4-Wheeling, Mines, Canyons & Exploration - Death Valley Expedition May 17-19, 2024 | Death Valley Tours | Things To Do

4-Wheeling, Mines, Canyons & Exploration – Death Valley Expedition May 17-19, 2024

$1849 Per Person
$1849 Per Person
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- hotel rooms Friday and Saturday
- Group Dinner for Saturday
- Black Rhino Expedition Cap
- FRS Radio (FCC Compliant)
- Gloves
Availability : March 27, 2024 - May 16, 2024
Starting Location - Ballarat, CA
Ending Location - Wildrose, CA
Min Age : 5+
Max People : 40
Tour Details & Highlights

Departure Location

Ballarat, CA

Departure Time

10:00 AM

Video Links to Previous Expeditions

Death Valley – Spring

Death Valley – Badwater

Death Valley Trona Pinnacles

Death Valley / Mengel Pass

Known as the hottest place on planet earth (a record 134 degrees), the driest (less than 1.5 inches/year) and lowest U.S. national park (-282 feet below sea level), Death Valley is a land of extremes offering park visitors a striking contrast of landscapes to explore — from the snow that covers the towering rocks at Telescope Peak to the myriad canyons and seemingly endless alluvial fans.

For maybe the first time ever, you’ll experience spectacular scenery so profound you won’t be able to wait to share your experience with your friends, family and co-workers.

Located in both California and Nevada, Death Valley is the largest national park in the lower 48 states and has almost 1,000 miles of roads that provide access to both popular, and remote locations, in the park. We’ll be spending a good deal of time in those remote locations.

In 1848, gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill in Northern California. People from all over the U.S. packed up their belongings and traveled by foot, horse and wagon train to what they DREAMED would be a better life. As one particular wagon train that started their journey from Salt Lake City, no one knew that this would become part of a story of human suffering in a place eventually named Death Valley.

Teakettle Junction - Black Rhino Expeditions - 4x4 Overlanding in Death Valley

We’ve been introducing people to Death Valley for almost 20 years. Our expeditions are run during the cooler parts of the year and are a combination of driving, hiking, exploring mining camps, and photographic opportunities. Even a 4×4 truck can only get you so far. So much of the great stuff to see is only accessible by foot though none of our hikes are too strenuous, or too long.

For this expedition, we’ll be staying at The Ranch at Death Valley hotel. It recently had a $100 million renovation and features 224 all-new guest rooms.

The Ranch will serve as our Base Camp and offers nearby gasoline, restaurants, a General Store, and a delightful spring-fed pool that is consistently 87 degrees.

Spot Mapping - Black Rhino Expeditions - Off Road Tours

During the expedition, we’ll be using a SPOT (a satellite tracking device) which will allow those folks who couldn’t make the trip to follow on their computer our daily travels. We’ll supply the link for the arm-chair expeditioners.

Each guest will receive a commemorative 12″ x 12″ coffee table book so be prepared for tons of photos being taken.

After this expedition, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to visit Death Valley.

Health notice/restrictions: Off-road tours are rough, bumpy rides often through rough terrain. Our off-road Expeditions are not suitable for guests with back problems, neck problems, motion sickness, pregnancy, major medical conditions, or any other health condition(s) that could be aggravated by a bumpy ride through rough terrain.

** NOTE: What if a specific Expedition is canceled? While incredibly rare, from time to time, an Expedition  may have to be canceled. For almost all of our events, you will be given the choice to either receive a full refund, or transfer your registration to another event that has openings. For some Expeditions, we may deduct up to a 15% fee from your refund to offset unrecoverable expenses. Due to unforeseen circumstances all Black Rhino Expeditions trips and trails are subject to change or cancellation without advance notice.

What to Expect

Death Valley in known around the world for its spectacular geology – the sight-seeing and discovery is incredible!

We will expertly guide you through this magnificent wilderness and introduce you to life-changing experiences.

Our expedition group is small with a limit of 12 vehicles. Come be a part of the adventure!


Day 1Arrive in Ballarat, CA at 10 am

May 17, 2024 – Arrive at Ballarat by 10 am. (GPS – N 36.0477, W -117.2242) Be sure to arrive fueled up. We’ll have a driver’s meeting describing the plans for the next three days and then get started.

From Ballarat, we’ll head south and make our way to Goler Wash. We’ll head up the canyon for some great exploration and visit some miner’s cabins. Further up the canyon is Barker Ranch, Charlie Manson’s hideaway, where we’ll get a chance to explore.

Continuing up the canyon, we’ll ultimately reach the summit at Mengel Pass, where we’ll make a brief stop at the monument that is Carl Mengel’s final resting place. Once over the pass, we’ll head toward Striped Butte, and Geologist’s Cabin, but not before making a small detour to check out other miners’ cabins.

From Geologist’s Cabin, we’ll make our way down Warm Springs Canyon, possibly checking out Gold Hill Mill and the abandoned mining equipment, before making a stop at Warm Springs Camp,

Continuing down the canyon, we’ll eventually get to West Side Road and make a short excursion to Split Cinder Cone. This is a cinder cone directly on a fault line that over thousands of years has resulted in the two halves to now be several hundreds of yards apart. It’s exciting to see.

From Split Cinder Cone, we’ll head north on Badwater Road to Badwater, the lowest spot in the continental United States at 282 feet below sea level.

After exploring at Badwater, we’ll continue north for our night halt at the Oasis at Furnace Creek. You can make reservations by visiting their website: The Oasis at Death Valley.

Day 2Furnace Creek >> Ubehebe Crater >> Teakettle Junction >> Racetrack >> Hunter Mountain

May 18, 2024 – We’ll set out shortly after our 9 am driver’s meeting from The Oasis at Furnace Creek and head north on the highway for about 50 minutes until we reach Ubehebe Crater.

