A Visit to Sedona – Red Rock Country

Cathedral Rock

Sedona is a beautiful town surrounded by red rock and green forests that will make you feel relaxed and reenergized as soon as you enter. Otherwise known as Red Rock Country, the warm colors of the rock and majestic scenery will revitalize any visitor. Sedona is located only an hour and a half from Phoenix and 2 hours from the Grand Canyon.

Sedona is now known for many popular tourist sites and activities. Some travel here for the adventure – hiking, biking, ATV’s, rock climbing, horseback riding – the possibilities are endless. One of our favorite tours to offer is a Pink Jeep tour on Broken Arrow trail at sunset. Just breathtaking! The hiking trails in Sedona are also really well marked so you can spend hours exploring the trails on your own or with a private hiking guide. You will have to explore Cathedral and Bell Rock, two of the most popular sites in the area. You can even take a star-gazing tour as the skies in the Southwest are truly breathtaking! If heights are more your scene you can take helicopter tours or scenic flights in an open-cockpit biplane! I also loved my time in Oak Creek Canyon, where the forest and trees reminded me more of a forest in Canada than an Arizonan desert. You can explore Slide Rock State Park in Oak Creek Canyon as well – it is well worth a visit!

If relaxation is more your speed, you can relax and enjoy some of Sedona’s well known spa. If you are a guest at Sedona’s Enchantment Resort you will be treated to pure luxury at the Mii Amo Spa. The spa offers day packages and tailors their services using the traditions of

the Native American people and even offers some of their services in an outdoor wickiups with amazing views of Sedona. Or try Retreat and Heal spa services that say they help connect guests with your “spiritual essence and transforms cellular patterns that drain your energy and realign your energy, release your stress, and empower you with tools to maintain inner peace and vitality”. Sounds good to me!

Sedona has a reputation as a spiritual destination because it is home vortexes. Vortexes are places where metaphysical energy is gathered giving those who experience this energy insight


Sedona is also well known for its art and culture. A must-do on any visit to Sedona is a visit to the beautiful Tlaquepaque , joy and physical well-being.  There are many different schools of thoughts on these vortexes, and if you want any further information, click here: http://www.visitsedona.com/article/213

Arts & Craft Village. It is designed to look like a traditional Mexican village and is filled with galleries, shops and artisans hard at work on their next piece of work.

There are even some delicious restaurants if you stay for lunch or dinner.

If you are planning to spend several days in Sedona, you may want to consider a day trip. A popular one is to the nearby Grand Canyon. The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is only 2 hours away, or you can drive to Williams, AZ and take the Grand Canyon Railroad to the Park. Williams is also a stereotypical Route 66-type town and well worth a drive

through. Areas nearby to Sedona are also becoming well known for their wineries. Page Springs, Cottonwood and the ‘ghost town’ of Jerome are all within 20-45 minutes from Sedona. Most of the wineries have tasting rooms and it’s a great half day excursion. Wineries we recommend are Arizona Stronghold Vineyards, Burning Tree Cellars and Javelina Leap. Well worth a visit!

There are no shortage of excellent resorts and B & B’s in Sedona. You have everything from comfortable motels to 5* resorts. We love the L’Auberge de Sedona – nestled along Oak Creek the rooms are cozy, warm and set in a relaxing environment. They also have an excellent restaurant where you can dine by the river. The hotel is also located in town close to different restaurants and shops. The Enchantment Resort is also stunning as well – but a bit removed from the main part of town and has terrible cell phone coverage (for those who want to bring their phones with them during their R & R…).


Best value? The Best Western Plus Inn of Sedona is comfortable and has an amazing view of all of Sedona as well as a delicious breakfast included in the morning.

You won’t go hungry during your stay here as Sedona has a wide variety of dining experiences for all tastes and budgets. We love the Elote Café which has a delicious Mexican menu, The Heartline Café – well recognized as an award winning restaurant and the Oak Creek Brewing Company – who doesn’t love a good microbrew? There are many more restaurants that are great to dine at here. Please feel free to post in the comments your favorites.

All in all, Sedona is a great place to include on your Southwest itinerary or for an entire week’s vacation, the choice is yours!

If you are interested in travelling to Sedona, let us know – we can help plan a custom trip for you! Contact us at info@southwestadventuretours.com

Now, who wants to visit Sedona? What are some of your favorite sites to visit here? 


Montezuma Castle in Arizona

A great spot to add to your self-drive itineraries!

The Travel Gal's Exploration Vacation

I’ll admit it: I didn’t want to stop here because the name put me off. Montezuma Castle sounds like something a carnival tout came up with in the 1920s. I love ancient ruins and try to be respectful of the spiritual power that seems to reside in these ancient places. The name seemed tacky and disrespectful, and I was afraid that would permeate the site.

I didn’t realize that Montezuma Castle was one the original four national monuments created by President Theodore Roosevelt in celebration of the passage of the Antiquities Act in 1906. Despite the cheesy name, the site obviously has been seen as important for some time!

The “castle” (an ancient cliff dwelling) is located high in a canyon with lumpy white walls that appear to be made of meringue that was left out until it became dry and crumbly.

