Discover the Elegance of Autumn: Luxury Backpacking in Death Valley

Discover the Elegance of Autumn: Luxury Backpacking in Death Valley

As the summer heat wanes and the leaves start to fall, the vast expanse of Death Valley reveals a different facet of its beauty. Imagine setting out on a luxurious backpacking adventure in the heart of this natural wonder, with crisp, comfortable weather as your companion.

Fall brings with it cooler temperatures and less crowded trails, making it an ideal time to explore the breathtaking landscapes of Death Valley.

Our guided tours are designed with luxury in mind. This ensures that you get the most out of your backpacking experience. And with the added touch of our gourmet outdoor meals, expertly prepared by our chef, your journey through Death Valley will be extraordinary.

Here are some reasons why fall is a great time to go on our Death Valley backpacking tours.

The Starry Nights

In the fall, the skies over Death Valley come alive with countless twinkling stars, inviting you for an amazing stargazing experience. The clear, crisp nights offer uninterrupted views of the cosmos.

As you lay back in your state-of-the-art goose-down sleeping bag, you’ll find comfort, warmth, and an unparalleled view of the night sky. The experience is pure magic, taking the luxury of our Death Valley backpacking tours to a new level.

Outdoor Comfort

One of the best parts about our Death Valley backpacking tours is the comfort you’ll experience. We provide raised Helinox cots for sleeping – they’re like your bed at home but in the great outdoors. These cots are set off the ground, giving you a comfortable, clean, and cozy place to rest after a day of exploration.

Plus, the crisp fall air makes snuggling into your cot an absolute delight. Whether watching the stars at night or waking up to the first light of dawn, you will have an extraordinary outdoor experience on our Death Valley backpacking tours.

Gourmet Dining in Nature

Experience the joy of dining under the open skies with our luxury backpacking tours. Fall is a special time, offering an abundance of fresh, seasonal ingredients that our chef uses to create five-star cuisine.

Picture yourself savoring a gourmet meal designed with the season’s best produce right in the heart of Death Valley. Each dish is expertly paired with a fine drink, enhancing the flavor and dining experience.

These aren’t your typical campfire meals – they’re culinary masterpieces designed to delight your taste buds after a day of adventure.

Enjoy Moderate Temperatures

Fall in Death Valley is a breath of fresh air after a long, hot summer. Gone are the scorching temperatures; in their place, you’ll find a much more comfortable climate for exploring the great outdoors. The reduced heat makes it easier to trek through the stunning landscapes and truly enjoy the beauty around you.

Check Out Our Death Valley Backpacking Tours!

Do you want a unique and enjoyable outdoor experience? If so, it’s time to check out our Death Valley backpacking tours!

How To Make a Hiking Trip Fun and Memorable For Your Entire Family

How To Make a Hiking Trip Fun and Memorable For Your Entire Family

Children in the United States spend less time outside than ever before. On average, the typical child will devote less than seven minutes per day to playing outside. If you are tired of watching your child retreat into an online world and want to show them the beauty of nature, then it is time to play a hiking trip for the whole family.

When planning a hiking trip for your family, the main goal you should have is to make it both fun and memorable. Failing to deliver on your promise of a good time can lead to your children refusing to go on future trips. The following are some things you need to keep in mind when trying to make your family hiking trip a success.

Avoid Making the Hike Too Strenuous

Some parents get a bit over-zealous when planning their first hiking trip with the family. The worst mistake you can make when taking your children hiking is making it too strenuous. Ideally, you want the hike in question to be on relatively smooth and easy to navigate terrain. You also need to make sure that the hike in question has some memorable features.

Hikes that feature things like large lakes, babbling brooks and waterfalls will be more memorable for your children. Before you start the hike, you need to give your kids a rundown of what they can expect and how long the trip will last. By doing this, you can avoid a never-ending array of questions about the hike and how much longer you have to go.

Leave Plenty of Time for Exploring

Children who are put into an outdoor environment they are unfamiliar with will want to explore as much of this terrain as they can. Leaving plenty of time for this exploration should be one of your main concerns. If you rush through the hike, it can frustrate your children and will take away from the enjoyment they have during this outdoor excursion.

By leaving plenty of time for exploration, you can help your children see just how magical nature can be. Be sure to bring along a camera to take pictures of your child’s hiking experience. These pictures will help you freeze these special moments in time.

Plan Ahead For Frequent Stops to Eat

Walking in nature can take a lot out of a child. The best way to replenish the energy your child loses on the hike is by stopping for food and drink. Delicious sandwiches, healthy fruits and water make for a great meal during your hike. Allowing your child to help prepare these tasty treats before the hiking trip makes them feel more involved in this process.

If you are trying to plan a wilderness adventure of a lifetime for your family, then you need to check out the luxury expeditions offered by Canyons and Chefs. With our help, you can provide your family with a camping experience they will never forget.

Top 5 Backpacking Trips in Grand Canyon

Top 5 Backpacking Trips in Grand Canyon

What are the Best Backpacking Trips in Grand Canyon?

