California Custom Adventure Tours

California evokes thoughts of sunshine, wide-open farmland, mountains that scrape the sky, and sparkling beaches. The Golden State offers seemingly endless open space, from the vales of the Sierra Nevada wilderness to the hidden coves of the central coast.

Weave among vineyards and farmland as you explore the heart of the state by bike, or backpack Yosemite National Park and imagine the bewilderment of the miners who came west hoping to strike gold and found themselves at the mercy of these rugged mountains.

California has been called the land of opportunity and when it comes to adventures possibilities abound. When the weather turns cold and gray on the coast, head inland and explore mysterious and otherworldly Death Valley National Park. Have something else in mind… biking Napa Valley, multi-sport vacation on the Central Coast? Give us a call!

Custom California 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 also be personalized to fit your personal vacation style!

Scheduled California Hiking and Backpacking Trips

AOA offers scheduled departures throughout California. If you have a preset group of friends, we can make a tour private or you can book onto a scheduled departure and make friends with fellow other adventurers.

Experience Yosemite National Park

Conquer California by bike on this incredible week-long cycling trip. Not for the faint of heart, this adventure begins in the awe-inspiring Yosemite National Park and ends at the foot of one of the world’s most recognizable structures, San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge. We pedal the hallowed vales of the Sierra Nevada in the shadow of such magnificent monoliths as El Capitan and Half Dome. California comes to life in a whole new way as you conquer challenging mountain climbs, cruise past golden pastureland and roll through sandy beach towns.

Meet up with your local guides and fellow cyclists in San Francisco and transfer to the breathtaking Yosemite National Park. Explore a bit of Yosemite Valley and camp here this evening, neighbors for the night with the awe-inspiring granite faces of El Capitan and Half Dome.

  • Lodging: Camping in Yosemite Valley

Rolling Highway and Pine Forests

Cycle along Route 120 West. The highway rolls out ahead of you and the scenery begins to change from forest to picturesque farms reminiscent of early America. Highlights today include beautiful views of Lake McClure set against a pine and oak forest backdrop before setting up camp on the shores of Turlock Lake.

  • Cycling: 65 miles
  • Lodging: Camping at Turlock Lake

Tackling the Miles

Start early and tackle the longest ride of the trip. Our route rolls gently along a quiet country road bordered by pastures and orchards, keeping to picture-perfect country lanes, historic mining towns and quaint villages. Camp among the cottonwoods at Lake Camanche, a popular fishing locale.

  • Cycling: 73 miles of mostly rolling hills
  • Lodging: Camping at Lake Camanche

San Joaquin Valley to Rohnert Park

Ride through San Joaquin Valley, one of the most agriculturally productive areas in the world. The valley is crisscrossed by an elaborate system of irrigation canals and studded by fields of grapes, citrus, nuts and cotton. Top off the day with a relaxing dinner at the family-owned Six Hands Winery.

  • Cycling: 50 miles
  • Lodging: Hotel in Rohnert Park

 

The Pacific Coast Highway

Clip in and get ready – today we ride the jaw dropping Pacific Coast Highway. Highlights today include the Bolinas Lagoon, an estuary located on the San Andreas Fault teeming with wildlife including herons, egrets and harbor seals.

  • Cycling: 35 miles
  • Lodging: Camping at Olema Park Campground

Final Ride to Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco!

Hairpin turns punctuate today’s ride as we pedal the final leg of our journey along the coast into Marin City and along the Marin Headlands through Sausalito where we catch our first sights of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Breathtaking views of San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean are a just reward after our journey as we pedal across the Golden Gate Bridge to a triumphant finish.

  • Cycling: 35 miles
  • Lodging: On your own

I suddenly realized I was in California. Warm, palmy air – air you can kiss – and palms.Jack Keruoac

Meet in Las Vegas, Head to Death Valley National Park

We’ll meet our guide in the lobby of our Las Vegas hotel this morning where we’ll hit the road and head toward the stark desert beauty of Death Valley National Park. Once we’ll hit the trail and hike Dante’s View. This massive peak in the Funeral Range looms high over Badwater, where we can pick out the tiny figures of others retracing our steps on the salt flats. Across Death Valley towers 11,000-foot Telescope Peak, backed by the distant hulk of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. These mountains are home to Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous U.S., less than 100 miles from Badwater. As we hike across the ridgeline from Dante’s View, we take in the grand beauty of the valley and wonder at the natural forces that have placed such extremes side by side. Afterward, we’ll check-into our hotel rooms and get ready for dinner together.

  • Hiking: 3-5 miles
  • Lodging: The Inn at Furnace Creek

Explore Furnace Creek, Zabriskie Point, and Badwater Basin

Our morning hike begins just down the road from Furnace Creek in Golden Canyon. As the sun rises higher, the truly golden rock walls brighten around us. We top out with a gorgeous view of the valley from Zabriskie Point before descending for lunch. Later on, we arrive at Badwater itself, an enormous salt flat resting 282 feet below sea level. We venture out across the salt flats and marvel at the power of nature as we imagine the prehistoric lake that rested in this desert over 10,000 years ago. We detour on our drive back to see a rainbow of colors hidden in the foothills at Artist’s Palette before returning to Furnace Creek.

  • Hiking: 6-7 miles
  • Lodging: The Inn at Furnace Creek

Drive through the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range to Yosemite National Park

Today, after breakfast at the Inn, we begin our drive to Yosemite National Park. Our route will take us toward the Sierra Nevada Mountains, a north-south mountain range that is responsible for the desert environment found in the western U.S. On the other side of the mountains, we will drive into the green valleys and forested hills of the much more lush state of California. This evening we arrive at our luxury accommodations for the next two nights, Tenaya Lodge. Dinner tonight is on your own so you can refresh and recover from our long drive. Options on property include the Sierra Restaurant, Jackalopes Bar and Grill, Timberloft Pizzeria, or Embers, known for its flaming dishes and elegant dining experience.

  • Lodging: Tenaya Lodge

Explore & Hike in Yosemite National Park

We have an entire day to explore the massive granite domes and beautiful valley of Yosemite National Park. Visitor’s centers, as well as our experienced guide, help us understand the National Park legacy this park represents, as well as the geologic history that formed the valley itself through the slow erosion of glaciers. All our hikes will be accessed from the valley floor; and Yosemite Falls Trail and Mist Trail are two of the best! Yosemite Theater and the giant redwood sequoias are other destinations for our time in Yosemite that will stick in our memories forever.

  • Hiking: 4 to 14 miles
  • Lodging: Tenaya Lodge

Hike the Glacier Point Trail, Transfer to San Francisco International Airport

After arising is the heart of the Sierras, acclaimed stomping ground of naturalist John Muir and former President Theodore Roosevelt, we follow in these hearty men’s footsteps to ascend the Glacier Point Trail. Also called “4-mile Trail”, this 4.8-mile trail ascends from the valley floor to the top of scenic Glacier Point. With views of El Capitan and Half Dome, this viewpoint is one of the most popular in the park. After a final lunch together, we transfer to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) where we’ll say our goodbyes and return home.

  • Hiking: up to 9.6 miles
  • Lodging: On your own

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 California Tour Proposal