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Arizona Custom Adventure Tours

Arizona is a land of frontiers, of civilization co-mingling with wilderness on all sides, of contrasts and extremes. The biologic diversity of Arizona is so great that on the slopes of the San Francisco peaks outside Flagstaff the terrain and plant life resemble that of Alaska, yet no more than 50 miles to the south is the hottest and most tropical desert in the United States, the Sonoran.

There are no limits to your outdoor adventures in this beautiful southwestern state, from mountain biking in Sedona to exploring the sky islands of the Chiricahua or backpacking the mysterious Superstition Mountains outside Phoenix, there is a place to explore in every season.

Arizona is our backyard and we love to customize private trips to our favorite places across the state – visit Antelope Canyon, see the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, ride to the summit of Tucson’s Mount Lemmon, or hike to the beautiful waterfalls of Havasupai.

Custom Arizona Tours Are About You

At Arizona Outback Adventures we’ve been designing adventure vacations for 20 years and custom itineraries are our specialty. All it takes is a phone call, and we do the rest. Don’t forget, all of our scheduled departures can be personalized to fit your personal vacation style!

Hike the Ballantine Trail

Meet your guides in Phoenix and venture into the Tonto National Forest. The third largest National Forest in the country it spreads over 3 million acres of valleys, rivers and mountains filled with incredibly diverse flora and fauna, topography and history. We head northeast towards the Mazatzal Mountains (pronounced ‘ma-ta-zal’ by locals) to the Ballantine Trailhead. In a few moments, we find ourselves well beyond the sounds of civilization, ascending over a cactus-laden hill into a wide ravine shadowed by towering Giant Saguaros and massive granite boulders. After a delicious lunch on the trail we head to our idyllic home for the next two nights, Saguaro Lake Ranch, resting on the quiet banks of the Salt River below the Bulldog Cliffs. Tonight we relax and enjoy a classic cowboy cookout under the stars!

  • Hiking: 3 miles/1300 feet
  • Lodging: Saguaro Lake Ranch

Hike the Bulldog Cliffs & Kayak the Lower Salt River

This morning, we shuttle by canoe to the base of the s 1000-foot Bulldog Cliffs. Our secluded trek begins through a bosque of mesquite trees before the trail slips into a gorgeous canyon replete with clear flowing springs and lush plant life before ascending to the steep, craggy summit. Amazing views of Tonto National Forest and beyond are a feast for the eyes. After our hike we lunch back at the ranch then kick back in kayaks to maneuver the beginner-friendly waters of the Lower Salt River. Keep your eyes open for wild horses, bald eagles and river otters as the cool water winds west towards the Valley of the Sun.

  • Hiking: 10 miles
  • Kayaking: 3 miles
  • Lodging: Saguaro Lake Ranch

Hike the Superstition Mountains and Transfer to Tucson

Awaken to a cup of fresh brewed coffee and hearty breakfast before we depart for the Peralta Trail in the Superstition Mountains. Apache folklore and geologic mysteries abound in the caves and canyons of these rocky desert mountains. Learn the legend of the Lost Dutchman and hear for yourself the call of the wild, luring explorers even today deeper and deeper in hopes of gold and hidden treasure. Enjoy lunch under a shady Cottonwood before climbing in the van to relax on the drive south to the vibrant, cultural town of Tucson. Rising a rapid vertical mile above the city to heights surpassing nine thousand feet, the beautiful Santa Catalina foothills serve as the backdrop for our home the next three nights. Tonight we stay at Hacienda del Sol, a colorful guest ranch where the famed John Wayne is known to have signed the guestbook a time or two.

  • Hiking: 4-8 miles
  • Lodging: Hacienda del Sol

Saguaro National Park & Sonoran Desert Museum

Wake up to Tucson’s gorgeous mountain backdrop! Today, we visit Saguaro National Park, set in both the Rincon and Tucson mountain ranges of the valley. Though a classic symbol of the American West and a staple in any desert-themed cartoon movie, the stately Saguaro cactus (pronounced ‘Sa-WAH-ro’) in fact only grows naturally in the Sonoran Desert (roughly 1.6 million individual saguaro plants grow in the park!). Walk amongst these giants on our hike today, which takes us past old mine tunnels and ancient petroglyphs and includes the option to summit the highest point of the Tucson Mountains at 4,687 feet, Wasson Peak. After lunch and a glass of Prickly Pear Iced Tea at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, spend the rest of the afternoon exploring this world-renowned zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden featuring over 1,200 plants and animals such as the adorable though unforgivably poisonous Gila Monster. Tonight we feast at the world’s best Mexican restaurant on flautas and carne asada doused of course in an unforgivably hot sauce…

  • Hiking: 4-8 miles
  • Lodging: Hacienda del Sol

Sabino Canyon & Seven Falls

Today’s hike explores the beautiful Sabino Canyon, bring along water shoes and a bathing suit because today’s desert trek leads to water! After crossing Sabino Creek several times, the trail rises up the side of Bear Canyon, leveling off at Seven Falls. Take a dip and a relaxing lunch break on the smooth boulders beside this series of pools before our hike down through this beautiful riparian oasis. Before dinner experience the pride and joy of Arizona as we drive up Santa Catalina Highway to Windy Point for an unbeatable sunset.

  • Hiking: 4-8 miles
  • Lodging: Hacienda del Sol

Romero Canyon & Hohokam Ruins

Today we explore Romero Canyon, a gem of the Catalina Mountains’s and guide favorite in the Southwest! Birds and breezes serve as the soundtrack to our hike along the ridge, over the saddle, through this peaceful grassland. After an exciting visit to Hohokam ruins we will climb back in the van and return to Phoenix by evening.

