Death Valley National Park

Explore this magnificent land of extremes with study leader Frank Ackerman, former Death Valley National Park Ranger.  Visit Badwater Salt Flats (282 feet below sea level) and enjoy a stunning panoramic view of all 11,049 feet of Telescope Peak.  Hike amid the multi-hued walls of Golden Canyon; experience sunrise at Zabriskie Point; and visit Ubehebe Crater.

Dates
Mar 3 - Mar 8, 2019  (6 Days)
Cost

From $3,345 per person, double occupancy

For more Information
travel@commonwealthclub.org

(415) 597-6720

Sunday, March 3
Arrive in Las Vegas

Arrive in Las Vegas independently, and gather at 5:00 p.m. at the DoubleTree hotel for a welcome drink, introductions, and a trip orientation on the park by your study leader. Dinner will follow near the hotel. DoubleTree Hotel (D)

Monday, March 4
Shoreline Butte, Badwater & Harmony Borax Works

Transfer to Death Valley National Park. En route stop at Ashford Mill for the chance to see wildflowers in bloom and to witness evidence of the shoreline of the historic Lake Manly. At its zenith 22,000 years ago, the lake was over 80 miles long and over 600 feet deep, but given the changing climate, it disappeared thousands of years ago. Stretch your legs at Badwater; at 282 feet below sea level, this salt ­ at is the lowest place in North America and the eighth lowest place on Earth!  The dramatic depth is enhanced by the backdrop of the Panamint Range rising over 11,000 feet. A er lunch at Furnace Creek, stop by the visitor center before touring Harmony Borax Works and learning about the mining history of “the white gold of Death Valley.” Enjoy a welcome dinner at the Furnace Creek Inn. Furnace Creek Resort (B,L,D)

Tuesday, March 5
Dante’s View, Salt Creek & Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

Experience Dante’s View, located at 5,475 feet, and take in a stunning panorama of all 11,049 feet of Telescope Peak. Learn about the creation of the park’s many alluvial fans, the product of millions of years of sporadic yet constant erosion. Later visit Salt Creek and learn about the amazing pupfish, endemic to Death Valley and uniquely adapted to survive in the desert’s harsh environment. End the day’s activities with the chance to walk among the picturesque sand dunes. After dinner enjoy the chance of some stargazing and see firsthand why Death Valley is an officially recognized “Gold Tier” Dark Sky Park. Furnace Creek Resort (B,L,D)

Wednesday, March 6
Titus Canyon & Ubehebe Crater

Explore the Titus Canyon narrows and hike among the stratifications of rock marking millions of years of geological history. The opening of the canyon affords the best chance to see a chuckwalla in its natural habitat. These sizable lizards have evolved to inflate their bodies to wedge themselves in the cracks in the rock they live in to deter predators. Marvel at Ubehebe Crater, site of a massive volcanic explosion leaving a pit in the earth over 500 feet deep and a half-mile across. If you feel up to it, enjoy a 2-mile hike around the rim of the crater. Furnace Creek Resort (B,L)

Thursday, March 7
Zabriskie Point, Golden Canyon & Artist’s Palette

Wake just before dawn and transfer to Zabriskie Point to watch as the sunlight slowly illuminates the surrounding mountains. After breakfast, hike through the multi-hued walls of Golden Canyon toward the Red Cathedral with the option to continue for a longer hike through Gower Gulch. After lunch, relax at the hotel. This evening enjoy a sunset before our farewell dinner. Furnace Creek Resort (B,D)  

Friday, March 8
Ash Meadows & Las Vegas

After breakfast in the park, we head to Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. We stop at the visitor center to learn of the plight of the pupfish and explore the Crystal Spring boardwalk. After lunch, return to Las Vegas for flights home. Please book your return ­flights for 6:00 pm or later. (B,L)

Land Cost:
$3,345 per person, double occupancy
$3,895 per person, single occupancy

Supplement to Upgrade to the Furnace Creek Inn (4 nights):
$650 per person, double occupancy
$1,175 single occupancy

