Paleontology Tour

Viewing fossil tracks.

Millions of years ago, Death Valley's landscape and lifeforms appeared very different from the harsh desert of today.

On the Paleontology Tour, a park ranger will lead you into the wilderness through a dramatic canyon with high cliff walls opening into a multi-colored basin. There you will have a close up encounter with well-preserved fossilized tracks of bird, horse, camel, and mastodon-like creatures.

Although this fragile paleontological resource area is usually closed to the public, there will be three ranger-led tours on selected dates.


2014 - 2015 tours:

  • Friday, November 28, 2014
    (lottery sign-up on November 2-4, 2014)
  • Saturday, January 17, 2015
    (lottery sign-up on December 17-19, 2014)
  • Saturday, February 7, 2015
    (lottery sign-up on January 7-9, 2015)

To enter the lottery:

  • Open for three days only for each tour
  • Phone 760-786-3200 or email deva_information@nps.gov (use Paleo Hike Lottery in tagline)
  • Leave a message clearly stating your name, the number of people in your party (limit of 4), your phone number, and email address.
  • Only those successful in the lottery will be notified by phone.
  • If you are selected, you will be asked for the names of all of your party members.


The hike is an all day, seven-mile round trip with a 1,500 foot elevation gain. Due to the rugged uneven nature of the terrain, this hike is considered moderately strenuous and not recommended for anyone with mobility or breathing difficulties. The hike is appropriate for older children, age 10 and up.

For tour and other Death Valley information call 760-786-3200.

Each hike is limited to 15 people.

There is no fee for these all-day, Ranger-guided hikes, but donations to support the program are welcomed and can be made through the Death Valley Natural History Association.