Death Valley Cycling

Trip Length 7 Days
Group Size 4?11
Difficulty
Starting from
$2,349 for REI Members
$2,544 for non-members
Departures Mar 2020-Nov 2020

Experience the serenity and spectacular strangeness of Death Valley National Park on this 7-day cycling adventure.

Join a fully supported small-group tour into the heart of Death Valley, one of the harshest?and most astonishing?environments on Earth. Visit legendary spots like Dante?s View, Zabriskie Point and Badwater Basin, lowest point in North America. Roomy, snack-stocked vans allow you to tailor your ride lengths. Ringed by 11,000-foot mountains, we?ll seek badlands and cinder fields. Alien-looking rock formations. Crystalline salt plains shimmering like a fever dream. No wonder this was a filming location for Star Wars.

Explore the daunting far reaches of this vast park (5,262 square miles) without worrying about logistics or navigation. Guides bring the valley to life with geology, ecology and cultural history. Plus handle cooking and camp chores. Beyond biking, experience dune surfing, oasis swimming, volcanic crater hiking, spectacular stargazing, and old-fashioned campfire hangouts. This is a week to ride, relax and soak in the haunting beauty surrounding you.

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Trip Highlights

  • Spend seven days cycling the dramatic landscapes of Death Valley National Park
  • Discover historic ghost towns, hidden waterfalls, outpost ruins, and volcanic craters
  • Cycle to Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America as well as Dante?s View and Zabriskie Point
  • Watch sun set from some of the park?s famous sand dunes
  • Classic camping under the stars and around the campfires

Activities

This trip is rated Moderate Plus [3-4]. Participants should have cycling experience and be comfortable in the saddle for up to 6 hours per day. Rides consist of both moderate and vigorous cycling days covering 31?66 miles in distance. Vehicle support will be available throughout the trip when needed.

We recommend a conditioning program beginning at least 3 months prior to departure that incorporates rides of at least 30?60 miles. The better cycling shape you're in, the more you'll enjoy all this trip has to offer!

  • Road Cycling
  • Cycling

What's Included

Trek FX 2 Disc flat bar hybrid bicycle or Specialized Allez Elite road bike, with a limited quantity of e-bikes; 2 professional guides; round trip ground transportation from Las Vegas, Nevada; all park fees and permits; tent; sleeping pad; group cooking and camping gear; group first aid kit; all meals as noted in itinerary; snacks, beverages; water, soft drinks, electrolyte mix; saddle bag with emergency tool kit.

Accommodations

Camping; 6 nights

Your wheels for the journey

Every great tour begins with a great bike, and our top-flight fleet has been carefully curated for your cycling adventure.

Want to bring your own bike?  You can do that too.

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Explore a ghost town, go "surfing," and watch sunset over sand dunes used in filming Star Wars.

Meet your guides and fellow travelers at 7am at our host hotel located in Henderson, Nevada (approx. 20 minutes from Las Vegas). A brief orientation ensures we're all prepared before we load into our private van and set out for Death Valley National Park, the largest national park in the contiguous United States. We drive to the far northern corner of Death Valley where we explore the ghost town of Rhyolite. Afterward we?ll be fitted for our bikes and begin our ride through the desert to Stovepipe Wells. We take in our first spectacular views of this vast national park and catch glimpses of the salt flats and sand dunes as we drop nearly 3,000 ft in elevation. After reaching our campground at Stovepipe Wells, we leave our bikes behind and venture out onto the nearby Mesquite Flat dunes for a memorable Death Valley sunset. We spend the next two nights in at Stovepipe Wells. Lunch and dinner included.

Cycling: 31?49 miles, Elevation gain/loss: between +1,084'/-4,886' and +3,228'/-7,025'.

Day 2

Journey through Martian-esque red hills and visit a waterfall oasis.

After breakfast and climbing between three and seven miles of undulating roads (depending on rider desire), we reach the high point of our ride: Towne Pass (4,956'). From the pass we enjoy the fantastic panoramas and rush of a fabulous downhill descent to Panamint Springs. This afternoon, we hike to Darwin Falls, a lovely spring-fed waterfall located in the middle of the desert. Our trail meanders through an oasis of cottonwoods and willows, and includes some easy rock scrambling and stream crossings. We shuttle back to Stovepipe Wells in our van in time to freshen up before dinner tonight. All meals included.

Cycling: 40-60 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +3,205'/-3,416' and +5,342'/-3,416'. Hike (optional): 2 miles, minimal elevation gain/loss. Driving time: <1 hour.

