A Death Valley hiking tour is the perfect antidote to the winter blahs and one of the best warm winter vacations in the United States! The skies are clear and sunny (but not too hot!) and the hiking is excellent. In addition to unique ecology and engaging human history, there is fascinating geology that our guides will help us understand. We'll visit the deserted ruins and famous 'bottle house' of the Rhyolite Ghost Town, a salt water river in the desert, the lowest point in the whole US, and an old volcanic crater. If you long to put away your down jacket and put on your shorts, feel warm sun on your deprived skin, and be totally immersed in a place that has a mythic status for many of us, join us for five days as we explore one of our newest National Parks. By the end of the trip you'll have higher Vitamin D levels and a whole new appreciation of this unique landscape. Maximum group size: 12
This trip is designed for any active woman who wants to explore Death Valley. This is an excellent trip for novice hikers. The hikes, while providing both variety and challenge, are moderate in length, and the guides will provide tips and instruction so that by the end you will be a confident hiker. A rating of 2 is suitable for any woman who regularly walks at a brisk pace 3 to 4 days a week for 35 - 45 minutes. Rating: 1  3 4 5.
On this trip we combine hiking with learning about the unique geology and fascinating human history of the area. In addition to hiking, you'll explore the very different geology of Golden Canyon, Mesquite Sand Dunes, Bad Water Basin and Ubehebe Crater. A visit to Rhyolite will give you insight into the human drama and mining history of Death Valley.
We'll start with one night at a hotel in Las Vegas and then spend three nights at Oasis at Death Valley. We will be staying in the deluxe rooms, which have French doors leading to small patios adjacent to the park/pool area, two queen beds, air conditioning, hair dryers, in-room coffee makers, TV, phone, full private bath and mini refrigerator.
Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.
This was my first trip so I tried to not have too many expectations, except to get to hike with other people who enjoyed hiking.
I had never been to a desert environment before and it was stunningly beautiful and incredibly varied. Loved the day we spent at Golden Canyon-Gower Gulch. Our picnic lunch at Manly Peak had incredible views that I won’t ever forget. Two fabulous guides, Tali and Chris, and a wonderful group of women made this a truly memorable trip.
The scenery was spectacular and, for me, spiritually moving. Because of the climate crisis and my despair over what is happening to the natural world, to spend several days in a landscape that has taken such a geological and meteorological beating and emerged, not only surviving, but beautiful --has been incredibly reassuring.
Climate and geology
Highlights of the trip were watching the sun rise over the park, seeing the incredible night sky, and hiking out of the volcano crater. Please see question 2 for discussion of ways the trip could and probably should be improved.
Loved the beautiful scenery - totally different from Virginia. Hiking was great - a little difficult in places but not bad. Beautiful weather - sun and 80 degrees.
Highlights included the scenery and hiking and most especially the company. I’ve made more friends through this trip. Women I will keep up with going forward. The guides were absolutely wonderful. Tali and Chris were easy going, organized, encouraging. I want to come back to Death Valley. Phenomenal trip. No failed expectations. It hit all the right notes and so was very typical of an AGC trip. And on a wonderful end note we got off the shuttle at the Vegas baby! Airport and a woman noticed our adventure luggage tags. She was so excited. One of us. One of us. She’s been on 7 trips. I think maybe we are now a cult. We’re everywhere!
Tali’s knowledge of and passion for geology was a big bonus. Without it, Death Valley would just be a visually different place to hike. With it, Death Valley became a place of wonder - formed and reformed over millennials.
Wonderful guides who took care of all the details. I really felt taken care of. Beautiful views and such a variety of activities.
The highlight was really professionalism with which the trip was organized and run. Everything went well and the issues the weather created were overcome. The gentle but intentional manner in which we were encouraged to bond made the group very cohesive. Even with the disparate personalities and abilities, we all felt like one group.
The scenery was my ch more diversified than expected. As usual, the diversity of activities each day was great. Loved the Amargosa Opera House
I was surprised by the varied terrain in Death Valley. I thought the time was very well organized, split up with short and long hikes, and different views. It was awesome to have Polly teach us about the geology of the area. And Deb was a superb driver!
The hikes that we went on and all the other sights that we saw on side trips.
1) Our guides, Karen Rinker and Tali Hunt. Both ensured my (and I'm sure other group members') needs were met: from having unsweetened almond milk (30 calories per serving!) to bringing dinner for me when I was too tired to have dinner with the group...And many more examples in between! AND 2) The group members. Each brought different experiences which they shared...and each were humble and caring.
I loved the hiking - it was just the right level for novice hikers - some challenge but not too difficult. I also loved learning about the geography and history of Death Valley.
I don’t think this was a novice trip . It was not a level 2. I would have liked longer hikes that weren’t so challenging in terms of heights. Everyone was an experienced hiker except for me and my friend.
The beautiful sights, national park amazing.
