We meet at 8am in the lobby of our host hotel in Palm Springs, California near Palm Springs International Airport. We travel north to Pioneertown, explore the Old West motion-picture set before our bike fitting then hop in the saddle for our first ride. We?ll have a gentle climb into Joshua Tree National Park before beginning our ascent to some of the most iconic sections in the Park. We?ll take time to get off our bikes and wander among the Joshua Trees on a few, short walks. We set up our REI Classic Camp for the next two nights tucked away among the iconic boulder piles and enjoy a mouth-watering meal prepared by our guides. Lunch and dinner included. We use primitive cleanup facilities as the Park does not have established shower facilities. Joshua Tree is a designated International Dark Sky Park and puts a whole new spin on sleeping under the stars.
Cycling: 36 miles (3?6 hours, paved road), Elevation gain/loss: +2,204'/-1,731'; Hiking: up to 5.8 miles (optional), Elevation gain/loss: 1,248'; Van transfer: 45 mins
After breakfast in camp, we?ll prepare for the day's ride. We start with a climb to Keys View, where we?ll enjoy spectacular views of the Salton Sea. Afterward, we explore the northeast end of the Park and experience an exhilarating descent (2,700?) to Twentynine Palms, making a stop at the Oasis of Mara before a short shuttle back to camp. If the group likes, we could cycle back to camp instead to extend the ride. Those who need a "real" shower can shuttle to Coyote Corner or freshen up with a bird bath at camp. Another delicious guide-prepared meal awaits before we relax around the campfire, sharing stories of the day?s travels and preparing for tomorrow?s adventure. All meals included.
Cycling: 33 miles (4?5 hours, paved road), Elevation gain/loss: +1,291'/-3,839'; Van transfer: 30 mins
Our next stop is the Coachella Valley. After breakfast and breaking down camp, we saddle up for our roller-coaster ride to the Coachella Valley. Once we make our turn south, we descend through the various "life zones" of this desert environment?areas of similar plant and animal communities. We say our farewells to the majestic joshua trees and find ourselves surrounded by beautiful valleys of ocotillo plants and cholla cacti. Depending on the time of year, we may find the ocotillo in bloom, dotting the landscape with bright, red flowers. When we reach the southern terminus of the park road we'll have descended approximately 4,500 feet into the valley. We load into the van and head back to Palm Springs, where we can make drop-offs at our host hotel or the Palm Springs International Airport. All departure flights should be scheduled for after 6pm. Breakfast and lunch included.
Cycling: 44 miles (5?8 hours, paved road), Elevation gain/loss: +1,879'/-4,489'; Van transfer: 1 hour