Premier Death Valley Hiking Company

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Death Valley Basecamp Tour

Highlights

  • Discover the best of Death Valley National Park
  • Splash in the splendid waterfalls of Darwin Canyon
  • Hike in four stunning mountain ranges
  • Visit remote ghost towns while uncovering Death Valley’s storied mining history
  • Walk through towering, slot-canyon "narrows"
  • Return to our basecamp in Furnace Creek each night for refreshing showers, and delicious camp-cooked meals
  • Savor a sunset picnic on the secluded salt flats of Badwater Basin
  • Sleep under the clearest night sky you've ever seen
  • Enjoy our exceptional service and amazing backcountry cuisine


Description

With six mountain ranges, 3,000 square miles and 93% wilderness, Death Valley National Park is best discovered in a pair of hiking boots.

Death Valley is a place like no other. Discover purple lava flows, lush waterfalls, and red rock amphitheaters. Explore spooky ghost towns, experience a fun, four-wheel-drive excursion through secluded Titus Canyon, and savor delicious, camp-cooked meals – all in the largest National Park in America’s lower-48.

We’ll spend our days hiking the park’s most incredible mountains and canyons. And at night, we’ll rest easy in comfortable basecamp tents under a stunning blanket of stars that adorns some of the darkest skies in the United States. Join us for this Death Valley Tour of a lifetime.

Please note: If you want to get out hiking this winter, Death Valley is a great place to do it (Death Valley climate info).



 

Photos of this Trip

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Shuttle to Death Valley: 3 hours
Hiking Mileage: 3.4 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 680 feet
Accommodations: Furnace Creek Campground (or equivalent in the same area)


This multi-day Death Valley hiking trip begins with pick up in the morning from your Las Vegas hotel. From there we’ll embark across the open desert on our drive into Death Valley National Park. Our first hike of the trip will be into fabled Twenty Mule Team Canyon. In the late 19th century, these ridiculously large mule teams hauled incredible ten-ton loads of borax some 165 miles across the desert to the nearest train depot. These were perhaps history’s largest loads ever pulled by animals. And while the operation lasted just 6 years, the Twenty Mule Teams gained enduring fame in the iconographic landscape of the Old West.



Hiking up Twenty Mule Team Canyon, we’ll pass through the ruins of the impressive Monte Blanco Borax Mine before continuing up-canyon though the scenic badlands.

After our introductory hike, we’ll drive back into the center of the park to famed Badwater Basin. At 282 feet below sea level, this is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere, the hottest, driest place in North America and a Death Valley must-see. In this surreal environment, we’ll take a stroll onto the fabled salt flats and enjoy fantastic views of the surrounding mountain ranges.

We'll eventually head to our campground, set up camp and relax by the campfire to indulge in a feast of a dinner prepared by your guide.


Day 2

Drive Time: 4 hours
Hiking Mileage: 6 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 1000 feet
Accommodations: Furnace Creek Campground (or equivalent in the same area)


With hikes of both a peak and a canyon, a scenic four-wheel-drive excursion and two ghost towns, today is certain to be an exciting day!

We’ll start our morning with a drive out of the park to visit the incredible ghost town of Rhyolite. In 1905 this desert valley enjoyed a gold rush so rapid that by 1907 the freshly-formed town had two railroads, three local newspapers, a stock exchange, an opera house and public baths. By 1908, the gold deposits were judged to be overvalued, and an epic crash ensued. Today, Ryolite is home to a few wild burros and some of the most terrific town ruins in the American West.

After bidding the burros farewell, we’ll drive back over the park boundary onto primitive Titus Canyon Road. An adventure in itself, this four-wheel-drive track is a wonderful way to experience the incredible geology and pre-historic rock art of the surrounding Grapevine Mountains. We’ll stop along the way to check out the Leadfield ruins -- our second ghost town of the day -- and then enjoy a hike at least partway up Thimble Peak. As we crest the narrows near the top of Titus Canyon Road, we’ll enjoy expansive views of the Grapevine Mountains and, on a clear day, be able to see all the way to the Sierra Nevada.

