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This trip was a rich tapestry of treasure that unfolded hourly where we multi-faceted characters began to share and revel in our fortunate gathering amid spectacular scenery. — Betty H., Washington
|Arizona, USA||April 2-7, 2017||$1,949|
Tucson is calling you, the free thinker and the free at heart, to explore without boundaries. Tucson is a city in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert surrounded by multiple mountain ranges, including the Santa Catalina’s. Famous for its dramatic beauty, the Sonoran Desert covers this region with spectacular cacti – including the giant saguaro, symbol of the American Southwest. Cactus forests lead to rolling grasslands, riparian streams, hoodoo mountain ranges and evergreen sky islands. Its restorative climate and casual pace are a natural setting for today’s adventure destination. We’ll hike among these gorgeous mountain ranges, explore caves, visit the “Old West”, tackle world-class whitewater rafting, and stay at an actual castle! Great activities, scenery, food, and people add up to one active and memorable adventure experience!
Arrive in Tucson by 3pm (airport code TUS) and our guide will meet you in the baggage claim area. We’ll check in to our hotel, then do a city walk of Tucson and enjoy a delicious welcome dinner at one of the many splendid Tucson restaurants. Overnight Tucson.
After breakfast we’ll experience a stunning limestone cave in Kartchner Caverns State Park that boasts world-class features. This “live” cave, discovered in 1974, is host to a wide variety of unique minerals and formations. Water percolates from the surface and calcite formations continue to grow, including stalactites dripping down like icicles and giant stalagmites reaching up from the ground. Tour guides (required) will unveil this fascinating underground landscape during a memorable tour. Then we’ll hike the Foothills Loop for beautiful views and to appreciate the unique nature in this area – approximately 3 miles, rated moderately difficult. After lunch, it’s off to Bisbee, with a stop in Tombstone where we’ll walk the very same streets that Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Johnny Ringo, Ike Clanton and a host of other western legends walked over 130 years ago. You can just feel the history here! In Bisbee, Old Bisbee is the historic center of town. During its late 19th-century mining heyday, Bisbee was the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco and was known for such bawdy locales as Brewery Gulch, then a stretch of rowdy saloons. Today, Bisbee is known for its stunning Victorian architecture, mild year-round climate and abundance of galleries and one-of-a-kind shops. We’ll head back to Tucson to freshen up and have dinner.
After breakfast we’ll head to Sabino Canyon for a 5 mile hike in the Coronado National Forest. Sabino Canyon is one of the premier natural areas in southern Arizona. This recreation area is located at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Here you will find outstanding scenery that features steep rock cliffs and unique desert vegetation adjacent to riparian corridors. You may get lucky and view a Gila Monster, Bobcat, Gambel’s Quail, Eastern Collard Lizard, Gopher Snake and more. This afternoon we’ll head up to Mt. Lemmon through the Mt. Lemmon Scenic Byway to drink in the natural beauty of this wilderness. Great photo opportunities abound. Then it’s off to Globe, Arizona to position ourselves for the next day’s adventure. Check into our hotel and enjoy a delicious dinner. Overnight Globe, AZ.
After breakfast, we’re off to the Upper Salt River Canyon for a full day white water rafting trip. Arizona’s Salt River descends from the White Mountains east of Phoenix where we’ll find ourselves tackling world class whitewater rafting – no flat water tubing trips here! This upper stretch of the Salt River offers challenging rapids (primarily rated 3’s) and the inspiring beauty of a truly unique setting. Fun, knowledgeable guides, an optional side canyon hike to a hidden waterfall and a riverside lunch of sizzling hot fajitas make for the perfect day on the river. We’ll be in awe at this isolated area, offering extreme beauty and fantastic rafting. We’ll stop for dinner as we head back to Tucson to check into our hotel.
After a leisurely rise and breakfast, we’ll head out to enjoy our 6 mile hike into Madera Canyon to experience this natural wilderness with excellent birding opportunities. Bring your binoculars! With fifteen species of hummingbirds, elegant trogon, sulphur-bellied flycatcher, black-capped gnatcatcher, flame-colored tanager, thirty-six species of wood warblers, and over 256 species of birds documented in total, Madera Canyon is rated the third best birding destination in the United States. This afternoon we’ll go to a unique castle right outside Tucson and enjoy a wide selection of activities and state-of-the-art facilities for recreation and relaxing. We’ll go to a luxurious horse ranch where they have a large herd of hand picked horses and knowledgeable wranglers to guide our trail ride at sunset. We’ll stay to enjoy our Farewell Dinner at the ranch, as we recount our week in the treasure that is Tucson.
Enjoy breakfast at the ranch and the amenities before you depart for points beyond. An airport transfer (to TUS) will be provided around 10am, or you can schedule your own (at your expense) if you have an early departure or wish to extend.
What’s Not Included