Grand Canyon National Park can be a nearly overwhelming place.  What do I do?  Where should I go?  Even for seasoned backpackers, the choices can be endless and exhausting.  The Goat has compiled a list especially for you, outlining backpacking trips in Grand Canyon for all skill and experience levels.  Enjoy!

5.  The Hermit Loop

Time: 3 days, 2 nights

Distance: 18 miles

Difficulty: Undergraduate+ (Check out our difficulty ratings)

The Hermit Loop is a truly classic Grand Canyon backpacking trip that can be easily accomplished over a long weekend.  It is a great hike for those who are looking to take their first backpacking foray into the big ditch, and truly hits all the highlights.  Sweeping vistas, interesting side trips, and excellent canyon history await on a trail forged originally by the “hermit of the Grand Canyon”, Mr. Louis Boucher.  The route was later improved by the Santa Fe Railroad Line in an attempt to bring mining, then tourism, into the area.

4.  Tuckup Canyon via the Stairway to Heaven

Time: 7 days, 6 nights

Distance: 45 miles

Difficulty: PhD+ (check our difficulty ratings)

Get your defibrillator, this one is not for the faint of heart.  Located in one of the most remote parts of Grand Canyon, this long, challenging loop is meant for experienced cannoneers only.  This route takes ambitious hikers down Tuckup Canyon, past Shaman’s Gallery (recognized as one of the most spectacular rock art etchings in the American Southwest), through a traverse along the mighty Colorado River, and then up Stairway Canyon.  Along the way, there are exciting climbing, route-finding, and scrambling challenges, and .  Strap in!


3.  Thunder River to Deer Creek

Time: 4 days, 3 nights

Distance: 28 miles

Difficulty: Graduate+ (check our difficulty ratings)

The Thunder River to Deer Creek Loop is perhaps the North Rim’s most fabulous backpacking trip.  Multiple water sources, outstanding scenery, and a truly thunderous river.  Geologically speaking, Thunder River is one of the most unique features in Grand Canyon.  It begins as an underground river (aquifer) up on the Kaibab Plateau.  It flows along various fault lines and crustal weaknesses until it breaks loose at the contact of the permeable Esplanade Group (mostly shales) and the impermeable Redwall Limestone, quite literally thundering onto the rocks below.

2.  Rim-to-Rim via Phantom Ranch

Time: 3 days, 2 nights

Distance: 19 miles

Difficulty: Graduate (check our difficulty ratings)

This is the true Grand Canyon classic backpacking trip.  Starting at the North Rim, your descent begins on the North Kaibab Trail as it winds it way down to the Colorado River.  Along the way hikers are treated to unspoiled views, soaring eagles, and a well-developed trail.  Thru-hikers may  camp at Bright Angel Campground, or stay in the lodge at the famed Phantom Ranch.  From here hikers may choose to ascend either the South Kaibab Trail (shorter, steeper) or the Bright Angel Trail (more miles) and stay the second night on the Esplanade.  After cresting on the South Rim, be sure to gaze upon your North Rim starting point.  This is one of the most popular trips in Grand Canyon, so be sure to make your reservations early!

1.  The Escalante Route

Time: 5 days, 4 nights

Distance: 35 miles

Difficulty: PhD (check our difficulty ratings)

Carved by early Puebloan explorers of Grand Canyon, this long traverse of Grand Canyon from the Tanner Trail to Horseshoe Mesa and Grandview is perhaps one of the finest backpacking trips on the planet.  There is a little bit of everything Grand Canyon here, as hikers will encounter outrageous views of the Great Unconformity, sandy beaches, a class 3 scramble over the famous Papago Wall, and a spectacular slot canyon carved from billion-year-old Shinumo Quartzite.  This route confronts with hikers with the unimaginable scale of Grand Canyon, as it will seem as though you are climbing mountains in a canyon.  Grand!

Going Guided

Hiking and exploring The Wave, or any of our public lands, is a special experience.  Although it is possible to see these places yourself, hiring a guiding outfitter is a great idea.  For instance, guiding services provide logistical support, and plan everything for your best possible trip.  They provide a great safety net on the trail, and are trained in backcountry medicine. Above all, they provide a depth of knowledge of the region that turns a walk into a true adventure.

Canyons and Chefs provides all of the support you need, and pairs that with professional chefs and expert geologist/guides.  Our meals use fresh ingredients and are inspired by local farms, culture, and cuisine. We utilize a mobile professional kitchen as a backbone for cooking over the fire.  Furthermore, we provide top-of-the-line gear and passion for the places we explore. In conclusion, you can these wild places, but going with a guide can create an even more memorable experience.  Don’t be shy, and call us!

Read our blog!

For adventure Chef-Driven Outdoor Experiences, see our epic tours in Grand Canyon, Utah, and Arizona!

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram

Explore Further, Be Wild, Eat Like Kings —

Canyons and Chefs

What are Good Hiking Foods?

Food for the Trail, Food For Life


We expend quite a lot of energy out on the trail, and all of those calories need to be either front-loaded or replaced.  How do we do that?  We eat food and drink water.  Here, you will find recipes that link with Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism’s Diet and Fitness regimen for being in great trail-shape.  I have used some box mixes and premade sauces to make you life easier, you have enough to worry about training and eating right!  Bon Apetit!

