The Canyons are Calling and we must go! Valley of Fire is filled with red rock formations made from Aztec sandstone. On a sunny day, these rock formations look like they are on fire, giving the park its name. We’ll hike & explore this gorgeous park. We’ll also discover Red Rock Canyon, an area of worldwide geologic interest. Many geologists who visit Red Rock are amazed by the rock formations, natural beauty, and the vivid colors of the rock. We’ll also explore the stark beauty of Death Valley National Park with its colorful and rugged terrain, and an International Dark Sky Park for you star seekers! Come join us on this ‘soft’ hiking adventure. It’s a more relaxed pace with more comfort built in. And there’s some extra time to yourself to explore, chill by a spring fed pool, shop a bit, and rejuvenate.
Arrive in Las Vegas by 2pm, and be met by your Canyon Calling Trip Leader. We’ll take the scenic two-hour drive up to Overton, Nevada. If you’ve never driven through the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, you’re in for a treat. The rock formations, colors, and sweeping vistas are such a delight. We’ll check into our hotel and maybe enjoy the pool and relax from our travel day. The restaurant across the street from the hotel offers great Mexican food for our Welcome Dinner. Overnight Overton.
After breakfast, we’ll stop to pick up a picnic lunch, then drive the short distance to Valley of Fire State Park. There are several hikes to choose from all in this gorgeous park. We’ll hike the famous Fire Wave trail (about one hour in and out). Then go up the road to White Domes for a loop trail (about one hour). We’ll stop at the scenic overview of Fire Canyon and maybe see some of the local big horned sheep. Next, it’s off to Rainbow Vista for a short hike to a panoramic view of multi-colored sandstone. We’ve built up an appetite by now, so we’ll stop at the Cabins to enjoy our picnic lunch. The Cabins are historic stone cabins built with native sandstone by the CCC in the 1930s as a shelter for travelers of the Arrowhead Trail. On the way out of the park, we’ll stop by the Beehives, unusual formations eroded by wind and water, and Atlatl Rock to see the outstanding ancient native petroglyphs. It’s about an hour’s drive to Summerlin, Nevada where we’ll check into our hotel with a pool. There are so many wonderful restaurants to choose from for our dinner. Overnight Summerlin.
After breakfast, we’ll depart for Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. We’ll stop in the Visitor Center, of course, then we’re off to explore the park. The 13-mile scenic drive is a photographer’s delight as we pass by Calico Hills, Turtlehead Peak, High Point Overlook, and more. We’ll enjoy a 2.5-mile hike at Keystone Thrust, one of the most significant geological features of Red Rock Canyon. Next, we’re off to Death Valley, with a stop for lunch at a great little farm-to-table restaurant. Yum! Our drive time is about 2 hours to Death Valley National Park, with its deep floor reaching 282 feet below sea level. It’s a spectacular land of shimmering mountains, immense vistas of ever-changing light and color, and more than one odd surprise. We stop at Furnace Creek where we’ll check in at The Ranch for two nights. This newly renovated resort truly is the Oasis at Death Valley. Enjoy a swim in spring-fed thermal waters, wander the grounds, check out the horse stables. We’ll dine tonight at the Last Kind Words Saloon on property. There are fire pit circles to view the sunset after dinner as the desert cools down. Death Valley is designated an International Dark Sky Park so we’ll go to a no-light pollution location to observe the night skies in awe. The milky way, constellations and shooting stars will have you mesmerized. Look up and see the universe the way everyone could 100 years ago. Overnight Death Valley.
After breakfast, we’re off on a morning exploration of Death Valley. We’ll hike Golden Canyon, 4 to 5 miles with no elevation increase, and a very scenically dramatic hike. Then a stop at Harmony Borax Works, with remains of the borax processing plant and remnants of the 20 Mule Team cart. Borax was discovered in the valley in 1873, but mining didn’t begin until the 1880s. Borax doesn’t have the glamour of gold, but more than $30MM worth of the white powder had been produced from the Death Valley region by 1927. We’ll stop at the Visitor Center along with a stop at Salt Creek for the Nature Trail walk and hopefully, we’ll see pupfish, the only fish to survive the evaporation of Lake Manly. 20,000 years ago, fish thrived in great freshwater lakes in this part of the southwest. Today, nine types of pupfish live in and near Death Valley and a tenth has apparently become extinct. Next, it’s off to Stovepipe Wells, past the sand dunes of Death Valley, and over to the Saloon for lunch, then return to the Ranch. We should be back mid afternoon so you have some free time to enjoy the resort, shop, maybe opt for a sunset horse ride (at guest’s expense) or just chill at the spring-fed pool. We’ll meet back up for dinner. Overnight Death Valley.
After breakfast, we’ll drive south to tour Death Valley, stopping at Badwater Basin at 282 feet below sea level and look up to Telescope Peak, towering at 11,049 feet. We’ll visit Devil’s Golf Course, with jagged blocks of tiny salt crystals. Our next stop is Artist’s Drive and Artist’s Palette to enjoy the colorful sedimentary and volcanic rocks looking like it was splashed across the hillsides with a giant artist’s paintbrush. We’ll stop at Zabriske Point for stunning views, then say farewell to Death Valley. Our two-hour transfer back to Las Vegas includes a stop for lunch at a funky local diner. We’ll arrive Las Vegas and check into our hotel just off the Strip to get cleaned up before departing for our Farewell dinner. (We like the famous Emeril’s in the MGM Grand.) After dinner, feel free to explore The Strip on your own. Overnight Las Vegas.
Take the hotel shuttle to the Las Vegas airport for flights home, or choose to extend on your own and play in Sin City!