Death Valley National Park - Lizard Head Cycling Guides
   
107 Aurum St, Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 970.728.5891 info@LizardHeadCyclingGuides.com

Death Valley National Park

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Please click here to jump to the Overview section with all tour details including pricing.

Death Valley Bike Tour: Highlights

Our Death Valley National Park bike tour rides through a formidable landscape. It is a below-sea-level desert basin surrounded by ragged mountains, salt flats, extreme temperatures and endless sands. Death Valley is also a place of almost supernatural beauty that must be experienced first hand.

Lizard Head Cycling Guides has created a tour through this wondrous terrain. In the late winter and into early spring a colorful bloom of rare wildflowers can occur after a “wet” winter bringing life to this seemingly lifeless wasteland. The weather in February and March in Death Valley is generally warm and dry with temperatures in the upper 70’s to low 80’s and cool, clear nights in the mid 50’s. The dark night skies in Death Valley are perfect for star gazing.

The Death Valley bike tour is an ideal tour to get the body moving again after a winter off the bike.

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 National Park

A beautifully desolate landscape

Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America

Beautiful warm weather in late winter and early spring!

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 can bloom in March after a wet winter!

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

Early Spring 2020 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.

NOTE: The 4-Day tour starts on the 3rd day of the 6-Day tour.

Death Valley Bike Tour: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Tour Length: 6-Days/5-Nights | 4-Days/3-Nights

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

Meeting/Ending Hotel: Home2 Suites by Hilton Las Vegas Strip South, 7740 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89123, (702) 710-7740. The Home2 Suites offers transportation to and from McCarran International Airport.

NOTE: Meeting Hotel and Ending Hotel reservations and costs are NOT included unless specified otherwise. Guests are on-their-own to make reservations at the Meeting Hotel or Ending Hotel, or other nearby hotels.

Total Miles: 225 to 350 miles (6-day tour) | 190 to 275 miles (4-day tour). For extra mileage, E.F.I. (Every Freaking Inch) options exist on most days there is a morning shuttle to the ride start.

Mileage Range: 24 to 73 miles

Ability Level: Intermediate (2/3)   to Upper Intermediate (3)  

Tour Cost: The 6-Day tour is $2,790 per person and the 4-Day tour is $1,895 per person.
Group discount of $200 per person for groups of 4 or more on the 6-day tour only. Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.

Non-Riding Spouses & Partners on Tour: If a non-riding spouse or partner would like to join you on tour and they have their own transportation, they can stay in your room for the cost of the tour's single room supplement. Non-Riding spouses and partners can join a tour's meal plan of three meals a day for $85 per day.

Holiday Discount: Take $150 off 6-Day 2020 Road tours plus a $50 bike rental discount, or $100 off 2020 MTB tours for reservations made thru December 15, 2019. (NOTE: Western US tours only; this discount is not stackable with other discounts)

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.

6-Day Tour Includes: 6-days of guide service, 5-nights of lodging, all meals (except for breakfast, lunch, & dinner on Day 3 and except for breakfast & lunch on Day 5), 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)

NOTE: Meeting Hotel and Ending Hotel reservations and costs are NOT included unless specified otherwise. Guests are on-their-own to make reservations at the Meeting Hotel or Ending Hotel, or other nearby hotels.

4-Day Tour Includes: 4-days of guide service, 3-nights of lodging, all meals (except for lunch & dinner on Day 1 and except for breakfast & lunch on Day 3), forest service fees, daily lunch while en route, energy food, liquid refreshments, shuttles and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental and massage are additional.

The 4-day tour does not include lodging the night before the tour starts (Day 0) in Pahrump, Nevada. Guests are on-their-own to make travel arrangements to Pahrump, Nevada and hotel reservations in Pahrump, Nevada. We recommend the Holiday Inn Express & Suites or the Best Western Pahrump Oasis.

Lodging for 4-Day Tour Includes 3-Nights: (subject to change)

NOTE: Meeting Hotel and Ending Hotel reservations and costs are NOT included unless specified otherwise. Guests are on-their-own to make reservations at the Meeting Hotel or Ending Hotel, or other nearby hotels.

Death Valley Weather and What to Wear

Death Valley is called the land of extremes and from our experience, this is very true! Weather in March can range from near freezing morning temps (30-40°F) towards the beginning of the month to higher afternoon temps (80-90°F or higher) towards the end of the month. There can also be passing rain and/or snow squalls, but being as dry as Death Valley is there is typically little to no accumulation and it dries out very quickly. The wind is another factor as we have experienced gusts 20-30 MPH or greater. The sun is glaringly hot, especially when you are exposed in the open valley.

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” – Old Norwegian Saying

We recommend that you pack for dressing in layers so that you can peel them away during your ride as the air warms up. With regular aid stations en route, you can stow your peeled layers in the support vehicle as you move along. Make sure to bring a light rain jacket – a packable one that you can carry with you is a good idea in the event of a sudden squall or for wind protection. Arm and leg warmers are a good idea as well. We will have plenty of sunscreen, but pack some extra and make sure to bring lip balm with a UV protectorate. Also pack some foam ear plugs which help cut down the wind noise and preserve your sanity on those gusty days.

