A thru-hike or mountain bike trip along the legendary Arizona Trail is high on the bucket list of many would-be adventurers. But while exploring the diverse terrain along its route is a lot of fun, making sure you have transportation to and from the trailhead plus food and camping supplies isn’t always an expedition highlight.
Hermosa Tours has been offering guided and self-guided tours across the Southwest since 2007. It has now signed an exclusive partnership with the Arizona Trail Association to offer self-guided hiking, mountain biking and trail running trips along the 800-mile trail under a new venture, AZT Expeditions. The idea follows the concept of Hermosa Tours’ self-guided tour concept whereby clients guide themselves, buy and cook their own food and create their own experience while AZT Expeditions handles the transportation, camp equipment and route design.
The format is ideal for out-of-towners as you can fly or drive in with just your bike and camping gear and use the camp kitchen, firewood, chairs, water and other camping necessities provided by AZT Expeditions. They will transport your gear from stop to stop so you can ride the trail at full mountain bike pace. They will even keep your beer cold for you! (Beer not included). There are 13 trips at the project’s launch, including two four-day rides and one three-day ride.
“The Arizona Trail is one of the most diverse and beautiful long-distance trails in the United States or anywhere in the world,” says Hermosa Tours founder Matt McFee. “We started this idea with just wanting to introduce the grandeur of this trail to more people. There are not many trails so diverse as to include the vibrant Sonoran Desert, numerous Wilderness areas, the high-altitude San Francisco Peaks, the edge of the Colorado Plateau and Saguaro and Grand Canyon National Parks.”
As part of the partnership agreement, part of the trip proceeds will go back to the Arizona Trail Association to help fund trail maintenance and outreach programs.
“One of the most frequent questions we get at the ATA is whether we lead trips on the Arizona Trail and with this partnership we hope to fulfill that demand,” said Matthew Nelson of the ATA. “Hermosa Tours brings years of experience leading outdoor expeditions and their self-guided model allows for people to have their own experience at a very reasonable price. We see this program as a valuable addition to the Arizona Trail Association and the Arizona Trail experience.”
Learn more about what trips are available and book now at aztexpeditions.com.
I made an attempt at a Colorado Trail tour last summer, only to be thwarted by rain (and I’m glad I was, seeing how it turned out to be the week of the disastrous Boulder floods).
This summer I know what’s at the top of my to-do list: Hermosa Tours‘ new 10-day self-guided adventure along the CT. What does “self-guided” mean? You’re out there on your own, with you and your friends, but Hermosa will take care of logistics, as well as carrying all your gear (food, water, firewood, whatever you bring) from one campsite to another. Forget bikepacking, that means you can full-on shred the 200 miles of trail with more than 75 percent singletrack.
In all it’s nine riding days, 10 nights, and one layover day from Salida to Durango, for just $950. Hermosa will even set up some canopies and a deluxe kitchen setup for you each night, so you can focus on chowing down. The ride starts and ends in Durango, and includes a ride to the start in Salida.
So bank some vacation time this summer. I know I will be.