To see the exercise regimen that goes with this diet visit

Week 1:

Day 1:

Chocolate-Banana Smoothie

2 fresh bananas

1/4 c. cocoa powder

2 c. plain almond mild, unsweetened

1/2 c. water

1/2 plain nonfat greek yogurt

1 c. power greens mix

Place bananas, powder, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.  Puree on high until well combined.  Add greens and puree until pulverized.  Serve immediately.  Reserve extra in the refrigerator.

 Toasted BLAT with Turkey Bacon on Sourdough Bread

2 slices sourdough bread

6 strips turkey bacon

4 slices Roma tomato

2 leaves Romaine lettuce

1 avocado

Preheat oven to 300-degrees.  Place turkey bacon on roasting pan, and roast in oven for 10 mins, or until bacon is golden brown and crispy.  Slice and pit avocado, cut each half into quarters.  Toast bread to liking.  Spread 1/2 of the avocado onto each slice.  Build sandwich with bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, and remaining avocado.  Serve immediately

Classic Pizza Neopalitana w/ Whole Wheat Crust

1 package whole wheat pizza dough

1 jar high-quality marinara sauce

1 package fresh mozzarella cheese

1 sprig fresh basil

Preheat oven to 425-degrees.  If you have a backing stone, preheat it along with the oven.  On floured surface, shape dough into a circle.  With a rolling pin, roll out evenly, flouring liberally until desired thickness and shape is achieved.  Spread sauce evenly.  Slice mozzarella evenly, add to pizza.  Bake for 14-16 mins, or until dough is crispy and cheese is melted completely.  Pick and tear basil leaves, spread on pizza.  Serve immediately.

Day 2:

Berry Peachy Smoothie

1/4 bag frozen mixed berries

1/4 bag frozen peaches

2 c. almond milk

1/2 c. water

1/2 c. nonfat plain greek yogurt

1 c. power greens mix

Place fruit, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.  Puree on high until well combined. Add water to get desired consistency. Add greens and puree until pulverized.  Serve immediately.  Reserve extra in the refrigerator.

Flaxseed Pancakes with Blueberry-Maple Syrup and Honey Butter

Organic Flaxseed Pancake Mix

1 c. fresh blueberries

3 c. Maple Syrup

1/2 c. butter

2 oz. honey

Bring butter to room temperature.  Add honey, whisk vigorously until combined and chill.  In small saucepan, heat small amount of butter, add blueberries and small amount of water.  Cook until berries become soft and begin to break down.  Add syrup and simmer for 5 minutes.  Prepare pancakes according to instructions on box and serve with warm syrup and cool butter.

Grilled Eggplant and Couscous salad with Roasted Green Chili Vinaigrette

1 eggplant, sliced, grilled, and diced

1 cup cooked couscous

1 cup roasted green chilies

3 oz. olive oil

1 oz. lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine chilies, oil, and lemon juice in a small bowl, whisking to combine.  Combine couscous and eggplant, and dress with vinaigrette.  Serve immediately.

Seared Alaskan Salmon w/ Caramelized Vegetable Quinoa and Avocado Butter

6 oz. salmon fillet, de-boned

1 onion, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 c. cooked quinoa

1 avocado, pitted and smashed

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 lime, juiced

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened

 Add avocado, cilantro, and lime juice to butter and combine thoroughly.  Preheat oven to 425-degrees.  In a skillet, heat small amount of olive oil and add onion, pepper, and zucchini, cooking on low heat until vegetables are browned and sweet.  In a different skillet, heat small amount of olive oil to smoke point and add salmon, skin-side down.  Cook until edges begin to brown, and put in oven for 5 mins. or until slightly firm.  Add quinoa to vegetables and heat.  To serve, place quinoa on plate, place salmon on quinoa skin-side up, and put small pad of butter on the salmon.  Serve immediately.

Day 3:

 Pineapple-Mango Smoothie

1/4 bag frozen pineapple

1/4 bag frozen mango

2 c. almond milk

1/2 c. water

1/2 c. nonfat plain greek yogurt

1 c. power greens mix

Place fruit, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.  Puree on high until well combined. Add water to get desired consistency. Add greens and puree until pulverized.  Serve immediately.  Reserve extra in the refrigerator.

Veggie-Stuffed Egg Bake with Boursin Cheese

3 eggs

1/2 c. broccoli florets

1/2 c. mushrooms

1/4 c. tomatoes

2 tsp. boursin cheese

1 tsp. cooking oil

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.  Saute vegetables in cooking oil using a cast iron skillet.  Whisk eggs until well combined and pour over vegetables.  Add cheese.  Cook in oven until eggs are set.  

Whole Wheat Blueberry-Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 c. whole wheat flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1/2 c. butter, melted

1 c. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. fresh blueberries

1/2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.  In a large mixing bowl add eggs, butter, sugar, and extract.  Whisk until creamy an combined.  Though a sifter add flour, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk lightly into batter.  Fold in blueberries, and chocolate chips.  Spray a muffin tin with oil.  Using 1 full ice cream scoop, portion batter into tin.  Bake for 15-20 mins., or until toothpick inserted into center comes out dry.  This recipe makes roughly 24 muffins, or two full muffin tins.

