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.
One of the oldest continually operated ski areas in the U.S., Arizona Snowbowl turns over a new leaf from late May through mid October. During this time, one of the resort's ski lifts remains open to whisk visitors to the top of an 11,500-foot-tall peak, where they take in views of land features up to 70 miles away and get a rare chance to see the Kokopelli shape that the Grand Canyon makes from above. The bustling summer season is also when area experts host interpretive talks and hikers trek through the Kachina Peaks wilderness on high-altitude trails. Of course, Arizona Snowbowl is also open for winter recreation from mid-December through April.
After a day of outdoor activities, adventurers can sip cocktails, scoop up green-chili chicken stew, and munch sandwiches at the Agassiz Lodge ?featuring live music on the weekends?, located at the base of the scenic chairlift where guests can also shop for souvenirs and clothing.
A shorter and equally appropriate name for Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course would be Endor. Spread throughout the ponderosa pines of Fort Tuthill County Park, the course’s rope swings, wobbly bridges, scrambling walls, and hanging nets resemble the Ewoks’ home planet in the final Star Wars film. Visitors navigate these sylvan challenges—part of five elevated obstacle courses—while strapped into safety harnesses, which also help them dart through the forest via arboreal ziplines. Ground patrols and course guides add another layer of reassurance, as do the courses themselves, color-coded to signal their difficulty level. The black course, for example, is the hardest, while the yellow one is for children only, due to its simplicity and its free entry policy for invisible friends.
The guides at Arizona Trail Horse Adventures lead sightseers on horseback rides through Dead Horse Ranch State Park and the Verde Valley. Horse and rider traverse a variety of terrain, crossing barren riverbeds, trotting through high desert, or pondering the duality of cottonwood trees, all while absorbing the beautiful scenery of their surroundings. The trails pose numerous opportunities to spot the wild animals indigenous to the region, including great blue heron, black hawks, beavers, and mule deer. On the 180-minute Monument Loop Trail, peeled peepers can spot the Tuzigoot National Monument, which displays the remains of a Native American pueblo.