Visit Scottsdale, Desert Botanical Garden, Papago Park, Sedona, Flagstaff, Jerome, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and Grand Canyon National Park
Scenic Drive along Oak Creek Canyon Drive
Hike in Sedona, Tuzigoot Pueblo, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument on the Bonita Vista Trail and Lenox Crater Trail, Grand Canyon
View Red Rock country, Verde River, Tavasci Marsh, the Grand Canyon from the Rim Trail, Yavapai Point and Desert View
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Welcome to Arizona and the Sonoran Desert! This morning visit the Desert Botanical Garden where you get the chance to see beautiful cactus and other desert plants in all their glory. Stroll along one of the trails inside the Garden and experience the unique and beautiful plants that thrive in some of the hottest and driest parts of the world. Learn how Sonoran Desert plants have been used by Native people for food, medicine and building materials through one of the largest exhibits of its kind dedicated to helping people understand the complex cultural relationships between people and plants in this part of Arizona. Our visit supports the Garden’s commitment to the community to advance excellence in education, research, exhibition and conservation of desert plants of the world with emphasis on the Sonoran Desert.
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Visit the urban laboratory where volunteer and residents have been treading lightly since the 1970s. Learn how the experimental town of Arcosanti has evolved into a model of living frugally and with a limited environmental footprint. Your host will share the four core values on which Arcosanti has been built. You’ll leave knowing your visit has contributed to spreading the story and legacy of sustainability which Arcosanti and its residents have been advocating for over five decades.
Connect With Locals Javelina Leap Vineyards is located on the steep slopes of an extinct volcanic mountain in Page Springs. You’ll meet your warm host who’ll take you behind the scenes and share what it takes to make the excellent wines of this region. As you tour the vineyard on this Be My Guest experience, you’ll hear captivating stories about what it’s like to work at a small family-owned winery before settling down for a delicious locally sourced lunch.
Stays With Stories Nestled amongst Sedona’s amazing Red Rock monoliths on the edge of town, this is the perfect place to experience unforgettable Sedona adventures right outside the hotel.
Dive Into Culture This morning we will head to Red Rock State Park, a 286 acre nature preserve and environmental education center with stunning scenery. Trails throughout the park wind through manzanita and juniper to reach the rich banks of Oak Creek. Green meadows are framed by native vegetation and hills of red rock. The creek meanders through the park, creating a diverse riparian habitat abounding with plants and wildlife. Join a guided nature walk with a park naturalist and learn about the different life zones of Red Rock State Park. The subjects discussed on this walk may include geology, wildlife, history, archaeology, and plant life. Our groups will have their own naturalists and so any questions during the walk are welcome, which enhances the learning experience and gives our guest a really intimate introduction to Red Rock State Park.
Connect With Locals Join Sedona locals Jim and Kathy for a guided sunset hike with an option to do guided meditation immersing yourself in your sacred spiritual surroundings much like the Native Americans have done in the area for many centuries.
Dive Into Culture Discover the fascinating history and culture of the Sinagua and Verde Valley Pueblos which settled in the area over 1,400 years ago.
Wupatki National Monument Visit the Wupatki National Monument - nestled between the Painted Desert and ponderosa highlands of northern Arizona, Wupatki is a landscape of legacies. Ancient pueblos dot red-rock outcroppings across miles of prairie.
Walnut Canyon National Monument Make your way to Walnut Canyon National Monument. Among the remarkable geological formations of the canyon itself, the former homes of ancient inhabitants are easily evident. Along the trails you can imagine life within Walnut Canyon, while visiting actual pueblos and walking in the steps of those who came before.
MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Discover the heritage of 11 tribes associated with this region, meeting artisans who’ll share their crafts and stories about their heritage and diverse culture. You’ll leave with a deep understanding of the fabric of these communities and their link to the land.
First Class Travel Highlights:
An expert Travel Director and professional Driver
Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted
All porterage and restaurant gratuities
All hotel tips, charges and local taxes
Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras
Audio headsets for flexible sightseeing
Luxury air-conditioned coach with Wi-Fi in most countries or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)
Optional Experiences and free time
Welcome to Scottsdale
Welcome to Scottsdale! You’ll begin your small-group tour – Arizona Discovery & the Grand Canyon, at this stunning desert oasis. Set against the rusty red of the Sonoran Desert and Red Rock mountains, Scottsdale more than earns its reputation as the Beverley Hills of the Desert, offering an eclectic mix of art galleries, spas, and golf courses. This evening, you’ll meet your Travel Director and fellow travellers at a Welcome Reception to set the tone for all the things to see in Arizona to come.
