Death Valley National Park - Lizard Head Cycling Guides
 
101 Bobtail or Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 Phone: 970.728.5891
Email: info@LizardHeadCyclingGuides.com

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

Death Valley National Park

A beautifully desolate landscape

Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America

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.

Dark skies make for excellent star gazing!

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.

Death Valley blooms in March after a wet winter!

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.

  • March 11 to 16, 2018 (Book Now!)
  • March 25 to 30, 2018 (Book Now!) – TOUR OPENED 5 riders needed to confirm departure

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Death Valley Bike Tour: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Tour Length: 6-Days Cycling/5-Nights Lodging

Arrival Town/Airport: Las Vegas, Nevada (McCarran International Airport – LAS)

Meeting Hotel: Baymont Inn & Suites Las Vegas South Strip, 55 E Robindale Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89123 (meeting hotel is not included in tour cost)

Departing Town/Airport: Las Vegas, Nevada (McCarran International Airport – LAS)

Total Miles: 225 to 350 miles

Mileage Range: 43 to 78 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: Add $550 to the Tour Cost for a private room each night of the tour (5 nights).

Tour Includes: 6-days of guide service, 5-nights of lodging, 5-days of meals (except layover day), 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)

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

Lunches: 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!

Dinners: 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.

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: Arrival in Las Vegas

Day 0 is the day before the actual tour starts where guests either drive to Las Vegas, Nevada, or fly into McCarran International Airport (LAS). The meeting hotel will be the Baymont Inn & Suites Las Vegas South Strip (address: 55 E Robindale Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89123) which offers a complimentary shuttle service from the airport and a free shuttle to local attractions. Other adjacent hotels to the Baymont include Residence Inn by Marriott Las Vegas Airport and Hilton Garden Inn Las Vegas Strip South.

PLEASE NOTE: The Day 0 hotel lodging is not included in the tour cost.

Day 1: Red Rock Canyon and Old Spanish Trail
Red Rock Canyon, 14 miles with up to 1,430 feet of climbing
Old Spanish Trail, 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 along Old Spanish Trail 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.

Redrock Canyon, 14 Miles – Elevation Profile: +1430 ft / -1340 ft

Old Spanish Trail, 37 Miles – Elevation Profile: +635 ft / -2570 ft

Day 2: Salsberry Pass to Furnace Creek
Standard, 67 miles with up to 2,870 feet of climbing
E.F.I., 87 miles with up to 4,960 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 Tecopa, CA 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 continue north through the heart of Death Valley 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.

See a time-lapse video of Artist’s Drive starting at 2:22.

Upon completing the ride along Artist’s Drive, it’s just a few miles north to end the day at Furnace Creek and check into our lodging for the night.

Salsberry Pass to Furnace Creek, 67 Miles – Elevation Profile: +2870 ft / -6320 ft

Tecopa to Furnace Creek, 87 Miles – Elevation Profile: +4960 ft / -6520 ft

Day 3: Layover Day with Optional Riding/Hiking
Optional Ride: Dante’s View, 50 miles with up to 5,620 feet of climbing
Optional Hiking: Zazbriskie Point, Golden Canyon, Gower Gulch(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 nearby Zabriskie Point and depending on the group, there are options to hike just a few miles and up to eight miles along the Zabriskie Point Trail, the Golden Canyon Trail, and the Gower Gulch Path.

The 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 25 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 25 miles back to Furnace Creek! Note: This ride is a self-supported ride in the dry desert with no facilities, 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.

Dantes View, 50 Miles – Elevation Profile: +5620 ft / -5620 ft

Day 4: Furnace Creek to Panamint Springs
55 miles with up to 6,020 feet of climbing

 

Today we continue our journey through Death Valley by first riding north, but then turning left to explore the western edge of the park. About 23 miles into the ride we will make a stop at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes to trade cycling shoes for comfortable hiking shoes. We will spend about an hour here exploring the dunes and then get back onto the bikes to continue our journey.

After passing through the small village of Stovepipe Wells, we begin our ascent on the longest climb of the day up to Towne Pass. But before we reach the pass, we will have lunch at the Emigrant Campground which comes at the perfect time to rest the legs, refuel with a gourmet lunch, and re-hydrate with cold beverages. After lunch we continue our assault up to Towne Pass at nearly 5,000 feet in altitude and then enjoy a fast descent to Darwin Wash. Riders then soon find themselves at Panamint Springs Resort, our home for the last two nights of the tour.

Elevation Profile: +6020 ft / -3920 ft

Day 5: Layover Day with Optional Riding/Hiking
Optional Ride #1: Father Crowley Overlook, 16 miles with up to 2,380 feet of climbing
Optional Ride #2: Emigrant Canyon Out & Back, 69 miles with up to 9,610 feet of climbing
Optional Hiking: Darwin Falls (4-6 miles)

 

With a layover day at Panamint Spring Resorts there come options and all activities are on-your-own including lunch. An easier cycling option is a 16-mile out & back ride to Father Crowley Overlook. The more challenging cycling option will be a 69-mile thigh burning out & back ride to Emigrant Canyon which offers an immense 9,600 feet of climbing… and even a few more miles and feet in elevation if you want to climb higher! Since this is an out-and-back route, 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. The suggested hiking is to Darwin Falls which is between 4 to 6-miles in length.

Tonight guides will prepare dinner at Panamint Springs Resort for the last evening of our tour followed by star gazing into the deep, black night time sky.

Optional Ride #1: Father Crowley Overlook, 16 Miles – Elevation Profile: +2380 ft / -2380 ft

Optional Ride #2: Emigrant Canyon Out & Back, 69 Miles – Elevation Profile: +9610 ft / -9610 ft

Day 6: Towne Pass to Rhyolite Ghost Town
48 miles with up to 4,890 feet of climbing

 

The final day of our Death Valley tour has arrived. With a quick shuttle from Panamint Springs Resort to the top of Towne Pass (the E.F.I. option is to add this 13 mile climb to the ride making it a 61 mile day), we embark on a 17-mile long descent losing over 5,000 feet and gaining nearly 0 feet… what a rush! Then from mile point 23 the climbing starts with an ascent up from sea level up to Daylight Pass at over 4,300 feet in altitude over 15 miles which is where we also cross back into Nevada.

However, the final 11 miles will be an easy cruise along the flats to the Rhyolite Ghost Town, where the ride ends and where ghostly exploration begins. Here we will enjoy one last lunch and then shuttle back to Las Vegas to end the tour. What a great week!

Elevation Profile: +4890 ft / -6045 ft

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.

Travel Insurance

Lizard Head Cycling Guides highly recommends clients purchase Travel Insurance through MH Ross Travel Insurance. A policy can be purchased individually through the sales link below or Lizard Head Cycling Guides can also set-up a policy for its clients.

The estimated cost for a 50-year old buying insurance for a $2,500 tour ranges from $100 (standard plan) to about $200 (cancel for any reason plan).

Lizard Head Cycling Guides Custom Sales Portal Link is:

https://www.mhross.com/index.php/consumer/portal/LIZA0855CO

  • The best options for our clients are either the Asset or Bridge plans.
  • The Asset-Plus & Complete plans both include a Cancel-For-Any-Reason option.
    • As a result these plans cost more.
    • The Cancel-for-Any-Reason option is only available when insurance is purchased within two weeks of initial deposit.