Only in Arizona

March 3 – 13, 2023 • 11 Days • $4275

We’ve enjoyed the sunny charms of this welcoming southwestern state many times over the past several decades, but this new Adventure focuses solely on Arizona (plus Four Corners and a half day across the border in Utah’s Monument Valley).

Our focus is mainly on more remote sights in the north and northeast of the state with Sedona and three national parks, plus Navajo Nation, including Canyon de Chelly, Four Corners, Monument Valley, and Antelope Canyon.

Tour Type: Classic Curated

Arizona, the Grand Canyon State, is probably known as much for its seemingly endless hours of sunshine as for the breathtaking, oversized geological phenomenon that inspired its official state nickname.

Our most recent visit to Arizona was focused on the southern part of the state where we encountered the state’s Wild West mining heritage, inspiration for another of its nicknames, the Copper State. This last continental state to join the Union (in 1912), produces more copper than any other state.

And though this new itinerary through Arizona starts in the south, it traces a horseshoe-shaped route into the remote northeast corner of the state.

Our themes are Arizona’s surprising natural beauty—portrayed in national park sites like Saguaro, Petrified Forest, and Grand Canyon—and the Navajo heritage evident in so much of the northeast quadrant of the state.

Airports force us to start and finish in the state’s two largest cities, Tucson and Phoenix, but the focus of the journey is nature and Navajo culture, which overlap in spectacular fashion in places like Canyon de Chelly, Monument Valley, and Antelope Canyon.

An attractive logistical feature of this new Adventures is that only 2 nights of our 10 nights together are single-night stays. Two-night stays comprise 8 nights of the tour.

Join us for an early Spring exploration of nature and the Navajo Nation in Arizona next March!

What’s Included

  • All land travel by motorcoach as outlined
  • Tourist class or better hotel accommodations
  • 10 meals: All breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 2 dinners
  • 7 walk routes as listed plus the optional Grand Canyon walk
  • Walking fees for 4 walks for those collecting AVA walk credit (if AVA sanctions approved)
  • WAI guide service throughout
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $790. We also provide a roommate matching service.

Visits to/Admission fees

  • Saguaro National Park
  • Sabino Canyon Recreation Area
  • Petrified Forest National Park
  • Canyon De Chelly National Monument
  • Four Corners Monument Navajo Tribal Park
  • Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
  • Cookout dinner in Monument Valley
  • Antelope Canyon
  • Williams–Route 66 town
  • Sedona
  • More fun and educational stops than we can list!

Optional Excursion

  • Grand Canyon National Park day trip with walk along the South Rim (Day 9)
  • Sedona Pink Jeep Tour (Day 10)

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

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Important Info

Group

Maximum 24 travelers. Average groups size about 18.

Hotels

Strategically located Tourist Class accommodations or better

Transportation

Included. We use motorcoaches with a seating capacity of 40-55 seats.

Airfare

Not included. Travelers fly into Tucson International Airport (airport code TUS) and out of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (airport code PHX).

Meals

All breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 2 dinners. When possible, optional group meals may be offered.

Traveler Age

Our travelers usually range from 50–75 years of age. All ages welcome!

Your Guides

Scott Isom

Having led tours since 2007 on all 7 continents, Scott is one of WAI’s busiest guides and on-site Adventure planners. His passion for hiking and the outdoors is contagious!

Scott recollects his initial visit to Arizona in 2004,

“My first foray into this Southwest state will always be etched in my mind. Lacing up my boots, I gazed in amazement at a wintry Grand Canyon, lightly dusted with snow on its upper half, before hiking into its cavernous depths to the Colorado River.

This brief visit, and others since, have left me with a greater desire to explore even more of this fascinating state. I’d be thrilled to have you join me for the fun on this brand new Adventure going even further afield in Arizona!”

Itinerary

Click on each day to reveal more details. B refers to meals included ~ Breakfast.

Day 1-March 3: Arrive Tucson, Arizona

Tucson elevation: 2687′

Travelers arrive today into Tucson, Arizona. Our hotel near Sabino Canyon is about a 30-minute taxi ride from Tucson International Airport.

Our first official group activity is this evening’s Welcome Orientation after dinner on your own where we’ll get acquainted and talk about Only-In-Arizona Adventures we’ll share together in coming days.

