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Photo of Arizona Mexican Poppies and Century Plant taken on a Custom Private Escorted tour by Tour The Southwest .com

Arizona Mexican Poppies & Century Plant
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Arizona Custom Tours

We offer private "CUSTOM" designed Day and Multi-day Private Escorted tours throughout Arizona

Here are some Arizona tour ideas and locations

Arizona Desert Winter Tours offers desert winter time custom private tours throughout the state of Arizona.  Listed below are some of the more interesting places worth visiting, especially during Arizona's late fall, winter and early spring seasons. 

We have lived in Arizona for over 55 years and have traveled throughout every corner of the state. Let us share our knowledge with you on a tour to some amazing locations in diverse landscapes.

The Grand Canyon

Let custom tailor your perfect Grand Canyon Dream Tour to all the best sites at the most optimum viewing times. Since we have been visiting and exploring the Grand Canyon for over 55 years, we have lived through a lot of it's history and have a lot of personal experiences to share. We can put together the ultimate Grand Canyon Tour to any area of the canyon, from top to bottom, North to South, or East to West. A client said: "There is really no way to place a value on a tour with a particularly superlative guide who knows and shares information that has taken a lifetime to acquire.

Mysteries in the Superstition Mountains

Step back through the fabric of time at Goldfield Ghost Town, where the Old West comes alive again. Once an abandoned prospecting town, Goldfields has been recreated to offer an authentic, educational, and entertaining experience to all who enter, with conventionally board walked buildings, including a saloon, bakery, leatherwork's, livery, jail, church, mining tours and museum, as well as a host of exclusive shops advertising period items and souvenirs.

Encounter untamed Arizona with a drive through the Superstition Mountains on the rugged Apache Trail. Originally a stagecoach trail, this unforgettable journey conveys travelers past saguaro-dappled ridges, luminous sapphire lakes, precipitous cliffs, coiling ravines, abandoned mining towns, and artistically eroded canyons on the way to the ancient two-story cliff dwellings of Tonto National Monument.

Globe Arizona was once an optional transcontinental stop between New Orleans and Los Angeles. A rail-auto detour from the main line ran from 1916 to 1932 to show California-bound passengers Globe, the Tonto National Monument’s cliff dwellings, Roosevelt Dam and the Salt River Valley. Once called the Arizona National Reserve Route, it was renamed the “Apache Trail” and served as the name in heavy advertised campaigns during the 1920’s in the golden age of rail travel.

Natural Hidden Treasures of Arizona

Formed by dramatic volcanic eruptions long ago, the Chiricahua Mountains are unique in their geographical, historical, and geological importance to the Southwest. These mountains, part of which are included in the Chiricahua National Monument, have been shaped into stone pillars similar in size and shape to the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park. Lucky visitors might spy some of the rare animals who have migrated onto the Chiricahua mountain range from Mexico, many of which cannot be found elsewhere in the United States. The last of the Apache tribe under the chiefs Cochise and Geronimo retreated to these mountains as their final stronghold before being forced to surrender in 1886.

Discovered in 1974 and kept secret for over a decade, the caves and formations within Kartchner Caverns retain their unspoiled beauty.  Explore over 2 ½ miles (4 km) of cave passages on a guided tour while taking in the varied limestone hues on the walls, stalactites, stalagmites, and more mineral formations.  The Big Room is closed to visitors during the summer months due to the presence of cave bats, but the Throne Room, Rotunda Room, Mud Flats, and other sites are open all year.

The Historic Old West

Retrace the steps of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday in the famous Old West silver mining town of Tombstone. The OK Corral, venue of the famous shootout, has been restored to its 1880s state and hosts regular reenactments of the gunfight. The National Historic Landmark District downtown also features other authentic Old West buildings, including the Bird Cage Theater, reported by the New York Times in 1882 to be “the wildest, wickedest night spot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast.”  Gravestones remembering the lives and deaths of Tombstone’s past residents should be seen just north of town in the well-known Boot Hill Cemetery. 

In stark contrast to the wild, rough Tombstone is the town once known as “The Queen of the Copper Camps.”  Bisbee was founded in the 1880s by a financier of that name who began extracting vast amounts of minerals in the Copper Queen Mine. In the following decades, large amounts of copper, gold, turquoise, and many other minerals have been recovered from the nearby mountains.  From its position as the largest city between St Louis and San Francisco in the early 1900s, Bisbee’s mining culture has transformed into its current artistic culture. Along with the Copper Queen Mine and the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum, visitors browse art galleries in the restored Victorian downtown.

The Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum captures the heritage of Bisbee’s mining through the years.  Converted from its original use as the headquarters of the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Company, this museum contains thousands of artifacts and pictures that tell the story of the Bisbee miners.  In the new exhibit, “Digging In,” learn about the importance of copper to modern life along with an in depth look at the extraction process.

Don your hard hat, slicker, and mining lamp before taking the Queen Mine Tour.  Retired miners will lead guests down 1500 feet (460 m) into the mine and recount mining days, techniques, dangers and drama. See the huge support timbers, exposed copper ore, old mining equipment, and other sights deep underground in the year-round 47 degree abandoned mine.

Early Spanish American History

24 years prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence on the eastern coast of North America, a Spanish military garrison constructed the Presidio San Ignacio de Tubac to support their colonists, soldiers, and missionaries. The Presidio at Tubac served an important role in maintaining order in the area for Spanish and later Mexican and American inhabitants until the US Civil War drew away many inhabitants, who then became vulnerable to Apache raids. View the original foundation and walls of the 250 year-old fort, along with the nearby art galleries, museum, visitor center, and a furnished 1885 schoolhouse.

Known as the “White Dove of the Desert” and the “Sistine Chapel of the New World,” the San Xavier del Bac Mission is one of the best examples of Spanish Colonial architecture found in the United States. The original mission was founded in 1692 by a Jesuit missionary, but was damaged by unfriendly Indian raids and replaced by the current mission 2 miles from the original. This “new” mission building was completed in 1783, and continues to serve the local Tohono O’odham who were instrumental in building and protecting the mission for the last two centuries. Its bright white walls and towers provide a stark contrast with the Southern Arizona blue sky and the surrounding brown desert.

The city of Tucson traces its origins back to 1775, they year that the Presidio San Austin del Tucson was built to house the local Spanish garrison. One corner of this military complex has been restored, and serves as a central point in visiting downtown historic Tucson. Make sure to also experience the nearby Old Town Artisans Galleries, St Augustine Cathedral, and the Tucson Museum of Art that incorporates five historic houses. The Barrio Historico is a short drive away, and features Classic Sonoran row houses and other architecturally significant buildings.

Desert Botanicals

Since the 1920s, Boyce Thompson Arboretum has been preserving desert flora to be enjoyed for visitors to Arizona. From the fascinating shapes of Cactus Garden to the tall shade trees in Queen Creek Canyon, thousands of plants have been gathered from arid climates around the world, from South Africa to Central Asia and even Australia.

Experience the surprising diversity of Southwest flora at the Tucson Botanical Gardens.  Of course the Cactus and Succulents Garden is superb, but few expect the other educational, historical, and interactive gardens and exhibits. Learn about the native and historical plants of the Tucson area in the Tohono O’odham Path, Nuestro Jardin, and Native American Crops exhibit. Then see the plants and methods of arid horticulture at the Xeriscape Garden, Shade Garden, and Aloe Alley.  Tucson Botanical Garden also hosts seasonal exhibits such as holiday lights, chili pepper festival, and Butterfly Magic.

Learn about and experience the flora and fauna of Southeast Arizona at three-in-one Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum. This primarily outdoor “museum” is a combination of zoo, botanical garden, and natural history museum. Learn the geology of Southeast Arizona at the Earth Science section, or meander along the cactus and wildflower gardens. See the birds flying around you in the Walk-in Aviary and the Hummingbird Aviary while you make your way to mountain lions, cave-dwelling creatures, bighorn sheep, and many other creatures..

Famously pictured in the foreground as the cowboy rides off into the setting sun, the Giant Saguaro cactus is a renowned symbol of the West. The two separate parts of the park, on opposite sides of Tucson, protect forests of these magnificent plants. Saguaros may live up to 200 years and weigh 8 tons or more, with a root system that can suck up to 200 gallons of water in a single rainfall. Take plenty of pictures in Saguaro National Park, as you will not find a better place in the USA to find these distinctive living monuments.

“For more than 70 years, the Desert Botanical Garden has been teaching and inspiring visitors from the local community and around the world, providing research, exhibits and more designed to help us understand, protect and preserve the desert’s natural beauty.  

The Garden’s vision is to be the premier center in the world for the display, study and understanding of desert plants and their environments. The Garden strives to be an indispensable resource in the Southwestern United States for helping individuals learn about Sonoran Desert Plants as well as desert plants of the world, so that they will conserve and protect the natural world for the benefit of future generations.”