French Onion Soup with Gruyere Crouton

4 onions, sliced

2 tsp. butter

4 oz. brandy or cognac

8 oz. cans beef stock

8 oz. chicken stock

1 tsp. salt

Slices French bread

2 slices gruyere cheese

In a stock pot, melt butter and add onions and brandy.  Cook onions on low heat until onions are very brown and sweet.  Add stock and simmer for 30 mins.  Add salt to taste.

For the Croutons:  Add cheese to bread, bake in oven for 8 mins. or until cheese is melted and bread is crispy.  Add to soup.

Caprese Salad w/ Fresh Mozzarella and Heirloom Tomatoes

2 Roma tomatoes, sliced

1 ball mozzarella cheese

2 sprigs fresh basil

1 oz. extra virgin olive oil

1 oz. balsamic vinegar

Arrange tomato and cheese slices in an alternating pattern.  Season with salt, pepper, olive oil, and vinegar.  Finish with torn basil and serve immediately.

Grilled Chicken Caeser Salad with Parmigian Croutons

1 chicken breast,grilled and cubed

1 head romaine lettuce

3 oz. low-fat Caesar dressing

1 bag Caeser croutons

Season and grill chicken until juices run clear.  Chop lettuce, add croutons.  Dress and combine. Add chicken.  Serve immediately.

Day 4:

Strawberry-Coconut Smoothie

1/2 bag frozen strawberries

1 c. coconut milk

1 c. almond milk

1/4 c. water

1/2 c. nonfat plain greek yogurt

1 c. power greens mix

Place fruit, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.  Puree on high until well combined. Add water to get desired consistency. Add greens and puree until pulverized.  Serve immediately.  Reserve extra in the refrigerator.

Frozen Raspberry “Custard”

1 cup frozen raspberries

1/2 cup whole milk

In a bowl, add milk to berries and let sit for 2 mins.  Serve immediately.

The Goat’s Cobb Salad

1/4 small bag shredded lettuce

1/4 small bag shredded purple cabbage

1 hardboiled egg, sliced

1 oz. goat cheese

1/2 c. dried cranberries

1/2 c. shelled, crushed walnuts

2 strips turkey bacon, crumbled

1 oz. balsamic vinaigrette

Combine lettuce and cabbage.  In parallel lines, garnish salad with remaining ingredients.  Dress with vinaigrette. 

Health Nut Trail Mix

2 parts skin-on almonds

1 part flax seed

2 part shelled sunflower seed

2 parts pepitas

2 parts roasted pumpkin seeds

 2 parts shelled walnuts

2 parts dried cranberries

2 parts dried apricots

1 part roasted oats

Coconut Red Curry Chicken w/ Basmati Rice

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled and cubed

2 tsp. cooking oil

1/2 c. broccoli, chopped

1/2 c. cauliflower, chopped

1/3 c. carrots, chopped

1/3 c. onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 can coconut milk

2 tsp. red curry paste

Saute all vegetables with curry paste until translucent.  Add cubed chicken.  Add coconut milk, simmer until thickened.  Serve while hot.

Day 5:

Peach Tahini Smoothie

1/2 bag frozen peaches

2 tsp. tahini paste

2 c. almond milk

1/2 c. water

1/2 c. nonfat plain greek yogurt

1 c. power greens mix

Place fruit, tahini, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.  Puree on high until well combined. Add water to get desired consistency. Add greens and puree until pulverized.  Serve immediately.  Reserve extra in the refrigerator.

Whole Wheat Waffles w/ Rum-Maple Syrup and Honey Butter

For the cakes:

1 c. whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 c. milk

2 tbsp. white sugar

1/4 c. melted butter

1/4 tsp. salt

In a large mixing bowl add butter, and sugar, whisking until combined.  Whisk in milk.  Though a sifter add flour and baking powder.  Whisk lightly until combined, let batter sit for 5 mins. In a lightly oiled waffle iron, add batter and cook until done on the inside and crispy on the outside.  Top with syrup and butter.  Serve immediately.

For the Syrup:

2 shots rum

1 c. maple syrup

Heat a small saucepan.  Add rum and cook out alcohol, simmering for at least 5 minutes.  Add syrup, and simmer for additional 5 minutes

For the butter:

2 oz. honey

1/2 unsalted butter, softened

Whisk honey into softened butter and chill.

Fruit n’ Nut Grab Bag

2 parts roasted walnuts

1 part dried apricots

1 part dried cranberries

1 part dried nectarines

1 part dried apple

1 part dried strawberry

2 part pepitas

1 part roasted pistachios

Smoked Salmon and Dill Quesadilla

2 large flour tortillas

1/2 lb. smoked salmon, 

2 c. Gouda cheese, shredded

1 sprig fresh dill, picked

Sour cream for garnish

Heat a griddle to medium heat and oil lightly.  Lay tortillas flat, and spread cheese on top.  Cook until cheese is melted and tortilla is crispy.  Add salmon, cook until salmon is heated, roughly 1 min.  Add dill, close the tortillas, remove from heat. Garnish with small amount of sour cream and serve immediately.