Included:
1 night at the DoubleTree, Las Vegas; 4 nights at the Furnace Creek Ranch; 5 daily breakfasts at the hotel, 4 lunches and 4 dinners; welcome and farewell dinners with beer and wine; round-trip transfers from Las Vegas Airport to Death Valley National Park; tours, entrances, and events as specified in the itinerary; mini-bus transportation for all excursions; gratuities for guides, drivers, hotel and restaurant staff; expert guide Frank Ackerman; services of a professional Tour Manager; Club host to assist you throughout the program (with a minimum of 15 travelers); the camaraderie of the Club’s travelers.

Not Included:
Air transportation to and from Las Vegas, Nevada; meals and beverages other than those specified as included; optional excursions and other activities done independently; trip cancellation/interruption and baggage insurance; personal items such as e-mail, telephone and fax calls, souvenirs, laundry and gratuities for non-group services.

 

What to Expect

Average temperatures during this time range from 53-80°. Our transportation around the park is by vans. Travelers should be in active good health to participate in this trip. Though walks are not too strenuous, they are over uneven terrain and may require the use of hands and feet to climb over obstructions. Our longest hike is about 2 miles, with approximately 500 feet in elevation gain. Almost all walks are “out and back” so participants can go as far as they like, and then wait for the group to return. For those who would like more active hiking, we can help arrange that during your free time.

Trip Educators
Frank Ackerman
Study leader Frank Ackerman is a retired National Park Service ranger who worked in Death Valley for four years. His 30-year career included posts at the Grand Canyon and Voyageurs National Parks, and he served as the chief of interpretation for Cape Cod National Seashore. Frank helped create an award-winning interpretative program as part of a joint venture between Amtrak and the National Park Service to provide educational commentary on select passenger trains in the Northeast. Frank is excited to teach you about the spectacular desert flora and fauna, and the geology and human history of Death Valley.

Eligibility:
We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. People who live outside of the Bay Area may purchase a national membership. To learn about membership types and to purchase a membership, visit commonwealthclub.org/membership or call (415) 597-6720.

Deposits & Payments:
To make a reservation, a deposit of $500 per person is required by check or credit card. Please mail your check (payable to “Black Sheep Adventures, Inc”) or charge instructions, with your completed reservation form to the address on the reservation form. You may also fax in your reservation form or call our o ce or call (415) 597-6720. Final payment is due no later than December 3, 2018.

Cancellations & Refunds:
Your deposit and payments are refundable, less the following cancel fees:

  • Cancel 91 days or more prior to trip start date: $200 per person
  • Cancel 61-90 days prior to trip start: $500 deposit
  • Cancel 0-60 days prior to trip start: No refund

We recommend trip-cancellation insurance; applications will be sent to you. Tour can also be canceled due to low enrollment. Neither CWC nor Black Sheep Adventures accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased in conjunction with the tour.

Medical Information:
Participation in this program requires that you be in good health. It is essential that persons with any medical problems and related dietary restrictions make them known to us well before departure.

Responsibility:
The Commonwealth Club of California and our ground operators and suppliers act only as agents for the travelers with respect to transportation and arrangements, and exercise every care possible in doing so. However, we can assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity in connection with the service of any automobile, motorcoach, or any other conveyance used in carrying out this program or for the acts or defaults of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the program. We cannot accept any responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strike, war, quarantine, force majeure or other causes beyond our control. All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger as tour rates provide arrangements only for the time stated. We reserve the right to make such alterations to this published itinerary as may be deemed necessary. ‑ e right is reserved to cancel any program prior to departure in which case the entire payment will be refunded without further obligation on our part. No refund will be made for an unused portion of any tour unless arrangements are made in sufficient time to avoid penalties. The Commonwealth Club of California accepts no liability for any carrier’s cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a nonrefundable ticket in connection with the tour.

Registration
Commonwealth Club of California-CST# 2096889-40