Desert Discovery in Scottsdale
Discover what blooms in the desert, kickstarting your Arizona tour with an unforgettable MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience at the famous Desert Botanical Garden, one of the best places to visit in Arizona. Immerse yourself in this desert discovery, seeing first-hand how some of the world’s toughest plants thrive in this unbelievably hot and harsh environment. Strolling along one of the garden trails, you’ll see an incredible collection of agave and cacti, learning how many of these plant species have been used by generations of locals for food, medicine, and building materials. There’s a fascinating back-story about the complex cultural relationship between plants and people just waiting to be uncovered and you’ll hear all about it, as well as how your visit supports the Garden’s efforts to conserve the desert plants of the Sonoran Desert and the world. You may even be lucky enough to spot desert wildflowers, blooming cacti, and hummingbirds along the way. It’s a desert kind of day, so your next stop at Papago Park will tick the box and more for a tasty dessert picnic lunch with new friends. You’ll learn about its interesting history as a reservation for indigenous tribes and a POW camp during World War II, while you admire the backdrop of massive buttes and giant saguaro cacti. The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore Scottsdale your way. You’ll want to visit Old Town Scottsdale and experience its rich Western heritage with a visit to the Museum of the West, or perhaps enjoy a bite to eat at one of the many eateries in town. Sonoran-style Mexican food is a local favorite and there are plenty of popular spots serving up delicious tacos, burritos, and enchiladas that will make your mouth water.
Journey to Sedona
Tread lightly on today’s MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience in Arcosanti, an urban laboratory experimenting with how to live frugally and with a limited environmental footprint. Since the 1970s, volunteers and residents of Arcosanti have been focused on leaving a limited footprint and you’ll Dive Into Culture on this fascinating Arcosanti tour, learning all about how the community’s history and values, perhaps inspiring you to adopt those same practices in your own life when you return home. Today’s lunch stop is one of the best wine tours in Sedona at Javelina Leap Vineyards on the steep slopes of an extinct volcanic mountain in Page Springs. You’ll meet your warm host who’ll share what it takes to make the excellent wines of this region. Connect With Locals as you tour the vineyard on this Be My Guest experience, you’ll learn how elevation, volcanic soil, hot days, and cool nights make Arizona the perfect environment for grape growing and see how the grapes go from vine to bottle right here at the boutique winery before settling down for a delicious locally sourced lunch. You’ll know that you’ve had a rare behind-the-scenes look at Arizona’s thriving winemaking traditions before continuing to Sedona, a charming blend of Old and New West set against the jaw-dropping backdrop of Red Rock country. Beyond its extraordinary natural setting, Sedona is held sacred by the Native American people. You’ll feel at one with your stunning surroundings on your Sedona tour as you watch the light play on its rocky red backdrop as afternoon turns into evening, imagining an era when cowboys roamed this land. The evening is yours to explore the town at your pace. You may want to seek out some of those famous southwestern flavors for which the town is famous before settling into your home for the evening Arabella Hotel Sedona, with its incredible red monolith backdrop and cozy environment.
Explore Red Rock
Lace up your boots for a guided nature walk this morning in Red Rock State Park. You’ll Dive Into Culture and join a park naturalist who’ll explain the different life zones within the park as you wind your way through manzanita and juniper to reach the rich banks of Oak Creek. Feed your soul as you take in the beauty of green meadows framed by red rock hills, learning as you explore about the area’s plants, wildlife, history and geology – an in-depth perspective you wouldn’t discover on your own. Choose how you wish to spend your afternoon, slowing it all down with a bit of retail therapy in downtown Sedona, or hopping on an optional jeep ride leading deep into the rocky red surroundings. There’s even the option to discover Arizona on the back of a bike, so gear up for a mountain bike trek if this morning’s walk has inspired you to stretch your legs and ask your Travel Director for trail suggestions. Later, Sedona’s intoxicating energy will leave you speechless as you meet your hosts, Sedona locals Jim and Kathy for a guided sunset hike. You’ll Connect With Locals as you walk along some of the area’s most scenic trails learning all about the area’s history, philosophy and geology. Jim and Kathy will share how the locals sensed the vortex energy of this place and chose it to do meditation and cleaning rituals, knowing that their prayers and intentions would amplify and manifest. Take the opportunity to follow their traditions during an optional meditation and mindfulness session, allowing the energy of this sacred place to enhance your own life. After a long and eventful day, settle into our Stays With Stories at the Arabella Hotel. Nestled amongst Sedona’s amazing Red Rock monoliths right on the edge of town. It’s the perfect location to experience unforgettable Sedona adventures right outside the property.