Ubehebe Crater - Death Valley - Black Rhino ExpeditionsUbehebe Crater is a large volcanic crater approx. 600 feet deep and half a mile across. To the local indigenous people, the Timbisha Shoshone Indians, the crater has been known as “Tem-pin-tta- Wo’sah”, meaning Coyote’s Basket. No one is quite sure how Ubehebe became associated with this crater.

Ubehebe Crater started as a maar volcano which is created by steam and gas explosions when hot magma rising up from the depths of the Earth reached ground water. The intense heat flashed the water into steam which expanded until the pressure was released as a tremendous explosion possibly as recently as 300 years ago.

Teakettle Junction - Black Rhino Expeditions - 4x4 Overlanding in Death ValleyWe’ll head south on a graded dirt road from Ubehebe and make our way to Teakettle Junction which has a sign decorated with teakettles left behind by passersby. The tradition is to bring a teakettle and to either inscribe your message on it or to write a letter and put it inside. It’s said to bring good luck to those that leave a kettle and to provide an exciting sign for future travelers. We’ll stop to take photos, investigate and to look inside the teakettles – many of them contain very personal notes.

Further south, in approx. 6 miles, we’ll come to a 1,000 foot thick playa called The Racetrack where the strange phenomenon of the moving rocks takes place.

The Racetrack - Mysterious Moving Rocks - Black Rhino Expeditions
Photo credit: Jeffery Aiello

Racetrack Playa is one of Death Valley’s most enduring mysteries. Littered across the flat, dry surface of this dry lake are hundreds of rocks – some weighing as much as 700 pounds – that seem to have been dragged across the ground, often leaving synchronized trails that can stretch for hundreds of yards.

After outrunning the rocks, we’ll backtrack slightly to Teakettle Junction where we’ll turn right and make our way through Hidden Valley. We’ll make a stop at Lost Burro Mine and take a look inside the mine.

From Lost Burro Mine, we’ll drive up and over Hunter Mountain to connect again with Highway 190 and head back to the hotel. At the hotel, we’ll possibly take a quick dip in the spring-fed, always 80+ degree pool before getting together for dinner.

Day 3Furnace Creek >> Artists Palette >> Golden Canyon >> Dantes View >> Mosaic Canyon >> Skidoo

May 19, 2024 – Today, we’ll set out shortly after our 9 am driver’s meeting from Furnace Creek and head south this time and make our way to Artist’s Palette..


Artists Palette - Black Rhino ExpeditionsArtist’s Palette is  a spectacular display of colors from volcanic deposits rich in iron oxides and chlorites. You’ll see various shades  of red, orange, yellow, blue, pink and green creating a spectacular kaleidoscope effect.

Continuing north, we’ll head up to Golden Canyon where we’ll take a hike.

This hike into Golden Canyon offers  towering walls, colorful side canyons beckoning for exploration, undulating ripples formed by ancient water, and the skittering of wildlife.

This hike is an easy/moderate one – 2 miles (3.2 km) round-trip, and involves one 3-foot rock scramble. Many hikers turn around at the junction to Red Cathedral, but those looking for a little more adventurous hike can continue for an additional half mile to the vertically fluted walls of a natural amphitheater at Red Cathedral.

After we make it back to our vehicles, we’ll head to Zabriskie Point which overlooks the Golden Canyon we just hiked.

Zabriskie Point - Death Valley Tours - Black Rhino Expeditions

The popular vista was built by the Pacific Coast Borax Company in the 1920s and was named after the company’s vice president and general manager, Christian Zabriskie. The site was originally intended as a way stop for visitors in automobiles to see Manly Beacon, the prominent landmark in Death Valley’s “Badlands”. Because of its ease of access, Zabriskie Point is one of the most photographed areas in Death Valley.

“I don’t pay much attention to scenery, but I know one view that made me stop and look.”

These words were spoken in 1926 by Charles Brown, a local man from Shoshone, when asked by the governor of Nevada for his opinion of the best view of Death Valley. As true today as it was then, Dantes View presents an unparalleled view of the salt flats of Death Valley below.

From Zabriskie Point, depending on our time frame, we’ll explore either Hole In The Wall, or Echo Canyon. Both canyons are relatively easy drives with spectacular scenery. Curiously, Echo Canyon has a rock formation with a hole in it, while Hole In The Wall doesn’t.

Next will be Dante’s View. At 5,575 ft above Badwater Basin, which we visited on Friday,  Dantes View is a favorite spot for photographers. Sunrise and sunset are especially magnificent here, and although this area is popular, it is easy to find solitude and set up the perfect shot with a short hike along the ridge to the north.

We’ll leave Dantes View and head to Mosaic Canyon. It’s an incredible relatively short hike with beautiful, butterscotch-colored rock worn glass-smooth in many places. It’s a real favorite – it’ll probably become one of yours.

After Mosaic Canyon, we’ll head through Stovepipe Wells (where we can refuel) before climbing up Towne’s Pass toward Emigrant Canyon. The Park Service is anticipating to have Emigrant Passs road open any day. If the road is indeed open, we’ll get a chance to visit Skidoo, a gold mining ghost town with tons of structures still standing, and then finish off our exploration with a trip to Aguereberry Point. This viewpoint let’s you look over Death Valley from the west side of the valley. It’s a view you wont’ forget.

Once we’ve made our visit to Aguereberry Point, it’ll be time to say good-bye, until the next trip.

Many roads are still closed – my hope is that they’ll get them repaired and open again in time for a fall (October/November) trip.

See you soon.


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