Where To Find An Energy Vortex In Sedona

Sedona Vacations by DETOURS | Cathedral Rock

Sedona is known for many incredible things, from historic breathtaking red rocks to world renowned southwestern art. Sedona is also known for being a spiritual center point that welcomes all, within that spiritual openness there are four famous energy vortexes. At this point you might be asking yourself, what exactly is a vortex? Energy vortexes are said to strengthen the inner being of anyone who is near one – or even as far as a quarter mile away. The energy from a vortex is said to be similar to the energy found in each individual’s core energy center, which is why many people who visit Sedona’s historic sites can feel the vortex energy. Sedona vortexes are natural geomagnetic points that create a swirling energy center radiating from the earth’s surface. Many people have reported feeling inspired by these beneficial spiritual energy sources, which are also said to facilitate balance, prayer, healing, and intuitiveness. People come from far and wide to experience this unique energy.

Vortexes are said to strengthen either the feminine side, the masculine side, or sometimes a balance of the two. The feminine side strengthens characteristics like kindness, compassion, and patience. The masculine side strengthens traits including reasoning, decisiveness, and self-confidence. A good balance will strengthen honesty, openness, intimacy and commitment. Sedona has four main energy vortexes. Some are off the beaten path and require a hike – though not a strenuous one – to reach. The four main vortexes in Sedona are the Airport Mesa Vortex, Boynton Canyon Vortex, Bell Rock Vortex & Cathedral Rock Vortex. Whether you’re planning a new trip to Sedona or looking to add some new adventures to your scheduled visit, you can experience these vortexes with Detours by adding the “Touch the Earth” vortex jeep tour to your Sedona day tour.


Boynton Canyon Vortex

The Boynton Canyon vortex is located about 8 miles west of the Sedona “Y”. This energy vortex is said to strengthen spiritual balance and the energy from the vortex is claimed to twist many of the Juniper trees in the area. The Boynton Canyon Vortex can be accessed from Boynton Canyon Trail, from here, follow signs for the Vista Trail. Follow the red trail markers and you will soon arrive at a 30-foot-high hill where the energy is the strongest. The Vista Trail is another beautiful trail offering sweeping views of the valley and red rocks all around. This vortex is said to facilitate a balance between the masculine and feminine side, or yin+yang balance.


Bell Rock Vortex

Bell Rock is one of Sedona’s most known Vortex Meditation sites. It is an Upflow area (also referred to as Electric or Masculine) that is best for serenity and solving problems from a higher spiritual perspective. For decades seekers from around the world have used Bell Rock for contemplative reflection and inspiration. Bell Rock is claimed to be a powerful vortex, in an area of many vortices. Bell Rock is located off of Route 179 between Sedona and Oak Creek. The distinct shape makes it an easy one to spot. The energy at this vortex is very strong and is said to strengthen all three parts – the masculine side, feminine side, and balance.


Airport Mesa Vortex

The Airport Vortex can be accessed from Airport Road. A trail leads to the saddle between the hills and at the top of these hills, you can see breathtaking views of Sedona. Go later in the evening and take in the gorgeous sunset and the twinkling city lights. The Airport Vortex is said to strengthen the masculine side. Airport Mesa Vortex is an Upflow area (also called Electric or Masculine) that helps your spirit soar for a higher perspective or greater oneness and serenity. It is also the one of the few places in Sedona where you can get enjoy a 360 degree panorama of the entire town.

Cathedral Rock Vortex

The Cathedral Rock Vortex can be accessed by either hiking or climbing. The strongest energy of this vortex is said to be felt as you walk east along the creek towards Cathedral Rock. Marvel at the stunning, vibrant red rocks as you meander along the cool and calming creek. The energy at this vortex is said to strengthen the feminine side. Cathedral Rock is predominantly an Upflow Vortex (especially the 1st half of the trail) which allows a great platform for soaring and feeling inspired for greater oneness and serenity. The flat area halfway up also has wonderful views of Sedona and the Chapel of the Holy Cross. The top saddles between the spire is one of Sedona’s best Combination Vortex (sometimes called Electromagnetic) areas that allow you to do more advanced spiritual skills and deeper forms of meditation.

