Originally published in The Manual September 18, 2023
I don’t think we need to say more than a mountain bike trip into Death Valley to watch the upcoming solar eclipse. But if that is where we left it that wouldn’t be doing justice to the incredible five-day excursion being put on by Escape Adventures.
Celebrating over 30 years of planning, prepping, and leading adventure travel vacations, Escape Adventures has it all covered. From avid cyclists to beginners bringing along their families, Escape Adventures has a vacation for everybody.
Pack your camera, you’re definitely going to want to document this one.
On October 14, we will experience a total solar eclipse. If you have never seen a total solar eclipse, you’re not alone—they are incredibly rare. And what better place to view this rarity than in the Lower-48’s largest National Park: Death Valley?
Death Valley’s footprint is huge — over 3 million acres, in fact. And while it may not seem like the first place you would think of when planning a mountain bike trip, the park has over 350 miles of roads and trails accessible by bike.
With an otherworldly landscape, Death Valley’s clear skies are a phenomenal place to experience a solar eclipse. While an annular eclipse like the one happening on October 14 isn’t entirely “rare” (they happen every one or two years), the path of the eclipse is relatively small, less than 100 miles wide. The Death Valley area will experience around 80% or more of this eclipse path. Plus, with nearly no light pollution, the night skies look as if you have stepped into an observatory.
The trip’s itinerary, courtesy of Escape Adventures, will look something like this:
- Day 1-2: Las Vegas meet-up. Shuttle to Beatty; ride the new Spicer Ranch Trails, finishing with a cowboy dinner. The next day, descend epic Titus Canyon into Death Valley. Layover in beautiful Monarch Canyon.
- Day 3-4: Climb to the top of Chloride Cliffs; explore ancient mining ruins. Hike down Monarch Canyon to the portal view of Death Valley. Visit massive sand dunes, then Stovepipe Wells. Stop at the National Park Visitor Center. Shuttle to Red Rock Canyon.
- Day 5: Ride Cottonwood Valley’s fabulous trail network, nestled below the cliffs of Red Rock Canyon. Shuttle back to Las Vegas.
Spicer Ranch, on day one, boasts 22 different trails with over 40 miles of riding. With mostly green and blue trails, Spicer Ranch will be a great place to get acquainted with your mountain bike and the rocky, dry desert trails you’ll be spending the next few days on. The following day will have you descending the wild and scenic Titus Canyon. Fast, steep descends on loose gravel will have you arriving in Monarch Canyon for the evening. This beautiful, craggy landscape is home to one of Death Valley’s very few water springs and drainages.
Days three and four will have you exploring the 5000′-plus Chloride Cliffs along with the surrounding ghost town and mines. Take a step back into history as you explore the area’s life from 100 years ago. End your time in Death Valley in the area’s historic Stovepipe Wells. Visit the historic hotel, restaurant, and information center. Look into the past and learn about the Native Americans who called Death Valley home.
End your fourth day with a shuttle to Red Rock Canyon and a final morning of mountain biking the trails of Cottonwood Valley before heading back to Las Vegas. Cottonwood Valley has over 100 miles of trails for all riding levels. Tackle this chunky, technical terrain and progress from the 40-plus green and blue mountain bike trails to trying a few of the 13 black diamond trails in the valley.
Pedaling each day from campsite to campsite, Escape Adventures will provide much-needed home-cooked meals. Many of the campsites used on this mountain bike excursion have indoor restroom facilities. For campsites that do not, Escape Adventures will provide portable toilets and solar showers. Support vehicles are also on standby.
This solar eclipse mountain bike adventure is due to leave on October 12th. For more information and pricing on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure vacation, head over to Escape Adventures’ website.