- Customers will save $100 on any new booking of a 2024 REI adventure travel trip in North America.
- Offer valid on 2024 REI adventure travel trips new bookings from 9/7/2023 until 9/29/2023. Must travel by 12/31/2024.
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Our trip begins today in Scottsdale, Arizona. Meet your guides and fellow travelers at our host hotel conveniently located in vibrant Old Town Scottsdale. A brief orientation ensures we're all prepared before we load into our private van and set out for Sabino Canyon and our first hike to Seven Falls. Taking a tram to the Bear Canyon trailhead, we ascend a series of switchbacks and make several small creek crossings en route to the seven-tiered waterfall that provides our first glimpse of the natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert. The skyline above the falls is punctuated by jagged cliffs and ridgelines making this spot a photographic favorite. After returning to the trailhead, we hop back in our vehicle and transfer to Tucson where we enjoy our first dinner and spend the night in a comfortable hotel. Lunch and dinner included.
Transfer time: 3 hours; Hiking: 5 miles with 900’ elevation gain/loss
After breakfast, we head to Saguaro National Park to see one of the most iconic symbols of the American Southwest up close. Found in only a small portion of the U.S., the giant saguaro cactus is well-represented across the park's 91,000 acres. Our hike's hilltop summit offers great views of the park's famous bajadas (lower mountain slopes where cactus grows more densely). Next up is the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum, recognized throughout the world as a model for innovative presentation and interpretation of native plants and animals. We take time to explore the museum and have lunch before traveling to the historic town of Ajo. Our home for the next two nights will be the lovely Sonoran Desert Inn. At dinner this evening, we’re joined by a member of the nearby Tohono O’odham tribe who shares her insights on the culture and history of the town and her people. All meals included.
Transfer time: 3.5 hours; Hiking: 3-4 miles with 150’ elevation gain/loss
We drive south towards the Mexican border for our morning hike in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. While the incredible namesake columnar cactus may be the main attraction, the soaring cliffs and expansive views into Mexico add to the allure of this protected wilderness. In addition, the vast 330,000-acre monument is home to an extraordinary collection of regional flora and fauna. Our hike leads us up dirt trails to a dramatic viewpoint that offers spectacular panoramas of the surrounding desert and mountains. Next, we take a short drive to the Mexican border. We’re joined by an interpretive ranger who shares the history and secrets of this fascinating ecosystem while we picnic just feet from the border. This afternoon, we head into the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, whose focus is on protection of the endangered Sonoran pronghorn. This evening we reflect on our day and enjoy the landscape from atop Childs Mountain, 1,500 feet above the desert floor with views stretching over 100 miles. All meals included.
Transfer time: 2 hours; Hiking: 3.5 miles with 1,100’ of elevation gain/loss
We say goodbye to the lovely little town of Ajo this morning and begin our drive north to Phoenix. Along our route lies the Crater Range, approximately ten miles of volcanic upheaval that’s left behind a rugged landscape filled with the eroded remains of ancient lava flows, layers of tuff and volcanic breccia. Many traces of prehistoric human habitation can be found in the area and evidence suggests the range may have been a significant hunting ground for bighorn sheep and mule deer. We set out on our final hike through these unique, jagged formations, basking in the desert sunshine and watching for the many species of lizards that call the range home. After our hike, we enjoy a picnic lunch in the desert before completing the last leg of our drive to Phoenix. We plan to arrive back in Phoenix by 3:30pm. Please do not schedule any departing flights before 6pm. Breakfast and lunch included.
Transfer time: 2.5 hours; Hiking: 3.5 miles with minimal elevation gain/loss