Death Valley National Park - Lizard Head Cycling Guides
 
107 Aurum Street 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.

I just returned form the Death Valley trip, it was wonderful. Peter and Dave were great too, I couldn’t have asked for better guides. I’m looking forward to my next trip with Lizard Head. – Liz

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 25 to 30, 2018 6-Day Tour – TOUR A GO!
  • April 6 to 9, 2018 4-Day TourTOUR A GO!

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Death Valley Bike Tour: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Tour Length: 6-Days Cycling/5-Nights Lodging
4-Days Cycling/3-Nights Lodging also available.

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

Meeting Hotel: See Confirmation Document to confirm meeting hotel.

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 (Total)  for a private room each night of the tour (5-nights). If one is willing to share a room and a same sex roommate is unavailable, room cost is $300.

Tour Includes: 6-days of guide service, 5-nights of lodging, all meals (except for breakfast & dinner on 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 for 6-Day Tour Includes 5-Nights: (subject to change)

Lodging for 4-Day Tour Includes 3-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.

Read more on our Road Bike Rental FAQs page.

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.

PLEASE NOTE: The 4-Day version of the Death Valley Bike Tour is the same as below MINUS the itinerary for Day 1 and Day 5.

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) then stay that evening at the designated meeting hotel.

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 meeting hotel 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: 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.

Standard, 57 Miles – Elevation Profile: +3865 ft / -1085 ft

E.F.I., 103 Miles – Elevation Profile: +4805 ft / -4640 ft

Day 5: Layover Day with Optional Riding/Hiking
Optional Ride: Panamint Range, 45 miles with up to 5,340 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.

Optional Ride: Emigrant Canyon, 45 Miles – Elevation Profile: +5340 ft / -5340 ft

Day 6: 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 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!

Daylight Pass, 32 Miles – Elevation Profile: +4905 ft / -1100 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.