Day 1 - Transfer from Las Vegas / Furnace Creek Visitor Center / Ride to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes / Welcome reception
VBT will offer a shuttle from the Las Vegas Airport (LAS) to
Furnace Creek, departing the airport at 9:00 am. Please meet the shuttle at
Zero Level of Terminal 1 (down the escalator from baggage claim). The shuttle
and/or driver will be displaying a “VBT” sign. If you arrive at Terminal 3 you
will need to take the airport's courtesy shuttle to Terminal 1 and our meeting
location. The shuttle departs every 12-15 minutes from Zero Level of Terminal 3
from the center of the curb. If you are arriving after the VBT shuttle departs
or if your flight is delayed, you must make your own arrangements to reach
Furnace Creek. A rental car is going to be your best option.
You will meet your VBT Trip Leaders at the Furnace Creek
Visitor Center at 11:30 am. They will direct you to our picnic location
adjacent to the center. Note that restrooms are available in the Visitor Center
main building only. Please be dressed to ride or have your gear easily
accessible in your hand luggage. You may also wish to have with you a pair of
shoes suitable for walking in the sand dunes.
For guests driving to the tour, plan to park your car at the
Visitor Center and meet us for the picnic. Later you will need to shuttle your
car to the Inn at Furnace Creek where parking is available for four days
without charge. Your Trip Leaders will let you know where to leave your car.
There will be time to enjoy the excellent presentations
available at the recently renovated Visitor Center during your four days in
Furnace Creek. After lunch, join your Trip Leaders for a safety and
bike-fitting session. Then, we're off to explore this astounding
On today's shorter option, take advantage of our shuttle in
one direction and ride in the other to visit the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. Our
longer option offers an opportunity to ride directly from the Visitor Center to
the sand dunes, returning to the inn.
One of the most popular sites in the park, the Mesquite Flat
Sand Dunes are at the northern end of the valley floor near the village of
Stovepipe Wells. Because of the dune's easy access from the road and the
overall proximity of Death Valley to Hollywood, these dunes have been used to
film sand dune scenes for several movies including films in the Star Wars
series. The largest dune is called Star Dune, whose depth at its crest is
130–140 feet. Other dunes in the area are up to 700 feet deep. There will be
time to take in these towering wonders before riding to the inn.
We ride past and have an opportunity to visit the Harmony
Borax Works. Here, you can walk the interpretive trail and learn how Borax
deposits were discovered here in 1881. The Harmony operation, run by business
associates Coleman & Smith, was best known in the 1880s—and now—for its
20-mule teams that hauled double wagons of borax along an overland route to the
closest railroad in Mojave, California. The Harmony Works remained under
Coleman's operation for just five years, until 1888, when his business
Tonight, get to know your fellow travelers during a wine and
cheese reception. We'll have dinner together in the inn's dining room.
Day 2 - Dante's View
Enjoy breakfast at the inn. Then you might opt to get an
early start on today's long option, a challenging ascent up to Dante's View.
You may begin your ride either at our inn or nearer the foot of our ascent. The
views are spectacular, eerie, and starkly beautiful. As we climb, Badwater
Basin unfolds below and soon the entire southern basin of Death Valley comes
Our shorter option starts with a shuttle to Dante's View.
After time to enjoy the magnificent view thrill to an exciting downhill coast
back to the junction. Then, you can choose to catch our shuttle or ride back to
the inn. This is a continuous downhill, descending 5,500 feet over 23 miles
back to the inn.
Back at the inn, you can take the afternoon to relax at the
pool, get a massage, play a round at the nearby golf course, tour the Furnace
Creek Visitor Center or visit the Borax Museum.
Options for dinner on your own include the inn's dining room
and the 49er Café at the Furnace Creek Ranch.
Day 3 - Cycle to Badwater Basin / Artist's Drive / Golden Canyon
Today's rides originate from our inn. After breakfast, we
ride south, descending through the valley on relatively level and very scenic
roads. Our destination is the Badwater Basin.
Welcome to the lowest point in North America! Take some time
to stroll the boardwalk over the salt flats here. From this lowest point in
North America, it is possible on very clear days to view the highest point in
the lower 48, Mount Whitney, standing just 85 miles away.
Badwater Basin gets its name from the salt-rich waters left
behind when an ancient lake evaporated here. These salt flats, many of them
etched into hexagonal grids, are still fed by an underground spring, but the
water never stays for long with the valley's rapid evaporation rate. Despite
that the water in the pool is undrinkable (hence the basin's name), it does
harbor some animal and plant life. Pickle weed, aquatic insects, and the
Badwater snail all thrive here.
You may shuttle or ride back to the inn. Up for a challenge
today? You can join us for an invigorating reel along the steep, dipping,
curving and narrow roadway known as Artist's Drive. This one-way circuit is a
9-mile jug-handle that we can detour onto from our return route. The highlight
of this thrilling loop is a lookout point called Artist's Palette, where
mineral deposits appear as brilliantly colored paint splotches against a drab
Our Trip Leaders provide a picnic lunch today.
This afternoon, you may join an afternoon hike in Golden
Canyon. Our 2.5-mile trail winds through twisting narrows and colorful rock
formations, delivering us to a spectacular view of Manly Beacon and Red
Tonight we have a final dinner together at the inn.
Day 4 - Scotty's Castle / Depart for home
Relax over breakfast at the resort before saying goodbye to
your Trip Leaders. Then, we board our 8:30 am shuttle for a drive north through
After about an hour's drive, we arrive at the Death Valley
Ranch, hidden in the green oasis of Grapevine Canyon in the northern reaches of
Death Valley. Scotty's Castle, as it is commonly known, offers a window into
the life and times of the Roaring '20s and the Depression '30s. It was and is
an engineer's dream home, a wealthy matron's vacation home and the hideout and
getaway of a man of mystery. We enjoy a 40-minute guided tour with a keeper of
the house. Pre-made sandwiches, snacks and drinks are available for lunch on your own.
We continue to the Las Vegas Airport, about a 3-hour
drive. We do not recommend flights
departing before 5:00 pm.