Day 2-March 4: Activities in the Tucson area (B)

Saguaro National Park, 6 km, rated 2B

Today’s first activity is an unusual desert walk in Saguaro National Park. The tour’s first national park is home to the nation’s largest cacti, the giant Saguaro, universal symbol of the American Southwest. This walk was included on some of our earliest tours in the American Southwest and most of us were shocked at the severe desert beauty, the stunning variety of color, size, and texture. Early March should also be a good time to see cacti in bloom.

After a break for a no-host lunch, this afternoon’s scenic drive takes us up the Catalina Highway to the top of Mt. Lemmon. Elevation gains on this drive offer the biological equivalent of driving from the deserts of Mexico to the forests of Canada making it one of the most scenic drives in southeast Arizona.

Fun stops along the way include Windy Point for spectacular views; Cookie Cabin, renowned for their ice cream and dinner plate-sized cookies; and an optional 30-minute ski lift ride capturing even more amazing views.

Day 3-March 5: Tucson - Show Low (B)

Sabino Canyon Walk – 5km, rated 2A
Show Low elevation: 6345’

A morning walk in Sabino Canyon takes us along a paved nature path in the Santa Catalina Mountains. The route showcases more of the austere beauty of the southern Arizona desert and crosses Sabino Creek several times on Depression-era stone bridges built by WPA/CCC teams.

We plan for a lunch stop (not included) in the old copper mining town of Globe whose historic district is a proud entry on the National Register of Historic Place.

The latter part of the day offers a scenic drive through the Salt River Canyon to Show Low, an Old West town established in 1870 in Navajo County.

Day 4-March 6: Show Low - Chinle (B)

Petrified Forest National Park – 5 km, rated 2B (unsanctioned)
Chinle elevation: 5518’

Our first activity today is a quartet of short trails highlighting the diversity of Petrified Forest National Park, where beautifully marbled chunks of petrified wood lie strewn around the desert like a discarded game of oversized, prehistoric, pick-up sticks.

Other park highlights include Native American petroglyphs, the multi-hued badlands Painted Desert, and even crossing an overgrown section of Old Route 66.

Leaving Petrified Forest National Park, our coach charts a course across the high desert north to Chinle, gateway to Canyon De Chelly National Monument, and our home for a two-night stay.

Day 5-March 7: Activities in Canyon de Chelly (BL)

Canyon de Chelly Hike – 4 km, rated unknown (unsanctioned)
Canyon de Chelly elevation: 6000+’

The full day is devoted to exploring remote and remarkable Canyon de Chelly National Monument on the edge of Navajo Nation.

We plan two primary events with a fun Navajo Taco lunch in the middle. The Canyon de Chelly Hike is led by a local Navajo with deep family and tribal roots in the Canyon de Chelly area. We look forward to both the scenic beauty and the historic and cultural revelations in store.

After Navajo Taco lunch, a 4×4 jeep tour takes us much further afield to explore more of this visually striking canyon with our guides. March can be cool at this elevation in northern Arizona so plan to dress in layers today.

Day 6-March 8: Chinle - Page (BD)

Page elevation: 5518′

The easternmost point of the Adventure takes us to Four Corners Monument Navajo Tribal Park, a geographical, geometrical oddity where the states of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico converge on a single one-dimensional point.

Crossing into Utah, we stop briefly in the tiny, historic Mormon town of Bluff, Utah. In 1879, ancestors of the current populace embarked on an epic expedition from Escalante, west of the Colorado River gorge, forging the “Escalante short cut”. The route they thought would take 6 weeks, ended up taking 6 arduous months, through the harshness of winter, on an almost unbelievably difficult route that became known as the Hole-in-the-Rock Trail.

Scenic driving south takes into Monument Valley, storied scenic setting for countless movies, including the 1938 western Stagecoach that propelled John Wayne to stardom.

Early dinner is a steak (or chicken) cookout on the valley floor.

We finish the day in Page, Arizona for a two-night stay in a little town with strong ties to the nearby engineering marvel known as Glen Canyon Dam.

Day 7-March 9: Activites from Page (B)

Glen Canyon Walk ~ 7 km, rated 2B

Spectacular Antelope Canyon is a Navajo-led excursion guiding us through an ethereal play of light and shadow on the swirling spiral walls. We travel there in open-sided jeeps, then walk through the narrow, slot canyon with our Navajo guide. It’s hard to believe stone surfaces can look so convincingly like whipped cream.