The Goat’s Fruit Salad

1 small watermelon

1 small cantaloupe

2 cups strawberries

2 cups grapes

1 sprig fresh mint, chopped

3 cups nonfat vanilla yogurt

Remove the rind and cube the melons.  Add remaining fruit, mint, and yogurt.  Fold until all fruit is covered. Will keep for up to five days when chilled and covered.

Fire-Grilled Turkey Burger w/ Sonoran Coleslaw

For the slaw:

1 cup shredded purple cabbage

1/2 c. shredded carrot

1/4 c. diced green chilies

1/4 c. thinly-sliced apple

2 tsp. rice vinegar

For the burger:

Whole wheat hamburger buns

1 lb. ground turkey

2 tsp. applesauce

1 tsp.Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. dijon mustard

1 egg 

1 tbsp. cornmeal

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Grill until juices run clear. Top with slaw and serve on buns.

Day 6:

Strawberry-Mango Smoothie

2 c. almond milk

1/2 c. water

1/2 c. nonfat plain greek yogurt

1 c. power greens mix

Place fruit, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.  Puree on high until well combined. Add water to get desired consistency. Add greens and puree until pulverized.  Serve immediately.  Reserve extra in the refrigerator.

Cereal Nut Mix

2 parts Cinnamon Toast Crunch

2 parts Golden Grahams

2 parts Honey Nut Cheerios

1 part Slivered almonds

2 parts Kix

1 parts dried pears

The Goat’s Tuna Salad w/ Rye Toast

2 c. chunk tuna, drained

2 tsp. light mayonnaise

3 stalks celery, diced

1/2 c. chopped green grapes

1/4 c. chopped cranberries

1 tsp. ground caraway seed

Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well until combined.

Banana Walnut Bread

3 c. AP flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

3 eggs

1 c. unsalted butter, melted

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

1.5 c. smashed bananas

1 c. shelled walnuts

Preheat oven to 325-degrees.  In a large mixing bowl add butter, eggs, sugar, and beat until well combined.  Add bananas, and beat until combined.  Through a sifter, add flour, baking powder, and salt.  Mix on low setting until combined dough is formed.  Fold in walnuts.  Bake for 55-60 mins., or until toothpick inserted in center comes out dry.

Shrimp Scampi w/ Whole Wheat Pasta

1/2 pckg. whole wheat linguini

1/2 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic, sliced

1 c. dry white wine

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 c. unsalted butter

Cook pasta to al dente and set aside.  Heat small amount of butter and sauce onions and garlic until onions are brown and taste sweet.  Add wine, and reduce by half.  Add lemon juice. Add shrimp and simmer until pink and firm.  Spoon sauce and shrimp over warm pasta and serve immediately.

Day 7:  

Mountain Berry Smoothie

1/2 bag frozen mixed berries

2 c. almond milk

1/2 c. water

1/2 c. nonfat plain greek yogurt

1 c. power greens mix

Place fruit, almond milk, and yogurt in a blender.  Puree on high until well combined. Add water to get desired consistency. Add greens and puree until pulverized.  Serve immediately.  Reserve extra in the refrigerator.

May The Goat be always with you

For trips through geologic time visit

Follow The Goat on Twitter:

and on Instagram at

Like our Facebook page at

Death Valley: 10 Cool Facts at 134 Degrees

Death Valley: 10 Cool Facts at 134 Degrees

There is a place so vast, so beautiful, so unique, and so special that it nearly defies comprehension.  This is Death Valley.  Located in the howling wilds of the Mojave Desert along the border of California and Nevada, Death Valley is at the same time magnificent and overwhelming in sheer size, beauty, and adventure opportunity.  In our opinion, it is world-famous for all the wrong reasons.  When most think of Death Valley, they think of it being the place where the hottest temperature on Earth was recorded; 134 degrees Fahrenheit to be exact on July 10, 1913.  Even the name itself conjures up images of things literally bursting into flames; a place that is at the least not enjoyable, and at the worst, the terrestrial version of The Inferno.


While Death Valley itself does hold that distinction, the surrounding areas are quite pleasant during the summer months, and see up to feet of snow in the winter.  The Goat aims to shed some new light on this wondrous, mysterious, gorgeous, and astonishing area, and he has put together his very best “Did You Know?” list about Death Valley!

1.  Did you know that the vertical distance between the lowest and highest points in Death Valley is over 11,000 feet?

Telescope Peak, the highest peak in the Panamint Mountains that tower over Death Valley, is 11,049 feet above sea level.  Its lofty peak is less than 15 miles away from the lowest point in North America, Badwater Basin at 282 feet below sea level.  This nearly incomprehensible juxtaposition is a feat that is only accomplished by the complex tectonics and unique geology that govern Death Valley’s highs and lows.


2.  Did you know that Death Valley should really be called “Life Valley?”

Death Valley National Park is home to numerous lizard and reptile species, bighorn sheep, antelope, snakes, Gila monsters, mountain lions, coyotes, foxes, several species of owl, rodents, and hundreds of plant and tree species including cottonwood, oak, Joshua trees, and various pines, as well as many species of cactus.  The perception that it is a barren, lifeless desert could not be further from reality, as it houses one of the greatest biologically diverse ecosystems in the world.

