Our unique itinerary not only takes you through four USA states, but includes some of the most serene, unspoiled landscape and some of the quirkiest places in America's Southwest. You’ll also be able to stand in the only place in the US of A where four states intersect, known as Four Corners!
Imagine 40 million year old geological formations, surrounded on all sides by sacred, enchanting landscapes filled with mesas, buttes and flying pinnacles. It's so quiet you could hear a pin drop - that's the serenity of the desert. It is also the perfect climate for surplus aircraft and you'll be shocked by the vast amount of them in retirement. The wide open space is also ideal environment for the world's first commercial spaceport! We've also thrown in a few trams and trains just to mix it up.
Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah are fascinating states in their own right; combine them and you have one amazing adventure.
Price per person includes:
Your holiday starts in the Sonoran Desert city of Scottsdale - a short drive from Phoenix's Sky Harbor airport.
Scottsdale is renowned for it's world class spa resorts and golf courses. The Southwestern cuisine and shopping options aren't too shabby either. And it all comes with the Camelback Mountains as a back drop. If this is your first trip to the desert, you must get out and explore. Pinnacle Peak is a great starting point - the 600 foot granite summit, that can be seen from much of the Valley, is easily accessible from Scottsdale. The 3.5 mile round trip trail is moderate enough even for unseasoned hikers. This habitat is home to desert dwellers like the Gila monster, javelina (relative of the pig) and bobcat. There are also guided tours available and the schedule will be posted in the visitors centre.
Interesting, during the Depression Era of the 1930s, Scottsdale saw an influx of artists and architects. One of those happened to be the iconic Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1937, Wright and his wife purchased 600 acres at the foothills of the McDowell Mountains. Wright built by hand, what has been described as his most beloved home - Taliesin West. Fans of Wright’s work can tour the home today.
Distance: 115 miles
You will be intrigued with this desert oasis and quite surprised by how much there is to do.
Tucson officially dates back to 1775 when the Spanish first settled the city. Situated on an alluvial plain, a flat landform created by sediment deposits over a long period of time, it is surrounded by five minor mountains ranges: the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Tortolita Mountains to the north, the Santa Rita Mountains to the south, the Rincon Mountains to the east and the Tucson Mountains to the west. The high point of the Santa Catalina Mountains is Mount Lemmon and the Skycenter here is home to an astronomy program with two of the largest telescopes available for public viewing in the Southwest. A nighttime stargazing tour is not to be missed.
Tucson is also home to the University of Arizona and the downtown has seen major redevelopment in the past few year making it an ideal mooch for vintage shops, restaurants and nightlife.
The Pima Air and Space Museum, one of the largest non-government funded aviation and space museums in the world, is also located in Tucson. With a collection amassing more than 350 historical aircrafts, visitors can walk through several exhibit hangars and views planes like the Wright Flyer to a 787 Dreamliner – up close! The museum also offers exclusive bus tours of the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARG), also known as the "Boneyard." The facility is part of the active Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. You will need to have your passport with you in order to obtain clearance to enter the base.Founded in 1952, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is continually lauded as one of the top zoological parks in the world. Not really a museum in the traditional sense, visitors will witness an unparalleled composite of plant, animal and geologic collections with the goal of making the Sonoran Desert accessible and through education, help better preserve the region.
Tucson is also known for it's guest ranches. If you fancy that, we'd be happy to recommend one and you can extend your stay in Tucson by a few nights if you like.
Distance: 302 miles
We LOVE a city with a good story and Truth or Consequences surely has that! Originally named Hot Springs, the city changed its name as part of a radio game show challenge.
In the 1940s, “Truth or Consequences” began a ten year radio quiz show run. To celebrate their 10th anniversary, the host of the show announced that he would air the anniversary show from the first town to rename itself after the show. Hot Springs did and won the challenge! The show would continue for many years on primetime television and the city has been known as Truth or Consequences ever since.
Harking back to its original name, the town is full of hot springs. The thermal water appeared more than 50 million years ago out of a rift along the Rio Grande. The terrain allowed the pristine waters to flow freely without losing heat or minerals. These springs represent some of the most heavily mineralised water in the US, but interesting, the water has no unpleasant smell and has a PH of 7 – or neutral. The spas and bathhouses of this area central to its history and worth a visit.