Our expert tour guides recommend a guided day tour to Sedona from your Phoenix/Scottsdale hotel for the most. There are plenty of things to do in Sedona but if a metaphysical Southwest experience is what you’re looking for, visiting an energy vortex is a must on your travel bucket list!

John Wesley Powell’s Grand Canyon Exploration

Private Day Tour of Grand Canyon South Rim from Phoenix by DETOURS - Duck Point

“We are now ready to start on our way down the Great Unknown. Our boats, tied to a common stake, chafe each other as they are tossed by the fretful river… What falls there are, we know not; what rocks beset the channel, we know not; what walls rise over the river, we know not… With some eagerness and some anxiety and some misgiving we enter the canyon below and are carried away by the swift water through walls which rise from its very edge.” – John Wesley Powell| The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons| 1895


The notion that Powell and his party had met an unfortunate end during their 1869 expedition did not strain the imagination. They had undertaken what is now considered one of America’s great adventure stories. The mighty Colorado River’s course had been a mystery even to Native Americans of the region, a blank space on the best maps available. Powell’s expeditions in 1869 and 1871-72 revealed the Colorado’s secrets, as well as some of the most remarkable terrain,including the magnificent Grand Canyon. It was a brutally hot day on August 13, 1869, when John Wesley Powell and his nine-man crew reached what he called the foot of the Grand Canyon. At this spot where the Little Colorado River flowed into the Colorado and the towering rock walls radiated the desert sun like a convection oven, the explorers entered a world unlike anything they or any other European-Americans had ever seen.

Historians have described Powell as a heroic frontiersman driven by the exploration of the unknown, or alternatively, as a horrific leader whose men refused to recognize his authority. Either way, he was obsessed with personal ambition and a love of the outdoors. Born in Mount Morris, New York, in 1834, Powell’s rural upbringing was one of constant moves as his parents, both English immigrants, struggled to maintain small farms. Young Wesley was a voracious reader who would borrow any book he could get his hands on, immersing himself in learning about science, natural history and literature. Although he was expected by his father to join the Methodist ministry, Powell had found his own form of religion in the wild. He often wandered from home on excursions into the fields and woods, collecting everything from fossils to flowers. Powell was also an adventurer from an early age. At 21, he walked across the state of Wisconsin. The next year, he rowed the entire Mississippi River and later made trips down the Ohio and Illinois Rivers. After a brief stint as a school teacher, Powell’s views against slavery pushed him to enlist in the Union Army, where he quickly advanced to artillery captain. Six months into his service, his right arm was blown off by a mine ball at the Battle of Shiloh. By all accounts, the wound had little effect on his life. After recovering from an amputation below the elbow, he returned to the battlefield to serve three more years and was promoted to the rank of major.


In 1869, very little of the Colorado River drainage had been explored and, at the age of 35, Powell was determined to complete the first scientific survey of the region. A Civil War hero who was bored with his college teaching job in the Midwest, “Powell wanted to make a name for himself as a Western explorer, and the Colorado River basin was the best place to do that,” according to historian and Powell biographer Donald Worster. Six decades after the expedition of Lewis and Clark, Powell would pick up where they left off, venturing into the last big blank spot on the map and captivating the nation. Some three centuries earlier, soldiers with conquistador Francisco Coronado had peered over the edge of Grand Canyon and deemed it impassable, and since that time European immigrants had stayed away from a place that was viewed as inhospitable. The only way to penetrate the wilderness was by boat but, until Powell, no one was willing to take on such a perilous challenge with little promise of reward. Not only would the 1869 expedition eventually go down in history as the last great land exploration in the United States, it was Powell’s eloquent descriptions that would introduce the Grand Canyon to the world. After Powell’s adventure was widely publicized in newspapers and magazines with accompanying spectacular images, Grand Canyon suddenly became viewed as a world-class natural wonder, a place to be visited rather than avoided. Yet, the trip was no cake walk, and Powell would only wax poetic in hindsight. As he and his crew entered Grand Canyon that day in August, some 700 river miles from where they had pushed off at Green River, Wyoming, the expedition would soon devolve into mutiny– and not all of the men would live to tell about it.


The expedition’s route traveled through the Utah canyons of the Colorado River, which Powell described in his published diary as having “wonderful features—carved walls, royal arches, glens, alcove gulches, mounds and monuments. From which of these features shall we select a name? We decide to call it Glen Canyon.”

One man quit after the first month, and another three left at Separation Canyon in the third. This was just two days before the group reached the mouth of the Virgin River on August 30, after traversing almost 930 miles. Powell retraced part of the 1869 route in 1871–1872 with another expedition that traveled the Colorado River from Green River, Wyoming to Kanab Creek in the Grand Canyon. This trip resulted in photographs an accurate map and various papers. In planning this expedition, he employed the services of Jacob Hamblin, a Mormon missionary in southern Utah and northern Arizona, who had cultivated excellent relationships with Native Americans. Before setting out, Powell used Hamblin as a negotiator to ensure the safety of his expedition from local Indian groups. In the 1870s, Powell became the man of the decade. He traveled the country giving speeches and eventually founded and then directed the United States Geological Survey. He went on to promote protection and appreciation of the Grand Canyon landscape and Southwest native cultures with evangelical zeal in much the same way his father had preached the Bible. “The Canyon is a book of revelations in the rock- leaved Bible of geology,” he wrote. “All around me are interesting records, and I can read as I run.”


Unforgettable Spring Break Trips to the Wild, Wild West

That time of year we all look forward to so much, especially those needing a long break from school and work is just around the corner. Whether you’re planning a getaway with your friends from school or a family vacation with your kids, the Southwest is the perfect place to escape to for Spring Break. Whether you’re just starting to plan your spring break vacation or if you’re seeking advice for how to make sure your Southwest adventure goes smoothly, we’ve got you covered.

DETOURS of the Southwest offers a wide range of trip options to ensure there is a little bit of adventure and excitement for everyone joining the journey. Here’s an overview of all the must see Southwest spots and the corresponding tours you can book now to lock in your soon to be unforgettable spring break trip to the wild, wild west!

Grand Canyon

Head to the Wild West and tour Grand Canyon this Spring break, for it is a unique array of activities, adventures and amusement. Hiking For the adventurous, from short two hour hikes to a multi-day hiking expeditions, there are unlimited options for those wishing to explore the Grand Canyon on foot.  The South Rim train and Bright Angel trail are great starting points and offer hikes up to 12 miles. If you need some steeper terrains, lookup the South Kaibab Trail and the Hermit trail.

For extreme hiking, the Grandview Trail offers many steep challenges. Train rides for the nostalgic, take a journey into the Wild West and chug along the Grand Canyon’s diverse terrain in fun vintage coaches. Horseback rides for the Wild Westerner with horseback and mule rides galore in the Canyon. River rafting for water junkies on The Colorado River offers a plethora of opportunities for river rafting and Grand Canyon Rafting tours are available Grade 1 through Grade 4.

Experience sunset and sunrise in the Grand Canyon National Park at the South Rim. This two-day tour offers a full experience of Grand Canyon National Park. Arizona’s natural wonder of the world is yours to enjoy with the best Grand Canyon South Rim views. The Grand Canyon South Rim Overnight Tour departs the Las Vegas strip at approximately 6:30am and returns the next day at approximately 7:30pm.

Antelope Canyon

During your adventures to the Wild, Wild West make sure you take time to experience Antelope Canyon. This historic landmark is home to some of the most spectacular views in the world. This spiritual sanctuary for Navajo is called “the place where water runs through rocks” and is mostly accessible only by guided tour. One word to the wise – even professional photographers find capturing the essence of Antelope Canyon to be challenging, mainly due to problematic light reflection. No worries – once you’ve experienced the Canyon, you’ll never forget.