3.  Did you know that you can play golf then soak in hot springs in Death Valley?

You and the Devil.  Furnace Creek Golf Club boasts a full 18-hole course that challenges golfers of all levels, and the Devil’s Golf Course is one of the most excellent salt flats in the world.  Visitors to Death Valley can easily see both in a day, so get ready to dance with the Devil! After dancing, feel free to soak luxuriously in Furnace Creek Hot Springs, the park’s developed and fantastically rejuvenating hot natural hot spring.

4.  Did you know that Death Valley is the largest National Park in the contiguous 48?

At 3.4 million acres, it dwarfs many of our National Parks including Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and even Yellowstone in sheer size.  In fact, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone together would fit inside Death Valley!


5.  Did you know that one of Earth’s rarest species exists in Death Valley?

The Devil’s Hole Pupfish, one of the most rare and beautiful species of fish in the world, exists in Death Valley and only Death Valley.  In fact, the park is home to several species that are not just indigenous, but exist here almost exclusively.

6.  Did you know that Mt. Whitney is in the next mountain range over?

Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous 48 states at 14,465 feet above sea level, lies in the Sierra Nevada just west of Death Valley.  This means that the highest and lowest points in the lower 48 are less than 100 miles apart!

7.  Did you know that in 1929, not a single drop of rain fell in Death Valley?

Yep, not one.  Death Valley is the driest place in North America, averaging less than 5 inches of rain per year.  The howling deserts of places like Arizona and even the Sahara Desert of Africa average more, making Death Valley one of the driest places on the globe.

8.  Did you know that Death Valley is home to some of the best-preserved human history sites in the Unites States?

Both modern and ancient history are on fabulous display here in Death Valley.  Archaeological evidence dates back to over 9,000 years ago, as petroglyphs and various Puebloan artifacts can be found all over the park.  In addition, the Timbisha Shoshone Native American Tribe has called Death Valley home for over 1,000 years.  There is colorful mining and European history here as well, as Death Valley got its name from frustrated and thirsty prospectors in 1848.  There are numerous well-preserved mining claims and historical artifacts, and even a wickedly cool ghost town! (Check out our Surprise Canyon Backpacking Tour)


9.  Did you know Death Valley is a favorite for Hollywood movie sets?

Dozens of scenes from Star Wars have been filmed in Death Valley, including Artist’s Palette (the Sandcrawler scene from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope), Golden Canyon (Jawa scenes from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) and Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes (Droid scenes from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope).  Also, cult classic film Tremors was filmed in the Owens Valley just one range over, and many of the shots in this excellent movie gaze onto the west side of the Panamint Mountains.  Check out The Goat’s Geology Blogto learn more about Tremors and other great geology movies!

10.  Did you know that Death Valley has some of the most outrageous geology in the world?

The geologic display in Death Valley is nothing short of astonishing.  Home to three major faults, Death Valley is a wild melange of nearly-billion year-old sediments (very rare), contorted metamorphics, twisted volcanics, and more mineralization and hydrothermal staining than you could shake a geologic hammer at.  A quintessential example of the extensional tectonics that have created the Basin and Range Province, Death Valley is not to be missed by the geologist child in all of us.


Bonus:  Did you know that Death Valley can be a great place in all seasons (even summer)?

You read that right; all seasons, even summer.  Crazy?  Ridiculous?  Suicidal?  Nope, just the truth.  The Panamint Mountains, which reach to over 11,000 feet, stay cool even as the summer heat blisters the valley below.  This is a perfect time to summit many of Death Valley’s most lofty peaks, including Telescope Peak, it’s highest point.

Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism is ecstatic to be rolling out our guided Death Valley hiking tours!  Let our geologist/guides show you the wonder and whimsy of one of the most fantastically outrageous places on the face of the Earth.  You’ll be glad you got past the name and into the wild!

May The Goat be always with you

For The Goat’s Geologic Musings visit his Personal Blog

Follow The Goat on Twitter and Instagram

Like us on Facebook

How Long Does it Take to Walk Down the Grand Canyon?

How Long Does it Take to Walk Down the Grand Canyon?

How long Does it Take to Walk Down the Grand Canyon

Like many of the questions about Grand Canyon, this one has several different and nuanced answers.  Will you travel by foot, mule, or helicopter?  How much gear might you be carrying?  Are you a fit hiker, or is this your first time?  Are you approaching from North Rim or South Rim?  The Goat is here to break down all of these options!


Let’s begin with the most popular, and easily the most rewarding style of travel in Grand Canyon; a good old-fashioned, one foot in front of the other journey into the depths of time and space.

Some Advice before you Begin

First and foremost, the National Park Service (and The Goat) advises that nobody, under any circumstances, should attempt the hike from rim-to-river and back in one day.  Attempting to hike rim-to-river and back in a day has resulted in many deaths over the years, along with countless cases of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and severe dehydration among other delightful afflictions.  Before we get into the fun, fabulous parts of hiking in Grand Canyon, we must first be clear about this practice.

