Sonoran Desert Tours
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Get away from it all in the breathtaking Sonoran Desert, a 100,000-square-mile (260,000-square-kilometer) region that spans Arizona, California, and parts of Mexico. Though it’s the hottest of four deserts in North America, its two rainy seasons sustain unique animals and plants, including the only remaining jaguar population in the United States.
Explore the beauty of the Sonoran Desert by foot, vehicle, or hot-air balloon or small plane. Visitors will enjoy views of the mountains that span this region, as well as the local wildlife, including roadrunners, gila monsters, cactus wren, and desert bighorn sheep. Be sure to choose a tour that fits your interests; there are tours available for fans of hiking, off-roading, and Segways.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Book your tour in advance. You’ll benefit from a knowledgeable guide while enjoying your perfect desert adventure.
- As in any desert environment, be sure to bring enough water with you (drinking water is not available) and dress for the weather.
- Be on the lookout for cacti and snakes.
How to Get There
There are several points of entry to the Sonoran Desert. The Sonoran Desert National Monument is located about 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Phoenix and 93 miles (150 kilometers) northwest of Tucson, Arizona. To get there from Phoenix, follow I-10 West. From Tucson, take I-10 West to I-8 West. Parking is available on-site.
When to Get There
There are five “seasons” in the Sonoran Desert: spring from February to April; dry summer in May and June; summer monsoon from July to mid-September; fall from mid-September to November; and winter in December and January. The spring and winter months can be a great time to visit; temperatures remain a bit cooler than the blazing heat of summer.
There are several Native American tribes that have connections to the Sonoran Desert, including Pascua Yaqui, Tohono O’odham, Seri, Cocopah, and the Gila River Indian Community. Some tribes welcome visitors to religious ceremonies or other cultural events; just be respectful and refrain from using your camera or phone during these experiences.
5 Tours and Activities to Experience Sonoran Desert
Explore the Apache Trail from Phoenix on a full-day tour that takes you into the legendary Sonoran Desert. Visit the ghost town of Goldfield, ride a steamboat on Canyon Lake, stop at the eccentric hamlet of Tortilla Flat and admire views of the Superstition Wilderness from Fish Creek Hill. Get a feel for the Wild West as you learn about the region's history and wildlife from your knowledgeable guide. Includes hotel pickup and drop-off and an expert driver who navigates the rough and winding roads for a stress-free day out. Choose between a small-group or private tour.
Price varies by group size
Price varies by group size
Enjoy a picturesque hot-air balloon flight over the mammoth Sonoran Desert in North Phoenix on this 1-hour sunset flight. Experience breathtaking 360-degree views of the hottest desert in North America and its surrounding landscape while floating effortlessly across the sky at dusk. Then celebrate with a traditional champagne toast and catered food after the flight. Commemorative flight certificate, plus transportation to and from the landing site is included.
This adventure is one for the memory books. Hike through the Sonoran Desert outside Scottsdale to a local peak before taking the exciting way down. Harness up, lean back and enjoy the descent…just you, the ropes and the rock face. Your guide will ensure you are comfortable with the rappelling technique in a safety briefing before you set out.
Arizona's first historic highway is just a few minutes outside of the city. The Apache Trail is the perfect way to experience the beauty of the Sonoran Desert. Get a chance to try panning for gold in the restored ghost town of Goldfield, marvel at the views of the Superstition Mountains, and take a cruise on scenic Canyon Lake. A pickup directly from your hotel or private residence gets the adventure started, leading you out to the Superstition Mountains along the path that guided Apache travelers, stagecoaches, and mountain men alike. When you get to Canyon Lake, board the famous Dolly Steamboat for a 6-mile narrated nature cruise. Watch for bighorn sheep, bald eagles, and a host of other desert animals, as well as unforgettable views of the towering volcanic cliffs. Next, your guide will take you to the town of Tortilla Flat, a stagecoach stop that holds onto its rich tradition through its architecture and unique decorating sense before heading back to the city.
This U Drive Guided Jeep Tour takes you offload in the Tonto National Forest. From the beginner to experienced driver, we got trails for you! Let us show you what a Jeep is capable of under the watch of 2 experienced spotters. It's the only Offroad Jeep Driving Adventure in the area and assuredly not to miss when visiting AZ.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What's the best way to experience Sonoran Desert?
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