Let’s say you want to find a list of all the tour companies offering excursions to popular destinations in Arizona and around the Southwest. You might do a Google search for “top adventure companies in the Southwest”, or “best tour guides in Arizona”. In which case Google will spit back nearly 15 million results. That’s about 14,999,990 too many if you ask me.
Less is more, right?
Lucky for you, I’ve taken one for the team and developed the ultimate list of Arizona-based tour companies ready to take you on an unforgettable adventure. These tour companies are local, so when they say they know the Southwest— they mean it.
This is not an exhaustive list by any means. There are tons of tour companies scattered across the Southwest. I’ve chosen only the companies I believe offer the best experiences. Saving you the time and frustration of trying to sift through hundreds of options yourself.
This list will be organized based on where the tour company is headquartered, starting in Tucson and moving all the way north to Flagstaff. Remember, part of traveling is about giving back to the local economies. Supporting local businesses is what inspired me to create this list.
I’ll be breaking it down into four parts:
- PART 1: TOUR COMPANIES BASED IN TUCSON, ARIZONA
- PART 2: TOUR COMPANIES BASED IN PHOENIX, ARIZONA
- PART 3: TOUR COMPANIES BASED IN SEDONA, ARIZONA
- PART 4: TOUR COMPANIES BASED IN FLAGSTAFF ARIZONA
Let’s get started!
TOUR COMPANIES BASED IN TUCSON, ARIZONA
Toll Free: (888) 882-2282
Local: (520) 722-6860
9420 E Golf Links Rd. #122
Tucson, Arizona 85730
Southwest Discoveries offers adventure tours to baby boomers and multi-generational groups. They have something for everyone. Their guides know the region like the back of their hands and are able to fill you in on hidden details you might not hear anywhere else. They aim to make your trip a little more exciting by telling the story of the Southwest. Below is a sample itinerary for one of their most popular tours. Visit their website for more information.
Red Rocks Tour
Surround yourself with the awe-inspiring vistas and trails of the Grand Canyon, the canyon lands at Paria, The Wave, and more! This 8-day tour starts and ends in Phoenix, hitting tons of iconic spots along the way.
Day 1: Journey to Red Rock Country
On day one you’ll meet your tour guide in Phoenix and make the short journey to the majestic city of Sedona. There you’ll take a short hike at the captivating V-Bar V Ranch and experience one of the greatest examples of prehistoric rock art in North America. Southwest Discoveries’ knowledgeable guides will even explain the meaning of the rock art.
Day 2: Horseshoe Bend and Glen Canyon
Page, Arizona will be the next destination of your journey. An early morning drive will land you at Horseshoe Bend where you’ll get your first glimpse of the Colorado River. Your guide will tell the tale of the incredible geology of this unique region. In the afternoon you will hike to the breathtaking overlook at Arizona’s Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
Day 3: Buckskin Gulch
Buckskin Gulch is the longest and deepest slot canyon on the planet and is considered to be one of the top hikes in the world. Your third day will be spent exploring the 1000-foot red rock canyon and peaceful river. An unforgettable part of your journey, indeed!
Day 4: Paria Canyon
The Paria Canyon – Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness is your day-four destination. There you’ll experience towering walls, rock amphitheaters, sandstone arches, erosion-carved sculptures and gardens of ferns and orchids.
Day 5: The Wave
Left virtually untouched by man, Coyote Buttes and The Wave is a rare sight to behold. You’ll spend the day exploring this world famous site, taking in the incredible sandstone formations and 3,000-foot multicolored Vermillion Cliffs.
Day 6: Grand Canyon & Rock Art Site
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon in the Kanab Wilderness Area is home of the Snake Gulch Rock Art Site. Here you’ll experience the wonder of Native American writings and etchings, and discuss the possible meanings and significance of this enchanting rock art site. Red Rock Country showcases ancient Anazasi pictographs and is an excellent demonstration of the historic sites scattered around the area.
