Death Valley Hiking
Death Valley's seldom-traveled backcountry offers a variety of unique hiking opportunities for the active traveler: narrow, labyrinthine slot canyons cut through polished marble and limestone; hidden oases frequented by desert bighorn sheep; and challenging mining trails that climb to remote desert summits. By far the largest national park in the contiguous United States, over 90% of Death Valley's 3.3 million acres is protected as designated Wilderness Area. Adventurers invariably return home from a trip to the Park amazed by the scenic and geological diversity contained within this remarkable desert landscape.
REI Adventures now offers two unique ways to experience Death Valley:
Camping — (March - April)
On our spring departures, our scenic campsite is in a secluded wilderness location - sometimes just getting to camp is an adventure! The camp, at the foot of the Funeral Mountains, will act as our base for the entire week allowing us to spend more time exploring and less time packing up and moving. Our schedule allows for hiking excursions to many of the park's geological highlights and our temperate springtime departures are timed to catch Death Valley's cacti and wildflowers in bloom.
Hotel-based — (October - March)
On our new fall and winter departures, we'll stay at the comfortable Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel, located just a few miles from the Mesquite Flat Dunes in the heart of Death Valley National Park. We'll explore this vast park with our top guides, using our comfortable hotel as a base. Hikes on the hotel-based departures will be identical to the hikes on camping departures.
Voted as one of Outside Magazine's "25 Trips of a Lifetime" - March 2002.
Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance.
Death Valley Hiking Itinerary:
Day 1 You'll be loving life in magnificent Death Valley National Park! Enjoy dinner and an orientation with your guides and fellow hikers.
Day 2 Hike through the Funeral Mountains to the colorful badlands of Twenty Mule Team Canyon and Golden Canyon.
Day 3 Marvel at the polished marble walls and narrows of Mosaic Canyon. Hike on a canyon rim trail with expansive views across Death Valley.
Day 4 Begin hiking at Dante's View, gazing down at Badwater (280' below sea level) and up at snow-capped Telescope Peak (soaring to 11,049').
Day 5 Travel through Titus Canyon to Death Valley proper, stopping to hike up Thimble Peak along the way. Sunset sand dune picnic tonight!
Day 6 Visit Badwater and the Devil's Golf Course (two of the Western Hemisphere's lowest points) before saying goodbye to this magical park.
Although we do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control, including weather and terrain conditions.
Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate the trip.
If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the full single supplement noted on the trip itinerary. If you wish to share accommodations, we will assign you a roommate/tentmate if one is available. If a roommate/tentmate cannot be found, you will be asked to pay a reduced single fee which is half of the full single supplement. Please be advised that there are a limited number of single rooms available on most departures.
If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will assign a tent mate if one is available. If you specifically desire a single tent or we are unable to assign a tent mate, we will do our best to provide you with a single tent for a minimal additional fee.
Meals as noted in the daily itinerary; roundtrip transportation from/to designated Las Vegas hotel; van support; expert guide leadership; depending on your departure date we provide either group camping gear including tents (bring your own sleeping bag/pad) or hotel accommodations; park entrance fees.
Airfare; 1 lunch; sleeping bag and pad (camping departures); insurance of any kind; excess baggage charges; airport taxes; alcoholic beverages; soft drinks; guide gratuities and items of a personal nature.
This trip is rated as Moderate  and we encourage you to arrive in good physical condition. The terrain we hike over can be rugged and may require some rock scrambling to negotiate. We generally hike at least 3 - 6 hours per day. To maximize your enjoyment of the trip and to avoid sore muscles, we suggest beginning a regular exercise regimen at least 2 - 3 months prior to departure. Recommended exercises include hiking, jogging, cycling and/or swimming. The better shape you are in, the more fun you will have. Get out on those hills if possible! Note: On spring camping departures, we are in the backcountry and will not have access to flush toilets or showers on a daily basis. We will have a "shower stop" at least twice during the trip. We will also be stopping at a small market with groceries, soft drinks, batteries, sunscreen, flush toilets, etc. at least every other day.
Fall and winter daytime temperatures in Death Valley generally range in the 60s and 70s with nighttime temperatures dropping into the 30s and 40s. In early spring, daytime temperatures at lower elevations can reach 90°- 100°F. On our spring camping departures, while we do spend time exploring the warmer valley floor, our campsite and some of our hikes are above 1,500' where temperatures generally range from 50°- 90°. Spring nighttime temperatures are usually in the 40s-60s but can occasionally drop into the 30s. Weather in Death Valley is unpredictable so please arrive prepared to experience a wide temperature range. Very little rainfall can be expected but suitable raingear is essential nonetheless.
This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).
We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.
Death Valley Hiking
The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Try to bring only what is necessary—this will help you and the field staff. Although the name Death Valley conjures images of extreme heat in many people's minds, springtime in the desert can bring a variety of weather conditions including some rainfall and, at higher elevations, even snow! These extremes should prompt you to pack some warmer clothing in addition to the lightweight clothing already on your list. A fleece jacket and long pants are generally indispensable during early morning hours and at dinnertime when temperatures often drop below 50° F.
- Stoves and fuel
- Cooking and eating utensils while camping
- Airline tickets
- Photo identification
- Duffel bag, large or extra large
- Daypack, 1500-2500 cu. in. to carry your camera, water bottles, extra clothing and lunch
- Sleeping bag with stuff sack (rated to 30° F), lightweight and compressible
- Sleeping pad (Therm-a-Rest or foam)
- Sleeping bag liner
- Bring a few lightweight, easily washable items for travel wear
- Midweight fleece or wool sweater
- Lightweight thermal underwear top and bottom, synthetic or wool
- Hiking pants, synthetic, quick-drying
- Hiking shorts, synthetic, quick-drying
- Long-sleeve shirts
- T-shirts (cotton and synthetic)
- Hiking socks
- Liner socks
- Casual socks
- Sun hat
- Wool or fleece hat
- Thin liner gloves
- Swimsuit (for pool at shower facility)
- Rain jacket (waterproof and breathable)
- Sturdy hiking boots, lightweight, broken-in, aggressive tread
- Casual shoes such as tennis shoes/sandals
- Three one-quart water bottles or hydration system
- Flashlight or headlamp and spare batteries/bulb
- Pocket knife or pocket tool
- Watch with alarm or travel clock
- Hand sanitizer gel
- Sunblock and lip balm
- Toiletry kit
- Personal first-aid kit
- Sunglasses and retainer strap
- Small washcloth and small towel
- Baby Wipes (very handy!)
- Several Ziploc plastic bags
- Camera, media card and spare batteries
- Small binoculars
- Ear plugs
- Spare contact lenses or glasses
- Small freestanding flashlight/lantern for use inside your tent
- Reading and writing materials
- Knee supports
- Travel pillow
- Hiking staff or trekking poles
Things to Consider
- Please remember to always pack essential items such as appropriate identification, money, eyewear, a change of clothing, hiking boots and medications in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed.
- Cotton is wonderful in warm weather. However, once it becomes wet, it will drain your body heat. Bring wool or synthetics such as Capilene®, MTS® and Thermax®.
- Always test your layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding and bunching up.
- Make sure boots are broken-in. Bring moleskin for foot treatment. Thin liner socks worn under regular hiking socks may minimize the risk of blisters. The liner sock should be synthetic, not cotton. Test your sock combination before you go on the trip.
- Stuff sacks are great for sorting gear. Use different sizes/colors to differentiate contents.
- Bring a garbage bag to line your duffel bag and keep your gear dry should inclement weather be encountered.
Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.