Planes, Trains and Jeeps…plus Kayaks, Balloons and Horses
Planes, Trains and Jeeps…plus Kayaks, Balloons and Horses By Roger Naylor
There are so many incredible ways to discover Sedona and the Verde Valley. By land, air or water—choices abound. Take your pick, then sit back and enjoy the ride.
Jeep Tours: The jeep companies are all based in Sedona because there’s just something about jeeps and red rocks that go together. Each company offers a variety of tours. Some never leave the pavement, while others will have you white-knuckled and wide-eyed. Advance reservations are recommended, although you can often book a same-day tour with a little luck.
Pink Jeep Tours 800-873- 3662, 928-282-5000 In operation since 1960, Pink Jeep Tours have become iconic symbols around town. The Broken Arrow tour—the most popular jeep tour and one offered exclusively by Pink Jeep—is the off-road adventure that defines the Sedona experience. Jeeps actually drive across the red rocks in a thrilling exploration of beautiful canyon country.
A Day in the West 800-973-3662, 928-282-4320 Get ready for the ride of your life when you sign up for A Day in the West. The drivers dress in period garb and are quick with a quip. They also offer horseback rides and combination tours for a real western experience. One option combines a jeep tour with horseback riding and a cowboy cookout.
Earth Wisdom Tours 800-482-4714, 928-282-4714 Besides dishing up the scenery, Earth Wisdom brings a metaphysical and Native American perspective to their outings. They specialize in vortex and medicine wheel tours, allowing plenty of time to sample the spiritual side of Sedona.
Arizona Safari Jeep Tours 928-282-3012 Arizona Safari Jeep Tours offer a range of choices, from smooth to rugged but also specializes in wildlife-viewing expeditions. Knowledgeable guides will give you the lowdown on every critter encountered, great and small. If you’re looking for a memorable sunset, take the Seven Canyons tour.
Red Rock Western Jeep Tours 800-848-7728, 928-282-6826 The drivers dress like cowpokes but don’t let the rustic costumes fool you. They are plenty savvy about their surroundings.Colorful yarns of Sedona’s past add a zesty historic flavor to their full slate of tours. Red Rock is also the only company with a permit to traverse the ruggedly spectacular Soldier Pass Trail.
Sedona Offroad Adventures 928-282-6656 Tackle the backcountry in a jeep, a Hummer or on horseback. Your choice. For serious gearheads, you can even indulge in a combination Hummer/Helicopter tour. Or explore pristine canyons and top it off with a visit to a nearby vineyard for a tasting of locally produced wines. Don’t worry, only the passengers imbibe.
Hot-Air Balloon Rides: Ballooning provides a beautiful and tranquil way to savor a morning over Sedona and the Verde Valley. All flights depart before sunrise to take advantage of calm skies. The companies will pick you up at your hotel or set a pre-arranged meeting place. All balloon rides end with a champagne brunch.
Other fun tours: If you can think of a mode of transportation, someone’s probably using it to operate a tour.
Sedona Trolley Tours 928-282-4211 Plenty of visitors prefer to keep their feet - or at least all four tires - on the ground, so a trolley ride may be just the ticket. Explore the town of Sedona itself or nearby scenic canyons. Drivers offer a comprehensive overview and historical background.
Sedona Adventure Tours 877-673-3661, 928-204-6440 Take an eco tour, by water or land. Tackle the Verde River in an inflatable kayak—also known as a ducky—climb Thunder Mountain or hike to the Cathedral Rock vortex. You can also rent tubes and duckies for a leisurely day of drifting down Oak Creek on your own. For the truly adventurous, they even offer a Nightlife Tour, exploring the stylish and sexy club scene of Sedona.
Verde Canyon Railroad 800-320-0718 Riding the rails into pristine Verde Canyon is a journey unlike any other. It’s magical in any season. The vintage locomotive makes a four-hour round trip excursion between Clarkdale and Perkinsville. Along the way guests enjoy sightings of wildlife, Native American ruins and staggeringly beautiful scenery. Themed rides catering to everyone from chocoholics to wine lovers to star gazers take place through the year.
Arizona Helicopter Adventures 800-282-5141, 928-282-0904 Fearless? Have a need for speed? Then a chopper is the only way to see Sedona. You’ll zoom past the famous formations at eye level and dip in and out of canyons, seeing them like you’ve never seen them before.
Sedona Air Tours 888-866-7433, 928-204-5939 The open cockpit biplane explores all corners of the Verde Valley. They also offer helicopter rides and a charter service.
Trail Horse Adventures 866-958-7245, 928-634-5276 All Trail Horse rides takes place within the boundaries of Dead Horse Ranch State Park, but that leaves plenty of ground to cover. You’ll explore mesquite groves, limestone hills, a pioneer cemetery and a riparian corridor of cottonwoods and willows draping the Verde River.
M Diamond Ranch 928-300-6466 The M Diamond is a working ranch with a storied history. They offer trail rides, cookouts, and special western flavored events. It’s not only fun but a great opportunity to learn stewardship of these wild places. They provide transportation to the M Diamond.
Haunted Tours of Jerome 866-996-8687, 928-639-4361 Travel in comfort in a 12-passenger van as you poke into the ghostly past of Cottonwood, Clarkdale and Jerome. Standard tours, running from 90 minutes to three hours, are equal parts history and haunting. You can also combine a wine and ghost tour, so at least some spirits are guaranteed