I wish this trip lasted one more day in Death Valley. The hikes were great but artist’s way felt too rushed. I know there is talk of adding Joshua Tree but I wanted more time in Death Valley.
Interesting hikes. Good place to stay. The first day had a lot of "van" time which was the primary negative. Loved the Golden Canyon/Gower Gulch hike. Enjoyed the visit to Rhyolite.
All of the hikes were informative and enjoyable. There was such a variety of nature
Golden Cyn, Gower Gulch hike. Sunrises at Zabriskie Point. The easy camaraderie with all the participants. Personally, I liked the Amargosa Opera House. I didn't see the hotel rooms and I know there is some thought about spending a night there. I think it might be worth a try, but wouldn't want to sacrifice any of the activities in Death Valley.
What was great: the hikes were fun and interesting, the overall group on this trip had good energy, and I loved experiencing the national park. Where my expectations / hopes were not met: Overall the time and energy management was poor on this trip. Why spend a night in Vegas? The first day we were "on the go" for 12 hours before we got to our hotel. There was WAYYYYY too much time in the van, getting in and out of the van. The second and third days the gap between breakfast and lunch was 6-7 hours, followed by a rush to do something in the afternoon, then a rush to shower before dinner, then a rush to do.... it was not well managed time wise. Too much stopping so one person could get a picture. I thought there would be more hiking.
Jan's hiking tips were very helpful. I've had knee problems and focusing on my stride prevented further pain. I enjoyed equally the canyon, sand dunes and crater. Thali and Jan did a great job planning the hikes, encouraging and teaching how to hike the varied surfaces and scramble over rocks. Stopping at the Amarosa Hotel and Theater was amazing. It would be great to see a show there and stay at the hotel
Loved all the tips and the geologic teaching. The vistas were phenomenal
Outstanding, knowledgeable guides; fun to learn about the geology
All of the hikes were great. The Golden/Gower hike, Badwater Basin and the sunrise outing were my favorites. Also, it was great to take a trip where everything is already planned and all I have to do is show up and participate!
I brought a friend who had never done a trip like this, so although I would have enjoyed longer/more difficult hikes, I think it was better that these were easier and shorter and there was a free afternoon for some down time.
I loved the park, the scenery, all the hikes. I enjoyed meeting everyone in the group.
I realize the renovations to the accommodations were not complete and that was why we ended up at the diner for breakfast and dinner, but the food was actually pretty bad. I was especially disappointed that the "farewell dinner" couldn't have been a nicer arrangement.
I really enjoyed the trip. It was well organized with great leaders and our group was very nice and friendly. I also loved Death Valley. I had no idea how beautiful and diverse it would be.
Loved all the chosen hikes.
Outstanding hiking and sightseeing. Very well planned. Both guides were very competent and enjoyable. The only thing I didn't care for was the lengthy visit to Rhyolite. It is simply not that interesting -- worth a 15 minute drive-through at most. Compounded by the bitterly cold wind, it might have been better to have moved to a Plan B rather than having us sit freezing in a dusty parking area looking at a broken down old building.
Outstanding guides and wonderful fellow travelers. I was able to explore a beautiful part of the country that I have always wanted to visit.
the company of great women on the trip and the leadership and not having to worry about anything
I was there for the geology and good company. Got both!
great and fun group of women to travel with, awesome place and geology to see and hike, full moon awesome especially when full moon sets in the morning at sunrise!
Moonrises and sunsets in mystical landscapes that I'd never seen before Hiking in canyons, salt flats, a caldera.
This was my first trip with AGC and I came alone, the trip did live up to my expectations. Loved Death Valley and all it had to offer. I am going to be looking at more trips for the future.
I didn't know what to expect. I was surprised at how beautiful and challenging Death Valley was for hiking. This trip exceeded my expectations.
Beautiful scenery, spending time with nice women
All of the hikes were great!
The only reason the trip was less than perfect was due to weather. The guides made the best of the situation.
Just being around different people and seeing different things despite the weather. And being taken care of; Carrie and Karen did a great job.
The sand dune hike, the hiking in the canyons. The guides were wonderful.
Due to weather conditions unable to do all planned activities.
Guides were awesome, especially considering they had to completely rearrange the itinerary due to rain! This was my very first trip of this kind. Loved meeting women from all over the US. I really like the added bonus of our guide having geology background and explaining what we were seeing. The guides did a great job of giving us next day details the night before so we could prepare.
Hiking was beautiful, despite the rain. Tour guides worked very hard to find alternative things to do during the rain. Group was friendly and upbeat. Lodging was great.
I feel like I did not get as much physical activity as I would have liked.
The guides were great as always and both were able to adjust the itinerary due to weather.
Beautiful rocky mountains and dunes, good hikes in moderate weather, afternoon alone to soak up the sun and pool. Rain, cool, and clouds made some aspects not as visualized, but seeing erosion in action was unique and fun. Guides were flexible and safety-conscious. All good.