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5 Highlights of VBT’s Biking Tour of Death Valley National Park

Death Valley Scenic
Death Valley National Park is one of the most unique landscapes on earth where sprawling salt flats and sand dunes are set against backdrops of beautifully colored rock formations and 10,000+ foot mountains.  Some of the park’s features are so bizarre looking that they’ve been used as shooting locations for otherworldly TV shows and movies like the Twilight Zone, Star Wars, and Robinson Crusoe on Mars. But despite the morbid names given to many park destinations—Devil’s Golf Course, Badwater Basin, the Funeral Mountains, and of course Death Valley—it is a beautiful and mystical place for exploration by bicycle if you visit during the right time of year (which, don’t worry VBT does).  Don’t believe us? Check out our Top 5 Highlights of our Winter Sun: Cycling California’s Death Valley vacation.

Harmony Borax Works

We’ll immerse ourselves in local history during an interpretive walk of what remains of the Harmony Borax Works, where we’ll learn about the history of mining and transporting the borax deposits that were discovered here in 1881. Did you know that Dial’s borax detergent brand  “20 Mule Team” from the 1890’s was actually named for the famed twenty mule teams that hauled double wagons of borax from Death Valley to the closest railroad in Mojave, California?

Cycling from Dante’s View

Offering a stunning panoramic look at the Death Valley Basin from high above, travelers will have the option to bike or shuttle by van to the 5,476 foot viewpoint known as Dante’s View. However you choose to summit, the biggest perk of this ride is the scenic and thrilling continuous downhill—descending 5,500 feet over 23 miles—back to our hotel.

The Inn at Furnace Creek
Our accommodation for the tour is the elegant, mission-style Inn at Furnace Creek—a 20+ year recipient of the prestigious AAA 4-diamond award and akin to a lush oasis in the desert. During our stay, you may find yourself relaxing near the spring-fed pool, strolling through palm gardens, playing a round of golf or a game of tennis, or just enjoying  a refreshing drink from the Stargazers Deck.

Scotty’s Castle

This historic Spanish Colonial style villa located in Grapevine Canyon offers a window into the life and times of the Roaring ’20s and the Depression ’30s. It was and is an engineer’s dream home, a wealthy matron’s vacation home and the hideout and getaway of a Walter Scott—a mysterious con man known for scams involving nonexistent gold mines and this house that bears his name. We enjoy a 40-minute guided tour with a keeper of the house.

A Walk in Golden Canyon

We’ll hop off our bikes for an afternoon walk in picturesque Golden Canyon. The 2.5-mile trail winds through twisting narrows and colorful rock formations, and provides spectacular views of Manly Beacon and Red Cathedral.

These are just some of the highlights you’ll enjoy on our Winter Sun: Cycling California’s Death Valley vacation. If you would like to reserve a vacation—save $200 on the November 16th departure!—or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868 or visit They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

Explore California Wine Country with VBT

Biking Sonoma

California wine country produces 90% of America’s wine and its 1,200 wineries would collectively be considered the fourth largest producer in the world, if California were its own country. Some of the most highly regarded varieties are grown in the coastal valleys northeast of San Francisco where a combination of Californian sun, cool sea breezes and fog provide the perfect weather for grape growing.  These valleys also offer amazing cycling terrain with rolling hills, redwood groves, dramatic coastlines and historic, welcoming towns. Travelers will discover that VBT’s California Wine Country & the Pacific Coast biking tour is the perfect getaway for biking enthusiasts and impassioned oenophiles alike.

Group Cheers

The cycling part of our vacation begins along back roads in the Carneros district, a viticulture region that stretches Grape tastingacross the lower reaches of both Sonoma and Napa Valley near the San Pablo Bay that is renowned for its still and sparkling wines.  The benefit of the encroaching fog and cooler ocean air allows the winemakers to grow cool-climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. VBT guests will hop off their bikes at the Madonna Estate Winery for a tasting of delectable Napa Valley wines—including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio—that have been refined over four generations of winemaking.

Chateau St. Jean
Chateau St. Jean Bottle ChardonnayA day spent riding in the “Valley of the Moon”—the Native American translation of “Sonoma”—among the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains, leads us to the Chateau St. Jean Winery, one of the quintessential Sonoma wineries. The winery’s grounds feature both sprawling vineyards and lush, manicured gardens that were inspired by formal estate gardens in Italy and France. We’ll enjoy a tasting in the Vineyard Room during our visit before shuttling back to our hotel in Bodega Bay.

Russian River Valley

One of the other highlights of our California Wine Country tour is a ride through the Russian River valley, known as the “Kingdom of Pinot Noir”. The cycling routes along both the east and west sides of the valley offer striking views of lush, productive vineyards. The Russian River Valley’s climate is known for the cooling fog that ebbs and flows through the Petaluma Wind Gap and the channel cut by the Russian River. The fog typically arrives mid-evening and California Coast bikingoften drops the temperature 35 to 40 degrees from its daytime high. By morning, the mist retreats back to the ocean. This so-called “natural air-conditioning” effect allows the grapes to develop full flavor maturity during an extended growing season—often 15 to 20 percent longer than found in the surrounding regions—while retaining their life-giving natural acidity.

These are just a couple examples of the memorable bike rides and wine tastings you’ll find on our California Wine Country & the Pacific Coast​ biking vacation. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

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