Montezuma Castle 2 DSC_4109 ArizonaMontezuma Castle 4 DSC_4116 ArizonaMontezuma Castle 6 DSC_4132 ArizonaMontezuma Castle 16 DSC_4136Abandoned about 600 years ago, this well-preserved cliff…

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Yant Flats and Candy Cliffs: A Photo Album

Everyone who visits the Southwest or follows outdoor photography has probably heard of the Wave and Coyote Buttes. There are many other areas that have similar geological features that offer the same unique sandstone formations without the permit process and years of waiting for the opportunity to go! This is one of those areas. Yant Flats and the Candy Cliffs area is located north of St George Utah in the Red Cliffs Desert Preserve. It requires about a 45 minute drive from St George, about half of it on a dirt road, to get to the start of the hike. It is a nice 4 mile round trip hike to this area and is well worth a good 2-3 hours of exploration. These photos were taken between 9:00 am and 11:30 am in December. There is not a better or worse time of the year to visit here. Each month will offer the beautiful sunrises. Sunset is equally beautiful time of day to visit as the colors are a little more muted without the direct sunlight, but they won’t get washed out in your photos as sun sometimes does! This is one of those hidden gems we have in the southwest that is a well kept secret. I hope you enjoy the photos!


Yant Flats and Candy Cliffs

Yant Flats and Candy Cliffs

Check out the photos here: goo.gl/uosogn


Tour Spotlight: 4 Parks in 4 Days

Our 4 Parks in 4 Days tour is a must-do! You will explore Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef and the Grand Canyon – some of the area’s top sights.

Read through the itinerary below to get a glimpse of what this fantastic tour is like.

Important things to know:

  • Your driver/guide is knowledgeable and is extremely familiar with the area and also knows how to take care of you!
  • Your group is SMALL! 12 guests or less on our tours.
  • We tailor the activities to your interest and physical activity levels.
  • Our guides are amateur photographers and can help you get the right shots.
  • Our tour vehicles are not bench seats – everyone gets their own captain’s chair.

Tour Itinerary:Zion NP River Walk Trail

Day 1Lunch Included

This morning we will pick you up at your hotel and depart for Zion National Park.  This unique park will give you the opportunity to traverse a canyon over 3,000 ft deep.  As we enter this canyon you will be amazed at the diversity that exists within this National Park.  Along with the red and white monoliths that tower around you, there are many unique plants and animals that we will interact with while inside the park.  As we explore Zion you will have the opportunity to visit the Temple of Sinawava, East Canyon Overlook, Weeping Wall, Angels Landing, Emerald Pools, and many of the other areas within the park.  In the late afternoon, we will enjoy the IMAX movie, “Treasure of the Gods.”  Afterwards, we will enjoy a wonderful dinner and lodging in nearby Springdale, UT.

Day 2: Breakfast Included Lunch Included

After a relaxing night and a wonderful breakfast, we will depart Zion Canyon and climb over 2,000 ft up the east canyon and through the Zion Canyon Tunnel.  As we travel to the east entrance of the park, we will ex


perience the beautiful red and white rock layers, Ponderosa Pine trees, and slot canyons.  We will then travel down Highway 89 to Grand Canyon National Park.  On the way we will pass through Little Hollywood, Kanab Utah, and then to one of my favorite overlooks of the Grand Staircase.  We will be able to see Bryce Canyon and the Aquarius Plateau, Zion National Park, and the Orderville Cliffs.

After a break at Jacob’s Lake, we continue our drive through one of the largest Ponderosa Pine groves in the US.  As we enter into Grand Canyon National Park, we travel to Point Imperial, Cape Royal, and then back to the North Rim Lodge and Bright Angel Point.  This park is remote and less visited than the South Rim.  We will enjoy the canyon with little interruption from other visitors.  One of our favorite afternoon activities is sitting on the deck overlooking the Grand Canyon. Once we finish, we will travel back up Highway 89 to the gates of Bryce Canyon National Park where we will lodge for the night.

Day 3: Breakfast Included Lunch Included

After a hearty breakfast, we travel Highway 12 (Car and Driver Magazine calls Highway 12 the most beautiful highway in America).  From slot canyons to 11,000 ft mountain peaks, your drive acro


ss Highway 12 will be one you won’t soon forget.  Afterwards, we will enter Capitol Reef National Park, Utah’s most remote and least visited national park of the five national parks in Utah. We will enjoy the unusual and beautiful Waterpocket Fold, some very interesting Fremont Indian petroglyphs, and formations that reminded the early settlers of the Capitol dome in Washington, DC.  For those who are feeling a little more adventuresome, you can hike to Hickman Bridge.  Once we are finished, we will return across Highway 12 back to Bryce Canyon where we will spend a second night.
Day 4: Breakfast Included Lunch Included

For those who want to get up early, the sunrise at Bryce is spectacular. After enjoying the sunrise, we have an excellent breakfast buffet. Bryce is in the top ten most popular national parks in the U.S. and one of the most beautiful. hoodosSpectacular rose and white colored “hoodoos” of different shapes and sizes provide a very moving experience to all who view their splendor.  We have the options of touring the key viewpoints throughout the park or if you are physically capable we can descend below the rim and walk among the “hoodoos.” There are multiple hikes of varying difficulty that will offer you a unique experience not found at the top of the rim. After a late lunch, we will begin our drive back to Las Vegas. Depending on time constraints we can stop at Kolob, (a part of Zion National Park). We will arrive back into Las Vegas at approximately 6:00 PM.