For our final adventure of the day, we’ll embark on a hike up secluded Fall Canyon, over its dramatic dry falls and through its incredible narrows. After our hike we’ll retire back to camp for optional swimming and/or showers and a hearty dinner. Today is often considered the highlight of this Death Valley tour, and our trip is just beginning.


Day 3

Drive Time: appx 3 hours
Hiking Mileage: 6+ miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 700 feet
Accommodations: Furnace Creek Campground (or equivalent in the same area)


Waking up early a quick café breakfast, we’ll make the short drive to embark on the famed Golden Gulch Golden Canyon Loop. While this is one of the more popular hikes in the park, our crisp morning departure will afford us some solitude and will be the best time to enjoy the canyons’ fantastic color patterns. Hiking through rugged narrows and along secluded washes, we’ll complete the four-mile loop back to our vehicle and make the drive to the Panamint Valley and the entrance to Darwin Canyon – an ecological island in an otherwise arid environment.

As we make our way up the canyon, we’ll be greeted by an overwhelming diversity of vegetation, including golden evening primrose and prince’s plume. We’ll keep an eye out for orchids along the shaded creek bank beneath the calming willows.

Less than a mile in, we’ll come to the first, and most spectacular waterfall. Darwin Falls plunges 18 feet from a sliver in the rock above to the refreshing emerald pool at our feet.

For those who are up for more adventure (optional), we'll climb another 1/4 mile up the canyon to a stunning view of a 100+ foot waterfall snaking its way down a sheer cliff into pools below. (This optional, additional climb is rugged and very steep in places.)

After our wonderful day communing with the water, we’ll drive back to camp for dinner, celebration and reflection on our incredible journey.


Day 4

Hiking Mileage: 7-10 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: minimal
Shuttle to Las Vegas: 4 hours


For our final morning in Death Valley, we’ll enjoy one last outdoor breakfast, break camp and depart for the day's adventure. We'll visit the southern end of the park while we’ll hike to a spring and mining settlement in one of the secluded side canyons tucked into the stunning Black Mountains. Retracing our steps back to the vehicle, we’ll drive back to Las Vegas and return you to your hotel for celebration and reflection on an amazing journey.


Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary park restrictions, campsite availability, weather, road closures, guest ability/injury, and natural events like fires and flooding.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and day pack
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • Daily shower and pool passes at the wonderful Furnace Creek Ranch warm springs pool (walking distance from our camp)
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Death Valley hiking guide
  • Comprehensive, roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Las Vegas and back
  • All necessary entrance fees and permits
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Waterbottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)
See the Packing Lists page for more information.


Meals: What To Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.


Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:
  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware sleeping bags
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Satellite phone


What Gear To Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are three 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.


What Clothes to Bring

Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots (reliable brands include Montrail, Lowa, Merrell, Vasque, and Salomon), rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Ready to hike? Simply click here and complete the form to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 48 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).

Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!


Where Do We Meet?

This trip originates in Las Vegas, Nevada. Your guide will be in contact approximately 10 days before the trip start date to coordinate the pre-trip orientation, which will be at 5:00 PM at a hotel in Las Vegas. We're happy to give you a ride to this meeting if you're staying at one of our recommended hotels. Your guide will then pick you up at your hotel the next morning for transport to the trailhead. For Private Death Valley Tours your guide will meet you at your hotel in Las Vegas at an agreed upon time.


Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day's pick-up time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).


Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.


Guides

Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.


Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on this trip is 4 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum of 10 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:
  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis


Weather in Death Valley

Death Valley encompasses an area with extreme elevation and climate variations. It is home to the lowest point in the United States: Bad Water Basin at 282 feet below sea level. Its highest point, Telescope Peak, is 11,049 feet high, a 11,331 ft difference!! Most of our trips focus on the lower elevations, and feature comfortably moderate winter temperatures, and warm-hot Spring/Fall temperatures. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). Read below for average high and low temperatures in the lower sections of Death Valley:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
         
 
Month
Low
Hi
 
 
January
40°
67°
 
 
February
46°
73°
 
 
March
55°
82°
 
 
April
62°
91°
 
 
October
62°
93°
 
 
November
48°
77°
 
 
December
38°
65°