While you do not need to pack EVERYTHING, simply pack wisely with the expectation of varied weather that can and will change on a daily basis. Overall the weather in Death Valley is generally pleasant in March and that is why we run our tours at that time of year, but being well prepared is the best prevention and it will make your tour more enjoyable.

Ability Level: Can I Ride This Tour?

Definition of Ability Levels
= Intermediate (2/3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 1 to 3 times a week for a total of 50 or more miles.
= Upper Intermediate (3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 2 to 4 times a week for a total of 75 or more miles.
= Advanced (3/4) Rides and/or takes spin classes 3 to 5 times a week for a total of 100 or more miles. Has ridden multi-day tours and done a century ride.
= Expert (4) Rides 4 or more times per week totaling 150 or more miles. Rides E.F.I. with regularity. Has done numerous multi-day tours, century rides and races.

How Fit do I Have to Be?
If one month prior to the tour, you can ride 2 to 3 times a week equalling a total of 75 or more miles a week, you'll do just fine. We like to jokingly say that "one is ready for a Lizard Head Cycling Tour when they are finished with tour" and this is true! The only way to simulate a week long bike tour is to go on a week long tour.

Our average rider age is 55 years. These are bike tours, not races so we take our time to stop, take pictures and see the sights. We have all day to reach our destination and most riders take "bumps" at some points. We offer reduced mileage options for each day. Of course if someone wants to ride E.F.I. (Every Freaking Inch), we love to show them all the extra climbs, loops and hidden canyons that can be included!

Do the Bump!
Daily mileage options allow cyclists of varying abilities to enjoy this tour. One of our favorite options is to give cyclists a "bump" via the support vehicle, or a 10 to 20 mile lift down the road representing an hour of pedal time. After the bump the rider is "off the front" and riding at his or her own pace without feeling they are being left behind the group. They'll then have time to linger and take in the spectacular scenery. All cyclists come together in time for lunch. Afterwards, cyclists can take another bump and/or continue riding.

Seamless Mileage Options
Lizard Head Cycling Guides designs multiple mileage options for each tour – something we're well known for in our business. This technique is similar to heliskiing in that one does not ski everything, they ski the best. :-)

Slow or Fast?
Many cyclists who sign up for our tours have worried themselves silly about not being able to keep up, but then they're surprised to find that all the worrying was about nothing. They do just fine! Slow and Fast only exist relative to other cyclists. Speed does not matter as long as one is moving on the bike. As long as one is moving, they are truly going fast enough.

If you have questions about your ability to ride this tour, please contact our office via email or call us at 970.728.5891 - we'll more than happy to guide you!

Please also see this blog post for more information.

Bike Rental

Road Bike Rental: In 2020 Lizard Head Cycling is renting a fleet of Scott Addict 10 carbon road bikes for only $250/week, or $150 for 3 or 4 day tours. The Scott Addict offer full carbon frames, Shimano Ultegra components, 34x32 low gearing, 32mm tires, and disc brakes. Altogether, the Scott Addict provides a smooth and comfortable ride for our guests. Rental bikes include pump, tools, and spare tubes. NOTE: Bike rentals can be limited, so please reserve in advance.

Please also see this blog post for more information on bike rentals. If you need more info on our bike rentals, please email info@lizardheadcyclingguides.com or call 970.728.5891

If you liked your bike rental, you can take that bike home! Please see this page for more information.

Electric Bike Rental (E-Bikes): 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. Pedal bikes only, E-Bikes excluded).

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 includes the itineraries for Day 3 through Day 6.

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) for the 6-day tour, or travel to Pahrump, Nevada for the 4-day tour.

6-Day Tour: After arriving in Las Vegas, guests stay that evening at the designated meeting hotel and the tour starts early the following morning with a short shuttle to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Note: The Night 0 meeting hotel on the 6-day tour is not included in the tour cost.

4-Day Tour: Guests are on-their-own to make travel arrangements to Pahrump, Nevada and lodging reservations in Pahrump, Nevada on Day 0. If flying into Las Vegas, Enterprise offers one-way rentals to Pahrump and at the end of the tour we will shuttle you back to your car in Pahrump or to Las Vegas. The tour starts at 7:00 AM the following morning where we will meet you at your hotel in Pahrump to shuttle into Death Valley to begin the tour. Note: The Night 0 hotel on the 4-day tour is not included in the tour cost.

Day 1: Red Rock Canyon and Old Spanish Trail
Red Rock Canyon: 21 miles with up to 1,750 feet of climbing
Old Spanish Trail: 28 miles with up to 650 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 13-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 in California. The Old Spanish Trail was an early 600+ mile long trade route between Taos, New Mexico and southern California through some of the most arduous terrain in the region. This 28-mile long ride is almost all descending through the Nopah Range Wilderness Area where we soon find ourselves completing our riding for the day in the small California desert town of Shoshone.

