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REGISTRATION & PAYMENT REQUIRED: Once you've reviewed the event details, and decided you'd like to join us, you MUST sign up at the bottom of this page. This is a paid event with payment managed by the trip leader(s) and NOT the AOC. Please read the event description carefully for payment details and instructions.

Death Valley - Quest for Racetrack

The Basics:
Event Type:Backpacking
Event Location: Death Valley National Park   Backpacking: Death Valley - Quest for Racetrack  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Thu, Nov 23 2017  7:00 am >> Wed, Nov 29 2017 3:00 pm
Registration Opens: Mon, Aug 28 2017 8:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Mon, Aug 28 2017 8:00 pm
Event Duration:6 Days 8 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D6: Advanced (Exploratory)
Distance:93 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Myra Kincaid
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Member Cost:$211.00/Person (See Detailed Cost Info Below)

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:6
Minimum Group Size:3
Number Registered So Far: 5 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No

Note: This is an "EXPLORATORY" trip. This means that there are parts of this trip, or perhaps the whole trip, that is new to your Trip Leader(s). However, they are confident that this will not be an issue.
This note is here so that you can make an informed decision. When a Trip Leader isn't personally familiar with a trip, there is an increased chance of things not going as planned and you need to be prepared. The Trip Leader may have additional details in the itinerary.


Trip Details:

This will be a rare opportunity to spend 5 days backpacking in one of the most remote and desolate places on earth. But don't underestimate it. Death Valley is a place of incredible subtle beauty.

I have long dreamed of seeing the mythic Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park. However, I have been reluctant to spend a small fortune on a Jeep Rental, only to spend the day being rattled by potholes and stranded by punctured tires. So I have put together this itinerary which will allow us to discover Racetrack the proper way... afoot.

This itinerary will combine  the famous Cottonwood Marble Canyon Backpacking loop with a two-day side-trip to visit the Racetrack playa. The route will include trails,  4-wheel Jeep tracks, and cross-country up ravines.


Wednesday, 22: Please arrive in Las Vegas on or before Wednsday November 22 at 4pm. We will stop at an outfitter in Vegas in case anyone needs to pick up stove fuel or other supplies, before making the two hour drive out to the park. We will spend the night at Furnace Creek campground.

Thursday:  We will  spend the day visiting some of the major sites in the park, including Badwater Basin, Artists Pallette, Golden Canyon, and Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes (time permitting). We will camp for the night at Emigrant campground.

Friday:  (~ 21 miles-   Emigrant to Deadhorse Spring.) We will begin the hike early in the morning. We will depart from Emigrant campground and cut across to Lemoigne canyon, before hiking up the canyon to Cottonwood springs (Trip report going up Lemoigne Canyon http://clim 010/1795.html) There will be a water- source at Cottonwood spring. We will then begin hiking the famous Cotton/Marble Canyon backpacking route, proceeding until we reach the spring and Deadhorse Canyon. ( ottonwood- Marble-Canyon-Route-Handout.pdf)

Saturday:  (~18 miles Deadhorse Spring to Racetrack) We will once more start out at daybreak, this time heavily loaded with water for our trip to the mythic racetrack. I will require that everyone carry at least 8 liters of water from Deadhorse spring, since we will be at least two days without a reliable water source.  We will continue down dead-horse canyon a couple more miles until we turn to hike up Marble Canyon. We will follow the Marble Canyon all the way to the end where we will find the old Goldbelt Spring Site (Description of Marble Canyon Hike: ht tp:// After checking out the ruins around Goldbelt we will hike on the 4-wheel drive road north. Finally we will cut across Ulida Flat to the Racetrack. We drycamp within a couple of miles of the Racetrack.

Sunday:  (~18 - Racetrack back to Deadhorse Spring). This day will bascally be the same hike as the Saturday hike in reverse. We may be able to follow a bit different route on the dirt road in order to get some different scenery and see a few new sites.

Monday: (~21 miles - Deadhorse Spring to Cottonwood Spring around loop) On this day we will complete the Cottonwood/Marble Canyon route.

