Arizona Sonoran
Wild West BaseCamp
A Geologist Experience

Trip Details

Type: BaseCamp Hiking and Wild West History

Trip Code: AZWW

Duration: 5 Days

Distance: 28-35 mi/45-56 km

Fitness: 2
Comfort: 2
Solitude: 3

Origin: Tucson, Arizona

Cost: $1350/person

Trip Description:

Southern Arizona and the Sonoran Desert is home to some of the most colorful history, geology, and spectacular scenery in the American Southwest.  Our comfortable, private bascamp will serve as our jump-off point into this region's wild spots, including a  lofty summit of a "sky island", deep-cut canyons, vast forests of Saguaro Cactus, a day in the "town too tough to die", and fabulous adventure hiking in this wild and spectacular place.  The Sonoran Wild West BaseCamp hiking tour offers a trip back in time, not only geologically, but to the region's superb place in American history.

  1. Cactus Forest, Saguaro National Park
  2. Onyx Cave, Coronado National Forest
  3. Sonoran Desert Hiking, Tucson
  4. Hutches Pool Trail, Sabino Canyon Wilderness
  5. Main Street, Tombstone, Arizona
  6. Wrightson Peak, Coronado National Forest
  7. Sycamore Canyon, Pajarita Wilderness
  8. Gneiss, Saguaro National Park
Request a Reservation!
Trip Itinerary

Day 1:

The Sonoran Wild West BaseCamp tour begins in the Sabino Canyon Wilderness, where we will hike the spectacular Hutches Pool Trail.  This trail offers quintessential high Sonoran Desert scenery and a refreshing natural pool, great for swimming and relaxing.  After this great hike, we'll cruise down to our comfortable, private basecamp in the Coronado National Forest, where we will set up camp and prepare for the epic journey ahead.
Drive Time: 2 hours
Distance & Elevation: 8 miles, 700 foot ascent
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 2:

Today’s adventure starts with a hearty breakfast, followed by a trip to world-famous Tombstone, Arizona.  We will poke around and explore Tombstone with all of its colorful Wild West history, then head to the outstanding natural areas, known as the Tombstone Hills, surrounding the town that produced some of the richest silver mines in Arizona.  We will enjoy an outstanding Tombstone sunset, then head back to our camp for a delicious dinner.
Distance & Elevation: 3-5 miles,  relaxed elevation
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:

Our third day, we will dive into a famous outlaw hideout, Sycamore Canyon.  Legend has it that many outlaws, including the notorious Clanton Gang, used this canyon for shelter from the law.  Legend also has it that this canyon is utterly gorgeous, remote, and provides a wonderful hiking opportunity with refreshing swimming pools, omnipresent wildlife, and excellent geological underpinnings.  After another great day, we will head back to camp.
Distance & Elevation: 6 miles, 350 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:

Today’s hiking adventure will take us underground, into a spectacular cave system.  Onyx Cave and Cave of the Bells are wonderful places to hike and explore, and we will have the opportunity to transport ourselves again back to a time when the "west was truly wild".  Rumor has it that these caves still hold Abe Ferry's lost stash, which included jewelry, cash, alcohol, and a polished silver six-shooter.  After a great day of spelunking, treasure hunting, and fantasy, we'll cruise back to our camp under the stars.
Distance & Elevation: 5-10 miles, 600 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

**Conditions permitting, today may conversely include a hike up Wrightson Peak, the highest summit in the area

Day 5:

Our final day begins with sunrise yoga on the rocks.  We'll then head north to Saguaro National Park to hike Wasson Peak, its highest summit.  Saguaro National Park includes some of the finest Sonoran Desert scenery in the region, including literal forests of the wonderful Saguaro Cactus.  This wilderness also is adjacent to Old Tucson, which was made famous as the backdrop for several Hollywood Westerns.  After hiking, exploring, and visiting these great landmarks, we'll return to Tucson to celebrate our epic trip like a geologist; with a cold beverage at a local watering hole, and a taste of the famous "Sonoran Hot Dog"
Distance & Elevation: 5 miles, minimal descent
Breakfast, Lunch
Drive Time: 2 hours

*Final itineraries are occasionally subject to change due to permit/campsite availability, park restrictions/closures, weather conditions and/or road closures.