Enjoy Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell and a Zion National Park scenic drive on this two-day, one-night guided private tour from fabulous Las Vegas. Antelope Canyon: This historic sight is comprised of two main areas within the canyon, Upper & Lower Antelope Canyon. Upper Antelope Canyon is also called Tsé bighánílíní, “the place where water runs through rocks” by the Navajo. It is the most frequently visited by residents and tourists for two reasons. First, its entrance and entire length are at ground level, requiring no climbing. Second, this portion of the canyon allows beams of direct sunlight radiating down from openings in the top of the canyon, creating the most incredible moment you can experience in nature. Lower Antelope Canyon, called Hazdistazí, or “spiral rock arches” by the Navajo Indians, are located a few miles away.

There are so many tantalizing views and backdrops that you instantly feel transported into a serene southwest peace. In addition to Antelope Canyon, enjoy the scenic one-mile walk to the breathtaking Horseshoe Bend Overlook which is highlighted by awe-inspiring views into this deeply carved channel and the Colorado River below.  Photos from the edge of this natural beauty are widespread across the world and are nothing short of amazing.  Why not whisk yourself away to one of the most tranquil destinations in the American West for Spring Break? Book a tour to one of the most photographed places in America and immerse your senses in the incredible natural beauty of the canyon.

Monument Valley

Spring Break in Monument Valley Gouldings, Utah, has so much to offer if you love the outdoors. Monument Valley, which extends into both Arizona and Utah, is on tribal land run by the Navajo Nation and remains one of the most iconic images of the American Southwest. Enjoy Monument Valley Tribal Park on the Navajo Nation on a two-day, overnight tour from fabulous Las Vegas. This private, guided tour explores Monument Valley, Navajo culture, Lake Powell overlooks, Zion National Park scenic drive, and views of Glen Canyon Dam.

After departing from the Las Vegas Strip, your DETOURS guide will travel through the Mojave Desert eventually crossing over state lines into Arizona. You will have the option to enjoy lunch in Kanab, UT or Page, AZ. After lunch, there are many scenic options including Lake Powell overlook for a photo stop, or Glen Canyon Dam and Visitor Center. In the afternoon, the tour will take you to Navajo National Monument Ruins and/or the Shonto Trading Post in the Navajo Nation.

The second day of this guided tour will allows for three hours exploring the magic of Monument Valley with Navajo tour guides. After experiencing Monument Valley, there will be time to visit any stops you weren’t able to see yesterday like Lake Powell or Glen Canyon Dam. Your DETOURS guide will return to the Las Vegas Strip at approximately 8:00pm. Oh, and did we mention visiting the Elephant Feet on Navajo Nation? Plenty of vehicles stop on the side of the road near the pair of lonely sandstone towers jutting out from the flatland’s east of Navajo Nation. To everyone who sees these formations, they look exactly like their name: Elephant Feet. There is no visitor center, but that’s part of the beauty of these pachyderm formations — you can walk right up and touch the “toes” of these rocks. (Photo hint: give the camera to a friend, stand between the “feet,” and tell your friend to frame the shot so that it cuts off the top of the rock formations. This way it looks like you really are at the feet of a giant elephant!)

Sedona & Grand Canyon

Satisfy your Southwest wanderlust and visit two of the most majestic sights in Arizona with our Sedona overnight with Grand Canyon tour from Phoenix. This 2 night, 3-day tour will allow you to discover dusk and dawn in Sedona, paired with the best Grand Canyon views. This two-day guided tour offers a full day in Sedona among the world famous red rock formations as well as a full tour of the Grand Canyon National Park. Arizona’s Wonder of the World is yours on the second day of the tour to take in the best Grand Canyon South Rim views. Guests will also experience the Navajo Nation to enjoy the expert craftsmanship and unique history of the local culture. No matter how much time you have in Sedona, you can’t see everything. With clusters of natural wonders in every direction, it’s difficult to pin down a specific list of attractions. But here are a few highlights we recommend including in your Spring Break adventures.

