As a fitting beginning for our visit to a land of extremes, we’ll assemble in Las Vegas, but escape the city limits relatively early morning of Day 1 as we head to Death Valley National Park. We’ll picnic for lunch at the Oasis, and then continue to the amazing sand dunes near Stovepipe Wells. We’ll hike among the dunes and then return to our lodging, where we’ll spend all five of our overnights.
Early morning of Day 2, we’ll shuttle south beyond Badwater to the fringe of the Black Mountains that rise from the valley floor. We’ll walk through the wash that leads to Willow Canyon, and continue up-canyon along the stream that has emerged from the canyon’s rocky floor. We’ll follow that stream’s cascading course to an unlikely ribbon waterfall that marks our turnaround point (five miles). Later that afternoon, we’ll walk through the salt flats at Badwater and also visit Natural Bridge (three miles).
We’ll head north toward the Funeral Mountains on Day 3, and then we’re off to Stovepipe Wells for a visit to Mosaic Canyon. If you have even the slightest interest in geology, you will be dazzled by the rock and color of Mosaic Canyon. The characteristic pinks and oranges of the predominant dolomite formation are offset by the intense polished white of the metamorphosed marble. Erosion has created a corridor of spectacularly narrow slots in Mosaic Canyon (three-four miles). On the return drive, we stop at Salt Creek to walk the interpretive boardwalk trail and view the Salt Creek Pupfish.
Day 4, we’ll once again head south from the Oasis to the Badwater region. We’ll hike from the Golden Canyon Trailhead along, over, around and through the otherworldly labyrinth of Golden Canyon to the Zabriskie Point overlook for an awesome view of the vast and varied panorama of Death Valley. There is an optional side trip to Red Cathedral on the return. (six-seven miles).
Day 5, we’re headed for the northern reaches of the park. We’ll hike along the rim and into the bowels of both Little Hebe and Ubehebe craters, reminders of Death Valley’s volcanic legacy (four miles). Later we will have a chance to visit the Devil’s Golf Course – no clubs required!
We’ll leave Death Valley on the morning of Day 6 and shuttle to Red Rock Natural Area west of Las Vegas. We’ll hike along First Creek at Red Rock, with its stunning views of the park’s massive red rock formations (four miles), and have lunch in Summerlin, prior to our return to Las Vegas where our Death Valley Hiking Tour concludes.