Inverted Mountains Are Sneaky

Grand Canyon Hikers must remember one mantra; going down is optional, coming up is mandatory.  The NPS must execute hundreds of rescues each year on hikers that run into trouble.  Grand Canyon is a hostile, dry, and unforgiving place that yields no mercy.  Summertime temperatures can reach well over 100 degrees, there is little water on any trails, and even less shade.

Hiking in Grand Canyon is often referred to as “hiking a mountain in reverse”.  That is, your descent comes first, while your ascent is how you must finish.  This can fool hikers easily, as walking down is an easy, breezy, view-saturated adventure that can quickly get out of hand.  Many hikers that find trouble simply started walking down the trail, suddenly realizing that they are five miles down having barely broken a sweat.


Perhaps the most potentially dangerous thing about undertaking any hike in Grand Canyon is the particular lack of water.  Many hikes the world over cross numerous streams, have shade, and/or easy access to clean, potable water.  This is not the case in Grand Canyon, as water sources are extremely limited.  Two South Rim hikes (Tanner, South Kaibab) have no accessible water source of any kind until the Colorado River.

Other South Rim trails (Hermit, Bright Angel) have access to water along the trail, but not for at least 3.5 miles.  Always carry plenty of water when hiking in Grand Canyon.  The Goat recommends a minimum of 3L/person, no matter the distance of the hike.

Spatial Perception

Much like the sneakiness of the inverted mountain, things in Grand Canyon tend to appear much closer than they actually are.  At times it feels as though you could literally reach out and touch the Colorado River, or even just a portion of trail beneath you.  Go to Desert Watchtower on the East Rim.  From the Tanner Trail, you are presented with an astonishing view of the mighty Colorado, a unique rim view in Grand Canyon.  Though the river is over 9 miles away by trail, an optical illusion is presented that makes the river feel close.

This is a difficult lesson for many hikers in Grand Canyon.  Our destination is just right over there!  It looks so close!  Believe us, it is not.  Between the necessarily winding trail, the relentless sun, the lack of water, and the absence of shade, something that optically appears close becomes seemingly further away in reality.  Remember that the scale presented to your senses in Grand Canyon is typically unlike anything you’ve ever experience.  Those of us that have spent years in this wondrous landscape are still blown away by its size and space.  In Grand Canyon, perception is often NOT reality.

Let’s Start Hiking!

At last, we can actually talk about hiking!  Hiking in Grand Canyon is a magical, perhaps even spiritual experience.  The colors, sights, sounds, smells, and ever-changing conditions create an intensely dramatic and memorable experience on even short hikes.  As you hike though 2 billion years of Earth’s history, the Canyon reveals itself step-by-step, both physically and philosophically.  In terms of trails and the time it takes to reach the bottom, here are your options:

South Rim

The South Rim presents most of the park’s developed trails, has the “shortest” routes to the river at the bottom, and is by a wide margin the more popular of the two rims.  There are 4 developed trails from the South Rim, and 1 trail that is undeveloped and unmaintained.

Bright Angel

The Bright Angel Trail is the most popular trail in Grand Canyon.  It traces the path of the Bright Angel Fault, through Indian Gardens, across the Tonto bench, and down to the river in 9.6 miles.  This highly trafficked corridor trail teems with other hikers and rangers aplenty, great for beginners introducing themselves to Grand Canyon hiking.  Hikers can reach the river and Bright Angel Campground in between 4-5 hours.

South Kaibab

The South Kaibab Trail is the steeper counterpart of the Bright Angel Trail, and plunges to the river in an abrupt 6.4 miles.  Holding the distinction as the only trail in the park developed completely by the NPS, it is a more direct route to the river for those looking for speed.  Connecting South Kaibab to Bright Angel via the Tonto Trail is a classic backpacking trip that many first-timers find welcoming.  Hiking to the river along the South Kaibab Trail typically takes between 3-4 hours.

Hermit Trail

The Hermit Trail follows a route forged by Canyon pioneer Louis Boucher, also known as “the Hermit of Grand Canyon”.  Mr. Boucher led a reclusive life at the bottom of the Canyon for roughly 20 years, guiding tourists, mining, and homesteading.  His pioneer route was improved by the Santa Fe Railroad company in the early 1900s, and today presents an excellent alternative to the more crowded corridor trails.  The Hermit Trail descends 8.9 miles to the river, and will take the average hiker between 4-5 hours to reach the bottom.

Tanner Trail

The Tanner Trail is perhaps the most exciting and more challenging of developed routes from the South Rim.  The trail presents sweeping views across eastern Grand Canyon, with views of Marble Canyon and the Vermillion Cliffs to the north.  The Grand Canyon Supergroup, a suite of tilted, faulted, 1 billion year-old sedimentary rocks that symbolize the Great Unconformity are revealed in splendor here, a perspective unique to this part of the canyon.  The Tanner trail is 9.3 miles long, and hikers may reach the river in 4-5 hours.

South Bass

The South Bass trail, set roughly 25 miles west of the South Rim Visitor’s Center, is easily the most rugged trail from the South Rim.  Reached by a 4WD trail, the drive here takes roughly 2.5 hours.  The trail itself was carved by William Wallace Bass, and early pioneer and promoter of tourism in Grand Canyon.  South Rim solitude is found in droves here, wildlife abundant, and views outstanding.  The trail is 12.2 miles long, and will take the average hiker 5-7 hours to reach the river.