Enjoy the stunning Red Rocks & numerous hiking trails, venture to the Chapel of the Holy Cross, visit local Sedona art galleries, create your own adventure at slide rock state park & red rock state park and immerse your senses in one of the many Sedona vortex’s. Beneath the skin of the red rock landscape, the Earth has a breath, the landscape has a pulse. Powerful vortexes are believed to unleash an energy field that resonates with all who come in contact. People travel from around the world to experience these swirling centers of energy that are conducive to spiritual healing, meditation and self-exploration. For many people, arriving in Sedona is just the beginning of their journey. Discover dusk and dawn in Sedona, paired with the best Grand Canyon views. This two-day guided tour offers a full day in Sedona among the world famous red rock formations as well as a full tour of the Grand Canyon National Park. Arizona’s Wonder of the World is yours on the second day of the tour to take in the best Grand Canyon South Rim views. Guests will also experience the Navajo Nation to enjoy the expert craftsmanship and unique history of the local culture. Atop the Mogollon Rim, we will travel the outskirts of the Route 66 town of Flagstaff on our way to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Guests will enjoy about three hours within the National Park marveling at the beauty that is the Grand Canyon.

While at the South Rim of the National Park, you will have opportunities to walk the rim, shop, capture an unlimited number of photographs, or enjoy your lunch and relax with the best seat in the house. During our time in the National Park we will also explore the famous 30-mile section of road that winds east along the rim of the canyon, showcasing the best rim views and history along the way. Before returning to Phoenix from the Grand Canyon, we will be treated to distant views of the Painted Desert as well as close up views of the Little Colorado River Gorge and Navajo Nation. The Painted Desert is the perfect backdrop for our stop in the Navajo Nation at a prominent trading post. You will be able to get a glimpse into the past, view the highest quality authentic Navajo artwork and craft work, as well as visit a gift shop to bring back souvenirs for friends and family.

Bryce Canyon & Zion National Park

Your Spring Break experience in the Southwest would not be complete without stops to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park. Bryce Canyon is the historic site that houses the largest collection of Hoodoos (odd-shaped pillars of rock left standing from the forces of erosion) An imagination of wonder paired with your best friends or family members will serve you when visiting Bryce Canyon National Park. Discover the colors, shapes and long views in Bryce Canyon National Park. Immerse your senses with views of the Virgin River Gorge, the Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument and amazing panoramic views of the famous “hoodoos” and 100 mile vistas across Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument.

Whether you’re watching the sunrise or the stars shine you will be thankful you added this destination to your Spring Break visit and were able to experience this forest of stone in the heart of the southwest. Visit Zion National Park and soak in stunning views of the The Watchman, the most photographed icon in Zion National Park. This beautiful and shapely rock mountain that happens to “face” the valley from the South is stunning during the daylight and glows at sunset. Make sure you have plenty of space on your iPhone or film in your camera when visiting this landmark.

Experience Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Lee’s Ferry and the Navajo Nation all in a single action packed day tour. Antelope Canyon is one of the most beautiful slot canyons in the world located just east of Page, AZ. Enjoy a guided tour from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon South Rim and soak in the views of what President Teddy Roosevelt proclaimed as “one of the great sights every American should see.” As you venture just south of Zion National Park in Washington County, Utah, there is a ghost town named Grafton. Said to be the most photographed ghost town in the West, it has been featured as a location in several films, including 1929’s In Old Arizona—the first talkie filmed outdoors—and the classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The nearest inhabited town is Rockville.

National Parks of the American West

Complete your National Parks of the American West bucket list on this 9-day, 8-night guided tour. You’ll experience Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Staircase National Monument, Capitol Reef National Park, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Grand Canyon North Rim, Monument Valley, and Lake Powell. Experience the view at sunrise from the edge of Bryce Canyon National Park changes rapidly as the light spreads over the sandstone formations.