Day 3

Climb the valley?s edge to remote Mesquite Springs. Marvel at vast skies.

Today?s ride will bring you to one of the prettiest campgrounds in all of Death Valley National Park, Mesquite Springs Campground. The sunsets are spectacular, the evenings filled with the constellations among the stars, and the spring wildflower displays are gorgeous. To get there, we will climb north through the valley with along its eastern edge with a sustained, moderate climb throughout the day. The mountains will loom large as your ride will be shadowed in the early and mid-mornings. We end the day with a fun downhill into the campground wondering why so few people visit this area of the park. Freshen up a bit before venturing out along the dunes and ridges on the western edge of the campground. All meals included?.

Cycling: 42 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +2,863'/-1,053'.

Day 4

See sunrise over the eastern escarpment, hike Ubehebe Crater, then cruise to Furnace Creek.

After viewing the sunrise over the eastern escarpment of the valley and a hearty breakfast, we will load up the support vehicle for a quick shuttle over to Ubehebe Crater, a large volcanic crater 600 feet deep and half a mile across. We?ll take a nice short loop hike to stretch our legs before some rewarding cycling miles. Hop back into the saddle and cruise on a mostly downhill ride to Furnace Creek, the epi-center of activity in Death Valley where we will spend the next three nights. Swimming, hiking, restaurant dining, even a round of golf can be had. All meals included?.

Cycling: 60-69 miles, Elevation gain/loss between +958'/-3,765' and +2,999'/-5,809'. Hike (optional): 1.5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 500'. Driving time: 30 minutes.

Day 5

Rest day. Head to Dante?s View in the Black Mountains, hike Salt Creek, or just relax.

Take a break from the saddle today and explore a few new spots on foot. Our guides will shuttle us out to scenic spots such as Dante?s View for gorgeous views and a short walk and Salt Creek where we can learn about the unique desert pupfish. This afternoon, enjoy some relaxing down time and a little pool time at the nearby Oasis at Death Valley Resort. Breakfast and Lunch provided. Breakfast and lunch included?.

Hike (Optional): 1.5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: minimal. Driving Time (Optional): 2 hours.

Day 6

Climb to Artist?s Palette, a surreal tie-dyed canyon. Visit Zabriskie Point.

After breakfast we settle back onto our bikes and ride from camp to some of Death Valley?s best highlights. We tackle the challenging climb up Artist Drive to Artist?s Palette where the reward comes in the form of a 9-mile patchwork of multicolored hills. Next, we venture onward to Zabriskie Point, one of the most famous viewpoints in the park. Tonight, we gather back in camp for a celebratory dinner on this final night of our journey together. All meals included?.

Cycling: 33 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 3,013'.

Day 7

Marvel at strange salt flats at Badwater Basin and the Devil?s Golf Course. Picnic at Gold Rush ruins.

Our memorable and last ride day leads us to iconic Badwater Basin. At 282 feet below sea level, it?s the lowest point in North America. Our route is a dramatically scenic one as it slices through a landscape flanked by multi-hued geological formations that reflect dusty pinks, sea greens, ashy purples and moody browns. In springtime, roadside meadows are dotted with colorful wildflowers that add more pops of color to the surroundings. We walk out to explore the salt flats and unique salt formations and crystals formed as the result of evaporation and erosion. After a short break, we will push on toward Ashford Mill Ruins, the site of an old gold processing facility and kiln, where we savor a tasty picnic lunch prepared by our guides. Those looking for some additional climbing can continue up the road that leads out of Death Valley. We?ll pick you off the road so that time allows for the return trip to Las Vegas with a planned arrival time of 4:30pm. Please do not schedule a departing flight from Las Vegas prior to 6:30pm. Breakfast and lunch included?.

Cycling: 46 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,366'/-1,247'. Driving Time: 2.5 hours.

Gear List

This gear list has been created to help you choose the best equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, as this will help you and the field staff. The weather and other conditions at the time of your arrival will dictate what clothing and equipment you will be required to use each day and what (if anything) can be left behind. It may be a necessary precaution that you bring certain items on the list, even if it is uncertain whether or not they will be needed.

Collection of selected R E I Co-op cycling merchandise and snacks laid out to pack for a bike tour

What to pack

You might also consider

Travel documents

  • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
  • Final Bulletin (emailed prior to departure date)

Contact Us

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 REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.