I did the Mini Dakar (which is the mini baja and the valley of fire tour back to back). The cost was $500. The tour lasted about 6.5 hours in total. I’m sure it would have been a little longer, but I was the only one on that tour that day. That worked out very well for me because I didn’t have to wait for the tour guide to wait on others or worry about following anyone, other than the guide.
Ryan was my guide for the day. He was very hospitable. All of the staff was nice though.
The tour starts with them picking you up from your hotel, then taking you to their facility, which is near the Las Vegas speedway.
For this tour, the guide drives you about 45 minutes to the Valley of Fire area. From the road it’s harder to see the reddish-orange rock structures, but inside it’s quite cool. It’s a vast acreage, although I’m not sure of the exact size.
For this part of the tour, I was on an ATV. It lasted about 2.5 hours. You’re allowed to stop and take pictures often. There are many “structured” stopping points, about 6 or 7. There’s one bathroom facility about 20 minutes into the ride. Beyond that, no bathrooms, so plan accordingly.
There are some really cool rock formations out there, including some Petroglyphs.
If it’s during the cooler months, take a jacket, as the rocks provide a lot of shade in some areas and you’re going relatively fast, at least fast enough to make it chilly. If it’s during the summer, I’m assuming you’re going to be quite hot. It is the desert after all.
The ride was a lot of fun. There were a lot of bumpy roads, tight turns, & narrow paths though. So if you don’t like bumpy, do not go on this tour. The scenery out there was quite nice. Therefore, I was often torn about trying to go fast on the ATV or stop, slow down, and take pics. Then I remembered, this was an ATV tour, so I sped up and began only taking pics at the designated spots.
After the ATV portion is over, you will stop off at a place called Tiffany’s for sandwiches, which is included in the price of the tour. They have good sandwiches, but it’s much like a subway, nothing too extravagant.
Then, it’s about a 45 minute trip out to the dunes, where the Baja chase on the dune buggy occurs. This was a blast and unlike anything I have done and I own 2 dirt bikes and a racing bike. This was an hour long chase. You are following the guide the entire time, that is, if you can keep up. But don’t worry, if you lose sight of him, just stop and he will come back and get you.
There is no power steering, so get ready to use your upper body strength to navigate the buggy.
You will be going up and down the dunes at top speed most of the time, which is about 45 mph. What a rush! Often times you have no sight of where you are going to end up. You will be flying up a dune, unable to see where you will be landing. You are completely trusting your guides experience that there is something to land on. This was a ton of fun. Make sure you follow their lead though. If not, you may end up somewhere you don’t want to. There are some pretty steep jumps and some narrow ridges, so again, make sure to follow the pack. I kept an eye on the guide's tire tracks most of the time, so I could see what angle he was going up and down the dunes at, because there are some precarious spots where you can get stuck. I got stuck one time, but the guide, quickly found me and pulled me to freedom.
This is a very aggressive tour, but what a rush! Again, unlike anything I’ve done before and I am an adrenaline junky.
After the chase was over, we headed back to the shop, where the shuttle takes you back to your hotel.
It is expensive, but I think it was a lot of fun. There aren’t many things like this, so I think it is probably worth the money.
One last thing, you will get either very dusty or muddy, depending on the conditions. Don’t wear your good clothes or shoes. You’ll regret it.
I highly recommend this tour if you like speed, adventure, enjoy the outdoors, and want to do something a bit non-traditional.