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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||March 10 – 15, 2024||$2,495|
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 Catalinas. 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. Tucson’s restorative climate and casual pace are a natural setting for our adventure destination. We’ll hike among these gorgeous mountain ranges, explore caves, visit the “Old West”, hike in the Saguaro National Park, visit the beautiful Mission San Xavier del bac, and Tubac! Oh, and did we mention Tucson is a foodie town? Yep! Great activities, scenery, food, and laid-back people add up to one memorable adventure experience! Join us on this “unpack once and chill” trip – and at the best time of year to experience Tucson! (The dates align for a back-to-back option with the Phoenix trip for a 10% discount off both trips.)
Arrive in Tucson by 3pm and your Canyon Calling Trip Leader will meet you in the airport baggage claim area. We’ll hop in the van for a short ride into town and enjoy a city walk of the historic Tucson downtown area. The barrios are beautiful, the food is amazing, and the people are friendly in the university town. We’ll check into our lodging and enjoy a delicious welcome dinner at one of the many splendid Tucson restaurants. Overnight Tucson.
After breakfast we’ll pick up our picnic lunch then drive to Sabino Canyon for a 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. We’ll have lunch before heading to Mt. Lemmon! This is the highest point in the Santa Catalina mountains at over 9,000 feet elevation. The beautiful, curving road is a favorite drive for locals as well as tourists and has been recently designated as the Sky Island Parkway, part of the US Scenic Byway System. The weather may not allow access to the village of Summerhaven, which sits at the top of this pristine mountain, but it’s gorgeous sites all around. Late afternoon we’ll return to our lodging to relax. For those interested in the optional horseback ride, you’ll be taken to a luxurious horse ranch right outside Tucson located on 60,000 acres of Tucson’s most breathtaking desert landscapes. They have a large herd of handpicked horses and knowledgeable wranglers to guide your trail ride at sunset. We’ll meet back up to enjoy a delicious dinner.
After breakfast, we’re off on a full day trip to experience the stunning limestone caves 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. Our Park tour guide will unveil this fascinating underground landscape during a memorable tour. Next, it’s off to 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! Perhaps we’ll get a sarsaparilla with our lunch and take some photos. Then it’s off to Bisbee. 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 transfer back to our lodging to relax and enjoy dinner.
After breakfast we’ll visit the Mission San Xavier del Bac, built when Southern Arizona was still a part of Spanish Territory. We will enjoy the history and the spectacular architecture, with the option to wander into and shop the open-air Tohono O’odam Native Shops scattered around the Mission. Built in the 1700s, this recently restored white adobe church, representing a wonderful example of Spanish colonial architecture, is beautiful inside and out, with colorful frescoes, sculptures and carvings. Next, we’re off to hike and explore the beauty of Madera Canyon. A world-renowned spot for bird watching, Madera Canyon is the resting place for migrating species. The area offers an extensive trail system in the northwest face of the Santa Rita Mountains. We’ll have our lunch, rest a bit, then it’s off to Tubac, an historic village and destination for the arts! Art galleries, museums, and enchanting shops await our visit in a beautiful high desert environment. The native arts are amazing here. On our way back to town, we’ll stop for a one hour Group Energy Healing Session, commonly referred to as Reiki. Reiki can assist with mental, physical, and emotional issues, and accelerates the body’s natural self healing abilities. Tucson offers a great variety of spiritual practitioners and we’ve found one of the best! Once back at our hotel, maybe a dip in the pool before we enjoy another excellent dinner.
After breakfast, we’ll pick up our picnic lunch, then we’re off to hike and explore the beautiful Saguaro National Park. The giant saguaro is the universal symbol of the American west. These majestic plants, found only in a small portion of the United States, are protected by Saguaro National Park, to the east and west of the modern city of Tucson. Saguaros are a very slow growing cactus. In Saguaro National Park, studies indicate that a saguaro grows between 1 and 1.5 inches in the first eight years of its life. In large part because of its respected place among native peoples, the Saguaro is a protected plant in Arizona. State-wide cactus laws prevent theft or destruction of this plant. The Cactus Forest Scenic Loop Drive is a paved road that features several trailheads, scenic vistas and pullouts in a total of 8 miles. We’ll choose a favorite, scenic hike on the east side of the Park, around 3 -4 miles in length. The Scenic Bajada Loop Drive is a popular way of exploring the west side of the Park and its foothills. This unpaved, graded dirt road offers scenic pullouts, picnic areas, and hiking trailheads in a 6 mile loop. We’ll hike on this side of the National Park too. This is a full day in the National Park with no timelines to observe so we can take our time to thoroughly enjoy the Park. Once we’ve had our fill, we’ll head back to our lodge to relax and freshen up for our Farewell dinner, as we recount our week in the wonderful jewel that is Tucson.
Enjoy breakfast before you depart for points beyond. One airport transfer to the Tucson airport will be provided at a time based on the group’s collective time of departure or stay and play on your own!BOOK NOW
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