Current Trip Information

Remember: You must be a member of Desert Survivors with a release on file to join in with one of these trips. Join Desert Survivors if you are not yet a member.

If you are new to Desert Survivors or contemplating joining one of our interesting desert trips as a new member please read General Trip Information at the bottom of this page.

Many of our popular trips, particularly car camps on 3 day holiday weekends, tend to fill early and quickly, so plan accordingly. We ask that if you do secure a reservation with a trip leader, please be sure to use it, but if you cannot keep the reservation then advise the trip leader immediately to allow someone on standby to take the open slot.

Other backpacking trips tend not to fill to maximum at all times and may have an open space or two. If you find yourself with an open weekend and want to join in, try phoning the trip leader, space may still be available.

Most of our trip leaders ask that you contact them directly by telephone. This enables the leaders to assess your skills and abilities and to answer any questions or concerns that you may have. Your safety and enjoyment while on the trip is just one of their many concerns. They want you have fun and the trip to be a rewarding experience. This also enables the trip leaders to build a "balanced group" that will enhance everyone's enjoyment of the trip.

Upon securing a slot for the trip you will be mailed additional information concerning the meeting area, car pooling, last minute changes,  etc.

Click here for your Overnight Backpacking Checklist.



Trip leaders may add trips during the schedule period.  Refer to this webpage for updates.


These trips and events are for current Desert Survivors members.  Lapsed in your membership?  Want to join?  Please go to THIS PAGE.

Download a pdf of the Winter 2018 Trip Schedule mailer.

        January 26-28 2018  (Fri-Sun)
After 7 years of closure due to budget cutbacks, attacks by vandals and extensive repairs, Mitchell Caverns in the Providence Mts. has reopened. Yay! We have a group reservation for the guided cavern tour on Friday.  Plan on seeing spectacular and intricate limestone formations. We will camp at a primitive site in a Joshua tree forest. Saturday will feature a day hike in the Mojave National Preserve.  Expect a delightful day in the desert. On Sunday we will check out the Cinder Cone Lava Beds before heading home.  Limit 16.  Contact Trip leader Nick Blake:

    February 3, 2018 (Saturday)
GROUNDHOG DAY PARTY (E) Bay Area, site to be determined
After a long, cold winter, Groundhog Day traditionally signals the beginning of the spring hiking season. It’s time to shake out the cobwebs and move on to new adventures. While we’re waiting for Punxsutawney Phil to find his shadow, join us for a potluck dinner and see what Desert Survivors has in store for the coming season.  Contact Marisa Seaman: 510-872-5341

    February 6-8, 2018 (Tue-Thu)
Located at the border of Nevada and Arizona, not too far from Lost Wages, this was one of President Obama’s last monument designations and now near the top of the list of ones that our current administration wants to repeal. Come out and see why this area is worthy of national monument status. Days will be short and nights will be chilly, but we’ll spend our time hiking in this outstanding geological wonder. Why is this trip in the middle of the week, you wonder? Because after this trip, since you’re in the area, you might as well head to Shoshone for the Desert Committee meeting the following weekend. Limit 8. Contact: Stacy Goss at

    February 10 -11, 2018 (Sat-Sun)
The Sierra Club Wilderness Committee and Desert Committee hold their annual joint meeting in the tiny town of Shoshone, just south of Death Valley. Hear speakers and presentations on a wide variety of desert conservation issues. You will go away much better informed and more prepared for the fight to protect our precious wild lands. The meeting is open to everyone.  Contact: Nick Blake
    February 16-19, 2018 (Fri-Mon)
Join us for an exploration of the Black Mountains in Death Valley National Park learning the secrets of plein air oil painting. This trip will be co-lead with Laura Cunningham. She is an author-artist and naturalist who has lived and worked in the Death Valley area continuously since 1999. Under her tutelage, we will practice sketching, drawing, color studies, composition, and how to finish a small oil painting in beautiful desert locations. Art sessions will be during the mornings and late afternoons.  Natural history topics will be discussed during our hikes between sessions. Camping will be primitive at Hole-In-The-Wall. Showers 9 miles in town. Beginners are welcome! All materials to start oil painting will be provided. You can also bring your own supplies or purchase inexpensive art kits.  For more information, call Laura at 775-553-2806. An additional suggested donation of $25 for material and instruction will be requested. Limit: 10. Contact Trip Leader: Marisa Seaman at or 510-872-5341

    February 19-22, 2018 (Mon-Thurs)
This will be an exploratory trip in Death Valley. Dependent on road conditions, we will hike into Slit Canyon and Marble Canyon, the latter that requires 4WD.  Some sightseeing may be entailed. High clearance essential, 4WD a plus. Primitive camping. Limit 6. Contact Trip Leader: Marisa Seaman at

    February 23-25, 2018 (Fri-Sun)
Red Rock Canyon State Park is the closest desert park to the Bay Area. It features scenic desert cliffs, buttes and spectacular rock formations. On Friday we will hike from our camp to some of the surrounding canyons––each unique with dramatic shapes and vivid colors. On Saturday we will car pool to Last Chance Canyon and tour its abandoned mining camps, archeological sites, and wonderful desert terrain.  Before heading home on Sunday we will trek to Koehn (dry) Lake and check out the abandoned salt works and playa.  Limit 16. Contact Trip Leader  Nick Blake:

