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Block Break Away: Hiking Death Valley National Park


Hiking Death Valley National Park
Furnace Creek, CA
March 6-12, 2017

According to the National Park Service Death Valley National Park is the “Hottest, Driest, Lowest! A superlative desert of streaming sand dunes, snowcapped mountains, multicolored rock layers, and water-fluted canyons.” Death Valley National Park (DVNP) is all of this and more in its 3 million acre size and convenient location near Las Vegas, NV.

“The Hottest!” We will be exploring the park during one of the mildest times of year (daytime highs in the 80s). In addition to a milder temperature on the human species, the flora and fauna are most visible at this time of the year.

“The Driest!” We will have first-rate accommodations at Furnace Creek Ranch Resort. This oasis in the desert was a ranch back at the turn of the century. This will be our home base after exploring and hiking during the day.

“The Lowest!” Parts of the park are actually below sea level. Badwater Basin contains the lowest point in the United States, at 282 feet below sea level, yet it lies in the afternoon shadow of 11,049-foot Telescope Peak. We will visit both high and low points in the park in order to take in the vastness of the geologic story of the park.

Please join fellow alumni, parents, and current students on a combined hiking and sightseeing program to Death Valley National Park. Daily excursions from our home base in Furnace Creek (within the park) will create a rich understanding of the park’s geology and ecosystems. The program will include visits and hikes at the following places: Harmony Borax Works, Dante’s View, Zabriskie Point, Badwater Basin, Titus Canyon, Devil’s Golf Course, Race Track Playa, Ubehebe Craters, Artist’s Drive, Mosaic Canyon, Jubilee Pass, Aguereberry Point, Stovepipe Wells, and Rhyolite ghost town. Areas visited outside the park include Shoshone, Tecopa, China Ranch Date Farm, and Amargosa Canyon. 

Activity Notes

Expect hikes of 2-8 miles daily with elevation gains/losses of 500-1,000 feet. Furnace Creek is approximately 190’ below sea level. This program is considered an easy to moderate hiking program for active hikers. Elevations of up to 6,400’ are encountered on this program.

*Trek different sections of Death Valley National Park while learning about the geologic processes that shaped the landscape you are hiking
*Learn about the unique flora of Death Valley.
*Discover how the rocks have left a record dating back more than 500 million years.
*View wildlife with expert naturalists
*Hike through and observe the geologic wonders of the flash flood carved canyons of the Park
*Hike amongst naturally sculpted pastel-colored rocks, along steep-walled marble canyons, and into volcanic craters
*Enjoy the company of other Colorado College alumni during a beautiful time of the year

The Hiking program includes:
A shuttle from and to Las Vegas McCarran Intl airport. Shuttle vans leave for DVNP at 1 p.m. on March 6, 2017
A welcome orientation, social, and dinner in a private banquet room at one of the restaurants at Furnace Creek Ranch resort. 
All dinners (total of 6) 
All breakfasts (total of 6)
All lunches (5)
Six nights at the Furnace Creek Ranch Resort
Spring-fed pool and free wi-fi access at the hotel
All gratuities and tips at meals and hotel
Hikes led by expert guides who know the area and subjects (the leader of this trip is a geologist and CC alum)
All ground transportation once in Death Valley National Park (DVNP) via two vans
Transportation to DVNP from and back to McCarren Intl. Airport in Las Vegas, NV
All Park entrance fees

Price: $2,850 per person based on double occupancy
$700 single supplement

Nonrefundable deposit of $300 due upon reservation. Full payment of balance will be due Jan. 2, 2017. Travel insurance is recommended. Space is limited. Individuals, couples, and families are welcome. Alumni (and their partners/spouses), parents of current students, and parents of alumni are welcome.

To register, please select the "Registration" button at the top of the page. For more information, please call Peter McCarville ’84 at (970) 921-3867 or email The program is in association with Mountains and Plains Institute for Lifelong Learning and Service (

Photos by Marli Miller '82.