Prof. Richard D. Little   invites you to join our

2015       Fantastic Landscapes Tour   to

Las Vegas  &  Death Valley   and  vicinity


FEATURING:    Absolutely sublime scenery and amazing geologic history with explorations in isolated desert canyons and the shores of playa lakes.

Yes - great scenery, spectacular geology, some desert flowers, a ghost town, and magical romantic moments in the desert, too!

Includes: Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire,  Interesting and unique Las Vegas plus 4 nights at Furnace Creek Ranch Resort in Death Valley National Park

January 11 – 19 (or 20th), 2015  --  $ 1950   per person/double occupancy + air fare


 It is our 33nd year of “Fantastic LandscapesTours!     Join our small group and have the best educational and fun vacation ever!  This tour is planned to have 6 people and travel via 12-passenger van.


A B O U T    T H E     T O U R

LAS VEGAS IS ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING LANDSCAPE AREAS ON EARTH.  There are world-class natural sites just minutes from the famous Las Vegas Strip’s casinos!  Places like the amazingly colorful Jurassic dune-sandstone cliffs of Red Rock Canyon, a few miles west of town and Valley of Fire State Park, one-hour north, near the shore of Lake Mead.          From Las Vegas as a base, we will view these impressive sites plus Hoover Dam and Lake Mead.  Las Vegas itself is an amazing sight!  In this unique oasis in the desert there are the casinos with various gambling options [suggestion: stay away from these!] and many artistic and spectacular show-extravaganzas, of course, but there also are some other very interesting attractions:  zoos, aquaria, and museums of natural history and art.

  Las Vegas is indescribable; you really have to see this to believe it!  We stay at Bally’s, a prime central Las Vegas “Strip” location, across from the famous Bellagio fountains and adjacent to the Paris’ Eiffel Tower.

        Geologically, we are in the scenic Basin and Range - Mojave Desert landscape and will explore spectacular state parks such as Valley of Fire, Nevada’s first state park, as well as Red Rock Canyon and, of course, the amazing Death Valley National Park.  Death Valley’s landscape is similar to the Connecticut Valley during the Mesozoic Era -- a time when the eastern side of our continent was splitting from Pangea as the Atlantic Ocean began.  These “rift” valleys are fault bounded, and we will see lots of faults in our travels.  Yes, you will find faults with this tour (as well as alluvial fans, dunes, desert pavement, unusual salt landforms, and many more geologic thrills).  We lodge for 4 nights at Furnace Creek Ranch, a beautiful oasis with a warm-spring-fed swimming pool and even the world’s lowest  golf course at your doorstep (everyone gets a low score here). Street lights are minimal and stars abound.  You are in a very remote area (but with good restaurants).

Spectacular” slot” canyons are eroded into the mountainous sides of Death Valley and other ranges in the region.  Being in the desert, they are dry for most of the year and make for some outstanding nature walks or longer hikes, if you wish.  We will walk to the top of desert sand dunes, and explore dry and wet desert lakeshores.


        Finally, on Jan. 19th, we will depart for our return to Las Vegas, about 3 hours away.  

Plan your return plane flight for the evening  or stay over in Las Vegas for a next day flight (optional overnight cost about $55 per person)  


-------  I T I N E R A R Y  -------

DAY 1  January 11:  arrive Las Vegas for 4 nights at Bally’s, a location central to the famous Las Vegas “Strip”

DAY 2  1/12:   Free Morning.  Meet at 1 pm for an afternoon exploration of Red Rock Canyon.

DAY 3  1/13:   Valley of Fire State Park, Lake Mead shoreline.  Short hikes, picnic lunch.

DAY 4  1/14:    Morning excursion to Hoover Dam  with Lake Mead views

DAY 5  1/15:    Depart Las Vegas.   Today we drive through the interesting and scenic Basin and Range topography to Death Valley National Park.  Overnight at Furnace Creek Ranch Resort, in the Park, for next 4 nights.  The Ranch, which is 200 feet below sea level, features great views and a naturally warm spring water swimming pool, plus the world’s lowest golf course surrounds the lodgings.  

DAY  6 -7-8   We have 3 days of Death Valley Explorations:  canyon and mountain drives, walks and hikes.  Scotty’s Castle visit, volcanic explosion craters, Titus, Mosaic (and other) Canyons, Artist Drive, Dante’s View, Death Valley Dunes, Badwater (-282 elevation) and more incredible sights!

DAY 9   1/19 : Free morning with transit back to Las Vegas.  

Plan your plane flight for evening or the next day, Day 10.

DAY  10    1/20….departure day if you choose the optional overnight on the 19th.  




Who goes on these “Fantastic Landscapes” Tours?  While our average age of participants is probably mid 50’s, we have had a variety of folks, from families to eighty-something.  How strenuous is the “hiking”?  If you like “nature walks” you’ll love our outings. We have a great variety of options. Some people plan more strenuous activities than others, and our daily activities are geared to meet everyone’s goals, as much as possible. Where do we stay?  We book high quality, medium to small lodgings (usually), in scenic, convenient settings.    Who does the driving?  We use rental mini vans and full-size cars with volunteer drivers.  For this trip we will have a 12-passenger van.  We buy the maximum extra liability insurance and we have 2-way radios for communication.    I don’t know any geology!  Should I go on this tour?  Yes! If you have an interest in nature, come and learn how to read the “record in the rocks ....... the history in a grain of sand”.  You’ll learn a lot, have fun, and there are no exams!   Travel with a geologist to unlock the secrets of the rocks and landscapes. Your tour leader has decades of experience.  Go with our small group and get away from the crowd, but still have a helpful group of friends to share with.  You will have flexibility to stop for that great view, smell the flowers, pick up an incredible rock, have a romantic dinner…  

 The cost is LOW for what you get! (check out other tours and see)   Don’t wait to save your place... seating is definitely limited!         Who is your tour leader?  Richard Little is professor emeritus of geology at Greenfield Community College, author of 2 books and 2 videos on Connecticut Valley geology, and has been elected to the Mass. Science Educator Hall of Fame.     He has been leading “Fantastic Landscapes” tours since 1981.  His wife, Suzanne, is the “flower person”, and is a former teacher and social worker.



Includes:  First Class Lodging, Transportation, Experienced Tour Leader, Guide Book, Pre and Post Trip Meetings, Video Record of Trip. The cost does not include: air fare, food, gas, and minimal costs of parking and entrance fees to parks, etc.  Gas, etc., costs will be divided amongst the group members.  




Your tour leader and view from Zabriskie Point, Death Valley

To Enroll   Send $100 per person deposit (check to “Earth View LLC),

 6 Grand View Ln, Easthampton, MA 01027-1075) to hold your space.

For questions or more information, contact Prof. Little by phone or email, see above.

Deposit is Fully Refundable until Nov. 1.      FINAL PAYMENT DUE November 1st     

Cancellation fees:  after Nov. 1st = $50 pp; after Jan. 1st other cancellation fees may apply due to hotel policies.

FINAL PAYMENT = $1950 + $55 per person (double occ’y) last night option.  Subtract deposit from this total.

(Price subject to slight adjustment)