Starting more than a decade ago with self-driven seven-day excursions in northern Arizona and Baja California, Sedona Off Road Adventures has since expanded into scenic day tours, sunset tours, and treks down extreme terrain. Guides dispense geological and historical tidbits as up to 12 Hummer passengers weave through trails tucked behind mountains and navigate obstacles down rougher trails littered with rocks and hitchhiking tumbleweeds. Jeep tours whisk guests 2,000 feet above a pine forest or deep into ancient Indian ruins, and helicopter and Hummer combo tours grant glimpses of Boynton Canyon from overhead before returning customers to terra firma for a trek through primitive trails. Later, clients eager for a chance behind the wheel can enrich their Hummer-piloting ability at driving-school sessions.
At the age of six, when most kids are learning how to tie their shoelaces, Grand Canyon Adventures owner and guide Andrew Moore went on his first backpacking trip with his family to the Grand Canyon. Years later, Moore is still exploring the scenic gorge. But nowadays, he shares his expertise with the tour groups on Grand Canyon Adventures' day trips, hikes, and bike tours. And it’s still a family affair. Andrew’s nature-loving dad, Bob Moore, drives the air-conditioned vehicle and shares his vast knowledge about the Grand Canyon on guided excursions.
There are hiking expeditions to suit all skill levels. One is the Grand View Trail to Coconino Saddle, a 2.5-mile trek that runs along a 100-year-old former mining trail and climbs 1,200 feet in elevation. Or, opt for a bike tour along the historic Hermits Rest Road, a former pioneer trail that winds along the canyon rim—keep an eye out for Colorado River rapids below or a napping Wile E. Coyote.
The experienced guides at Angel's Gate Tours might not live in the Grand Canyon, but they come pretty darned close. They spend most of their days traversing the trails of Grand Canyon National Park, picking up tidbits of local lore and wilderness knowledge as they go. All of this recon work pays off during their all-inclusive explorations. After transporting guests to and from select area hotels in air-conditioned vehicles, they share their stories and expertise during tours along the canyon’s rim or adventure hikes into the rugged backcountry. Whether they’re traversing one of the canyon’s sky islands or descending into stalactite-strewn caverns, guests remain in capable hands; in addition to their expertise in geology and wildlife, all guides also bear certification in wilderness medicine.
Climbing onto one of AZ Pedal Tours' urban cruisers?or tandems, or with a little one on the back in a trailer or co-pilot seat?locals and tourists alike can enjoy Flagstaff on two wheels, rather than in gas-hungry cars or power-hungry horses. With four types of tours to choose from, any cyclist can find the perfect ride, from the family-friendly historic tour to the adults-only beer tour. During the latter, guides spend 20 minutes showing visitors Flagstaff's area breweries, then set them free with two hours of bike rentals, allowing bikers to hit up their beer-maker of choice.
Sedona Red Rock Adventures' founder, Jim Reich, credits his father with nurturing a love of nature in their home outside New York City. As an adult, Jim transplanted his passion for the outdoors to the crimson boulders of Sedona after encouragement from a friend and fellow outdoorsman. A Western backdrop for movies during the 1940s and '60s, Sedona covers 19 square miles in the middle of scarlet bluffs, canyons, and Native American ruins and petroglyphs. Jim and his canine sidekick, Summit, share their affinity for fresh air through diverse tours that range from daylong jaunts into the Grand Canyon to the exploration of nocturnal wildlife during full-moon adventures. He adheres to Leave No Trace protocols, leaving nearby national parks free from litter or speakers blaring the theme from Chariots of Fire.
Jim powers all of his tours, including voyages through wine country and microbreweries, with drinks and snacks, and invites pooches along for the ride. He also snaps photos so that patrons can always remember the time they dropped their digital camera into the Grand Canyon.