Dive Into Pueblo History
Today’s encounter with the centuries-old history and culture of the Sinagua and the Verde Valley Pueblos will leave you feeling enriched as you Dive Into Culture during your visit to the Tuzigoot National Monument. Explore the Tuzigoot Pueblo at your pace admiring how these distinctive homes were built over 1,400 years ago against the backdrop of the Verde River and Tavasci Marsh. You’ll embark on a self-guided exploration, learning about the community’s incredible trade connections reaching as far as the jungles of Central America. You’ll also see remnants of their rich culture at the Tuzigoot Museum, with its incredible collection of ceramics, textiles and tools. Your next stop is the infamous town of Jerome which was founded in 1876 as a mining town but soon became known as the Wickedest City in the West, at the time housing 37 bars, 13 bordellos, and four churches. Once its copper, gold and silver riches waned in the 1950s, it became a ghost town before being restored in the 1960s and revitalized as an arts community, a distinction it still holds today, reflected in its multiple art studios and galleries. This is the very best of the Old Wild West and you’ll enjoy some time to explore the nostalgia of this historic town before settling in for one of the area’s most scenic drives through the colorful rock formations of Oak Creek Canyon. The canyon is your gateway to Flagstaff, a top Arizona tourist attraction and historic and charming town located along the famous Route 66. A haven for lovers of all things outdoors. Flagstaff also the location for today’s Your Choice sightseeing experience and you’ll spend the afternoon either connecting with Native American culture at the Museum of Northern Arizona or touching the stars at Lowell Observatory, walking in the footsteps of famous astronomers and astronauts.
Explore National Monuments
Go back in time and learn what it was like to live in the south-western deserts before America was colonized. On this special Dive Into Culture experience at Wupatki National Monument, you’ll learn how ancient pueblo communities made this harsh, but beautiful place their home. Your self-guided visit to The Citadel, Nalakihu and the Wupatki Pueblo reveals centuries of rich trading and agricultural history, as well as their cultural and religious traditions. Leaving with an in-depth understanding of the ancient culture and history of the clans that emerged from here, you’ll continue to Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument where a short stroll will take you across a field of cinders to the epic views of Bonito Lava flow and the surrounding volcanoes. There’s plenty more to see so you may choose to take the mile-long Lava Flow Trail to the base of Sunset Crater Volcano or the 1.6-mile Lenox Crater Trail offering a glimpse between towering ponderosas. Get a deeper perspective on how the earth opened a thousand years ago to form Sunset Crater volcano with its distinct rim of red and yellow cinders when you visit the Visitor Center where interactive exhibits feature everything you need to know about volcanoes and the powerful forces behind them. We return to Flagstaff for lunch at leisure, then Dive Into Culture at Walnut Canyon National Monument where the former homes of ancient Sinagua inhabitants stand to this day. On this self-guided exploration, you’ll imagine what life was like here 700 years ago as you visit the remaining pueblos, admiring the dwelling rooms from atop or taking the one-mile round-trip Island Trail which will get you up close to the cliff dwellings should weather conditions allow.
Admire the Grand Canyon
As Grand Canyon tours go, you’ll be thrilled to be exploring this natural wonder outside of summer, so you can fully admire its immensity which will leave you spellbound. One of the unmissable things to see in Arizona and a real highlight of your trip, the Grand Canyon spans 277 miles from end to end and plunges more than a mile down to the canyon’s floor where the wild Colorado River’s tan-colored waters snake southwest. Discover the Grand Canyon from a bird’s eye perspective, perhaps choosing to see it from the air this morning on an optional helicopter flight. Later, with your Travel Director leading the way, watch how the light changes on the ancient cliffs and consider the sheer enormity of one of the world’s largest canyons you’ve probably only ever seen on film. You’ll visit Yavapai Geology Museum perched at the end of the canyon rim; the perfect spot at which to learn all about the canyon’s fascinating geology which spans over 1.8 billion years. Then head to Desert View and its mural-clad watchtower inspired by ancient Native American watchtowers, where you’ll get the best views of the canyon and learn about the Southwest’s diverse and rich cultural heritage. On this MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience, you’ll discover the heritage of 11 tribes associated with this region, meeting artisans who’ll share their crafts and stories about their heritage and diverse culture. You’ll leave with a deep understanding of the fabric of these communities and their link to the land. Pay a visit to Mother’s Road Brewery next, a locals’ favorite where you’ll enjoy an unforgettable Farewell Dinner with new friends. You’ll learn how, through your visit, you are helping Mother’s Road help conserve more than 800 wildlife species, with a portion of all its sales donated to the Arizona Game and Fish Department. It’s a heart-warming end to your epic journey across the Southwest and you’ll want to raise a toast to celebrate all you’ve seen and learnt along the way.
From Scottsdale to the Grand Canyon, your Arizona tour has sadly come to an end. Say a warm farewell to your Travel Director and new friends, and make your own way to Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG).