Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park is a formidable place with an unforgiving environment. This below-sea-level desert basin is a land of steady drought, ragged mountains, salt flats, extreme temperatures and endless sands. However, this is also a place of intense and almost supernatural beauty that must be experienced first hand.
Lizard Head Cycling Guides has created a tour through this wondrous terrain during perhaps the most magical time of the year – early spring when the potential for a colorful bloom of rare wildflowers can occur after a “wet” winter bringing life to this seemingly lifeless wasteland. The weather in late March is spectacular in Death Valley with warm, dry days in the upper 70’s to low 80’s and cool, clear nights in the mid 50’s, perfect for star gazing. This is an ideal tour to get the body moving again after a winter off the bike and to get a leg up on early spring conditioning.
Plan to join us in March 2018 for our inaugural tour through Death Valley National Park and be prepared to be amazed!
Death Valley Bike Tour: Highlights
International Dark Sky Park
Death Valley National Park is designated as a Certified IDA International Dark Sky Park. The skies here are affected by only the smallest amounts of light pollution classifying it at the highest level of IDA designation and star-filled skies, the “Gold Tier”. Astronomical objects seen there are available only to some of the darkest locations across the globe.
The Early Spring “Super Bloom”
It does not happen every early spring, but every now and then after a “wet” winter Death Valley comes to life in what is called a “super bloom” where a seemingly dead landscape explodes with millions of wildflowers of all varieties totally transforming the desert into a kaleidoscope of color.
☛ Read this Bicycle Times article The Mirage: Cycling Death Valley and learn why cycling in Death Valley is like heaven on Earth.
Death Valley Bike Tour: Dates
Potential tour dates are listed below and not all tour dates will run. Lock in your preferred tour date early as unopened tour dates will be closed. Please see the Spring/Autumn Tour Calendar and the Summer Tour Calendar for confirmed departures. Any unopened date can be a Custom Week (9 riders required). Please contact us via email or call 970.728.5891
2018 Early Spring Tour Dates:
Early spring tours are generally considered training camps. Fellow riders will have few miles in their legs, so don’t let the overall tour mileage worry you. Take it one day at a time and you’ll finish stronger and happier then before.
Death Valley Bike Tour: Overview
Tour Length: 6-Days Cycling/5-Nights Lodging
Arrival Town/Airport: Las Vegas, Nevada (McCarran International Airport – LAS)
Departing Town/Airport: Las Vegas, Nevada (McCarran International Airport – LAS)
Total Miles: 205 to 365 miles
Mileage Range: 32 to 103 miles
Ability Level: 2/3 (Intermediate to Advanced). The daily mileage on this tour is very customizable, so if you are looking for less daily miles this early in the season, then take a bump ahead on nearly any day of this tour.
Tour Cost: $2,750 per person. Group discount of $200 per person for groups of 4 or more.
Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.
Single Room Supplement: $550 for a private room each night of the tour.
Tour Includes: 6-days of guide service, 5-nights of lodging, 5-days of meals (except layover day in Furnace Creek), forest service fees, daily lunch while en route, energy food, liquid refreshments, shuttles and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental and massage are additional.
Lodging Includes 5-Nights: (subject to change)
- Night 1: Delight’s Hot Springs Resort, Tecopa, CA (elevation 1,339′)
- Nights 2 & 3: Furnace Creek Inn and Ranch Resort, Furnace Creek, CA (elevation -190′)
- Nights 4 & 5: Stovepipe Wells Village, Death Valley, CA (elevation 10′)
Road Bike Rental: Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent Scott CR-1 Pro and Scott Solace carbon road bikes with full Shimano Ultegra components for only $250/week, or $150 for 3 or 4 day tours. Both the CR-1 and Solace models are sub- 17 lb comfortable, high performance bicycles geared for climbing hills. In addition we also have electric bikes available for rental at $375/week. And finally we have a selection of straight bar road bikes and kids bikes in our rental fleet. Just let us know what you need and we can probably find it.
Please also see this blog post for more information on bike rentals.
Electric Bike Rental: We now have a limited selection of SCOTT electric bikes that can be reserved for our tours. These are road bikes with straight bars that make the slowest rider the fastest rider in the group. Rental Price is $375/week.
