Spectacular desert, surging rivers and towering peaks; Scottsdale is a thrill-seeker’s paradise. Set within the lush Sonoran Desert, here you can hike 12-million-year-old boulder formations, soar above wild rocky expanses and take your pick from an array of adventurous activities to suit your mood. On this 7-day trip we’ll take you flying, floating and four-wheeling through this adventure playground, with plenty of pampering in our favourite Scottsdale hideaways on the way. This is how you do desert adventure in style.
DESERT RIVERS AND PEAKS
We’ll start by easing you slowly into Arizona’s desert landscape on a kayak tour along the Salt River. As you glide past green riverbanks and towering red cliffs, looking out for wild horses and bald eagles, you’ll have the time to take in your first look at Scottsdale’s immense beauty. If you fancy cooling-off, you can just take a dip in the river’s refreshing waters, but you’ll probably prefer to wait until you’re in your room at the lux Four Seasons hotel, where you can enjoy a plunge in the pool and get cosy beside an outdoor log burner as the stars glitter overhead.Read more
BOULDERS AND BALLOONS
After a blissfully sound night’s sleep and a delicious breakfast, you’ll be primed for hiking Pinnacle Peak Park. This expansive park unfolds in breathless panorama atop its granite summit that rises 600 feet from the desert floor and can be seen from across the valley. On the way up, keep your eyes peeled for unique and beautiful plants, as well as desert creatures like tortoises and roadrunners. When you get back, it’s time for a full body massage at the hotel to soothe any weary limbs.
The next day is yours to enjoy; we suggest a few relaxed rounds of tennis or golf at your hotel, or just settling poolside in a cabana and helping yourself from your own private bar. But if the pace feels too slow, don’t worry—we’ve booked you in for a sunset hot air balloon ascent so you can get an eagle’s perspective of the rolling desert plains that will be your adventureland the next day, all illuminated in blazing shades of orange, pink and blue. When you’ve reluctantly returned to earth, cheer yourself up with dinner at Virtu or FnB, two of Arizona’s hottest restaurants (excuse the pun).
FULL THROTTLE SUNSETS AND SKIES
On your fourth day, hop into a Jeep or an ATV for an off-road desert tour that will take you far from any beaten paths. Whether you like to get behind the wheel or prefer to be chauffeured through the scenic trails, you’ll be able get a close encounter with the desert wildlife and take in the rugged beauty of this diverse landscape. Back at your hotel, why not head down to the Talavera restaurant for a complimentary wine tasting to wind-down after the adrenaline-fuelled day.
We suspect you’re starting to miss those stunning panoramic views from your hot air balloon…so for the next day we’ve organised a private gliding tour. Yep, that’s right; you’ll be soaring above Scottsdale’s desertscape, using your own instincts to catch the rising air without a drop of fuel. An exhilarating experience for any adventurer.
Perhaps it’s the expansive skies and inspiring landscapes, but people like to dream big when they come to Scottsdale, especially when it comes to architecture. First stop on your cultural adventure is Montezuma Castle National Monument. Built more than six centuries ago, this is a rare opportunity to witness the incredible legacy of a whole community of adventurers, the Sinagua people, who lived and survived in the Verde Valley 1,000 years ago before vanishing without a trace. Explore the museum, roam the trails and enjoy bringing a gourmet picnic to the sycamore grove beneath towering limestone cliffs.
On your last day, you’ll experience a true architectural masterpiece. Frank Lloyd Wright began building his desert winter home in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains in 1937, and today it’s still marvelled as a bold architectural triumph. With a professional architect as your guide we’ll take you on a night tour of this masterpiece, made even more enigmatic illuminated against the dark desert sky, ending with an open-air Champagne reception in the grounds. A truly dramatic setting where you can raise a final toast to your Scottsdale adventure.