North Rim

The less popular, more contemplative North Rim presents Grand Canyon hikers with opportunities for more challenges, more solitude, and a decidedly different perspective of Grand Canyon.  Set at over 8,500 feet above sea level, North Rim is a forested wonderland of rolling meadows, wildflower, and perhaps even a glimpse of one of the iconic symbols of the west, the American Bison.  Access requires longer drive times, and trails here retain a fairly rugged character.  Like the South Rim, do not even dream of attempting a rim-to-river-to-rim hike in one day.  North Rim trails are long, can be challenging, and are generally reserved for more-experienced Grand Canyon hikers.

Much of the Colorado River system that has carved Grand Canyon emanates from the north.  Consequently, in contrast to South Rim, North Rim is “set back” from the river, following long, meandering routes coursed by ancient tributaries.  South Rim’s dramatic and abrupt cliff faces and 4000-foot plunges are a product of the lack of water flowing into the river from the south, while North Rim landscapes are dominated by softer relief.

North Kaibab

Counterpart to the South Kaibab Trail, North Kaibab is North Rim’s most accessible and least rugged trail.  It is the only North Rim trail maintained by the NPS.  The trail is follows a 28 miles route to the river, and most hikers will find that it takes 2-3 days to reach the river.  Keep in mind that this is the least-challenging trail on North Rim.

Nankoweap Route

Notice the use of the word “route”, as opposed to the use of the word “trail” in the name.  This is for a reason, as Nankoweap is really not a trail in the traditional sense.  It is lightly trafficked, unmaintained, and follows an ambitiously-descending ridge along the East Kaibab Monocline.  Hikers descend 14.8 miles along the trail, and average hikers may reach the river in 1-2 days. Get ready.  Get set. Go!

North Bass

The North Bass Trail is, of course, the North Rim counterpart to South Rim’s Bass Trail.  William Wallace Bass, pioneer of Grand Canyon, carved this route as part of his efforts to promote tourism in Grand Canyon.  The trail follows faults, rock falls, and sublime canyon scenery 14.5 miles to the river.  Hikers may reach the river in 1-2 days.  This is perhaps the quintessential trail in Grand Canyon, as it contains just about everything hiking here has to offer.  Try an exciting Rim-to-Rim backpacking tour on the Bass Trail, complete with a pack rafting adventure!

Seeing Grand Canyon on Muleback

The National Park Service maintains a mule farm on both North and South Rims.  Visitors to Grand Canyon may elect to have their gear carried to their campsite by pack mule, a decidedly easier alternative to carrying your own gear.  Please consider your choice carefully when selecting a mule outfitter.

Several private companies have been fined and banned from Grand Canyon for animal abuse and cruelty.  Check the Park Service’s website for more information about mule rides in Grand Canyon.  Contact us to learn more about mule-assisted backpacking tours.

Imbibing in a mule-assisted trip to the river certainly takes a load off, however it does not save time.  Hikers must still make their way on foot, or on the back of a mule whose goal is not speed.  Mule trips down to the river typically take between 4-5 hours.

See Grand Canyon by Helicopter

One of the fairly new enterprises in Grand Canyon is the proliferation of helicopter tours.  They are popular particularly in western Grand Canyon, where helicopters buzz through the air almost constantly.  The Goat’s opinion is this — get your butt off your couch and onto your feet.  Need more information?  Please look elsewhere :). Helicopters create several problems in Grand Canyon.  Helicopters create pollution, both noise and exhaust. They destroy any perceived wilderness experience.  They damage wildlife patterns, and best of all (sarcasm) they crash!  In the past 7 years, there have been 3 helicopter crashes that resulted in fatalities.  The most recent of these was near Peach Springs in 2017, when 5 passengers and the pilot died.  One woman was rescued, and is scarred for life both physically and mentally.  Take my advice — don’t contribute to the proliferation of industrial tourism in Grand Canyon.


Surely you’ve heard this numerous times, but please be in reasonable physical condition.  Undertaking any hiking in Grand Canyon is a decidedly physical challenge, and it will increase your enjoyment as well as decrease your chances of trouble if you are in shape.  For more information, see our blog post regarding training for hiking in Grand Canyon.

Guided Grand Canyon Hiking Tours

Perhaps the very best way to see and experience Grand Canyon is by hiring a professional guide service.  Hiking with people who know the Grand Canyon intimately vastly improves your experience and understanding of this unreal place, and not having to deal with logistics, food, gear, and all that madness only enhances the trip.

Blue Marble Adventure GeoTourism provides everything need; geologist/guides with actual geology degrees and professional certifications, backcountry meals inspired by professional chefs, top-of-the-line gear, and outstanding customer service.

The Goat’s Final Word

There you have it, folks.  You asked how long does it take walk down the Grand Canyon, and we have outlined virtually every possible eventuality!  Whether by foot (awesome), by mule (still awesome), helicopter (not cool), from North or South Rim, by land or bey sea, you now have some idea of how long it takes.  Happy Hiking!

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram

Contact Us for information about traveling through geologic time