Death Valley: land of extremes. A wonderful and mysterious place, this valley supports nearly 1,000 native plant species on only two inches of rain per year. At Badwater Basin, desert winds whisper through the valley floor 282 feet below sea level, and 15 miles west the towering 11,000-foot Telescope Peak remains shrouded in snow and ice until late spring.
Pedal past sand dunes, hot springs, canyons, rock formations, and an incredible variety of plant and animal life. We’ll explore the maze of wildly eroded and colorful badlands that are Death Valley, and we’ll retrace the route of the rugged ’49ers and pioneers who arrived via ox-drawn wagons on the Old Spanish Trail to this special place in eastern California.
We’ll enjoy spectacularly clear nights and embrace desert solitude on this eight-day tour.
"Every trip I take with Adventure Cycling keeps getting better and better. "
Day 1. Pahrump, Nevada, 0 miles
We'll convene as a group today in Pahrump. You'll have the option to meet the group at our start location or to take advantage of our shuttle from Las Vegas. Pahrump is a fantastic town blessed with both mountains and desert. Here you'll have your first map meeting, get acquainted with your fellow riders and tour leaders, and enjoy dinner. Before bedtime, perhaps you'll have time to take an evening spin through the streets, soaking up the muted desert hues and the grandeur of the nearby peaks.
Day 2. Pahrump to Beatty, 75 miles
We’ll immediately take on the title of “desert rat” because as soon as we leave the northern edge of Pahrump, we enter the desert — a rocky, sparsely vegetated area of extremes. We’ll head north, then northwest to the modern oasis of Amargosa Valley. After a shady lunch with views of Yucca Mountain, we can check out the Area 51 Alien Center for funky souvenirs, then roll into Beatty, a rural desert town where we’ll stay the night.
Day 3. Beatty to Mesquite Spring, California, 64 miles
After a quick spin into the ghost town of Rhyolite and a stop to check out the “ghost” sculptures, we’ll ascend a gradual climb to the California border before a mile-long descent into Death Valley. Don’t relax quite yet — we’ve got another gradual climb toward our overnight location. Keep your cameras ready! This is sure to be a photogenic day capped off by our first night of camping at Mesquite Springs!
Day 4. Mesquite Spring to Stovepipe Wells, 38 miles
After a hearty breakfast, we’ll ride up to Ubehebe Crater for an optional self-guided hike. After exploring this 600-foot-deep volcanic crater, formed explosively when rising magma struck ground water, we’ll cycle onward to Stovepipe Wells. Don’t forget to enjoy views of the amazing dunes along the way!
Day 5. Stovepipe Wells to Furnace Creek, 50 miles
From Stovepipe Wells, we’ll cruise back to Furnace Creek and pass it by with a flat cruise to Artist’s Drive, where a challenging climb will be rewarded with views of Artist’s Palette, a colorful rock formation. After this nine-mile loop, you’ll head back to our camp at Furnace Creek.
Day 6. Layover day in Furnace Creek, 0 miles
Today you’ll have several options: you could shuttle to the top of Emigrant Pass (5,218 feet) for a rowdy downhill on lightly traveled roads with brilliant views of the park, or you could shuttle uphill to Dante’s View, a mountaintop viewpoint often described as “the most breathtaking in the park.” Of course, you could also relax around camp, appreciating the local flora and fauna, or explore the park on one of the numerous hiking trails nearby.
Day 7. Furnace Creek to Shoshone, 74 miles
Well rested, you and your posse will head out, passing the nearly evaporated Lake Manley, which at one point filled the entire valley, and through Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America. Maybe you’ll catch sight of a tiny pupfish, a remnant of those wetter days, forced to adapt to dry conditions by learning to live in water five times as salty as the ocean. You, on the other hand, will be heading to some of the best mineral hot springs as you top out over Salsberry Pass and coast down to Shoshone Village Campground.
Day 8. Shoshone to Pahrump, 28 miles
Today’s route is along a section of the Old Spanish National Historic Trail. You will roll along the same path taken by thousands of Mexican and American traders as they transferred wool, California-bred mules, and other treasures back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico. You’ll be carrying your own brand of riches as you pedal back to Pahrump and shuttle back to Las Vegas with a group of new friends and a stellar week of cycling under your belt.