Day 7: Spooky Gulch and Peekaboo Slot Canyon Extravaganza
Most avid travelers are familiar with Arizona’s Antelope Canyon. Due to this area’s increasing popularity Antelope Canyon has become commercialized, attracting mobs of tourists throughout the year. Don’t worry — day seven brings far more solitude while still providing you with a genuine slot-canyon encounter. You’ll travel about 60 miles north of the Grand Canyon, deep in the heart of Southern Utah’s canyon lands. Here you’ll explore Utah’s amazing Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and hike into three amazing slots — Dry Gulch, Spooky and Peek-A-Boo Gulch.
Day 8: Calf Creek Falls
As if your trip hasn’t been filled with enough excitement, your final day starts with a tour of Calf Creek Falls. This lovely 6.2-mile hike leads to a delightful waterfall and features lush green vegetation, rare birch trees, a bubbling stream with beaver dams and trout fish. Afterwards you’ll return to Phoenix, bringing this memorable eight days to a close.
Other tours include….
- Spirits of the Past
- Arizona Adventure Tours
- Grand Canyon Epic
- Salsa Trail Tour
- Scottsdale Adventure Epic
Southwest Odyssey Tours
3502 North Palmer Drive
Tucson AZ 85716
No stranger to taking travelers on epic adventures, Southwest Odyssey Tours has been around for more than 20 years. They offer a unique selection of full or half-day excursions, multi-day tours, and photo-geographic workshops. Southwest Odyssey Tours takes you off the beaten path in luxury 4-wheel-drive expedition vehicles and offers a remarkably close look at each spectacular destination. Here’s a sample of just one of Southwest Odyssey’s signature tours…
Southwest Odyssey Tour: 16 days
Departs from and ends in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Southwest Odyssey’s signature tour takes you on a back-road adventure through 5 incredibly unique states and offers you encounters with the people, sights, history and natural wonders that make this an exceptional vacation destination. On this tour you will see what makes the American Southwest legendary! Highlights of the trip include: Toroweap Point, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, Mesa Verde National Park, Canyon de Chelly and the Grand Canyon. This tour has it ALL.
See your detailed itinerary here.
Trail Dust Offroad Tours Inc.
(520) 747-0323 or (520) 748-7094
Mailing Address: 1665 S. Craycroft Road
Tucson, Arizona 85711
If you’re planning on spending a few days in Tucson, Trail Dust Offroad Tours can help you get acquainted with the Sonoran Desert during a fun (and educational) 3.5 hour jeep tour. Ancient Hohokam petroglyphs, giant saguaros and mountain backdrops are just some of the breathtaking spectacles that will be featured on your tour. Their guides will extend a warm Western welcome in their authentic Western wear — from their cowboy hat to their boots.
TOUR COMPANIES BASED IN PHOENIX, ARIZONA
Just Roughin’ It Adventure Company
Toll Free: (877) 399-2477
Local: (480) 857-2477
8658 E Shea Blvd, Ste 175
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
There are plenty of reasons why Just Roughin’ It Adventure Company rocks. Not only do they know all the cool trails and sites, and have experienced guides with wilderness medical training and a love for the outdoors, but they’ve got an extra bit of mysterious awesomeness that can’t really be explained. For those of you not traveling with your own gear, JRI is awesome. They outfit all of their guests with $800-$1,000 worth of the best gear on the market and provide tasty meals to eat when out in the wilderness — no freeze-dried food here people! They even offer vegetarian and gluten-free meals.
There’s one really nifty tool JRI has that makes choosing the perfect adventure that much easier. Their website showcases all the trips they offer in a convenient little chart, which lists the location, number of days, level of difficulty, and distance in miles. Another cool feature? The “Oh Snap!” and “Solitude” keys that give adventure-seekers an idea of how far off the beaten path and how thrilling the trek will be. Their website is extremely user-friendly which I love.
Activities include backpacking, day hiking, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, as well as rock climbing. They offer trips to the following locations…
Having a multitude of options has never been easier. Arizona adventure tours by 360 Adventures offers more than 60 tours spanning from the Grand Canyon, Phoenix/Scottsdale, Sedona and Tucson, and include activities like:
- Rock climbing
- Mountain biking
- Air tours
- Ground tours
- Culinary tours
- Water tours
- Multi-day tours
It’s like the ultimate à la carte menu for adventurers! This is also a great option for those of you traveling without your own gear. Every detail is handled so all you have to do is show up with a smile.