And, the quirky quirky story continues, as this is also the location for Spaceport America - the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport. Set on 18,000 acres, about an hour outside the main town, the campus is focused on research, engineering, manufacturing, testing and launching – people into space! This is where Virgin Galactic is based along with other space pioneers. Best bit, you can take a half day tour which we can organise before you go.
Distance: 149 miles
Albuquerque has a wealth of American Indian culture and heritage. In fact, there are 19 Pueblo tribes in New Mexico and each is a sovereign nation. If you'd like to learn more, be sure to stop in the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. You'll also enjoy the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, the National Atomic Museum and the Rio Grande Nature Centre.
Take to the sky for spectacular views from the Sandia Peak Aerial Tram. Old Town is a great place to mooch with century-old adobe houses and some of the most authentic New Mexican eateries you’ll find. You’ll also pick up a southwestern treasure or two with locally made jewellery, rugs and pottery.
When it's time to leave, venture off the highway and take the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway to Santa Fe. The fifty mile route, along Highway 14, affords amazing views from atop Sandia Crest. You’ll also come across old mining towns that are brimming with activity.
Distance: 63 miles
Thriving under the Spanish, Native American, Mexican, territorial government and American Confederates - and ultimately Union rule, Santa Fe would emerge as the capital city and has the distinction of being the oldest state capital in the United States.
The Plaza, in the centre of town, once filled with traders and wagon trains, is now home to art galleries, sophisticated restaurants and unique shops. Original Spanish architecture from the 1600's surrounds the central square, including the oldest continuously occupied public building in the nation.
Distance: 214 miles
Founded by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad in 1880, Durango was once a young city surrounded by silver mining towns and the wild, wild west. Today, it is a carefully preserved National Historic Landmark.
It's likely to feel a bit familiar too as it's been the backdrop for films like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, City Slickers, Cliffhanger and many more. So authentic, you are certain a gunslinger will step into the street any minute!
The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has run continuously since 1881. Always promoted as a scenic passenger journey, it’s main purpose was to haul mine ores, both gold and silver, from the San Juan Mountains. A staggering $300 million worth of precious metal was transported back in the day. In the 1960s, the railroad was restored as a tourist and heritage line and the Durango/Silverton area is one of a very few places in the U.S. which has seen continuous use of steam locomotives through the years. Explore the remote wilderness of the vast San Juan National Forest like the miners, cowboys and settlers did over a century ago.
Distance: 202 miles
Today is the day you can stand in one spot and technically be in four US states! About 85 miles from Durango, the Four Corners Monument Visitor Center is open year-round and also offers Navajo cultural demonstrations, jewellery, crafts and food.
Then it is on to the red sand desert region of Monument Valley situated on the Arizona-Utah border. You’re bound to feel a bit of déjà vu as this area has been a favourite filming location for movies since the 1930s. This iconic symbol of the American West, is also the sacred heart of the Navajo Nation, one of the largest tribes American Indian tribes. There’s no escaping the spiritual presence of a people who have inhabited this rugged land since 1100 A.D.
Towering sandstone rock formations, that have been sculpted over hundreds of year, soar up to 1,000 feet above the valley floor. With the surrounding mesas, buttes and desert landscape, it truly is one of the natural wonders of the world. Explore on your own or take in the history with a tour narrated by Navajo guides.
Distance: 177 miles
Well, you've barely had time to process all the stunning scenery of Monument Valley and you arrive at one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World - the Grand Canyon. Carved out of rocks by the Colorado River for over two billion years, the geological history contained in the mile deep canyon is beyond comprehension.
Grand Canyon Village, located on the South Rim, offers some of the best scenic overlooks in the park, including Yavapai Point. We recommend you start at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center which is chock full of information on the canyon, it’s history and self-guided walking/hiking trails.
Distance: 110 miles
Sedona, in a word, is serene. We can think of a few more too.......stunning, spellbinding and spiritual.
Sedona's greatest features are the red sandstone formations that surround it. And they properly surround it; up close, impressive and begging to be explored. It’s no wonder that Sedona is known for some of the best hiking and mountain biking trails in the USA. Just wait until you see the formations at sunrise or sunset – we’ll say no more now, but you’ll thank us for mentioning it!
Sedona is also known for its spiritual vortices. What are those? We thought you might ask! A vortex is a swirling centre of energy believed to have healing properties and the ideal place for meditation and being at one with yourself and nature. The earth feels especially alive with energy and many people feel inspired, recharged and uplifted after visiting a vortex. Ask us about including a guided vortex tour if you are keen.