Embark upon one of the most scenic and isolated routes in North America, the Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument. Hike the famous Calf Creek Trail in the Grand Staircase and then continue along Highway 12, rising to the aspen forests of Boulder Mountain and to our unique hotel near Capitol Reef National Park.

While you’re driving through Utah make sure you take a moment to stop and enjoy some of the best local fare courtesy of Mesa Farm Market. This small organic food stand in the middle of nowhere in Utah between Capitol Reef and Moab is famous for their cinnamon rolls, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and their fresh milk, cheese and butter from their local farm animals. Stop for an afternoon snack of yogurt and cinnamon rolls while driving from Arches to Capitol Reef, sit on the screened porch and relax while watching a flock of goats soak up the sunshine and fresh farm air. While you’re in Moab, Utah hike to the famous Delicate Arch for sunrise, which is moderately strenuous and worth every effort. After a short hike to Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River, it is a scenic drive to Lees Ferry and the Vermillion Cliffs for a visit to the beginning (or ‘zero mile’) of the Grand Canyon. From the Vermillion Cliffs, our route climbs to the Ponderosas of the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park for unforgettable vistas at Cape Royal and Point Imperial.

How the West Once Was

Create a once in a lifetime Spring Break experience and take a step back in time and explore how the West was once with a customized tour to Chiricahua National Monument, Bisbee, Tombstone, Amerind Museum, Fort Bowie and Fort Huachuca. These sights can all be seen through a Platinum Tour from Phoenix (3 days, 4 nights).

Explore the wonderland of rocks inside Chiricahua National Monument, which is a historic monument established in 1924 to protect its extensive balancing rocks and hoodoos located in the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona. Visit the Faraway Ranch, the historic home of Swedish Immigrants, Neil and Emma Erickson dating back to 1886. Next up visit the historic copper and silver mining town of Bisbee, Arizona located just 92 miles southeast of Tucson. Bisbee is known as a haven to artists, retirees and history buffs, Bisbee astounds visitors with vibrantly colored rock faces and picturesque houses hugging the edges of cliffs. Its history can be discovered in its numerous museums, historic staircases and a mine tour that leads deep into one of the remaining caverns.  As you continue your Arizona adventure, make sure you make time to visit the “Town Too Tough to Die”.

Tombstone is the perfect place to explore classic western history in the heart of Southern Arizona. The town is famous for its lawmen and bandits, was the metropolitan hub of the American West for its commerce as well as mining and local cattlemen. Explore the wild west history, the historic San Xavier del Bac Spanish Mission, the famous cemetery at Boothill, as well as the Tombstone Courthouse, Big Nose Kate’s Saloon, Birdcage Theatre, and OK Corral. Continue your journey into the historic Southwest by visiting the Amerind Museum. This Southwest treasure is a museum, art gallery, and research center dedicated to archaeology, Native cultures, and Western Art. Bring a lunch and enjoy the scenic picnic area with spectacular views of Texas Canyon.

Extend your travels to Fort Bowie National Historic Site, which commemorates the story of the bitter conflict between the Chiricahua Apache and the United States military. It also stands as a lasting monument to the bravery and endurance of U.S. soldiers in paving the way for westward settlement and the taming of the western frontier. The remains of Fort Bowie are carefully preserved, as are the adobe walls of various post buildings and the ruins of a Butterfield Stage Station.  Finish your tour at historic Fort Huachuca, which has served as a cavalry post, an infantry training center, a test center for electronic equipment and a major signals installation.

Death Valley

Experience California’s Death Valley National Park and its amazing display of natural colors and dramatic mountain ranges. This guided tour includes a stop at Badwater Basin to view the lowest point in the western hemisphere. Death Valley is referred to as “Mars on Earth,” with the amazing diversity of this park often under-appreciated. There is twice the depth of the Grand Canyon between Badwater Basin and Telescope Peak, seen together during your tour of Death Valley.

