Death Valley Hiking – Lodge Based

Trip Length6 Days
Group Size4-10
Activity level
Starting from
$3,449 for REI Members
$3,700 for non-members
DeparturesDec 2023-Dec 2024

Six days in the largest national park in the contiguous United States takes us through peaks and valleys and across unforgettable scenery.

Death Valley's rarely-traveled backcountry holds vast beauty. Experience staggering altitude changes and extensive swaths of desert. Explore winding slot canyons with soaring walls of limestone and marble. Take in views of both the highest and lowest points in the contiguous United States. Discover some of the park’s best sights with the guidance of expert, local guides.

Over 90% of Death Valley's 3.3 million acres are designated as wilderness. This amounts to an enormous playground of exquisite desert terrain. On our spring departures, we are fortunate to encounter annual wildflower and blooming cactus as they flourish cheerfully along our hike. During the day, we hike between 5 and 10 miles. At night, we retire comfortably to the well-appointed Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel. Hike through the Funeral Mountains, explore hidden narrows, climb a remote desert peak, and so much more. Death Valley's dramatic vistas are incomparable, making for a trip you won't soon forget.

We also offer a camping-based itinerary of this trip in the spring, which takes advantage of temperate weather and blooming wildflowers.

Voted as one of Outside Magazine's "25 Trips of a Lifetime" - March 2002.

No visit to the desert would be complete without a sunset stroll on the sand dunes.

Trip Highlights

  • Hike in Death Valley National Park amid a remarkable desert landscape
  • Stay at a comfortable hotel, just minutes from the heart of the Park
  • Visit Dante's View, Badwater, Devil's Golf Course, and more

Activities

This trip is rated as Moderate [3]. You should be capable of hiking up to 10 miles (up to 6 hours) per day. The terrain can be rugged and may require some rock scrambling to negotiate.

To maximize your enjoyment of the trip and to avoid sore muscles, we suggest beginning a regular exercise regimen at least 3 months prior to departure. Trip participants should be capable of hiking up to 10 miles with a 10-15 lbs. daypack, over terrain that incorporates elevation gains and losses of up to 2,000', for consecutive days without major discomfort. Recommended exercises include hiking, jogging, paddling, cycling and/or swimming.

  • Hiking

What's Included

Five nights hotel accommodations based on double occupancy; meals from dinner on Day 1 through lunch on Day 6; roundtrip transportation between the group meeting point in Las Vegas and Death Valley national Park; van support; expert guide leadership; park entrance fees.

Accommodations

Hotel, 5 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Itinerary map for Death Valley Hiking – Lodge Based
Day 1

Enjoy Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge and arrive into Death Valley

Our trip begins this morning in Las Vegas, Nevada. After a quick round of introductions we hop into the van for a three hour drive to our hotel in Death Valley National Park. Ash meadows is one of our rest stops along the way where we take a casual stroll along the board walks to stretch our legs and enjoy the wonder of the desert oasis. After arriving at our hotel we have free time to settle into our rooms before we meet for dinner and talk about the upcoming week's itinerary. On our spring (February and March) departures we'll walk a short distance out onto the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes for a sunset picnic dinner. Dinner included.

Day 2

Hike through the Funeral Mountains to colorful badlands

After breakfast, we hike across the foothills of the Funeral Mountains to the multi-colored badlands of Twenty Mule Team Canyon and Golden Canyon. We begin at 1,800' and descend to below sea level through a maze of canyons to a viewpoint overlooking the Death Valley saltpan. Our guides take the time to point out the landscape's fascinating geological features and enlighten us on the natural history of this unique ecosystem. All meals included.

Hiking: 10 miles. Terrain: cross-country through open desert and narrow canyons; some rock scrambling. Elev. gain/loss: 300'/1,900'.

Day 3

Explore colorful marble narrows; hike on a canyon rim trail

Today we drive to a deep, narrow canyon carved into polished marble and colorful mosaics of dolomite. We hike through several sections of narrows before scrambling out of the canyon to a rim trail that takes us around an unclimbable 25' dry waterfall. The rim trail is the gateway to a deep, twisted gorge and another tall, dry fall and grotto. We follow the rim trail high above the canyon as we head back to the trailhead, stopping to take in the expansive view across Mesquite Flat and Death Valley. All meals included.

Hiking: 5 miles. Terrain: primitive hiking trail and gravel wash bottom; some rock scrambling. Elev. gain/loss: 1,500'.

Day 4

Hike at Dante's View gazing down at Badwater and up at Telescope Peak

We'll drive to Dante's View at 5,500' and strike off cross-country along the spine of the Black Mountains, with amazing views on both sides. To the west, we'll look down a vertical mile to Badwater and the Death Valley saltpan, with the snow-covered summit of Telescope Peak (11,049') directly across the valley. To the east, we'll look out over range after range of mountains spilling across the California-Nevada border. (Note: if the weather is too chilly, an excellent alternate hike from the Devil's Cornfield to Salt Creek across the floor of Death Valley will be substituted.) All meals included.

Hiking: 5 miles. Terrain: cross-country, primitive hiking trail. Elev. gain/loss: 1,200'.

Day 5

Travel through Titus Canyon to Death Valley; sunset picnic on sand dunes

A drive of 50 miles over a mostly paved road transports us to Red Pass, where we descend (by van) over 5,000' through the Grapevine Mountains to Death Valley proper. Along the way we stop to climb a stunning desert peak, scrambling up a rocky ridge for an incredible 360 degree view of the surrounding desert, then hike the Titus Canyon narrows – an impressive, deeply entrenched slot canyon. Note: If the weather is too chilly for our peak climb, an alternate lower elevation hike through the Titus Canyon narrows will be substituted. All meals included.

Hiking to peak: 5 miles. Terrain: moderately steep, primitive hiking trail plus cross-country; rock scrambling required for optional summit climb. Elev. gain/loss: 1,800'. Hiking Titus Canyon: 2 miles. Terrain: dirt and gravel primitive road. Elev. loss: 500'.

Day 6

Visit Badwater and the Devil's Golf Course before departing

We finish our exploration of Death Valley appropriately with a visit to Badwater and the Devil's Golf Course. Badwater, at 280' below sea level, is just a few miles from the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere and quite possibly the hottest spot on earth during the summer months. Nearby, the short, jagged salt pinnacles clustered together to form the Devil's Golf Course shape a bizarre landscape that stretches as far as the eye can see. After returning to the van, we say our goodbyes to this awe-inspiring national park and set out on our 3-hour ride back to Las Vegas. Breakfast and lunch included.

Itinerary map for Death Valley Hiking – Lodge Based

Gear List

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.

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Provided by REI

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 1 (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales ( 1 (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.

Trip specifics may change over time. Reviews reflect the version of the trip that was active at the time the reviewer took it. Please review the itinerary as described above and call our team for any additional details.