pace 3 to 4 days a week for 35 - 45 minutes. Rating: 1 [2] 3 4 5.

On this trip we combine hiking with learning about the unique geology and fascinating human history of the area. In addition to hiking, you'll explore the very different geology of Golden Canyon, Marble Canyon, and Ubehebe Crater. A visit to Rhyolite will give you insight into the human drama and mining history of Death Valley.

We'll start with one night at a hotel in Las Vegas and then spend three nights at Furnace Creek Ranch. We will be staying in the deluxe rooms, which have French doors leading to small patios adjacent to the park/pool area, two queen beds, air conditioning, hair dryers, in-room coffee makers, TV, phone, full private bath and mini refrigerator.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

DAY 1
February and March are typically excellent hiking, with temperatures in the high 60's to low 70's. The following itinerary may be adjusted because of weather, availability of ranger talks, group wishes, etc. Our trip starts today in Las Vegas. Arrive any time before 5 pm. Catch a convenient shuttle to our hotel, where we will meet at 5:30 pm. We'll start getting to know each other and review our plans for the trip, before sharing our first dinner. The evening is free for you to get to bed early or wander the strip. (D)
DAY 2
Today we will make our way to Death Valley National Park, a drive that takes about 2.5 hours. We’re headed first to Rhyolite, an historic ruins of a 1905 goldmining town built on silica-rich volcanic rock laced with gold! Rhyolite lies just outside the northern entrance to the park. We enter the park from this direction, through Hell’s Gate where you’ll get your first introduction to the complex geology of the area. After a picnic lunch, we'll start our exploration with the Mosaic Canyon Hike. We will hike 1 to 2 miles into Mosaic Canyon, so named because of the small rocks cemented into rock beds. There is fun scrambling in a few places but if that isn't appealing, sitting and soaking up the sun, surrounded by soaring canyon walls, is also delightful. We'll then go to our lodging, Furnace Creek Ranch, where we spend the next three nights. Overnight Furnace Creek Ranch. (B, L, D)
DAY 3
This morning we hike the Golden Canyon-Gower Gulch Loop. This 4.5-mile loop trail first takes us through colorful Golden Canyon and then up and over a ridge, passing beneath Manley Beacon. The trail then drops into Gower Gulch, another canyon but with a completely different feel and footing than Golden Canyon. The loop ends with a traverse along the base of the cliffs that rise abruptly from the flatter plain below. Lunch today will be along the trail, perhaps at the top of the hike under Manly Peak with its magnificent views of the golden mudstone hills of this gulch. On the way back to the Ranch we’ll stop at one of the most famous places in Death Valley, Bad Water Basin - the lowest point in North America, with an elevation of 282 ft below sea level! Bad Water Basin is actually a salt pan that is covered each year by rainfall. The geology here is pretty amazing. Back at the ranch, the rest of the afternoon is free, perhaps some time lounging by the outdoor swimming pool, relaxing outside reading that good book you brought or visiting the Borax Museum on property is on your personal agenda – all good choices!
DAY 4
Death Valley is a huge park, a fact we will appreciate more fully after today. We'll begin a bit early to make sure we have time for everything! After driving an hour into the northern part of the Park, our first stop will be the 600-foot deep Ubehebe Crater, the remnants of a massive hydrovolcanic explosion 300 years ago. We will hike along the west rim of the Crater to Little Hebe and several other craters, before continuing around the rim for a total of 1.5 miles. After conquering the crater, we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch and then visit Salt Creek Interpretative Trail. An easy boardwalk takes us to the Creek, a stream of salty water that is the only habitat of the endangered pupfish. And yes – there’s still more! Since we’re on this side of the park the next logical place to visit is the Mesquite Sand Dunes – spectacular dunes that stretch as far as the eye can see – an excellent time to play in the sand. After enjoying the dunes, we’ll head into the nearby Stovepipe Wells settlement for dinner. If the skies are clear, perhaps one more stop on the way back to the Ranch at the Dunes for a bit of star gazing. A fun day! Overnight Furnace Creek Ranch (B, L, D).
DAY 5
Today we have to head back to our real lives but we’ll do a bit of exploring along the way. On the way out of the park, we’ll stop at another famous spot, Zabriskie Point for a last look over the valley and a chance to get those last geology questions answered. On the way back to Las Vegas there are a couple of other stops possible depending on timing which would include a visit to the Armargosa Opera House in Armargosa and lunch at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge for a last chance to see pup fish. We will return to the Las Vegas Airport by 3:00 and you can either plan to fly out after 5:00 or stick around and try your luck. (B, L)

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "Did this trip meet your expectations?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

Tali’s knowledge of and passion for geology was a big bonus. Without it, Death Valley would just be a visually different place to hike. With it, Death Valley became a place of wonder - formed and reformed over millennials.