Tour Includes:

  • 3 nights stay in 2.5 to 3 star lodging
  • Tour Guide
  • Transportation
  • 3 breakfasts
  • 3 lunches
  • IMAX Movie
  • Park Entrance FeesTaxes, Fees, and Gratuity excluding tour guide tips

2014 Tour Dates:

May 12-15 May 26-29
June 9-12 June 23-26
July 7-10 July 21-24
Aug 4-7 Aug 18-22
Sept 1-4 Sept 15-18
Sept 29-Oct 2 Oct 13-16
Oct 27-30

$1190.00 per person double occupancy
$1375.00 per person single occupancy


**Please note we can provide custom private tour departures dates as well!! Contact us for availability and pricing!


For more details or to see some of our other tours, please visit: http://southwestadventuretours.com/index.php/4-parks-in-4-day

Planning to Visit Alaska in 2014?

Now is the PERFECT time to plan your trip to Alaska for Summer 2014! Have you always imagined yourself trekking through the natural wonders that Alaska has to offer: like Denali National Parks and its majestic Mt. McKinley or seeing glaciers on a boat trip in Kenai Fjords National Park? Or viewing the picturesque landscape seated on a glass-domed train en route to Seward and or having some amazing opportunities to see wildlife? There is so much to do and see in Alaska!

Southwest Adventure Tours has a fantastic 7 day itinerary that takes you to some of the state’s highlights. Check out the Alaska Experience Itinerary here or customize your own Alaska tour with us!

Who has Alaska on their bucket list?


National Park Spotlight: Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is located in Southern Utah, and is known for the unique shapes that form its landscape called “hoodoos”. Hoodoos are pillars of rock that are left by erosion. Geologists say that 10 million years ago forces within the Earth created and then moved the massive blocks known as the Table Cliff and Paunsaugunt plateaus. Ancient rivers carved the tops and sides and exposed the edges of the blocks and sculpting these beautiful pillars of rock. These hoodoos create the perfect landscape in summer and in winter.

It is located approximately 4 hours from Las Vegas and Salt Lake City and 2.5 hours from St. George. A popular combination of tours is a visit to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon in one day (just less than 2 hours away from each other).

Every year approximately 1.5 million visitors come to Bryce Canyon.

Popular Hikes/Viewpoints:

  • Queens Garden (1.8mi/2.9km round trip). This is the least difficult trail into the canyon.  Consider taking the Queens Garden/Navjo loop combination (this is something that we do with our groups all of the time!) We recommend going from Queens Garden to the Wall Street Section of the Navajo loop. (3.5 mi/5.6 km)
  • Rim Trail (0-11 mi/0-17.7 km round trip) This has great views of the hoodoos from above on a paved trail.
  • Tower Bridge (3 mi/4.8 km round trip) A ¼ mile spur trail leads to the bridge and you can also see Bristlecone pines and the China wall.
  • Navajo Trail (1.3 mi/2.2 km round trip). This trail starts at Sunset Point and goes into the Bryce Amphitheater through a slot canyon.
  • Fairyland Loop (8 mi/12.9 km round trip) You can see the China Wall, Tower Bridge and hoodoos on this trail.
  • Drive to Sunrise, Sunset, Inspiration and Bryce Viewpoints  Easy way to view some of the fantastic sights easily!


Some Helpful Hints:

  •  Bryce Canyon Fees: $25 for a Park Vehicle Permit, $12 per individual (by foot, bike, etc. Those under 15 are free). Annual Pass is $30.
  • Since Bryce Canyon is at a higher elevation, make sure to pack layers. In the winter it can get downright chilly and you will see a lot of white stuff!
  • Get up early! Sunrise at Bryce Canyon is stunning.
  • Combine Zion National Park with Bryce Canyon for a fantastic day trip from Las Vegas, St. George or Salt Lake City.

Places to Stay:

  • Inside the Park: Lodge at Bryce Canyon – perfect location for being close to the rim and for viewing the amazing sunrises!
  • Camping: Tent and RV Camping available (first come, first served) or backcountry camping (permits required – Under-the Rim and Riggs Spring Loop Trails only).
  • Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn – area’s largest hotel. Tons of activities, shops, gas station.
  • Best Western Plus Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel
  • Bryce Canyon Pines. This hotel has the best restaurant other than the Lodge at Bryce Canyon and is pretty affordable!
Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Southwest Adventure Tours offers several small group and private trips to Bryce Canyon National Park and the surrounding areas and can also customize trips:

Contact us at 1-800-970-5864 or info@southwestadventuretours.com for more details or for a custom trip proposal!

Who wants to visit Bryce Canyon in 2014?