  • Hiking: 10 miles
  • Lodging: On your own

It is not often in life that you have experiences that truly change you. I want to thank all of you for sharing and providing me with the perfect opportunity.Valerie

Drive from Scottsdale to Grand Canyon National Park

Meet your guides and head north through the Sonoran Desert and into the high elevation plateaus of north-central Arizona. In the late afternoon you will be exploring, learning and hiking along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We will visit Desert View and the famous Watchtower perched on the canyon’s edge, offering wonderful views of the Painted Desert and the canyon. As you hike, your guides will introduce you to the unique flora, fauna, geology and cultural history of the area. In the afternoon we explore Grand Canyon Village and take a sunset walk on the Rim Trail. Take the time to appreciate the sun’s final rays as they glance off the crimson canyon walls.

  • Hiking: 3 – 5 miles
  • Lodging: El Tovar Lodge, Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park – Hermit Trail to Dripping Springs

Traverse the West Rim to Hermit’s Rest where we drop deep below the rim through a rarely-visited side canyon. This is one of the most fantastic fossil hunting areas in Grand Canyon, looking for dinosaur footprints is one highlight of our morning. The trail is steep in sections, but the cobblestones provide secure footing. Lunch will be a picnic at Dripping Springs, once the home of the “Hermit”, Louis Boucher. The perennial water allowed for a garden and a permanent base from which he could prospect for mineral ore. True to his moniker, “the Hermit of Grand Canyon,” he left the Grand Canyon for good when this trail was completed. After a detour to visit Santa Maria Springs we will ascend to the rim.

  • Hiking: 7-10 miles, 1500+ feet of elevation loss and gain
  • Lodging: El Tovar Lodge, Grand Canyon National Park

Hike the Superstition Mountains and Transfer to Tucson

Drive to Hualapai Hilltop (pronounced “Walapai”), the only land travel access to Havasupai, a unique spot within the Grand Canyon. Starting at 5,100 feet, the 10 mile trail switchbacks down to a dry streambed where it levels out. However, we are going to bypass the hike into Havasupai and opt for the scenic and quick helicopter flight directly into the village. Here at 3,200 feet, we start our two-mile walk to our base camp. Tonight, sleep under the stars or retire to your spacious tent for a peaceful night of slumber. Learn more about Havasupai.

  • Hiking: 2-4 miles
  • Loding: Comfortable camping

Relax and Explore the Canyon

Awaken in camp, nestled along Havasu Creek, beneath towering cottonwood trees and a short walk to enormous waterfalls. Today your guides will lead you on some of the most spectacular hikes in the world. Cross tropical blue streams and wade through lush meadows of wild grapevines, even take a swim beside a 200-foot waterfall or just spend the day reading a book in a hammock by the creek. Remember, it’s your vacation, make of it what you wish.

  • Hiking: 4-8 miles
  • Lodging: Comfortable Camping

Return to the Rim by Helicopter

After breakfast, we hike to Supai village and catch a helicopter ride out of the canyon, watching the hikers below us tackle the dusty trail. Once again at Hualapai Hilltop we will transfer to Sedona. Here we will enjoy a breathtaking environment for experiencing everything from the spiritual to the adventurous. The first Anglo settlers moved into Sedona’s Oak Creek Canyon in 1879. They came for the reliable waters of Oak Creek for farming and ranching, although they most likely stayed because of the astounding beauty. Tonight you will relax in one of Sedona’s finest resorts, L’Auberge, nestled in the heart of Red Rock country.

  • Hiking: 2-4 miles
  • Lodging: L’Auberge resort, Sedona, AZ

Frequently Asked Questions

How does planning a custom trip work?

On each adventure trip that we lead, our goal is always to provide the most memorable and personal experience for each of our guests. One way to do this is by creating a custom trip or tailoring an existing itinerary to suit your travel style. It’s simpler than you think.

Step 1: Call us!

Give us a general outline of your adventure vision, including your group size, the time of year or exact dates, the location(s) you’d like to travel, activities that interest you, and any special requests.

Step 2: We create your personalized itinerary and estimate of costs.

Keep in mind that it is a “custom trip proposal” and you may change, modify, add, or subtract anything you wish until it suits you and your budget perfectly.

Step 3: Hit the trail!

…or singletrack, or river, or sit on your chosen lodge’s veranda with a perfectly chilled beverage, learn all about the flora, fauna and geology – let our world-class guides help you create a life-long memory.

Request a custom proposal

Can we reserve and customize one of your regularly scheduled dates exclusively for us?

Yes! As long as there are no other customers booked on that date – it is yours and we can modify it to suit you.

Is there a minimum or maximum amount of people for each trip?

We can accommodate groups ranging in size from 2-60 people.

Is it more expensive to do a private or custom trip?

Not necessarily – there is no additional charge for a custom or private trip. However, pricing varies greatly and is always dependent on a number of factors such as group size, activities selected, accommodations preferred, special requests, and trip duration – all of which are under your control and at your discretion.

Can we alter one of the example itineraries or standard trips you offer?

Yes, absolutely! The itineraries listed here are only intended to inspire you and show you what is possible. We will propose your own trip just for you! All of our trips can be extended, shortened, combined or modified however you wish.

Can you do a trip in a location that you don’t talk about on your website?

As long as we have expertise in the area you have in mind – no problem. Even if we don’t we likely can work with one of our partners to create just the experience you have in mind. Want to join your favorite AOA guide rafting in Chile? We have just the trip for you…

Request a Custom Tour Proposal