Red Rock Canyon, 21 Miles – Elevation Profile: +1750 ft / -1750 ft

Old Spanish Trail, 28 Miles – Elevation Profile: +640 ft / -1880 ft

Day 2: Salsberry Pass to Furnace Creek
Standard: 62 miles with up to 1,500 feet of climbing
E.F.I. – Shoshone to Furnace Creek: 83 miles with up to 3,030 feet of climbing
Lower Mileage – Salsberry Pass to Badwater: 44 miles with up to 750 feet of climbing

Today is the day that we ride into Death Valley National Park. After a short early morning shuttle from Shoshone, California, we start the riding from the heart of the Amargosa Range and into the park where riders are rewarded with a 14 mile screaming descent into Death Valley! There are also E.F.I. (Every Freaking Inch) and Lower Mileage options for today’s ride, but all routes enjoy this incredible drop 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 to finish off the last 17 miles and end the day at Furnace Creek to check into our lodging for the night. Enjoy a well deserved and refreshing dip in the spring fed pool before dinner!

Salsberry Pass to Furnace Creek, 62 Miles – Elevation Profile: +1500 ft / -4970 ft

Day 3: Layover Day in Furnace Creek
Optional Ride – Dante’s View: 50 miles with up to 5,620 feet of climbing
Optional Ride – Artist’s Palette: 25 miles with up to 2,350 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 optional hiking today can be just a few miles and up to eight miles along the Zabriskie Point Trail, the Golden Canyon Trail, and the Gower Gulch Path.

There are two cycling options with the first being a very challenging 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 screaming descent along those same 25 miles back to Furnace Creek!

The second ride will be along the floor of Death Valley with some short but steep climbing. Starting from Furnace Creek, riders will back-track part of the route from the previous day’s ride, but then 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. Descending through the narrow canyons on a narrow strip of beautiful pavement is a ride you will soon not forget!

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

Note: Both rides are self-supported 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 late morning and afternoon.

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

Artists Palette, 25 Miles – Elevation Profile: +2350 ft / -2345 ft

Day 4: Ubehebe Crater
Standard: 55 miles with up to 3,575 feet of climbing
Lower Mileage: 42 miles with up to 2,050 feet of climbing
E.F.I.: 74 miles with up to 3,990 feet of climbing
SUPER E.F.I: 103 miles with up to 4,800 feet of climbing

With longer mileage options and a reasonable amount of climbing on tap, today will certainly be more of a challenge than previous days. Since this is an out and back ride, there are many options for both E.F.I. riders and those looking for less miles. This being a long day, we need to start early from Furnace Creek with a morning shuttle and then by pedaling our way north towards Ubehebe Crater – a half mile wide, 500 foot deep volcanic maar crater (a volcanic crater caused by an explosion which occurs when groundwater comes into contact with hot lava or magma) formed about 2,000 years ago.

After Ubehebe Crater and lunch at the Grapevine Ranger Station, riders head back south to end where the ride started . E.F.I. riders continue on to Stovepipe Wells where their ride will end. Those doing lower mileage can load into the support van at one of the various aid stations to complete 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 Ubehebe Crater, 55 Miles – Elevation Profile: +3575 ft / -3575 ft

Day 5: Layover Day in Stovepipe Wells
Optional Ride: Panamint Range Out & Back, 45 miles with up to 5,340 feet of climbing
Optional Hike: Mosaic Canyon (4-6 miles)

With another layover day comes options and once again, all meals (except dinner!) and activities are on-your-own. A ride up into the Panamint Range is recommended for those that are looking for a challenging climb as well as hiking at nearby Mosaic Canyon which is between 4-6 miles in length.

The recommended 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 you 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.

Guides will prepare an early evening dinner before sunset with a hearty meal cooked over a campfire followed by an sunset excursion to the Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes to view the ethereal golden hour light cast over the dunes and then marvel at the star filled night sky.

Panamint Range Out & Back: 45 Miles – Elevation Profile: +5340 ft / -5340 ft

Day 6: Daylight Pass to Rhyolite Ghost Town
27 miles with up to 4,950 feet of climbing

The final day of our Death Valley tour has arrived and although it is only 27 miles in length, this ride will certainly be demanding given that we will climb from sea level to Daylight Pass at over 4,300 feet in altitude in the first 16 miles after which we soon cross back into Nevada. However, the last 11 miles will be an easy cruise with a fast downhill followed by a smooth straight road along the flats to the Rhyolite Ghost Town, where the ride ends and ghostly exploration begins.

Here we will enjoy one last lunch and then shuttle about 2.5 hours back to Las Vegas to end the tour. What a great week!

Daylight Pass, 27 Miles – Elevation Profile: +4950 ft / -970 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.
 

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