Explore the diverse sights of Death Valley National Park in the company of an expert guide with this active and educational week in the desert. In addition to visiting the park's canyons and viewpoints, you’ll learn about the area's geology and remarkably hardy flora and fauna. After each day’s exploration, take advantage of Death Valley's designation as an "International Dark Sky Park" with some of the world's best conditions for stargazing. 

Highlights

  • Take in panoramic desert views from Zabriskie Point at sunrise
  • Walk the rim of Ubehebe Crater, formed by a huge volcanic explosion
  • Stargaze in one of the only International Dark Sky Parks in the country
  • Learn about native flora and fauna in the Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival into Las Vegas, Nevada Las Vegas
Day 2 Badwater Basin & Harmony Borax Works Furnace Creek
Day 3 Dante’s View, Salt Creek & Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes Furnace Creek
Day 4 Titus Canyon & Ubehebe Crater Furnace Creek
Day 5 Sunrise at Zabriskie Point & Golden Canyon Furnace Creek
Day 6 Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge / Return to Las Vegas  

Detailed Itinerary

Days 1 & 2: Arrival, Badwater Basin, and Harmony Borax Works

Exploring Badwater Basin
Exploring Badwater Basin

Arrive in Las Vegas, Nevada for a welcome orientation before a group dinner—and, if you wish, a night out on the town. The next morning, you'll get an early start and head across the border to California and the entrance of Death Valley National Park. Enjoy a short walk at Badwater Basin, a saltwater flat at 282 feet below sea level, making it the lowest place in North America and the 8th lowest spot on Earth. You will be surrounded by the Panamint Range rising above 11,000 feet. After a quick stop at the visitor center, we will enjoy time at Harmony Borax Works to learn about the mining industry that put this region on the map.

Day 3: Dante’s View, Salt Creek & Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

Views from Telescope Peak
Views from Telescope Peak

One of the highlights of Death Valley is Dante’s View, providing panoramic views of the park including Telescope Peak the highest point in the park. While at the lookout point, take in the work of millions of years of constant erosion that led to the formation of the park’s famed alluvial fans.

After an afternoon siesta, we continue our exploration at Salt Creek to learn about pupfish, which are endemic to Death Valley and have adapted to survive in the park’s harsh environment. Before dinner take a stroll through the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes which can reach heights of 100 feet. This evening, see firsthand why Death Valley is recognized as a Dark Sky Park with an opportunity to do some stargazing.

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Day 4: Titus Canyon & Ubehebe Crater

Titus Canyon glowing in the sun
Titus Canyon glowing in the sun

We continue our geological exploration of the park with a visit to Titus Canyon including a short hike to marvel at the rock stratifications formed over millions of years. The canyon also offers the opportunity to see the elusive chuckwalla, a lizard that has the unique defense mechanism of inflating itself in the cracks of rocks, so predators cannot pull them out. After a picnic lunch, explore the 500-foot-deep Ubehebe Crater, formed by a massive volcanic explosion, with a walk along the rim. As we make our way back to our hotel we will keep a lookout for any possible seasonal wildflower displays.

Day 5: Sunrise at Zabriskie Point & Golden Canyon

Hiking through Golden Canyon
Hiking through Golden Canyon

Watching the sunlight slowly illuminate the mountains from Zabriskie Point at sunrise is a real treat. After breakfast back at the hotel, we venture out for another short hike through the multi-hued walls of Golden Canyon and along the slopes of the Gower Gulch for views of the badlands region of the park. In preparation for our trip to Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, your on-tour expert will do a short presentation this afternoon on the desert pupfish of the region. Enjoy one last sunset right from your room before a farewell dinner.

Day 6: Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge / Return to Las Vegas

Farewell to Death Valley
Farewell to Death Valley

After breakfast, we head out of the park as the morning light begins to hit the bottom of the valley on our way to Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. We will visit the visitor center to learn a bit more about this unique refuge for the pupfish and many other species in the middle of the desert.

Before returning to Vegas we will make a stop at the small sub-unit of Death Valley National Park located in Ash Meadows, Devil’s Hole. This unit is home to a species of pupfish that was threatened with extinction by groundwater pumping for farming and a proposed housing development that was halted by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to protect the world’s rarest fish. Take an evening flight or extend your stay in Vegas and the surrounding area including Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire State Park.