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Our trip begins today in Scottsdale, Arizona. Meet your guides and fellow backpackers at 12:30pm at our host hotel conveniently located in Old Town Scottsdale. After introductions, we load into our private van and set out on the four-hour drive to the east side of the remote Aravaipa Wilderness. Catch a glimpse of the majestic Superstition Mountains as we experience the transition between the lush flora of the Sonoran Desert and dry grasslands of the Chihuahuan Desert on the eastern edge of the state. Our road turns to dirt as we enter the tranquil desert leading to our camp at Fourmile Canyon Campground. Tonight our guides conduct a full backpacking orientation around the campfire and familiarize us with the details of the adventure ahead. After a hearty dinner beneath the mesquite trees, we climb into our tents for a peaceful night’s sleep under the vast desert sky. Dinner included.
Driving time: 4 hours.
We begin the day with an energy-packed breakfast prepared by our guides. A 45-minute drive takes us to the canyon’s eastern trailhead where we begin our through hike of the undeveloped reaches of Aravaipa Canyon. Most often we hike 1.5 miles on a dirt road leading into the canyon, although our hike may be extended depending on weather and road conditions. We look for signs of ancient human habitation in the canyon and learn about the struggle between the native tribes that resided in this area. Hiking in and out of the water, we keep our eyes peeled for bighorn sheep and investigate side canyons graced with hanging gardens and interesting rock formations. Reaching our campsite this afternoon, we set up our tents along the banks of the creek and have some time to relax in this idyllic setting. Tonight we have dinner together under the stars and let the sounds of the flowing water lull us to sleep. All meals included.
Backpacking: 1.5 - 4.2 miles on dirt road (dependent on road conditions), 2.4 miles in a stream with minimal elevation gain/loss.
We start the day with a backcountry breakfast prepared by our guides. With our daypacks only, we begin hiking from our camp into the side canyon that hosts Deer Creek. We explore hidden springs and hike among narrow canyon walls before returning to camp for lunch. We then pack up camp and continue our journey through the inner gorge to our next campsite. Today we fully immerse ourselves in the Aravaipa wilderness and form a lasting connection with this magical place—a fantastic opportunity to get to know the inner workings of the canyon, enjoy wildlife viewing and feel the restorative power of the desert. Our last night in the backcountry is spent sharing stories with our guides and trail companions and soaking in the splendor of our riparian surroundings. All meals included.
Hiking: 4-5 miles; Backpacking 3.5 miles with 160’ of elevation gain/loss.
We wake up to the soft trickle of the creek before sunrise and enjoy an optional hike into Horse Camp Canyon before returning to our final delicious guide-prepared breakfast. After breaking camp, we hoist our backpacks and begin our last hike to the western entrance of the gorge. Along the way, we get to see Aravaipa’s southern tributaries including Parsons and Half-Acre Canyons before arriving at the West Trailhead, completing our through-hike. We'll share a picnic lunch before heading back to Phoenix to complete our adventure. Our guides drop trip members off at our host hotel in Scottsdale and make a second stop at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport at approximately 5pm this afternoon. Please do not schedule any departing flights from Phoenix prior to 7pm this evening. Breakfast and lunch included.
Hiking:1.5 miles; Backpacking: 4.9 miles with minimal elevation gain/loss.