The afternoon continues along a path providing picturesque perspectives on the Glen Canyon area on a trail over a mesa set above Lake Powell (the dammed-up Colorado River) with impressive panoramas in all directions.

Day 8-March 10: Page - Williams (B)

Flagstaff, 5 KM; rated 1B
Williams elevation: 6800’

This morning we point our coach west, ascending the colorful Colorado Plateau for a fun and rare shopping and cultural stop at renowned Cameron Trading Post.

Our walk of the day is in Flagstaff, a mountain town at just under 7,000 feet elevation that celebrates outdoor life and its proximity to the Grand Canyon. The route winds through the historic district and includes a section along historic Route 66.

Following America’s Mother Road westward, we arrive in Williams, one of Route 66’s most engaging little towns, for a two-night stay.

Day 9-March 11: Activites from Williams (B)

Optional Grand Canyon South Rim Walk – 5/10 KM, rated 3B — elevation-7000’

Today is a free day. Our hotel is just a few minutes from the shops, restaurants, and diners of Route 66; browsing, window-shopping, and snacking are a great way to enjoy the Route 66 ambiance and relax after a busy week in Arizona.

Optional Grand Canyon Excursion: For those who’d like to keep moving and see one of the wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon is within reach on a memorable day trip.

Due to challenging group restrictions in the Park, WAI is not able to arrange a group visit. However, two relatively easy ways to see the Canyon from Williams are available; the first is by vintage railroad and the second is by renting a car and sharing the cost with fellow travelers.

Grand Canyon Railway charges about $85 per person round-trip in coach class. The train departs at 9:30 am (train station walkable from our hotel) and arrives at the Canyon at 11:45 am. You can return on either the 3:30 or 4:30 pm train, getting back before 7 pm.

Renting a car makes the trip a bit more of a bargain (you can share the cost) and allows more time to explore the Canyon rim. WAI will help arrange car rentals to share the ride, and will be looking for volunteer drivers as well.

All travelers should be back in Williams in time to enjoy a fun dinner along Route 66.

Day 10-March 12: Williams - Sedona (BD)

Sedona Red Rock Walk – 5 km, rating unknown (unsanctioned)
Sedona elevation: 4350′

A morning drive south takes us through lovely Oak Canyon to Sedona, a town known for its red-rock formations and as a mecca for new age tourism drawn by purported spiritual vortices. We look forward to a new walk of approximately 5 km here is Sedona.

After time for lunch, enjoy wandering the lanes and shops of Sedona, relaxing at our hotel, or consider joining the afternoon optional excursion.

Optional Pink Jeep Tour: A Pink Jeep tour offers a great opportunity to discover more of Sedona’s red rock wonders. This open-air Jeep Wrangler ride takes us past Sedona’s most recognizable red-rock formations while listening to our guide share the stories that match the panoramas.

Later this evening, join us for a Farewell dinner for camaraderie and reminiscing about our Adventure through parts of the world that can be experienced Only In Arizona!

Day 11-March 13: Depart from Phoenix (B)

After breakfast we head south for the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, about a 2-hour drive. We say “farewell” at the airport after enjoying the history, culture, and natural wonders of sunny Arizona.

NOTE: Travelers will be advised when it is time to book flights but because of the morning drive, we will advise booking flights which depart after noon.

More Details

Click on each heading for more details.

How Do I Lock in My Place on This Adventure?

To register, a non-refundable $300 deposit is required to hold your spot. A final payment is due 90 days before departure and is non-refundable after the due date. You will receive a prompt email from us a week or two in advance.

Soon after registration, an “Adventure Advice” email will be sent with critical information on flight arrangements as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review this Adventure Advice email.

Follow this link to read our full General Tour Conditions.

What's a Classic Curated Tour?

With help from local experts and walking guides, these itineraries are crafted with extensive on-site planning by WAI tour planners.

When planning Classic Curated Tours, our objective is to capture the essence of a destination—the history, culture, and natural wonders unique to that part of the world. We then build activities and walks that take us inside these characteristics.

Yes, these tours are educational, but they are also interactive and immersive; walking gets us off the bus and penetrates local cultures to not only see, but also touch, smell, and feel these special spaces.

Along the way, interactions with locals amplify the experience by sharing insights into the magic of that particular location.

Walk Ratings

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. Several walks on this trip are oriented more towards education, and therefore take longer due to stops for guide commentary. Nature walks, on the other hand, generally continue at a steadier pace because we’re stopping less to talk.

In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please contact our office at [email protected].

We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented on the table below:

INCLINE

1. Minimal hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: <200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 1000-2000 feet.

TERRAIN

A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).

Tour Accommodations

Good quality, tourist-class accommodations are the standard for our Adventure. Most accommodations on this tour are selected primarily as a practical base from which to pursue our itinerary.  Many, but not all, of our accommodations on this adventure are either single-floor or two-floors with elevators. Travelers should be able to carry their luggage up a number of steps to get to a second-floor room if necessary.

How Is Airfare Arranged?

The tour starts at our hotel in Tucson, Arizona, which is about a 30-minute taxi ride from Tucson International Airport (airport code TUS). We finish at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (airport code PHX) in Phoenix, Arizona.

We recommend that you contact Laura Pfahler, the travel agent we work with, to help book your flight arrangements. In this age of airfare complications and airport uncertainty, using a travel agent is a good investment! More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be provided in an Adventure Advice PDF by email after you register for the Adventure.  Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving these flight details from us!

Travel Insurance

WAI believes strongly in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure. This is now especially true in the era of COVID-19, which is typically treated like any other illness for travel insurance purposes. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Laura Pfahler and Sharon Mitchell of World Travel Inc. are travel agents who provide air travel and insurance services to many WAI travelers.

Check out Insurance Tips from World Travel for a short introduction to travel insurance. (NOTE: WAI receives no commission or financial remuneration from World Travel Inc.).

Travel plans that are interrupted by a positive COVID-19 diagnosis should qualify for insurance under the “trip delay” or “trip interruption” coverage of most policies. A doctor’s certification of the diagnosis will be required. There are three primary aspects to this coverage: 1) coverage of any lost portion of the tour price on a pro-rata basis, 2) coverage of any expense incurred as a result of medical treatment, and 3) coverage of expense incurred as a result of meals and lodging during recovery or quarantine. As you purchase your insurance, we suggest that you verify that these losses are covered by your policy and the level of coverage.

As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the SquareMouth.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.

Other options include:

  • Allianz
  • Betins
  • Travel Guard
  • Travel Insured International

NOTE: We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). Travelers interested in purchasing “cancel for any reason” insurance coverage should be careful to check pricing and terms BEFORE they register for a tour. Recent changes in the international travel landscape has caused changes in the policies of some insurance companies, and made the purchase of this particular type of policy even more time-sensitive.

What if WAI Cancels This Tour?

Walking Adventures International reserves the right to cancel this tour departure with fewer than 12 participants, in which case registered participants will receive a 100% refund of payments received.

This refund policy contains one exclusion. Some suppliers require non-refundable deposits as a condition of booking services. Unforeseen circumstances can, in rare circumstances, force us to cancel a tour. Due to these supplier’s non-refundable policies, WAI attempts to retrieve as much of these deposits as possible, but cannot guarantee a 100% refund. In cases where full refunds cannot be obtained for a cancelled tour, we will do our best to transfer unrefunded money as traveler credits to be applied to a future tour to that destination.

COVID-19 Policies For This Tour

WAI has relaxed our policies and currently require no mitigation procedures (current WAI Coronavirus Policy). However, Walking Adventures International policy includes endeavoring to comply with any COVID-19 policies in place in the destinations through which we travel.

We are not aware of any COVID-19 policies or restrictions that will impact this tour in Arizona.

Requirements and restrictions have been fluid. WAI will update travelers upon learning of any changes.

Travelers participating in the Only in Arizona tour must agree to abide by policies in place at the time of travel.

What Happens Next?

Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome email and initial invoice notifying you of your tour balance and due date. All payments for the tour or optional services/excursions can now be made online.

Soon after registration, an “Adventure Advice” email will be sent with critical information on flight arrangements as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review this Adventure Advice email.

A final payment is due 90 days before departure (December 3, 2022) and is non-refundable after the due date. You will receive a prompt email from us a week or two in advance. Please see our General Tour Conditions for the full terms and conditions for participation in this Adventure.

Around 2-3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final email packet with details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.

Take a few minutes to peruse the Only in Arizona itinerary. We are eager to share the natural and cultural wonders of this brand new Adventure in sunny Arizona!