Death Valley Classic Backpack

Las Vegas, NV
4.9 (12 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • 3 Dramatic Canyons
  • Desert Oases
  • Stunning Narrows Sections
  • Potential to See Wild Horses
  • Elaborate Concentration of Petroglyphs
  • Colorful Rock Formations & Fossils
  • Point to Point Thru Hike

Description

Connect three incredible canyons in one wonderful, four-day backpacking adventure in wild and scenic Death Valley National Park (see a video). This trip explores lush, desert oases, ancient petroglyph rock art and some of the most impressive narrows anywhere. Our adventure begins in Las Vegas, Nevada, where we’ll pick you up from your hotel and get an early start out to Death Valley National Park, Cottonwood Canyon and this otherworldly Basin and Range environment. We’ll spend 4 days traversing a series of valleys and canyons, camping near springs and oases, and sleeping under one of the most vivid night skies you’ve ever seen!

From the trailhead, we’ll begin our hike up the uniquely-fertile Cottonwood Canyon, one of Death Valley’s true treasures, camping in tree-shaded luxury and exploring some twisty-turny side canyons before making our way via Dead Horse Canyon to stunning Marble Canyon. Descending into Marble Canyon, we’ll enjoy hiking through towering narrows and spot prehistoric petroglyphs along with epically ancient fossils.


NEED TO KNOW: WINTER TRIPS

If you want to get out hiking this winter, Death Valley is a great place to do it! Winter temperatures are wonderful for hiking and enjoying being outdoors and surrounded by vast wilderness. We invite you to read more about Death Valley climate info.

Read more …
4 Days
$1335 Per Person
Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Guided Backpacking Trip
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 4-10 Guests
Trip Length: 4 Days
Distance: 4-10 Guests

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 4

Our difficulty ratings are based on a scale of 1-5, tours with a rating of 1 being least difficult, tours with a rating of 5 being most difficult

Backpack Weight:
25-30 pounds
Daily Hiking Distances:
3-9 miles
Most Elevation Loss:
1800 feet
Most Elevation Gain:
1500 feet
Quality of Trails:
Unmaintained
Additional:
This trip follows rock, dirt and sand trails that are unmaintained. The walking is generally moderate with some rugged sections.

Participants should:

  1. be active and healthy
  2. regularly exercise vigorously
  3. be comfortable hiking, biking, running, or swimming for several hours without many breaks

SOLITUDE LEVEL 4

1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Death Valley hike a solitude 4. You can expect to see zero to a couple of other groups per day in the backcountry.

TRAVEL TO LAS VEGAS

Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport is one of the most easily accessed destinations in the country. Many major cities in the United States and internationally offer direct flights into Las Vegas. A company named Airline Shuttle (1-888-554-1156) can help you with economic transport to most hotels. Taxi cabs run about $40 to downtown, and the city is also Uber- and Lyft-friendly.

UTAH SALES TAX

Utah is the only state we are based in that charges sales tax to outfitters and guides. The sales tax is based on the St. George, UT municipality rates, which are adjusted occasionally but are in the 6-7% range. For all of our hiking and backpacking tours that originate from our St. George, Utah base (Utah trips and Death Valley trips), the sales tax will be applied automatically to your payments. Feel free to call us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) with any questions!

Private Trips

Travel in perfect company by booking a private trip exclusively for your group!

Our sliding scale for private trips is based on the final number of guests in your group. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax, national park fees or guide gratuity. The final rate is based on the actual number of guests on the trip and may adjust based on cancellations or additions.

Please Note: you can also enjoy a private trip at our normal scheduled rates by filling any empty tour to capacity. However, if group members drop from the tour those spots will automatically become available on our website for instant booking. By purchasing a private trip at the rates listed below, your trip will remain exclusive to your group regardless of cancellations. 