Couples Bike Rental Discount: Sign up as a couple and receive one free bike high performance rental per couple ($250 value).
Tandems and Recumbents: Lizard Head Cycling Guides happily accommodates both tandem and recumbent bikes on its tours.
Meals On Tour
Lizard Head Cycling sources our favorite restaurants in each town that we visit. Our guides focus on establishments that offer fresh and local ingredients. Guests choose whatever they desire to eat off the menu: including appetizer, salad, entree and of course dessert... yum! Also, while on tour if a guest wants to dine early before the group and go to bed, this is fine. We understand that on some days sleep is the most important post ride element.
Lunches on Tour: Lizard Head Cycling Guides prepares healthy lunches to keep you going. We will serve you fresh organic fruits and veggies, salads, hummus, sandwich fixings, nuts, gourmet cheeses and of course plenty of salty/sweet snacks such as chips and cookies. We pride ourselves on being able to cater to specific dietary requests, so rest assured that you will be able to get the nutrition that works for you during the week. Gluten Free, Dairy Free or a someone who loves it all – we will keep you well fed during the tour!
Overall Route Map
Death Valley Bike Tour: Itinerary*
*Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Please view this itinerary as an outline as to what to expect on this tour.
Day 0 (Saturday): Arrival in Las Vegas
Guests either drive to Las Vegas, Nevada, or fly into McCarran International Airport (LAS) on the day prior to the tour start early on Sunday morning. The meeting hotel will be the Baymont Inn & Suites Las Vegas South Strip (address: 55 E Robindale Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89123) which offers complimentary shuttle service from the airport and a free shuttle to local attractions.
PLEASE NOTE: The Saturday evening hotel lodging is not included in the tour cost.
Day 1 (Sunday): Red Rock Canyon and Emigrant Pass
Red Rock Canyon, 14 miles with up to 1,430 feet of climbing
Emigrant pass, 37 miles with up to 635 feet of climbing
On this first day, we gather early morning at the Baymont Inn in Las Vegas to load bikes and gear into the support van and trailer. We then shuttle a short distance west to begin the first of two rides today at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area – an area of beautiful red rock formations and sandstone peaks that is best enjoyed from the saddle of your bike as you gently pedal through the park.
After a 14-mile ride through the conservation area, we exit the park to end the first ride with a gourmet lunch and then shuttle a short distance to begin our second ride of the day over Emigrant Pass during which we ride from Nevada into California. This 37-mile long ride is almost all descending through the Nopah Range Wilderness Area and we soon find ourselves completing our riding for the day in the small California desert town of Tecopa.
Our accommodations this evening are at the Delight’s Hot Springs Resort where guests can relax and unwind in the natural hot springs. A perfect ending to a great day!
Day 2 (Monday): Salsberry Pass to Badwater, Death Valley
Standard, 65 miles with up to 2,875 feet of climbing
E.F.I., 86 miles with up to 4,955 feet of climbing
Today is the day that we ride into Death Valley and there will be two options for riding today. The E.F.I. (Every Freaking Inch) option will start from the resort where the first 20 miles will be a gradual climb to help loosen the legs. The Standard option will shuttle those first 20 miles to start at the top of Salsberry Pass. However, both options will enjoy a 15 mile screaming descent into Death Valley!
Once we reach the valley floor, the route meanders north through otherworldly rock formations until we reach Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America at nearly 280 feet below sea level. Here guides will prepare lunch while guests can take the short hike out into the salt flats. After lunch we are back on the bikes heading north and soon divert onto the incredibly beautiful Artist’s Drive – a one-way road through an alluvial fan of very colorful rock formations caused by the oxidation of different metals.
After Artist’s Drive it is a mere five miles to end the day at the desert oasis of Furnace Creek, our home for the next two nights.
See a time-lapse video of Artist’s Drive starting at 2:22.
Day 3 (Tuesday): Layover Day with Optional Riding/Hiking
Optional Ride: Dante’s View, 48 miles with up to 5,430 feet of climbing
Optional Hiking: Golden Canyon, Gower Gulch, & Badlands Loop (3-8 miles)
With a layover at Furnace Creek, guests are on-their-own today for all meals and activities with options to ride, hike or enjoy the resort. The recommended unsupported hiking today will start from the nearby Golden Canyon trail head and depending on the group, there are options to hike just a few miles and up to eight miles along the Golden Canyon, Gower Gulch and Badlands Loop.