What’s Included:
A professional, degreed, licensed and medically trained geologist/guide
All necessary gear: daypack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trekking poles
All cooking/eating gear: bowls, cups, utensils (your geologist/guide will prepare all meals)
All food, including a mix of fresh and pre-made backcountry meals
Roundtrip Transportation from your hotel in Tucson to the Sonoran Desert and all activities/attractions
Entrance fees, camping fees, and backcountry permits

Meals: what to expect
We provide all your meals from a light breakfast on day 1 through lunch the last day. Your geologist/guide will prepare a variety of meals on the trail and in camp that will fit the day's activity. Feel free to tell us about your food preferences, as we're more than happy to tailor the menu to your needs/desires. Some specialty diets may require an additional fee.

All meals will consist of one entree, prepared by your geologist/guide.  Fresh options will be available, and meals will be served cafeteria-style on covered tables.  There will be trail snacks that consist of nuts, fruits, chocolate, and other "gorp" style mixes.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

What’s Not Included:
Transportation to/from Tucson, Arizona
Lodging the night before/after the trip
Clothing, raingear, and footwear
Personal toiletries, sunscreen
Water bottles/hydration bladder
Headlamp or flashlight
Guide gratuity (suggested 10-15% of trip cost)
*Upon booking you will receive a detailed trip information packet

How many people are in the group?
Most backpacking trips in the Arizona Sonoran Desert will accommodate 6 people plus one geologist/guide. On occasion, a group may be as large as 8 people plus 2 guides.

Are there age restrictions?
Children under 12 are generally not permitted on any of Blue Marble's scheduled trips.  This can be negotiable on private tours, please contact us to discuss this policy

How do I sign up?
In order to confirm a reservation , we require an initial deposit of $500 per person, with the final balance due 90 days prior to the trip’s departure. If you book a trip within 90 days of the trip’s scheduled departure, then full payment is due at the time of booking.  Your deposit is payable over the phone by Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, or Discover. Checks by mail are fine as well, as are bank transfers ($35 transfer fee). Call our office Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm Arizona time. 1-602-904-2536
Travel Logistics

Where does the trip begin/end?
This trip will begin/end in Tucson, Arizona and you will need to spend the night prior to your trip’s scheduled departure in Tucson. You will want to fly into either Phoenix (1.5 hour drive) or Tucson. Please visit our  Travel Resources  page for information on airports, shuttles/rental cars and recommended hotels.

Where do you meet our guides?
We will hold a pre-trip orientation at 4:30pm the evening prior to your trip’s departure at the host hotel in Tucson. Departure times and logistics for the following morning will be discussed at the orientation.  Most trips will depart between 5am and 6am.

*This meeting is not mandatory, but highly recommended, as we will depart early the next morning. If you are unable to attend, please let us know in advance so that we can make alternate arrangements.

What do we do with our car and extra stuff?
We will provide all transportation to/from trailheads for the duration of the trip. We will pick you up at the host hotel in Tucson and return you there at the trip’s conclusion. Guests staying at the host hotel can leave their cars at the hotel. These hotels will often store your luggage for you, as well. If not, we are happy to store extra luggage at a secure location for the duration of the trip. If you are staying at a different hotel, you will need to check with them as to whether you can leave your car there

What time will we get back on the last day?
Expect to be back in Tucson by 6pm at the latest on the last day of the trip. Some trips will return earlier but we cannot make any guarantees. In general, it is recommended that you do not plan to fly home on the same day your trip finishes. Since each trip has slightly different logistics, feel free to contact us with specific questions related to the expected return time for your trip.

Trip Dates

2017 Dates
May: 15-19
November: 8-12

2018 Dates
May: 15-19
November: 8-12

More dates to come soon…
Don’t see your dates? Custom dates may be available!
Call 1-602-904-2536 or email us  for details.