Death Valley "Road Trip" and hikes (3 hiking days)

You will need to leave the Bay Area early Monday in order to get to Death Valley by Monday evening.

Death Valley in the spring!

I've traditionally lead this hike for New Years, but this year we'll do spring trip as well. Spring in Death Valley is generally the most popular time, due to potential for wildflowers, and temperatures that are warming up but not yet stifling. Like most Death Valley trips, there is no predicting what the weather will be (well, you can be fairly certain about it if you go during July), so we may or may not be able to see blankets of wildflowers.

Please read this description completely before you RSVP.

You can see reviews/photos from 2009 or 2010 or 2011, 2012 and 2013. This trip has a few short hikes each day, but also plenty of driving each day to get to our destinations (Death Valley is a big place).

Important: Meet on our first hiking day, Tuesday, at our campsites in Texas Spring, at 8:00 AM. If you are staying at Furnace Creek, we'll have a sign at the entrance to Texas Spring identifying our campsites, but likely they will be in the upper, far left side, in the campsites[masked] range.

Here's the tentative plan:

Monday, April 21: Drive to Death Valley. The drive from the Bay Area is[masked] miles, and can take 8-12 hours, depending on your speed and number of stops you take. Carpools are recommended. People can either camp (Texas Spring) or stay in a hotel (Furnace Creek Ranch), or in there are less expensive hotels in Beaty, Nevada (about an hour away).

Tues April 22: Morning, leaving about 8:00: We'll brave the dues in the morning when temperatures will be lower and the sun may be at lower angles. Sand dunes, Devils Cornfield, Historic Stovepipe wells (hike into dunes, others sites are car accessible). Lunch on the road (bring food, or you can pick up food at Stovepipe Wells). Afternoon: Mosaic Canyon (easy hiking, but some "butt-scooting" along slippery rocks). I've done this every trip, and it's not to be missed.

Wed April 23: Again, hoping for an early start around 8:00. Nevares Springs (5.3 miles, 1,630 feet elevation gain, "moderate") and/or Nevaras Peak (9.0 miles, 3,650 feet elevation gain, "difficult") hike. This will be an exploratory hike; I haven't done it before, but it looks like a good hike. We'll first hike to the springs, which are a short detour off the trail. Then, after visiting the springs (which flow at 330 gallons per minute), we'll head back to the trail and those who have had enough can walk back down the wash to the cars (for a total of about 5.3 miles). Those doing the 5.3 mile hike will be on their own on the way down. The more adventurous of us will continue up to Nevaras Peak (another 2,000 feet of climbing and a total of 9 miles)

Thurs April 24: Not sure yet, I hope to confirm this by mid-February. Possibilities include Morning: Historic dune at Beatty Junction (brief car stop), followed by drive to Ubehebe Crater, short hike in that area. Lunch on the road. Afternoon: Scottie's Castle (ticketed) Tour, short hike in the area. Morning: Artists Canyon, Ventifact Ridge, Badwater. Lunch on the road. Afternoon: Open. Perhaps a hike up Willow Canyon to see the waterfalls (or maybe a hike down the canyon from the top. Evening: Group dinner at Furnace Creek Ranch restaurant for those who desire.

Fri April 25: Drive home. Some cars may want to stop at the Trona Pinaccle Tufa towers, just off the main road.

Details:

At nights, most of us  will be staying in the Furnace Creek area, which has both camping and motel rooms at the Furnace Creek Ranch (Furnace Creek Inn is just down the street for those who want more luxury). Each morning we'll carpool to our hikes--we'll aim for a moderate hiking pace, but leave no one behind--this is a hiking group, so I'll assume everyone understands that this is not just car-touring. I'll be posting some files (camping, park map, etc.) below for people to look at, or you can visit the Death Valley National Park web site. Others

Map: Here's a Google map showing the camping/hotel area, as well as some hikes we may make: http://tinyurl.com/deathvalleygeologyhike

Hikes: Hikes are always tentative: Road conditions, number of 4WD's available, etc. may change our plans. We may decide on longer hikes, or multiple shorter hikes, driving between them (there are many 1-2 hour hikes in the park). If we have cars with "high clearance," we can get down a few roads that are a bit too bumpy for most cars; but we'll probably not go down 4-wheel drive roads (unless everyone has 4WD, and even then we'll likely avoid the really rough ones). Bring containers to carry plenty of water (the park recommends 1/2 gallon per half-day).

