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Death Valley Geology Discovery Tour

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Date and Time



Meet up Location: Longstreet Inn Casino & RV Resort (lobby)

4400 S Highway 373

Amargosa Valley, NV 89020

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Refund Policy

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 7 days before event

Event description


Are you curious about geology? Intrigued by Death Valley? Then this trip is for you.

General Class Description: We will travel by vans to various stops where we can see, discuss, and learn to recognize aspects of the geology. Several stops involve short hikes of about ¼ mile, often cross country rather than on a trail. This is not meant to be a hiking trip, but it is also not a bus trip. Those in good health, and willing to walk across rocks and gravel, and up small hills, should have no problem. No prior training in geology is required, but there will be ample opportunities to get more technical information if desired.

IMPORTANT: We will meet at 8 pm, Tuesday evening, Jan 2, in the lobby of the Longstreet Inn Casino for a required Orientation and Safety meeting.

Program Ends: Friday, Jan 5, at noon.

Refunds: Self-service cancellations can be refunded through Eventbrite up to 7 days prior to the event start date. No refunds after Dec 25th.

Cost: Program price: $275 + 12.10 Eventbrite ticketing fee: which covers 2 ½ days of expert presentations and led excursions, van transportation during program, 2 lunches, and the park entrance fee. Participants are responsible for their lodging, meals (except the two provided lunches), and transportation to and from the program.

Lodging: Two blocks of rooms have been reserved at the Longstreet Inn Casino and RV Park. Visit or call (775) 372-1777. The reservation codes are 39032 and 39862. This information will also be provided with your class confirmation email. The hotel and RV park are located at the Nevada/California state line, 6 miles north of Death Valley Junction. This is about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, and 38 miles east of Furnace Creek at the heart of Death Valley. Rooms are $80/night double or single occupancy; RV park sites are $25 per night ($22.50 for Good Sam members). There are no other convenient camping options nearby. FYI: There is a $10 key deposit, which is refunded when you return your key at checkout.

Meals: We will supply box lunches on Wednesday, Jan 3, and Thursday, Jan 4. Participants are responsible for other meals. There is a restaurant at the Longstreet.

Transportation: Participants are responsible for getting to and from the Longstreet Inn Casino, where the each day’s adventure begins.

Shuttle option: Dr. Knauth and his assistants will be leaving the Las Vegas McCarran airport with the vans for the program at 4 pm on Tuesday, Jan 2; they will have room for passengers. Contact Dr. Knauth directly to learn more and to make arrangements; contact information provided in confirmation email.


Tuesday, January 2: You need to get to the Longstreet in time for our 8 pm Orientation. Meeting should last only an hour at most.

Wednesday and Thursday, January 3 and 4: The hotel restaurant opens for breakfast at 7:00 am. The vans leave for the geology excursion at 8:00 a.m. sharp. A typical geology stop will involve a brief talk about what we can see and then time to look around a bit, ask questions, and do a little walking. We will provide a box luncharound noon. We will also carry a limited supply of snacks in all the vehicles. There are a number of toilets in the Park, and we will stop at them when possible. There are also secluded places at many of the stops you can use when necessary, and we have a porta-potty seat, which can be set up if desired. We practice Leave-No-Trace principles, which means we pack out everything except fluids. January days are short; we will use all the day-light hours, and return to the hotel after dark, around 6 pm.

Friday, January 5: You will need to check out before we leave at 8 a.m. Please plan on getting up a bit earlier, so you can pack, have breakfast, and check-out. We will do a half-day of geology stops and return to Longstreet at noon. At that point the program is concluded.

For those using the shuttle, the vans will depart for Las Vegas at 1 pm. We should arrive back at the rent-a-car center at the airport by 3:00 pm. If yor are flying out that night, please be aware that we will be driving into rush hour traffic in Las Vegas and will likey be delayed up to a half hour by that.