Tuesday: (~15 miles) This day we will hike back down Lemoigne Canyon to our car and camp at Emigrant. To celebrate, we will drive into Stovepipe Wells for showers and a hearty dinner.

Wednesday: . We will need to depart the park by 9am on this morning in order to ensure that we arrive back in Vegas by noon. Please do not schedule your return flight before 2pm on this date.





 This is an advanced backpack and requires prior experience backpacking with long distances! Everyone wishing to participate will be added to the waitlist pending vetting. If you do not have a solid history of D6 backpacks with the club, you will most likely not be allowed on this trip.

  This is a true desert with few water sources. We will be dry camping on Saturday night. You will be required to carry a mimum of 8 liters of water  before we leave Deadhorse Spring.

   Please note that if there are issues with the springs, this itinerary may have to be modified.




The Trip Leader(s) for this event has (have) elected either to personally collect the funds that event participants are required to pay, or to require participants to pay funds directly to a third party. No funds will be paid to the Atlanta Outdoor Club for this event. Therefore, by registering for this event, you acknowledge and agree to the following: (1) the monies paid by registrants will not be monitored, managed, or otherwise accounted for by the Atlanta Outdoor Club; (2) that the Atlanta Outdoor Club bears no financial responsibility for this event; and (3) you waive any and all claims against the Atlanta Outdoor Club, and hold the Atlanta Outdoor Club harmless for the loss of any monies you paid for this event.


Notwithstanding the foregoing, any paying registrant may request directly from the Trip Leader, prior to the event, a breakdown of funds collected, estimated expenses, and deposits made in anticipation of the event. Following the event, the Trip Leader must complete his or her financial accounting for the event, with supporting documentation, within 30 days of the completion of the event, and a paid registrant may request a breakdown of funds collected, money spent and supporting documentation after that time. If you are unable to obtain requested documentation, please contact the Director of Paid Events.


Required Items to Bring:
  • Water bottles -8 Liters minimum capacity!
  • Filtration / Purification device, Drops, or Tablets
  • Sand anchors of sand-bags to pitch tent in sand.
  • Loose-fitting, light-colored clothing, long-sleeves and long-pants
  • Broad-brimmed hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Food for 5-6 days
  • Minimal rain gear (rain is rare, but not impossible)
  • Hiking Boots/ Shoes
  • Backpack
  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleep Pad
  • Headlamp and spare batteries



Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

Use our Event Checkliststo make sure you have everything you need.

  • Camera
  • GPS, Satellite beacon
  • Hiking Poles
  • Stove
  • Matches/Lighter
  • Change of Clothes and Towel for Flight Home
  • Maps/GPS
  • Harmonicas, cards, etc.



* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Member Cost:$211.00/Person
Cost Includes:

Please note that this cost is a worst-case estimate. Actual cost will be determined based on the number of people, and will be somewhere between $85 and $211. Money will be collected the week of Oct 30-Nov 3 in the form of a mailed check.

Included in cost:

• Car Rental & Gas

• Hotel in Vegas (Wednesday night, Nov 22)

• Park entry

Not included in cost:



•Showers, Fuel, suveniers, airport parking in atlanta...

Make a Payment:Although there is a cost for this event, you do not pay through the AOC. Please review the event details carefully for information about how/where to make your payment.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.

In the case that a participant cancels, and they are replaced by a member on the waitlist, then a refund will be issued regardless of drop- date. The refund will be issued after the new participant pays.

If a cancellation is made before Nov 3, even if the slot is not taken by another participant, then a full refund will be issued.

If the minimum registration number has not been reached by Nov 3, any paid fees will be refunded.

For any cancellations made after Nov 3, where the slot is not taken by a replacement from the waitlist, there will be norefund issued. (This is out of fairness to the other participants in the event, so that they can lock down their budgets and schedule for the month.)

This event will run rain or shine, and will only be cancelled in the case of truly dangerous conditions (i.e. Hurricaines).