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;


  • 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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  • 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


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.

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)
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)
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!
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).
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

  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.