Can I camp elsewhere and just drive to and from the Longstreet Hotel?

It will work best if everyone stays either at the Longstreet or camp at the adjacent RV park. Based on experience, trips have a way of getting fouled up when people are scattered all over.

How do the breakfast and dinner meals work?

These are not included in the course fee. The Longstreet has a restaurant that you can access for breakfast and dinner, and lunch on Friday, as you wish. We do provide box lunches for Wednesday and Thursday.

I know no geology but am interested. Will I be able to understand?

We hope so. Our intent is to introduce Death Valley geology and its mysteries to those interested but with little or no prior knowledge.

I know a lot of geology but have never been to Death Valley. Am I going to be bored?

Not a chance. You will be blown away by what you see. We can discuss things at whatever level you want after the intro talk and people start looking around on their own. We can also talk in the evenings.

Who is the trip leader Paul Knauth and what does he know about Death Valley?

Dr. Knauth is a recently retired professor from the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. He was introduced to Death Valley geology by the legendary Robert Sharp on a Caltech class field trip in 1970 and has been going back as frequently as possible ever since. He has led class trips from ASU to the southern end of the valley and led three previous ASU sponsored trips for the public similar to what is planned for this one. He is an isotope geochemist concerned with broader aspects of Earth history, the geology of Mars, and Astrobiology. He has published several papers involving research in Death Valley. He still has few answers for the multitudinous geologic mysteries there. Many of these will be pointed out on the trip.

Will we see iconic places in Death Valley like Racetrack Play, Zabrieskie Point, sand dunes, and the salt pan?

We may see several such places on our excursion, though the Racetrack Playa is not one of them: that is a bone-jarring drive to a remote area that would take a full day. Come without any specific location expectations; the exact itinerary is flexible and may have to be adjusted due to weather, closed roads, and who knows what else. Death Valley has so much to see that we predict you will not be disappointed.

I am confused about how we pay for the hotel. Is this part of the fee?

No. You should call the Longstreet Hotel and Casino and make your reservation for January 2,3, and 4 after you secure your reservation with us as described above. Indicate that you are with the trip sponsored by the Death Valley Natural History Association (DVNHA). There is no discount to the price, but we have a block of rooms reserved, so there will be availability. Note that two participants can share a room, with each putting half of the cost on their respective credit cards. If you are staying at the RV park across the street, no reservation is necessary.

What happens at the Orientation Meeting?

We will introduce ourselves to each other. If you are willing, please let us know what to call you, where you’re from, whether you have been to Death Valley before, or whatever else you want to share. If you’re in the witness protection program, just pass or make something up. Then we’ll discuss safety and plans for the trip. We hope to keep this all under an hour.

Is there cell phone service and internet at the Longstreet and in Death Valley?

WiFi and cell service are available at Longstreet, but cell phone service is rarely available in Death Valley, except near the Visitor Center. We will likely do at least one lunch stop near the Visitor Center.

What happens in case of an emergency while we are out and about?

We will have a satellite phone and the contact number for Death Valley emergency dispatch. Note that our satellite phone is for emergency use only. In these isolated locations, there are times when no cell service is available.

What to bring in the vehicles checklist:

  • Light hiking boots or beefy athletic shoes for walking over rocky terrain
  • Sun hat
  • Canteen or bottle for water (we will have water available in the vehicles)
  • Warm jacket
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
  • Small pack for water bottle and daily items
  • Dark glasses (polaroids are best for geology)
  • Personal items such as tissues, medicine, etc.
  • No firearms or pets, please

Who can I contact if I have more questions?

Email or call 775-764-0726 and speak with the Death Valley Natural History Association Field School Director, Renee Rusler.

Liability Disclaimer: You must sign a liability disclaimer to participate in thei program.

Date and Time


Meet up Location: Longstreet Inn Casino & RV Resort (lobby)

4400 S Highway 373

Amargosa Valley, NV 89020

View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 7 days before event

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