Date: 2/18 - 23, 2017
(6 days, 5 nights; Sat -Thur)
Assembly Point: Death Valley
Tour Cost: $2,385
(includes all lodging, breakfasts and dinners, support van, park entrance fees, round-trip shuttles, leaders, tour maps & narratives)
Single Occupancy Lodging Cost: $485
The names of are Death Valley cycling tour are exciting; Death Valley, Dante's View, Badwater, Hell's Gate. Death Valley has an instantaneous emotional impact on everyone who sees it. That initial view from Zabriskie Point across the vastness of the valley floor to the distant Panamint Peaks rising from the valley clad in an unmistakable mantle of snow is unlike anything that you have ever experienced in a cycling trip Death Valley National Park is the largest national park in the lower 48 states. Its 3.3 million acres are nestled between two mountain ranges, and its Badwater Basin is 282’ below sea level – the lowest point in North America. In fact, during our visit we will get a view of the Badwater Basin at 2828’ below sea level and Telescope Peak at 11,040 ft above sea level.
The idea of the Base Camp (thank you Lauran for that name) is to select regions with plentiful riding, great scenery, excellent lodging and accoutrements. The park’s paved roads offer a beautiful bicycling experience through a rich palette of surreal desert geography and an assortment of topography from level desert spinning to lung busting climbs. The sun-soaked days and cool evenings make it the perfect setting for cycling for our February Base Camp. We have lots of fun on the agenda on the road and in the pool. During our stay in Death Valley we will ride 269 miles and climb 17,585 feet of elevation.
Day 2, after breakfast we’re off on a ride through striking desert terrain to the Harmony Borax Works, once the central feature of the Death Valley area and then up to Stovepipe Wells. Here you can hop off your bike to admire Mesquite Flats, one of the largest sand dune networks in the United States. On your way back to the hotel, as you descend into the valley, notice the Great Salt Flats shimmering in the distance—the mirage makes it appear as if you’ve reached the ocean’s shore. The magnificent Panamint Range to the west and the Grapevine and Funeral mountains to the east frame the ride.
At the end of our ride, a stop at the visitor center and the Borax Museum to learn more about the area’s natural history is called for. A spring-fed, Olympic-size pool and golf course will await us at the Furnace Creek Ranch our home for the week. On Day 3, we get a taste of the climbing in Death Valley. We pedal off to Badwater in the morning, it is relatively level, it get much more interesting on the way back where we take the turn for Artist’s Palette, where we climb 2000 feet in 8 miles, there are a couple of 10 to 12% sections which are short and sweet. The hill can be skipped if you have an appointment with the pool.
First thing in the morning Day 4 we will shuttle 30 minutes to Scotty’s Castle Road to start today’s program. We will ride to Scotty’s Castle and tour the “only in California” home in the desert; the stories about the castle are priceless. Then it is off to Ubehebe Crater and return to our starting point. Enterprising riders can ride the 20 miles back to our hotel.
Day 5 is our big climbing day as we head to Dante’s View. We set out from the Furnace Creek Resort on a gently ascending warm-up stretch across beautiful wide valleys. Early in our ride we will stop at Zabriskie Point to enjoy the views, then it is back to the bikes. After about 20 miles, the grade increases. Then less than a mile rom the top, the going gets really tough. Switch- backs at a quad-burning 16 percent grade wind through a narrow canyon, finally leading us to the summit.
The colorful manganese- and iron-rich hillsides and lizards zipping through the brush alongside the road provide a nice distraction during our push to the top. The spectacular 360-degree panorama from Dante’s View makes the effort worthwhile—you can see for miles in every direction! On a clear February day it’s possible to spot the highest point in the park (snow- dusted Telescope Peak at 11,049 feet) and the lowest (Badwater at 282 feet below sea level) simultaneously. Take in the incredible vista while enjoying lunch.
Day 6 is far from a relaxing spin as we head North to Hells Gate. After our return via Beatty Cutoff, we will conclude our cycling adventure. We will have lunch in Summerlin, prior to our return to Las Vegas.
|Pre-tour||Assemble, bike fitting and Orientation Dinner|
|Day 1||Stovepipe Wells with options for Borax W\ork and the Salt Creek Trail (1195')||49|
|Day 2||Badwater Basin-Artist Palette (3559')||43|
|Day 3||Scotty's Castle-Ubehede Crater (4226')||60|
|Day 4||Dante's View-Zabriskie Point (5664')||72|
|Day 5||Hells Gate (2941')||45|
Total cycling mileage: 269
Routes, mileage and accommodations are subject to change due to safety, road/trail conditions, weather and availability.