Delve into the Sonoran Desert, sling your guns at the O.K. Corral and explore Native American culture on one of these Tucson day trips.
Tucson, Arizona is a great base for exploring nearby Saguaro National Park and the Sonoran Desert, as well as the foothills of the Tucson Mountains. Although the city itself has some fantastic things to see and do, one of these day trips is a great way to see what’s happening a little further afield. Highlights nearby include rugged canyons and Wild West frontier towns, such as Tombstone. Here are five of the best Tucson day tours and longer trips.
Oasis Tour of Tucson
To the north of Tucson rises the imposing peak of Mount Lemmon, which stands at 9,159 feet (2,792m). This half-day tour, which includes all transportation and your guide, departs from Tucson in the morning and takes you to the summit of the mountain, as well as providing time to stop at many of the impressive vistas along the way, including hoodoo vista, where you can see unusual hoodoo rock formations on the mountainside. This tour runs daily. From $70 per person.
Full Day Guided Tour of Tombstone and San Xavier del Bac
Some of the most lawless, sorry towns the Wild West ever did see were located in Arizona, and one of them still retains its frontier charm. Aptly named, Tombstone is a place of lore and legend in these parts, with the O.K. Corral, Boothill Graveyard and plenty of nods to its formerly rough and rowdy ways. This tour incorporates sites close to Tucson, but starts and ends in the Phoenix area. It runs twice a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays. From $154 per person.
4 Days and 3 Nights Mata Ortiz Tours
Day trips from Tucson aren’t always enough to do justice to the surrounding area, which is why a number of excellent multi-day tours are also available. This Mata Ortiz tour makes the most of northern Mexico across the border, visiting places across the Mexican state of Chihuahua, including the pottery town of Mata Ortiz and the prehistoric settlement of the Mogollon people at Casas Grandes, aka Paquimé. This tour runs once a week on Fridays to make best use of the weekend. From $995 per person.
Arizona Sonora Bike Tour from Tucson
If you consider yourself to be fighting fit, this six-day bike tour through Arizona is perhaps the most unique way to get closer to the area around Tucson. See the huge cacti at West Saguaro National Park, vast caves at Kartchner Caverns, the wine region around Elgin and much more over the six-day round-trip from Tucson. On day five, you can soak those weary limbs at Tucson Day Spa. All meals and accommodation are included. This tour only operates in the cooler months of the year, departing on Sunday each week. From $3,000 per person.
Sonoran Desert: Wild Foods and Traditional Skills
You might think that the Sonoran Desert is a barren, lifeless world but Native Americans such as the Apache have been making good use of the naturally abundant resources and living off the land for millennia here. This tour teaches you how to identify wild edibles such as prickly pear, as well as exploring the traditional skills that provide comfort and survival in hostile desert conditions, such as making a water bottle from a cactus pad and making fire using a saguaro. You may also see signs of desert wildlife during the tour. Please note that this tour generally only runs on Saturdays. From $40 per person.