Definitively an itinerary for experienced overlanders.
The roughly 100,000-square-mile Sonoran ranks among the superlative deserts of the world: not for its size, but for its botanical and scenic splendor. The epitomizing sight of the Sonoran Desert is the saguaro: that long-lived, skyscraping cactus that forms the stately desert woodlands starring in most people’s go-to mental image of Arizona—or, really, the American desert as a whole.
Singing sand dunes, cinder cone volcanoes, a large Joshua tree forest, and carpets of spring wildflowers are all found within this 2,500-square-mile park. A visit to its canyons, mountains, and mesas will reveal long-abandoned mines, homesteads, and rock-walled military outposts. Located between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Mojave provides serenity and solitude from major metropolitan areas.
“Valentina is a gem. She developed a three-week mixed camping/luxury lodging itinerary focusing on the pristine wildernesses of Arizona. The itinerary was detailed, flexible, and delivered exactly what I had asked for. V-adventures was even able to pivot and add some extra activities when my girlfriend decided to join the trip unexpectedly mid-way through. I can’t guarantee it, but if you book with Valentina you may be the happy recipient of some excelled northern Italian cuisine. I have already engaged v-adventures to begin planning my next adventure. 5 Stars” Josh C. – February 2021
Icon of the South-West, Tucson, Arizona is home to the nation’s largest cacti. 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. Here you have a chance to see these enormous cacti, silhouetted by the beauty of a magnificent desert sunset.
Two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and Colorado, come together in Joshua Tree National Park. A fascinating variety of plants and animals make their homes in a land sculpted by strong winds and occasional torrents of rain. Dark night skies, a rich cultural history, and surreal geologic features add to the wonder of this vast wilderness in southern California. So come, and explore for yourself.
Life abounds in the Sonoran Desert. Look closely. Look again. The sights and sounds of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, an International Biosphere Reserve, reveal a thriving community of plants and animals. Human stories echo throughout this desert preserve, chronicling thousands of years of desert living. A scenic drive, wilderness hike, or a night of camping will expose you to a living desert that thrives.
It’s a historic 250-mile (400 km) road that extends through some of the most remote and arid terrains of the Sonoran Desert. In use for at least 1,000 years, El Camino Del Diablo is believed to have started as a series of footpaths used by desert-dwelling Native Americans. From the 16th to the 19th centuries, the road was used extensively by conquistadores, explorers, missionaries, settlers, miners, and cartographers. However, the use of the trail declined sharply after the railroad reached Yuma in 1870. In recognition of its historical significance, El Camino Del Diablo was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. – Permit required
Of the 666,640 acres within Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, 547,719 acres are designated wilderness, making it the second-largest wilderness area in Arizona. The important designation helps ensure this amazing desert landscape is protected for future generations.
Tombstone is a town known for its Wild West history. Exhibits at the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park include replica gallows. On historic Allen Street, the O.K. Corral outdoor theater re-enacts an 1881 cowboy gunfight. Resident ghosts are said to haunt the bullet-riddled Bird Cage Theatre. Outlaws are among the local townsfolk buried at the 1878 Boothill Cemetery.
The Mojave Road or Mojave Trail is a historic route and present-day dirt road across the Mojave National Preserve in the Mojave Desert in the United States. This rough road stretches 140 miles (230 km) from the west bank of the Colorado River to the west bank of the Mojave River. Used by Indians to transport goods from the southwest to trade and other coastal tribes, this route later served as the cause of westward expansion. Military forts were established along the way to protect some key water sources and provide assistance for travelers.
Mojave National Preserve may appear featureless and inhospitable. But a closer look reveals the preserve’s wonders: water-sculpted canyons, ancient lava flows, limestone caverns, massive sand dunes, and Joshua tree forests reaching to a desert horizon. The most popular sunset and sunrise spots are at Kelso Dunes, California’s second-largest dune system.
Portions of the Prescott National Forest today are much the same as they were when in 1863 Sam Miller panned for gold in Lynx Creek and was wounded by a cougar, or when General Crook’s flag fluttered over Palace Station. At the lowest elevation, the primary vegetation is of the Sonoran Desert type. As the elevation rises, chaparral becomes common, followed by piñon pine and juniper. Above that, Ponderosa pine dominates the landscape.
At over 2.9 million acres, the Tonto National Forest is the largest national forest in Arizona and the seventh-largest national forest among 154 USDA National Forests. The Tonto features some of the most rugged and inherently beautiful lands in the country. Sonoran Desert cacti and flatlands slowly give way to the highlands of the Mogollon Rim. This variety in vegetation and range in altitude — from 1,300 to 7,900 feet — offers outstanding recreational opportunities throughout the year, whether it’s lake beaches or cool pine forest.
Jerome was the largest producer of copper, gold, and silver in Arizona simultaneously in the 1920s before the mines closed in 1953, and it became the largest ghost town in the west. In the 1960s, the town was restored with historical accuracy and revitalized as an arts community. However, Jerome hasn’t forgotten its history. The Jerome State Historical Park offers a look at the lifestyle of one of the wealthy mine owners 100 years ago. The Jerome Historical Society Mine Museum provides a great look at the details of this unique community.
One of the largest non-government-funded aviation & Space Museums in the World!
It features about 400 historic aircraft, from a Wright Flyer to a 787 Dreamliner. Sitting on 80 acres, the museum opened its doors to the public in May of 1976. Over the past forty years, the museum has grown immensely and today encompasses six indoor exhibit hangars (three dedicated to WWII).
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a 98-acre zoo, aquarium, botanical garden, natural history museum, publisher, and art gallery founded in 1952. Located just west of Tucson, Arizona, it features two miles of walking paths traversing 21 acres of the desert landscape.
based on 2 travelers sharing one 4×4 vehicle, and accommodations
Prices are subject to the final itinerary and the availability of accommodations and vehicles.