Grapes don't usually grow in the desert's dry heat, but the owners of Oak Creek Vineyard and Winery found a way. They nourish vines of syrah, merlot, zinfandel, and chardonnay grapes with pure water from an aquifer 425 feet beneath the earth's surface. Moisture isn't everything, though; western Arizona's brilliant sunlight helps the grapes to develop ideal sugar content. The combination of warm days and chilly nights further brings flavor to life beneath the grapes' dusk-purple skins.
White curtains swirl around the outdoor patio of an adobe tasting room, where visitors pair sips of wine with meats and cheeses. A jaunt through the grounds reveals views of flowering cacti and tumbleweeds wearing pearls on the sun-browned hills.
When touring picturesque Arizona, it's important to be able to see what you're exploring. That's why Great Venture Tours outfits their mini-coach buses with large windows that afford guests unobstructed views of Sedona's red rocks, Navajo Country's Monument Valley, and the Grand Canyon's grand canyon. Travelers can also take tours on trains and river rafts. As they soak in majestic vistas, knowledgeable and entertaining guides regale them with historical facts, geological tidbits, and folklore.
Military- and law-enforcement-trained pilots lift spirits with racing vistas of the towering red-rock formations and Sinagua Indian ruins that surround Sedona. Propellers thump through the air, echoing like a giant heartbeat between Secret Canyon's 2,000-foot red-rock walls, to which vines and Top Gun posters firmly cling. Copter captains crest Secret Mountain and ride along the Mogollon Rim, where height flattens desert panoramas into arid quilts. The final stretch of the 25-minute tour runs through Boynton Canyon, where improbable rock arches rise to obscure the horizon once again. The Sinagua's brick ruins trace recognizable patterns across the canyon floor, revealing age-old domiciles and retired helicopter landing pads.
This tour company spotlights Sedona's stunning red-rock formations and other high desert landscapes during family-friendly trolley tours. Guides relay information about local history, hiking opportunities, and the area's wealthiest cacti, while passengers enjoy music and complimentary snacks. Tours typically head into Boynton Canyon, one of the area's most popular box canyons, or to Bell Rock, a picturesque butte just south of Sedona.
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On Arizona Safari Jeep Tours' year-round forays, guides pilot Jeeps throughout Sedona's high desert surroundings while sharing factoids about the area's distinctive wildlife, flora, and geological features. Their total of 10 customizable tours range from this low-key jaunt to high-octane off-road adventures, which draw on the Jeeps' hardy suspensions and wheels to navigate the rugged terrain. Guides well versed in anthropology, biology, and conservation lead each tour, sharing nuggets of knowledge as their Jeep caravans motor to the Sedona energy vortexes, traverse the pine forest of the Colorado Plateau, and race overly competitive roadrunners.
When it wasn’t busy serving as Disney's exclusive Jeep tour provider, Red Rock Western Jeep Tours earned an Experience Arizona Reader's Choice award in 2009 for its adventurous mix of jeep, horseback, and helicopter tours through the picturesque red rocks of the Sedona canyons. Guides arrange breathtaking views from land and air, sending Jeeps rambling across panoramic vistas or arranging bird's-eye peeks with helicopter tours or rides on the back of passing rocs. Vortex tours delve into otherworldly phenomena with access to the mystic energies lurking in the medicine grounds of the Sedona Vortices. Group tours and horseback rides inspire trail-time camaraderie, and romantic wine tours proffer spirits from Oak Creek's Javelina Leap Vineyards & Winery, nestled among the region's vineyard-laced hillsides.