Private Rates FOr This Trip

  • 2 People: Rate x 2.5
  • 3 People: Rate x 1.75
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.25
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1.15

*all rates are per person

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We’re here to help. If you have any questions, call 800-715-HIKE or contact us online.
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Itinerary

Itinerary

DAY 1

  • Shuttle to Death Valley: 4 hours
  • Hiking Mileage: 8.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1300 feet

This multi-day Death Valley hiking trip begins with pickup from your hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada and transportation to our trailhead. Upon entering Death Valley National Park we’ll stop at the Furnace Creek Visitors’ Center to pick up our permit. After Furnace Creek, we’ll have about 30 more minutes of driving on the pavement before we turn off at Stovepipe Wells onto a rough dirt road. Ten miles of washboarded four-wheel driving will take us to the start of our hike at the confluence of Cottonwood and Marble Canyons. We’ll make lunch at the car before heading off down the trail. Our hike will take us along 8.5 miles up the Cottonwood Canyon road to the wilderness boundary. We’ll make camp here under the shade of a few cottonwood trees next to a lush desert spring, a pleasant anomaly in such a harsh environment.

DAY 2

  • Hiking Mileage: 3.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 500 feet

With just a few miles on our plate today, we’ll enjoy a leisurely breakfast this morning and take our time packing. Traversing along Cottonwood Creek for another 3.5 miles, we’ll come to another spring where we’ll make camp and break-out lunch.

We’ll then enjoy the option of exploring one of the many narrow, side-canyons or summiting one of the surrounding unnamed peaks for incredible, 4,000-foot views of the surrounding desert. Tonight, we’ll stock our bellies with a hearty dinner and go to bed early to get plenty of rest for tomorrow’s adventure.

DAY 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 6.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1500 feet
  • Elevation Loss: 1200 feet

Although today doesn’t have the most mileage, many would consider it the most difficult day of the trip. We’ll start by hiking further into Cottonwood Canyon. Our now-familiar springs quickly dry out as the once-dramatic canyon dissipates into a shallow valley.

Hiking towards the head of Cottonwood Canyon, we’ll continue up over a pass and drop down a steep, off trail descent into Dead Horse canyon — all the while enjoying tremendous views of 6,381-ft Thimble Peak and the Grapevine Mountains to the Northeast. After a steep descent, we’ll enter Dead Horse Canyon and make our way to our campsite for the evening near a friendly spring. We’ll follow this trickle to an eight-foot dry-fall, scramble down the fall and take a rest at the confluence of Dead Horse and Marble Canyons. Tonight’s camp is here on a secluded sandy bench at the confluence with our third and final canyon.

DAY 4

  • Hiking Mileage: 7.8 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 1800 feet
  • Shuttle to Las Vegas: 4 hours

Today, we’ll finish out our trip with an exciting early-morning hike down stunning Marble Canyon. In many ways, we’ve saved the best for last. Today’s scenery is enough to turn any hiker into an aspiring photographer.

We’ll pass several smaller springs along the hike today, providing pockets of riparian vegetation. Further on, the incredible geology of Marble Canyon starts to show us a wheel of colors. We’ll also try to spot fossil shells in the polished dolomite wall, and find ourselves marveling under the most impressive collection of petroglyphs in Death Valley National Park.

After exiting the last narrows, we’ll come upon a primitive dirt road that signals our final two miles of easy cruising back to the vehicle for our return drive to Las Vegas.

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes.

Trip Dates & Booking

TRIP DATES & BOOKING

Click on a date to register. You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.

Available to Book

AVAILABLE TO BOOK

This trip is available and bookable online! Click on the date to register now or contact us online to book through our award-winning customer service team!

Going Fast

GOING FAST

This trip has 1 or 2 spots remaining and is bookable online! Click on the date to book now or contact us online to book through customer service.

Request a Reservation

REQUEST A RESERVATION

This trip is exclusively booked through customer service due to logistics with lodging, permits, staffing, availability, or something else. Please contact us online or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request a reservation.

Don't see your dates? Call us! We may be able to add new trip dates.

800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Details

Trip Details

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • Top-of-the-line tent, backcountry sleeping pad and multi-day backpack
  • High quality, synthetic sleeping bag (professionally laundered after every use) – or bring your own.
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Death Valley hiking guide
  • Comprehensive, roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Las Vegas and back
  • All necessary entrance fees and permits
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about what to pack.