The above is quoted from their web site.

Earliest American Native Sinagua Peoples

Near the crossroads between Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Sedona lay the ruins of an ancient community.  The Sinagua (Spanish for “without water”) people built all three of the structures located in the Verde Valley, Montezuma Castle, Montezuma Well, and Tuzigoot Pueblo. 
Montezuma Castle is a 5-story cliff dwelling constructed under overhanging cliffs and over a hundred feet above the Verde River. Montezuma Castle is one of the best preserved Indian ruins in the Southwest. Montezuma Castle and Montezuma Well were misnamed, as the Sinagua inhabitants abandoned the area long before King Montezuma of the Aztecs was born.

Formed long ago by the collapse of a limestone cavern, water flows continuously into Montezuma Well through underground springs, providing a constant supply of warm, fresh water.   This unique aquatic habitat has served as an oasis for plants, wildlife, and humans for thousands of years.  The prehistoric Sinaguan people took advantage of this source of water by irrigating crops, and visitors can still see traces of ancient lime-encrusted irrigation ditches from past farming activity.

The Sinagua people also dwelled at Tuzigoot Pueblo, which means "crooked water" in Apache.  The Apache probably chose this name because the pueblo is located close to the Verde River, which meanders like a snake through the valley.  The pueblo is 120 feet above the floor of the Verde Valley and was built between 1000 and 1450 AD. This 2-story, 77-room village crowns the summit of a long ridge overseeing most of the valley.

Clinging obstinately to the steeply inclined mountainside of 5,200-foot (1,585 m) Cleopatra Hill is legendary Jerome, historically the largest copper mining camp in Arizona. Once a notorious Wild West town and the fourth largest city in Arizona Territory, Jerome is now America’s largest ghost town, housing a mere 350 citizens in its intricately terraced municipality.

The Verde Canyon Railroad traces the original route used to carry supplies to the mine operations around Jerome and to haul the processed oar out to market.  It travels a stress-free wilderness route along the Verde River, passing stone pinnacles, a monocline fault, and through a 680 foot tunnel on a four-hour journey to the Perkinsville ghost ranch and back.  Winter trips offer the opportunity to see the great American Bald Eagle nesting in trees and cliffs along the train’s route.

Enchanting Sedona

Designated by USA Weekend Magazine as "The Most Beautiful Place in America,” picturesque Sedona makes the rugged West comfortable and inviting. Situated at the mouth of magnificent Oak Creek Canyon, cooled by the enchanting flow of Oak Creek, and punctuated by dramatic monoliths in the surrounding red rock country, Sedona’s exuberant beauty is irresistible.

Originally conceived as an artist community, Tlaquepaque (pronounced Tla-keh-pah-keh), is a perfect setting to witness gifted artisans absorbed in their work. Tlaquepaque is filled with spectacular art in every medium from Western and eclectic bronze sculpture, functional and traditional ceramics, blown glass creations, fine art paintings, weavings, decorative arts, and stunning large format photography.  Stroll under the shade of the sycamores on the banks of beautiful Oak Creek in Sedona on the cobble-stoned walkways, along vine covered stucco walls, and through magnificent arched entryways in this quaint village.

Stroll along the hiking and walking trails in Red Rock State Park as you gaze at the multi-hued cliffs surrounding the Sedona area.  While many places in this region of Arizona could claim to be “red rock,” this particular site was chosen to be the State Park because it combines the gorgeous views with the riparian ecosystem of Oak Creek flowing through the park.  A stroll along the creek will wind between Manzanita, Cottonwood, and Juniper trees, along with shrubs and grasses native to the area.

One of the most popular formations in Sedona’s red rock area, Cathedral Rock awes and enchants all who behold it.  Believed by some to be near a sacred “vortex” of spiritual energy, Cathedral Rock draws visitors from all over the world. Whether testing the energy vortex, enjoying a splendid red rock panorama, or adventurously climbing the 1.5 mile (3 km) trail, the Cathedral Rock experience is certain to be rewarding.

WWW – Winter, WARMTH & Water

Arizona’s WWW is not the “World Wide Web”.  It is a winter with warmth and water.  Arizona offers about 132 named lakes, the great Colorado River, and many other rivers and creeks for winter, fall and spring recreation in a warm winter environment away from the snow and ice of the northern states.

We would be pleased to custom design an Arizona tour for you that would include any or all of the above sites and activities.  Many other sites and activities are also available.