Death Valley Delights 2/20/2019-2/24/2019


Wonderful guides who took care of all the details. I really felt taken care of. Beautiful views and such a variety of activities.

Death Valley Delights 2/20/2019-2/24/2019


The highlight was really professionalism with which the trip was organized and run. Everything went well and the issues the weather created were overcome. The gentle but intentional manner in which we were encouraged to bond made the group very cohesive. Even with the disparate personalities and abilities, we all felt like one group.

Death Valley Delights 2/20/2019-2/24/2019


The scenery was my ch more diversified than expected. As usual, the diversity of activities each day was great. Loved the Amargosa Opera House

Death Valley Delights 2/20/2019-2/24/2019


I was surprised by the varied terrain in Death Valley. I thought the time was very well organized, split up with short and long hikes, and different views. It was awesome to have Polly teach us about the geology of the area. And Deb was a superb driver!

Death Valley Delights 2/14/2019-2/18/2019


The hikes that we went on and all the other sights that we saw on side trips.

Death Valley Delights 2/20/2019-2/24/2019


1) Our guides, Karen Rinker and Tali Hunt. Both ensured my (and I'm sure other group members') needs were met: from having unsweetened almond milk (30 calories per serving!) to bringing dinner for me when I was too tired to have dinner with the group...And many more examples in between! AND 2) The group members. Each brought different experiences which they shared...and each were humble and caring.

Death Valley Delights 2/20/2019-2/24/2019


I loved the hiking - it was just the right level for novice hikers - some challenge but not too difficult. I also loved learning about the geography and history of Death Valley.

Death Valley Delights 2/20/2019-2/24/2019


I don’t think this was a novice trip . It was not a level 2. I would have liked longer hikes that weren’t so challenging in terms of heights. Everyone was an experienced hiker except for me and my friend.

Death Valley Delights 2/20/2019-2/24/2019


The beautiful sights, national park amazing.

Death Valley Delights 2/14/2019-2/18/2019


I wish this trip lasted one more day in Death Valley. The hikes were great but artist’s way felt too rushed. I know there is talk of adding Joshua Tree but I wanted more time in Death Valley.

Death Valley Delights 2/14/2019-2/18/2019


Interesting hikes. Good place to stay. The first day had a lot of "van" time which was the primary negative. Loved the Golden Canyon/Gower Gulch hike. Enjoyed the visit to Rhyolite.

Death Valley Delights 3/7/2018-3/11/2018


All of the hikes were informative and enjoyable. There was such a variety of nature

Death Valley Delights 3/7/2018-3/11/2018


Golden Cyn, Gower Gulch hike. Sunrises at Zabriskie Point. The easy camaraderie with all the participants. Personally, I liked the Amargosa Opera House. I didn't see the hotel rooms and I know there is some thought about spending a night there. I think it might be worth a try, but wouldn't want to sacrifice any of the activities in Death Valley.

Death Valley Delights 3/7/2018-3/11/2018


What was great: the hikes were fun and interesting, the overall group on this trip had good energy, and I loved experiencing the national park. Where my expectations / hopes were not met: Overall the time and energy management was poor on this trip. Why spend a night in Vegas? The first day we were "on the go" for 12 hours before we got to our hotel. There was WAYYYYY too much time in the van, getting in and out of the van. The second and third days the gap between breakfast and lunch was 6-7 hours, followed by a rush to do something in the afternoon, then a rush to shower before dinner, then a rush to do.... it was not well managed time wise. Too much stopping so one person could get a picture. I thought there would be more hiking.

Death Valley Delights 3/7/2018-3/11/2018


Jan's hiking tips were very helpful. I've had knee problems and focusing on my stride prevented further pain. I enjoyed equally the canyon, sand dunes and crater. Thali and Jan did a great job planning the hikes, encouraging and teaching how to hike the varied surfaces and scramble over rocks. Stopping at the Amarosa Hotel and Theater was amazing. It would be great to see a show there and stay at the hotel

Death Valley Delights 3/7/2018-3/11/2018


Loved all the tips and the geologic teaching. The vistas were phenomenal

Death Valley Delights 3/7/2018-3/11/2018


Outstanding, knowledgeable guides; fun to learn about the geology

Death Valley Delights 2/15/2018-2/19/2018


All of the hikes were great. The Golden/Gower hike, Badwater Basin and the sunrise outing were my favorites. Also, it was great to take a trip where everything is already planned and all I have to do is show up and participate!

Death Valley Delights 2/15/2018-2/19/2018


I brought a friend who had never done a trip like this, so although I would have enjoyed longer/more difficult hikes, I think it was better that these were easier and shorter and there was a free afternoon for some down time.

Death Valley Delights 2/15/2018-2/19/2018


I loved the park, the scenery, all the hikes. I enjoyed meeting everyone in the group.

Death Valley Delights 2/15/2018-2/19/2018


I realize the renovations to the accommodations were not complete and that was why we ended up at the diner for breakfast and dinner, but the food was actually pretty bad. I was especially disappointed that the "farewell dinner" couldn't have been a nicer arrangement.

Death Valley Delights 2/15/2018-2/19/2018


I really enjoyed the trip. It was well organized with great leaders and our group was very nice and friendly. I also loved Death Valley. I had no idea how beautiful and diverse it would be.

Death Valley Delights 2/15/2018-2/19/2018


Loved all the chosen hikes.

Death Valley Delights 2/15/2018-2/19/2018


Outstanding hiking and sightseeing. Very well planned. Both guides were very competent and enjoyable. The only thing I didn't care for was the lengthy visit to Rhyolite. It is simply not that interesting -- worth a 15 minute drive-through at most. Compounded by the bitterly cold wind, it might have been better to have moved to a Plan B rather than having us sit freezing in a dusty parking area looking at a broken down old building.

Death Valley Delights 2/15/2018-2/19/2018


Outstanding guides and wonderful fellow travelers. I was able to explore a beautiful part of the country that I have always wanted to visit.

Death Valley Delights 2/15/2018-2/19/2018


the company of great women on the trip and the leadership and not having to worry about anything

Death Valley Delights 3/9/2017-3/13/2017


I was there for the geology and good company. Got both!

Death Valley Delights 3/9/2017-3/13/2017


great and fun group of women to travel with, awesome place and geology to see and hike, full moon awesome especially when full moon sets in the morning at sunrise!

Death Valley Delights 3/9/2017-3/13/2017


Moonrises and sunsets in mystical landscapes that I'd never seen before Hiking in canyons, salt flats, a caldera.

Death Valley Delights 3/9/2017-3/13/2017


This was my first trip with AGC and I came alone, the trip did live up to my expectations. Loved Death Valley and all it had to offer. I am going to be looking at more trips for the future.

Death Valley Delights 3/9/2017-3/13/2017


I didn't know what to expect. I was surprised at how beautiful and challenging Death Valley was for hiking. This trip exceeded my expectations.

Death Valley Delights 3/9/2017-3/13/2017


Beautiful scenery, spending time with nice women

Death Valley Delights 3/9/2017-3/13/2017


All of the hikes were great!

Death Valley Delights 3/9/2017-3/13/2017


The only reason the trip was less than perfect was due to weather. The guides made the best of the situation.

Death Valley Delights 2/16/2017-2/20/2017


Just being around different people and seeing different things despite the weather. And being taken care of; Carrie and Karen did a great job.

Death Valley Delights 2/16/2017-2/20/2017


The sand dune hike, the hiking in the canyons. The guides were wonderful.

Death Valley Delights 2/16/2017-2/20/2017


Due to weather conditions unable to do all planned activities.

Death Valley Delights 2/16/2017-2/20/2017


Guides were awesome, especially considering they had to completely rearrange the itinerary due to rain! This was my very first trip of this kind. Loved meeting women from all over the US. I really like the added bonus of our guide having geology background and explaining what we were seeing. The guides did a great job of giving us next day details the night before so we could prepare.

Death Valley Delights 2/16/2017-2/20/2017


Hiking was beautiful, despite the rain. Tour guides worked very hard to find alternative things to do during the rain. Group was friendly and upbeat. Lodging was great.

Death Valley Delights 2/16/2017-2/20/2017


I feel like I did not get as much physical activity as I would have liked.

Death Valley Delights 2/16/2017-2/20/2017


The guides were great as always and both were able to adjust the itinerary due to weather.

Death Valley Delights 2/16/2017-2/20/2017


Beautiful rocky mountains and dunes, good hikes in moderate weather, afternoon alone to soak up the sun and pool. Rain, cool, and clouds made some aspects not as visualized, but seeing erosion in action was unique and fun. Guides were flexible and safety-conscious. All good.

Death Valley Delights 2/16/2017-2/20/2017


  1. Where do we eat?

    Breakfast in Las Vegas and some dinners will be in restaurants where you can order off the menu. Breakfasts in Death Valley and some dinners will be buffets. Lunches will either be packed lunches (guides will put out lunch fixings in the morning) or picnic style.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    If we know well in advance, we can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-sensitive diets. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free diet and we cannot provide a kitchen guaranteed to be free of cross-contamination. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars; and if you are gluten-sensitive, please bring some gluten-free snacks. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  3. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we’ll pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging.
  4. Is this a good trip for a novice hiker?

    It's a great trip for novice hikers. The trails are varied but in good condition and the hikes, while some are challenging, are mostly about 3 hours . You'll also get some basic instruction in foot care, how to use trekking poles, layering etc.
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