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Magnificent Voyage: 3 Desert Adventure Tours

by Zachary Hayes

Space may be the last frontier, but you'll find a terrestrial adventure easier to orchestrate and much more affordable. When trying to come up with a vacation plan that hasn't been done to death, don't overlook the exciting journey of a desert adventure.

Exploring the unspoiled desert terrain of Arizona is like stepping into a time machine or being transported. One minute you're in the fast-paced modern world, the next you're standing in a land that appears to have been untouched for centuries. You may well be on another planet for all you know, traversing terrain so fierce and untamed that that you'll need a reliable ATV, jeep or Tomcar, courtesy of your touring company, to take you on your adventure and bring you safely back.

Go Back In Time

You don't need Doc Brown's DeLorean to go back 700 years and explore the Sinaguan cliff dwellings of Sedona, Arizona. All you need is a pink jeep and a tour guide. On your Ancient Ruins Tour with Pink Jeep Tours you'll go as far as a vehicle can, and then hike the rest of the way to one of the oldest apartment complexes in the West. You'll experience the amazingly rich history of the ruins when you walk into a series of rooms that are equal parts cave and man-made construction. The rock and mortar walls have withstood the centuries as a testament today to the ingenuity as well as the everyday lives of a people long gone. Arizona Ruins tells would-be time travelers that they'll see paintings and carvings on the cave walls as well as undisturbed remains—including grinding stones and shards of pottery.

Hohokam cliff dwelling (Montezuma Castle), Arizona

Photo of ancient Sinaguan house by Phillip Capper via Wikimedia Commons

Shoot for the Moon (Or at Least the Nearest Cactus)

If spending the day tooling around the desert in an Israeli Defense off-road vehicle and shooting at targets set beyond the cacti and rocks of Camelback Mountain is your idea of a relaxing afternoon, a shooting experience is the desert adventure you're looking for. And when a firearms experience comes recommended by the good people at, you have to sit up and take notice. Jason Scott Deegan admits that he is usually taking aim at a flag on the golf course and not a target affixed to a boulder, but the shooting experience offered by Desert Wolf Tours is tops in Deegan's book. The beauty of a firearms adventure in the Arizona desert is that you can spend an afternoon driving over the brutal, but scenic, terrain, stopping now and then for some target practice, then go back to the Phoenician or another resort, have a five star dinner at a superb restaurant and play a round of golf in the morning at a world-class course. Not too shabby.

A Pleasant Sailing Adventure

Sailing? In the desert? You bet, when your desert adventure takes place at breathtaking Lake Pleasant. Arizona Sailing Adventures says that Arizona has more boats per capita than any other state in the U.S., surprising only to those who haven't experienced the gorgeous marinas, lakes and bays scattered throughout the arid land. Imagine zipping across the glassy surface of Lake Pleasant, or dropping the sails to float leisurely as you catch some sun and take in the magnificent work of art that is the Arizona desert. Stay at a luxury hotel on shore but opt for a dinner cruise on the lake for the most relaxing and pleasant time you've had in years.

Lake Pleasant Arizona

Photo of Arizona's Lake Pleasant by Shereth via Wikimedia Commons

You don't need a spaceship, time machine or passport for the adventure of a lifetime. Just pack up and head out in the direction of Arizona—not the last frontier, but one you'll enjoy exploring.

Zachary Hayes Zach enjoys writing about hunting and outdoor living. He's from Wyoming and teaches hunter safety courses.

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