Top Navigation

Tour Review: A Day Trip to Death Valley NP from Las Vegas

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Visiting the Salt Flats at Death Valley National Park on a day trip from Las Vegas
Wearing: ASOS dress and New Look flats.

Why take a one-way trip to Mars, when you can take a two-way trip to Death Valley? The barren landscape of Death Valley and the dry but not completely rainless climate evokes the landscape of the red planet three billion years ago. The similarities between the two landscapes are so striking that  NASA scientists have utilised to Death Valley for decades to test equipment and hypotheses bound for Mars. In addition, in recent years scientists have partnered with the park to hold a three-day free public festival in the name of Mars every March; of which I can only assume would be amazing.


Driving around Death Valley features a plethora of other-wordly features, such as Ubehebe Crater (a volcanic crater 200 metres deep and 800 metres wide) or the salt flats of Badwater Basin (which cover almost 500 square kilometres and marks the lowest point in North America). Even with the rather high price tag attached to a day-tour of Death Valley, I was easily convinced that there was no better way to spend a day in Las Vegas. 

If I wasn't travelling alone and was confident driving the North American roads, I definitely would have preferred to self-drive to Death Valley and hike around the National Park independently so that I could see my bucket list of features of the park. However, as I was traveling alone the tour provided by Casino Travel and Tours (and booked through Viator.com ) was convenient and flexible enough so that I could see almost everything I wanted to see. Budgeting in the 4-hour return trip to Las Vegas and that the park is 225 kilometres long (note: it is the largest in North America below Alaska!), I was pretty content with this for an 11-hour day.

The tour itself was well-organised and intimate (there were only 3 other people on the trip with me). As a result, we were able to make up our own itinerary to a degree and spend extra time climbing massive sand dunes (featured in Star Wars Episode IV and VI), or staring at awe at the mysteriously self-moving rocks at The Race Track. All the while, the tour guide himself was informing us of the history and relevance of all these places, as well as about Las Vegas and Area 51 on the drive back. For this reason and more, I definitely recommend the tour if you can expend the $$$. However, if you are planning an independent trip here's the features of the park I would recommend: Badwater Basin, Ubehebe Basin (I unfortunately didn't get to see this natural wonder though), the Racetrack (!!!), the Mesquite Sand Dunes (so tiring but rewarding), the Devil's Golfcourse, and Dante's view (the next picture; this would be AMAZING at sunrise or sunset).

I hope the following photos inspire you to include a trip to Death Valley on your next North American trip.

Visiting the Salt Flats at Death Valley National Park on a day trip from Las VegasVisiting Death Valley National Park on a day trip from Las Vegas
Visiting the Mars Like Landscape of Death Valley National Park on a day trip from Las VegasVisiting the Mars Like Landscape of Death Valley National Park on a day trip from Las VegasVisiting the Mars Like Landscape of Death Valley National Park on a day trip from Las Vegas
Visiting the Mars Like Landscape of Death Valley National Park on a day trip from Las Vegas
Visiting the Sand Dunes at Death Valley National Park on a day trip from Las Vegas
Visiting Death Valley National Park on a day trip from Las Vegas
Visiting Death Valley National Park on a day trip from Las Vegas
Visiting Death Valley National Park on a day trip from Las Vegas