Camping: Camp sites hold up to 8 people and 2 cars--some are "pull through" others are "walk-in, tent only". Texas Spring has water, sinks, and flush toilets, but no showers. Furnace Creek Ranch offers shower and pool access for $5/day. Camping is first-come, first served (non-reservable), so we'll ask the first person to arrive to reserve two or three campsites (depending on number of RSVPs). If, for some reason, we get there too late and can't get a reservation, Furnace Creek Campground (right across the street, but not as nice as Texas Spring) has 135 sites and won't sell out, so we won't be left without a site. Bring a sturdy tent: One year in a daytime windstorm several tents got blown around.

Motel: If you want to stay in the Furnace Creek Ranch or the FC Inn (a pricier resort, also in the area), make your own reservations now Furnace Creek does sell out! If you want to share a room, leave a comment below stating your desires/preferences. Other alternative: Stovepipe Wells Village is a bit less expensive, and only about 30 miles from Furnace Creek area. Another much less expensive motel option is to stay in Beatty, Nevada. This is about 45 miles away (in 2009 a couple people stayed here), but the roads are mostly straight, but you do pass through a mountain pass. Google Maps estimates the drive at 1 hour 13 minutes, which I suspect is a bit longer than needed.

Food: We'll work out the details on food in early April, but plan on having at least your own lunches that you can take with you on hikes (we may coordinate breakfasts and dinners, for those who are interested-, but everyone is welcome to just bring their own). There is a restaurant at Furnace Creek for those inclined to dine in.

Weather: Can be chilly at nights; may have some rain but not likely too much. http://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/weather.htm The days can reach 90's, although likely to be in the 70's in the mornings and 80's in the afternoons. Be ready for a wide variety of weather, but not likely major rainstorms.

Cost: Each participant will be responsible for:

Their own transportation cost, or helping with gas if they carpool

Camping ($18/site/night) or motel (2 queen=$169/night). This year I'm adding about $5 to the registration fee to cover the campsites. If you aren't camping, I'll return your $5 on the first day.

Death Valley NP entrance fee ($20/car)

Their own food (some may be shared).

$30 contribution from each person for to help me with Meetup fees and a general "thank you" to me (total, not per day). You must pay to RSVP, and this is non-refundable--so only sign up when you know you can go. This trip doesn't "fill up."

If you are bringing more than two people, just RSVP for two (paying $60 total) and in your RSVP mention how many others you are bringing.

Cell phone reception: Is getting better, although most coverage maps I've seen show a big dead spot in Death Valley. In 2011 most of us could make calls/text messages from Texas Spring/Furnace Creek, but there are no guarantees how good it will be. Hopefully it's improving every year. Your best bet when trying to reach people in Death Valley is text messaging, since the party you are trying to reach may not have cell reception at the same time you do.

If you expect to be reachable during this trip, you must be able to text on your phone. It will be very difficult to make phone calls to each other. Do not leave voicemail messages for others--if you get a voicemail, hang up and send a text message.

Notes:

I love Racetrack Playa, but we've done it three years in a row, and will likely skip it this year.If there is a sub-group that wishes to go there, it's an hour down washboard roads and you're welcome to take a car or two down there. If there has been rain on the Playa recently, you will not be allowed to walk on it (footprints take years to disappear).

Please don't RSVP until you know you can make it. The trip won't fill up, so you don't have to worry about beating others to get a space.

If you want to fly, you can fly to Las Vegas for a little over $200 round trip, then rent a car for $45-55/day. Las Vegas to Furnace Creek is about 120 miles, so you can drive for two hours instead of 9-12.

I may add other notes here as I think of them

Other links

Road conditions (Click the "Morning report" near the bottom. Some roads are closed now, but we'll want to check this before we leave just in case there are any washouts or other closures).

Hikes in Death Valley From Trails.com: Rhyolite, Nevada Rhyolite is an eerie-looking ghost town set in the barren desert of western Nevada. In 1904, gold was found in the nearby hills, and Rhyolite boomed and busted in 1910. This famously photographed ghost town is a National Historic Site and has been featured in many western films. Rhyolite makes a great day trip from either Las Vegas or Death Valley National Park, and visitors can tour several remains of the boom days, including the old train depot, bank, jail and the Bottle House, which was fully restored for Paramount Pictures' film "The Air Mail." Read more at Trails.com: Ghosts of Christmas Past: Ghost Towns to Visit this Winter | Trails.com.

Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    Awesome experience, windy! Still one of the most beautiful places on earth.

    2 · April 28, 2014

  • jan s.

    Well, it was hot ... 107 degrees one day. But got to go to Death Valley Raceway with Sashi. (See photos) That's Sashi trying to get the rock to move so I could video it. Didn't work out. And me wearing all the color so they can find the body. Photo of Lee, Katie and Sashi with side-by-side Jeeps. They were ashamed of the heap we had rented so someone let them pose in a new red one. And of course there was nothing like the drive in 2 feet of snow over Carson Pass.

    2 · April 27, 2014

  • Sashi K

    Good hikes, nice sights , cool people - great meetup. Thanks Lee, Katie, Jan for the driving

    2 · April 26, 2014

  • Lee T.

    Another great trip! Weather was good, company was better :-)

    1 · April 26, 2014

  • Joyce Y.

    Wow sounds like a great trip. Any chance that i can still squeeze in?

    April 15, 2014

    • Joyce Y.

      I have a tent that can fit 3

      April 15, 2014

    • Lee T.

      Hi Joyce. It would be great if you could join us. You might check with Jazzed if you're looking to carpool. Sashi, Katie and I are flying to Vegas then renting a car there, we can fit one more person if you want to fly.

      April 15, 2014

  • Sashi K

    With Lee and Katie flying via Vegas, Eric or Brittany: do you want to carpool with me ? If not I will arrange to fly to Vegas ...

    April 3, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I can, but am doing a meetup with CA weekends on Friday, if you're off, welcome.

      April 15, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm driving down Fridayto do beach camping with a group of 50 people at Carillo Beach Malibu, and camping near Tecopa hot springs Sunday night, then doing this. There's room to carpool if anyone wants to camp the night before and drive there and back with me. I have a big stove all can cook with too.

    April 15, 2014

  • Janet P.

    I am not going to make it after all. I hope you guys have a great trip. I feel sad! See you on another gathering. Thank you so much, Lee and Katie, for your work on this!

    April 3, 2014

  • Sashi K

    I'd like to drive there in my Ford Fusion (not high clearance). I can take 1 or 2 carpoolers who can share with the driving. If I do not find any takers might fly to Vegas and drive from there.

    April 1, 2014

    • Janet P.

      Hi Sashi! I might be interested. Where are you starting from? I am in Kensington.

      April 2, 2014

    • Janet P.

      Oh, it sent before I was finished. My phone is below and my email is [masked]

      April 2, 2014

  • Janet P.

    Hi, I'm looking at travel options. Looks like a round trip drive of about 1200 miles or $600 car cost. I could drive from the East Bay (North Berkeley Bart station) if i found 2 riders who were each willing to contribute $200. Or I could fly to Vegas myself and rent a car from there. Sook, Harry... are you willing to chip in to collaborate for a drive? We can talk. My phone is[masked]

    April 1, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I am really interested in this for sure! I will also finalize my decision is march... but so far it fits in to my vacation schedule! I will be driving from Pasadena.

    2 · February 26, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Looks like I can not go now... I just got a new teaching assignment and the quarter starts next week. Count me in on the next weekend trip!

      March 26, 2014

  • Roz

    It is with deep regret that I have to cancel this trip, something came up and I can't attend.

    March 26, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    yeah, I can give Katie a lift back, but I don't want to drive all the way up to the east bay, Lee are you closer? My condo is right off 101 in san jose, she can have my parking spot

    March 26, 2014

    • Katie

      Hi Brittany - please email me at [masked] to discuss. Thanks!