Arizona Outback Adventures
Toll Free: 1-866-455-1601
Local: (480) 945-2881
17465 N 93rd Street
Scottsdale, Arizona 85255
A veteran in the business, Arizona Outback Adventures has been the Southwest’s premier adventure company since 1997, offering day tours, multi-day tours, bike rentals and custom tours. AOA’s staff live by the motto, “Of all the paths you choose in life, make sure some of them are dirt.” On every guided adventure trip their mission remains the same — to exceed your expectations in safety, comfort, dietary flexibility, expertise and education. All guides are First Aid and CPR certified, with many of them carrying advanced certifications such as Wilderness First Responder, Swift Water Rescue, and National Outdoor Leadership degrees. AOA provides high-quality gear and helps to ensure their guests have the most comfortable experience possible. A professional chef even plans their menu! Talk about service.
What They Do:
Mountain & Road Biking
Where They Go:
Grand Canyon National Park
Zion National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Yosemite National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park
Featured Trip: Yosemite Half Dome Backpacking
Summit majestic Half Dome on AOA’s Yosemite Half Dome Backpacking Trip, arguably the most iconic feature in Yosemite National Park on this incredible guided 4-day trip. Half Dome rises 4,800 feet above Yosemite Valley, and is well known for the challenging summit trail that requires hikers to climb the final 400 feet on a 45-degree smooth granite slope using a cable ladder. Half Dome permits are included, and no climbing or mountaineering skills or experience is required. Click here for my information about this featured trip!
TOUR COMPANIES BASED IN SEDONA, ARIZONA
A Day In The West
252 N State Route 89A
Sedona, Arizona 86336
This is for travelers seeking a true “cowboy” experience.
A Day In The West is a local, family-owned business. The Bradshaw family has rich heritage in Sedona that dates back over 60 years! The CEO John Bradshaw was born and raised in the town of Sedona. Like a true cowboy, John’s father ushered him into this world by paying for his delivery with a colt. I’m not sure you can get more Western than that.
From a young age his dad inspired him to appreciate and respect the beauty of Sedona, a philosophy that carries over into business.
A Day In The West is rooted in providing horseback riding tours, but now offers everything from jeep to helicopter tours and more! The great thing about this company is their ability to customize any tour to meet the needs of your group. They’ve got a lot of combinations to choose from, but not to the point of being overwhelming. For example:
- Jeep, Horseback + Wine Tasting
- Horseback + Complete Western Experience + Lunch (or dinner show)
- Jeep + Zip Line
- Jeep + Helicopter
- Jeep + Spa Day
- Scenic History of Sedona Tour
- Custom Private Tours
- …and more!
PINK® Jeep® Tours
Toll Free: (800) 873-3662
204 N State Route 89A
Sedona, AZ 86336
This is for adventurers looking for a truly thrilling experience.
Another pioneer in the Sedona tourism industry, PINK Jeep Tours has been taking people on gripping 4-wheel adventures for more than 40 years. In 1960, Pink Jeep Tours was founded by Don Pratt in Sedona, Arizona. What started as America’s first Jeep® tour has now become signature excursions in Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and beyond. These guys are dominating the Southwest when it comes to motorized excursions, with 750,114 tours and 5,347,478 guests served in the last 20 years. If you want to see what all the hype is about, this is the adventure for you!
Sedona Trail Zen
6020 State Route AZ 179
Sedona, AZ 86351
This is for travelers looking to connect with themselves and with nature.
Sedona Trail Zen slows things down a bit by taking guests on hiking tours — ranging from easy to difficult — to some of the best trails in Sedona. They also provide a mountain bike rental service. You can choose to go out with a guide, or you can rent a bike and they’ll help you plan the perfect route so you can head out on your own — a great option for travelers seeking a bit more solitude. In addition to that, their trail yoga tours are the perfect way to take in the serenity of Sedona’s nature. Check out their website for more information!
Bell Rock Vortex Tour
Red Earth, Blue Water Tour
Broken Arrow Tour
Sunrise Start-up Tour
Sunset Simmer Tour
Want something tailored to your needs and desires? Customize your tour!
TOUR COMPANIES BASED IN FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA
Grand Canyon Adventures
400 S Malpais Lane
Flagstaff, Arizona 86001
With 8,986 happy guests, 608 five-star reviews, 12 great guides and 3,411 miles hiked, Grand Canyon Adventures have learned a thing or two about guiding travelers on epic adventures throughout Northern Arizona. They offer single-day and multi-day tours to the following destinations:
Colorado River Rafting
If you only have a short period of time to experience the most iconic places in the American Southwest, this is the tour you want to book. In a matter of four action-packed days you could have all of the above destinations crossed off your bucket list!
Toll Free: (855) 986-0541
International: (928) 379-6383
Flagstaff Office (Main): 4025 E Huntington, Suite 150
Flagstaff, Arizona 86004
Sedona Office: 2050 Yavapai Drive, Suite 2A
Sedona, Arizona 86336
Wildland Trekking Company leads hiking tours all over the world, from Arizona to Mount Kilimanjaro. Their main office is located in Flagstaff, Arizona. And while many tour companies offer a wide variety of activities, Wildland Trekking focuses solely on hiking. They’ve got excellent reviews, an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, exceptional certified guides, fantastic meals, and top-of-the-line gear. Destinations in Arizona include the Grand Canyon, Sedona and Havasu Falls, with other Southwest trips located in California, Colorado, and Utah. This company is a well-oiled machine and trailblazers in the tourism industry. They offer a large variety of unique hiking trips throughout all four seasons. Choose from:
- Guided Backpacking Trips
- Basecamp Hiking Tours
- Inn-based Hiking Tours
- Stock/porter Assisted Tours (your gear is carried by llama, mule or a porter!)
- Day Hike Tours
- Guides Choice Trips
- Family Hiking Tours
- Women-only Trips
- Private Hiking Trips
All-Star Grand Canyon Tours
International/Local: (928) 814-8887
Toll Free: (800) 940-0445
2420 N 3rd Street, Suite D
Flagstaff, Arizona 86004
All-Star Grand Canyon Tours is a guide-owned local Flagstaff company. With his extensive guiding experience and vast knowledge of the Four Corners Region, in conjunction with working as a guide for other companies, Ben Murphy (Owner and Lead Guide) founded All-Star Grand Canyon Tours with one thought in mind, “how can I do it better?” His experience allowed him to see where improvements could be made in tourism. With custom private tours, sightseeing day tours, group day hikes and backpacking trips departing from Flagstaff, Williams, Tusayan and Grand Canyon Village, it won’t be difficult to find a tour that fits perfectly into your travel itinerary.
Grand Canyon Whitewater
Toll free: (800) 343-3121
Local: (928) 779-2979
1000 N Humphreys Street, Suite 202
Flagstaff, Arizona 86001
People visiting the Grand Canyon usually fall into one of two camps — the spectators and the adrenaline-junkies. Grand Canyon Whitewater excursions are most definitely for the thrill-seekers. The team behind Grand Canyon Whitewater has been part of the Grand Canyon rafting community since the 1970s and pride themselves on giving people the chance to experience the true spirit of the Canyon. While these trips are certainly not for the faint of heart, Grand Canyon Whitewater makes sure that you’re matched with the perfect Colorado River trip. They offer motorized rafting trips, oar-powered rafting trips, and trips designed especially for hikers.
There are literally hundreds of tour companies taking wanderlust travelers on epic excursions throughout the Southwest. As a native Tucsonan, I love seeing local businesses flourish.
This list includes some of the highest-rated tour companies in Arizona. Part of what sets them apart is their dedication to preserving the native ecology and geography of culturally significant locations in Arizona and beyond.
Stay tuned for a list of tour companies headquartered in other Southwestern states!
We’re here for you…
As always, send us an email if you’d like more information about any of the companies listed above, or if you need assistance in planning and booking your next trip to the Southwest.
Curious about the benefits of hiring a personal travel advisor? Read this.
We know it can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re interested in one of the tours offered above, or you want us to find something different for you, we’d love to help in any way we can. Happy travels!
Note: Some of the tours published here were on the company’s website at the time this article was written and are subject to change based on the discretion of the tour company.