    March 16-18 2018
The best place to see desert tortoises chomping on spring desert blooms is the Desert Tortoise Preserve in the northern Mojave Desert. We’ll join the Preserve for their annual work weekend on Sat, March 17, restoring tortoise habitat and repairing fencing/signage at the Preserve. Car camping at nearby Red Rock Canyon State Park with Friday hiking at the wildflower meadows of Sheep Springs, El Paso Mountains. Limit 10. Contact Trip Leader: Barbara Bane 928-607-6316
     March 16-18, 2018 (Fri-Sun)
Join us for an amazing trip to Anza Borrego State Park to explore wind caves, slot canyons, fossils and Native American artifacts! If it rains well be treated to a desert bloom as well. We have three 8 to 12 mile exploratory hikes planned over three days including Butler Canyon, Domelands and Indian Hill––with optional side trips to the Mud Caves, Calcite Canyon and Lower Sheep Canyon. These hikes highlight a variety of terrain, elevation, plant communities, geology, geography and archaeology. We’ll gather Friday morning at the Bow Willow campsite then drive to the trailhead for an early start. Pace will be moderate, expect up to 2,000 of elevation gain and rough, off-trail conditions. These are exploratory hikes so bring appropriate gear and an adventurous attitude! High-clearance vehicle required. Carry all water. Limit 6.  
Contact Trip leader Paul Harris: 510-926-2600 Co-leader: Carol Clark Advisor: Marisa Seaman

    March 25, 2018 (Sun)  -- 11:00 am
The Ruth Bancroft Garden is an outstanding example of a water-conserving garden, appropriate for California’s Mediterranean climate. The garden houses important collections of aloes, agaves, yuccas, and echeverias. The first succulent in the collection, Aeonium ‘Glenn Davidson’, is still growing more than 70 years after it was planted. The Garden is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and raises funds for its preservation in the spirit of its founder, Ruth Bancroft. We’ll tour the garden and enjoy a potluck lunch together afterwards. Contact Leader: Michelle Bashin  -

     April 22-28, 2018 (Sun-Sat) &  April 29-May 5, 2018 (Sun-Sat)
THE MAZE BACKPACKING TRIPS (S)  Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Heads up! Limited space is available on two separate hikes into one of the most beautiful and remote areas of the country. Both weeks will consist of a couple of nights car-camping in Canyonlands, and a six-day/five night backpacking trip into The Maze. The approach and exit hike is 15 miles, which must be done in a day, carrying 6 litres of water. Once into The Maze, we'll find water and then spend four days exploring ancient ruins & petroglyphs, canyon grottoes and fantastic rock formations. Limit 4 per trip.
 Contact Trip leader Neal Cassidy:    510-527-5913

     June 16 – June 21, 2018 (Sat-Thur)
Back by popular demand, Desert Survivors is organizing a raft trip on the Yampa River in Colorado and Utah.  If you liked Desolation Canyon, the Yampa trip offers even more spectacular scenery and more adventurous rapids.  The trip starts and ends at Vernal, Utah.  Orientation with our ARTA guides is on the evening of June 16 and then we will put in the next morning for a 5-day trip down the Yampa and Green Rivers.  Desert Survivors has chartered this trip and space is limited.  For this reason, Desert Survivors membership will be required.   The Group Rate for the trip is $999.00 per person. Mike Wells has volunteered to organize this activity.  Please contact him at: or (530) 367-4372.  Please do not contact ARTA directly as you will be directed to contact Mike first.  Click on the following link for a trip description:


Annual membership ($30) required for trips unless the participant has Honorary Membership status.  A $25 donation may also be requested by the leader at the trailhead. This donation is voluntary.  Each participant must sign a general liability waiver and to list emergency contacts before departing on the trip. Trips are cooperative in nature. Some trips may be exploratory (not previewed by trip leader). Conditions may be difficult and the unexpected may occur. Consult with leader for details before deciding to go on trip. Trip sign-up procedure: You must call or write leader in advance to reserve space and receive a map and detailed trip description. Leader will confirm your sign-up. Due to past instances where participants signed up for a trip and did not show, a trip leader may require a $20 reservation fee.  Trip participants will learn if the fee is required during the confirmation with the leader.  This fee will be refunded at the trailhead.
•    As noted in trip write-ups above, some leaders have set limits to the number of participants.
•    Sign-ups are first come, first served. A waiting list will be maintained to fill any spaces that arise due to drop-outs. Please notify the leader ahead of time if you are dropping out.
•    As noted in write-ups, some leaders have set beginning and end dates for signing up.
•    Desert Survivors’ trips begin at the designated trailhead. While trip participants are expected to cooperate with the trip leader, each participant is responsible for his or her own safety. In particular, trip participants are responsible for safely transporting themselves to and from trip locales.
•    Desert Survivors encourages trip participants to carpool as a means to increase driver safety while reducing costs, energy consumption and environmental impacts. Trip participants are responsible for making their own carpool arrangements. Desert Survivors recommends that trip participants make equitable arrangements to share costs, and that all arrangements and financial compensation should be clearly negotiated in advance.

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