      March 26, 2014

  • Harry

    I am interested if someone can give me a ride from SF or, possibly, the East Bay. (415)[masked]

    March 25, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I am camping near LA the weekend before, or I would carpool....any one else have room?

    March 24, 2014

    • Katie

      Thanks Brittany - Does that mean you'd be open to carpooling on the way back?

      March 24, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      yeah, it will be just me.

      March 24, 2014

  • sook

    I would like to go if there's anyone carpool from East Bay? Or nearby?

    March 23, 2014

    • Lee T.

      Yes, if anyone can help Sook out, please reply here. Carpooling is a good thing :-)

      March 23, 2014

  • gayle

    My spring break is the week before, otherwise I would definitely go. Also,how about a Pinnacles trip or Yosemite?

    March 15, 2014

  • sook

    I do not have my April schedule, however, I would like to go if I am free. Is there any possibility for carpool?

    March 5, 2014

  • Mireille De R.

    What's the oldest you can be to join this group, please?

    March 2, 2014

    • Lee T.

      We have no age restrictions, one just needs to be able to complete the hikes :-)

      March 4, 2014

  • Eric D.

    I posted a notice of this Death Valley trip at LA Botany Geology Science Hikes Meetup Group since it is a similar group that is closer to Death Valley.

    http://www.meetup.com/LA-Botany-Geology-Science-Hikes/events/167280922/

    1 · February 20, 2014

    • Lee T.

      Thanks Eric :-)

      1 · February 20, 2014

  • Eric D.

    Per park's Facebook page - "Update: 12/19/13 - Westside Rd. is OPEN and in excellent condition thanks to our roads crew who have been working hard." It was closed when I was there in early December. Everything on westside road would, by itself, qualify as a national treasure.

    1 · February 16, 2014

  • Jesika G.

    can anyone carpool from sf? please!

    February 15, 2014

  • Lisa S.

    this just sounds great, I have not hiked with you all yet but I keep track of your events, I will keep this one in mind per my work schedule, i always enjoy Death Valley in the spring, thanks!

    1 · February 15, 2014

  • Jazzed

    Mark and I will be driving down and joining the group. We be staying at the Ranch in FC and will RSVP before April 14th.

    February 15, 2014

  • Sashi K

    I'd like to attend this - but will finalize my decision, by late March. If I come, will try to stay in a hotel. I will probably fly to Vegas and rent a car there.

    February 5, 2014

  • Bill

    I made a senior discounted reservation last night. I did it by clicking the photo link half way down the front page on the left. http://www.furnacecreekresort.com

    1 · January 31, 2014

  • Lee T.

    I received the following email. Not sure if it works on our week, but it's worth a try if you want to stay at Furnace Creek: Save 30% on a 3-Night Stay

    Guests over age 60 save either 10, 20 or 30%. Stay one night and save 10%; stay 2 nights and save 20%; stay 3 nights and save 30%. This limited-time offer is valid for stays at both The Inn and The Ranch. Relax and enjoy everything the resort has to offer – average temperatures in the 80s, a natural spring fed pool in the desert oasis, a round of golf, unparalleled stargazing or simply exploring Death Valley National Park. Use promo code: SENIOR

    January 31, 2014

  • Lee T.

    I'm likely to carpool, but am also contemplating flying to Vegas and renting a car there. If you're interested in this option, let me know. Sharing the rental car cost with one or two others would make it cost effective :-)

    January 31, 2014

  • Bill

    Looking forward to the trip, can drive one or two people from Palo Alto area.

    January 30, 2014

  • Jesika G.

    Will anyone be willing to carpool me from SF or at a BART station?

    January 30, 2014

8 went

Your organizer's refund policy for Death Valley "Road Trip" and hikes (3 hiking days)

Refunds are not offered for this Meetup.

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Create a Meetup Group and meet new people

Get started Learn more
Bill

I started the group because there wasn't any other type of group like this. I've met some great folks in the group who have become close friends and have also met some amazing business owners.

Bill, started New York City Gay Craft Beer Lovers

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy