Death Valley Hiking & Camping | Under 35

Trip Length3 Days
Group Size4–10
Activity level
Starting from
$1,229 for REI Members
$1,429 for non-members
DeparturesOct 2024-Nov 2024

Hit the trail with a group of like-minded adventurers to explore the scenic wonders of Death Valley National Park on this fun-filled 3-day hiking trip designed especially for travelers aged 18–35 (but anyone over 18 can join!).

Death Valley National Park covers over 3 million acres of wilderness, making it the largest national park in the Lower 48. It is a land of contrasts, home to the lowest point in North America and the driest place on the continent. Facts aside, the terrain is otherworldly and offers a variety of unique hiking opportunities for the active traveler: narrow, labyrinthine slot canyons through polished marble and limestone, hidden oases frequented by bighorn sheep, and challenging mining trails that climb to remote desert summits.

Our departures take place in spring and fall, an ideal time to visit due to more temperate weather. This thrilling camping and hiking trip takes place in the heart of Death Valley with Furnace Creek Campground as our home base. Explore hidden narrows, traverse high ridge lines with expansive desert views, and experience the scenic Mesquite Flat sand dunes.

While the days are action-packed, the evenings are spent kicking back at our campsite, enjoying colorful desert sunsets, and savoring the delicious meals prepared by our guides. A perfect long-weekend escape from daily life and a chance to forge new friendships with like-minded peers.

Stroll on the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes in the footsteps of Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Trip Highlights

  • Visit Dante’s View, Badwater, Devil’s Golf Course and more
  • Hike through the colorful badlands of Golden Canyon
  • Camp under starry skies and eat delicious guide-prepared meals
  • Walk in the tracks of C-3PO on the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
  • Stargaze in an International Dark Sky Park

Activities

This trip is rated as Moderate [3]. You should be capable of hiking up to 7 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 7 miles with a 10-15 lbs. daypack, over terrain that incorporates elevation gains and losses of up to 1,800', for consecutive days without major discomfort. Recommended exercises include hiking, jogging, paddling, cycling and/or swimming.

  • Hiking

What's Included

Group camping gear including tents and sleeping pads; meals from lunch on Day 1 through lunch on Day 3; round trip transportation between the group hotel in Las Vegas and Death Valley National Park; van support; expert guide leadership; park entrance fees.

Accommodations

Camping, 2 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Itinerary map for Death Valley Hiking & Camping | Under 35
Day 1

Meet in Vegas before hiking along Dante’s Ridge

Meet your fellow travelers and guides in Las Vegas early this morning. After a scenic three-hour van ride, we begin our first hike in Death Valley National Park. We reach Dante's View at 5,500', then hike along the spine of the Black Mountains with amazing views on both sides. To the west, we look down a vertical mile to Badwater and the Death Valley saltpan, with snow-topped Telescope Peak (11,049') directly across the valley. To the east, we overlook range after range of mountains spilling across the California-Nevada border. After the hike, we continue to Furnace Creek Campground where we set up camp and enjoy a homemade dinner and an evening under the stars. Lunch and dinner included.

Hiking: 5 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,200’ / -1,200’, Terrain: cross-country, primitive hiking trail; Van transfer: 3 hours

Day 2

Explore colorful marble narrows, hike a canyon rim trail, dine on the dunes

Today’s hike is in 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 helps us bypass an unclimbable 25' dry waterfall. This 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 back to the trailhead, stopping to take in the expansive view across Mesquite Flat and Death Valley. Dinner tonight is al fresco among the Mesquite Flat Dunes, the perfect place to stargaze in the country’s largest designated Dark Sky National Park. All meals included.

Hiking: 7 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +/-1,800’, Terrain: cross-country, primitive hiking trail; Van transfer: 1.5 hours

Day 3

Visit Badwater and Devil’s Golf Course, hike Funeral Mountains and the colorful badlands of Golden Canyon, return to Las Vegas

We finish our exploration of Death Valley appropriately with visits 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 often the hottest spot on earth in summer months. Nearby, short, jagged salt pinnacles cluster together to form Devil's Golf Course, a bizarre landscape that stretches as far as the eye can see. Afterward, we have time for one last adventure: Experience the multicolored badlands of Golden Canyon. Hike through a maze of canyons to a viewpoint overlooking the Death Valley saltpan. Our guides take time to point out the landscape's fascinating geological features and enlighten us on the natural history of this unique ecosystem. In the afternoon, we say our goodbyes to this awe-inspiring national park and return to Las Vegas. Breakfast and lunch included.

Hiking: 4 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +/- 600’, Terrain: cross-country, primitive hiking trail; Van transfer: 3.5 hours

Itinerary map for Death Valley Hiking & Camping | Under 35

Gear List

This trip's gear list was created with the input of our knowledgeable and experienced guides. “Required” items are essential for your safety, comfort, and enjoyment; you must bring them in order to fully participate in all listed trip activities. “Recommended” items are things that could enhance your trip experience. “Optional” items are luxuries that may enhance your trip experience and are solely based on personal preference. 


  • Pack essential items such as your REI Adventures trip's Final Bulletin, money, eyewear, medications, small electronics, a change of clothing and hiking boots in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed.
  • 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.
  • 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 the gear list. A fleece jacket and long pants are generally indispensable during early morning hours and at dinnertime when temperatures often drop below 50°F.
  • 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 your preferred blister treatment. Thin liner socks worn under regular hiking socks may minimize the risk of blisters. All socks and liners should be wool or 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.
  • Review the weather forecast for the week you will be in the park, and bring a rain cover and rain gear if inclement weather is indicated.


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.


REI members can shop for gently used gear online or at most REI stores. Members can also trade in pre-loved used gear online or at any REI store in exchange for REI gift card credit. Check out Re/Supply at REI to learn more.

We provide

  • All Group Cooking Gear
  • Group First Aid Kit
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Stoves and Fuel
  • Tent(s)

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.