The recommended unsupported cycling option will be an out-and-back ride from Furnace Creek to Dante’s View where the first half is an HC (beyond category) climb for 24 miles gaining over a mile in altitude, but the climbing is worth it as the view of Death Valley from Dante’s View is simply stunning! In fact it is from here where the original Star Wars movie filmed the view of the Mos Eisley spaceport on the fictional planet Tatooine. When you are done admiring Dante’s View, the best part of the ride is the vertical mile descent along those same 24 miles back to Furnace Creek! Note: This is a self-supported ride in the dry desert, so make sure to carry extra water and snacks. We also recommend getting out as early as you can to beat the heat of the afternoon.
Those looking simply to relax today at the resort can enjoy themselves at the putting green, perhaps play some bocce ball or shuffleboard, or simply relax by the outdoor swimming pool. This laid back resort offers a sense of calmness to restore the body and soul.
Day 4 (Wednesday): Ubehebe Crater
Standard, 57 miles with up to 3,865 feet of climbing
E.F.I., 103 miles with up to 4,805 feet of climbing
Today is the Queen Stage for the E.F.I.’ers! With up to 103-miles and a reasonable amount of climbing on tap, today will certainly be a challenge. For those looking to do less mileage, a 57-mile ride will be offered. Since this is a long day, we need to start early from Furnace Creek by pedaling our way north towards Ubehebe Crater – a half mile wide, 500 foot deep volcanic maar crater formed some 2,000 to 7,000 years ago.
At Ubehebe Crater, guides will prepare lunch while guests take a short hike to explore the rim. Following lunch, those on the E.F.I. ride reverse course and head south towards Stovepipe Wells where the ride will end. Those on the lower mileage course will load into the support van to make the journey.
Tonight and tomorrow night we stay at Stovepipe Wells Village, another small oasis in this arid desert.
See a time-lapse video from Beatty, Nevada, over Daylight Pass and to Ubehebe Crater.
Day 5 (Thursday): Layover Day with Optional Riding/Hiking
Optional Ride: Panamint Range, 45 miles with up to 5,235 feet of climbing
Optional Hiking: Mosaic Canyon (4 miles) or Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes (2 miles)
With another layover day comes options and once again, all activities are on-your-own. A ride up into Emigrant Canyon is suggested as well as hiking at nearby Mosaic Canyon and/or Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. The suggested hiking at Mosaic Canyon is 4-miles in length and the suggested hiking at Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes is 2-miles in length.
The suggested ride for today will be in the shadow of the Panamint Range which is home to Telescope Peak, the highest point in Death Valley at 11,043-feet. However, you will not be riding that high as we go only partially up the road leading to Telescope Peak. Since this is an out-and-back 45-mile long route with nearly a mile of elevation gain, those on the ride can go the full distance, or turnaround earlier if they are looking for less mileage and climbing. Note: This is a self-supported ride in the dry desert, so make sure to carry extra water and snacks.
Day 6 (Friday): Daylight Pass to Rhyolite Ghost Town
32 miles with up to 4,905 feet of climbing
The final day of our Death Valley tour has arrived and although it is only 32 miles in length, this ride will certainly be demanding given that we will climb from sea level to Daylight Pass at over 4,000 feet in altitude in the first 20 miles where we also cross back into Nevada. However, the last 12 miles will be an easy cruise along the flats to the Rhyolite Ghost Town, where the ride ends.
Here we will enjoy one last lunch and then shuttle back to Las Vegas to end the tour.
Death Valley Bike Tour: Logistics & FAQs
General Tour & Cancellation Policies
Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with all of our tour and cancellation policies, which can be found by clicking here.
Lizard Head Cycling Guides teams up with Seven Corners for travel insurance. Seven Corners offers:
- Travel Medical
- Medical Evacuation
- 24/7 Assistance
- Trip Cancellation
Be sure to go to our custom Seven Corners portal by clicking this link or by clicking the the banner on the right after confirming your tour with us to get a quote on travel insurance.