MEALS: WHAT TO EXPECT

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

GEAR WE PROVIDE

We provide all group gear which includes the following:

  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware synthetic-fill sleeping bags (or bring your own)
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

WHAT GEAR TO BRING

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are three 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important.

Additionally, some guests choose to bring their own sleeping bag. We supply high quality, synthetic fill bags that are professionally laundered after every trip. Synthetic fill is non-allergenic, insulates when damp and stands up well to repeated washings, but is heavier and bulkier than down. If you’re able to bring your own down sleeping bag, there are multiple benefits. If not, we’ve got you covered!

WHAT CLOTHES TO BRING

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with detailed guidance about what clothes to pack (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, and our recommended clothing system. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required.

Trip Logistics

Trip Logistics

HOW DO I REGISTER?

Reserve your spot today! In the Trip Dates & Booking section of this page, the green and red dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you’re ready to register we’ll email you a link to a registration profile. You’ll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit.

Feel free to call us for more info – we’re here 7 days a week!

WHERE DO WE MEET?

This trip originates in Las Vegas, Nevada. Your guide will be in contact approximately 10 days before the trip start date to coordinate the pre-trip orientation, which will be at 5:00 PM at a hotel in Las Vegas. Your guide will then pick you up at your hotel the next morning for transport to the trailhead. For Private Death Valley Tours your guide will meet you at your hotel in Las Vegas at an agreed upon time.

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about flights, shuttles, recommended lodging and more.

START/END TIMES

Your guide will inform you of the first day’s pick-up time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).

SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT’s, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We’ve developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.

GUIDES

Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.

GUIDE WORKING PARAMETERS

Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time…etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides’ off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.

GROUP SIZE AND AGE RESTRICTIONS

The standard group size on our Death Valley trips is 6 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum of 10 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) and we’ll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:

  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis

WEATHER IN DEATH VALLEY

Death Valley encompasses an area with extreme elevation and climate variations. It is home to the lowest point in the United States: Bad Water Basin at 282 feet below sea level. Its highest point, Telescope Peak, is 11,049 feet high, a 11,331 ft difference!! Most of our trips focus on the lower elevations, and feature comfortably moderate winter temperatures, and warm-hot Spring/Fall temperatures. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). Read below for average high and low temperatures in the lower sections of Death Valley:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
Month
Low
Hi
January
40°
67°
February
46°
73°
March
55°
82°
April
62°
91°
October
62°
93°
November
48°
77°
December
38°
65°

Accommodations

Accommodations

BACKCOUNTRY SLEEPING

TENT CAMPING

Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and synthetic-fill sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

BACKCOUNTRY CUISINE

FRESH & DELICIOUS

Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.

AMAZING CAMPSITES

IN THE ACTION

Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

  • Average Customer Ratings:

  • 4.9 (12 reviews)
Erin W
5.0

Top-Notch Organization

6 months ago

Wildland Trekking is truly a top-notch organization. Our trip to Death Valley was one to remember. Our guide, Sam, exceeded our expectations in every sense. The gear was great and we were fed incredibly well. We were able to hike, relax, and take in everything Death Valley had to offer. Thank you for a remarkable experience!

Mari S
5.0

Wow

6 months ago

What an experience with Wildlands and Scott Moore in Death Valley. We experienced all types of weather which enhanced our experience and helped us truly appreciate the diverse nature of the dessert. Our guide, Scott Moore was both knowledgeable and truly enjoyable to be around. The added bonus was he was also a great back country chef! The highlights of the trip were many which included the successful navigation down dead horse canyon with the prize being the entrance to marble canyon. Wow. A very fun trip that is aptly classified as difficult.

Jane J
5.0

Well Organized

7 months ago

My 5th trip with Wildland and all have been excellent. Well organized, great guide, beautiful hiking and the only thing I needed to do was take in the beauty as I hiked.

See All Guest Reviews!

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