From peaks to salt flats to amazing colors, Death Valley has many faces. Along with the legendary landscape, there is a long and lively human history that brings personality and reality to Death Valley. Early pioneer explorers and borax mining have inspired many entertaining stories of Man vs. Mother Nature. The basin that Death Valley lies in is quite diverse in that the occasional rainstorm brings with it large patches of wildflowers, and the mountain peaks surrounding the valley are consistently snow-covered each winter. The guided tour of Death Valley offers approximately four hours in the National Park. A stop at the Badwater Salt Flats marks the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere, at approximately 280 feet below sea level. The Badwater Salt Flats also boast the hottest recorded temperatures on earth, taken in 1913. A tour to the oldest structure in Death Valley, the Borax Museum at Furnace Creek Ranch, is also highlighted on this trip.

Photo stops at Artist’s Palette and Zabriskie Point badlands, along with views of 20 Mule Team Canyon, and the Funeral and Black Mountain Ranges will round out the tour. On our return to Las Vegas, we journey through Death Valley Junction, home of the Armargosa Opera House and Hotel. Built between 1923 and 1925, the opera house did not blossom until Marta Becket made it her home and her canvas. As an actress, opera singer, painter, and builder, evidence of Marta’s hard work still exists in this National Historic Building. For more than 40 years, Marta Becket has lived and shared her art and dreams with those fortunate enough to find this wonderful and magical place. Located a few miles west of the California-Nevada border, near Death Valley National Park, no journey to this part of the world would be complete without a visit to this unique and inspiring destination. Reports of hauntings in the buildings were investigated on the paranormal television shows Ghost Adventures in 2010 and The Dead Files in 2013.

The History of National Parks and Presidents

John F. Kennedy once said “National parks and reserves are an integral aspect of intelligent use of natural resources. It is the course of wisdom to set aside an ample portion of our natural resources as national parks and reserves, thus ensuring that future generations may know the majesty of the earth as we know it today.”


Zion National Park

There are numerous visually breathtaking and historically rich National Parks that we are fortunate enough to call ours in the Southwest. While many of these national treasures attract hundreds to thousands of visitors each year, it’s important to note that these majestic parks are here today for us to experience and enjoy thanks to many of our former commander in chiefs. Everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Barack Obama has played in role in preserving America’s natural landmarks. To honor these historic sites and in honor of Presidents Day, here is a brief history of some of the major National Parks in the southwest and the presidents we are forever grateful to for preserving them.

While many presidents contributed to establishing and verifying regions across the country, there are two presidents who are credited with bringing national parks to the forefront. President Theodore Roosevelt was a great lover of the outdoors and as President thought it was important to keep land and water free of buildings and pollution. He worked for new laws to protect forests, rivers, and other natural resources. Roosevelt wanted to make sure that special places like the Grand Canyon were protected forever, so he created national parks and forests. During his administration (1901-09) five new parks were created, as well as 18 national monuments, four national game refuges, 51 bird sanctuaries, and over 100 million acres of national forest. On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service, a new federal bureau in the Department of the Interior responsible for protecting the 35 national parks and monuments then managed by the department and those yet to be established. Today there are over 417 National Parks in the United States with over a dozen located in the stunning southwest.


The Petrified Forest

The Petrified Forest is home to some of the most impressive fossils ever found and more are being discovered each year as erosion exposes new evidence. Fossils found here show the Forest was once a tropical region, filled with towering trees and extraordinary creatures we can only imagine. While more than 150 different species of fossilized plants have been discovered by paleontologists, species of reptiles, such as Desmatosuchus, similar to the armadillo, have also been discovered. In 1906 the Antiquities Act signed by President Theodore Roosevelt was used to create the Petrified Forest National Monument. Between 1934 and 1942, the federal Civilian Conservation Corps built road, trails, and structures in the monument, and the government acquired additional land in the Painted Desert section. The monument became a national park in 1962. Six years after the signing of the Wilderness Act in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, wilderness areas, were designated in the park. In 2004, President George W. Bush signed a bill authorizing the eventual expansion of the park from 93,353 acres to 218,533 acres. “If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.” – Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the United States


Petrified Forest

The Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon National Park is the United States’ 15th oldest national park. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, the park is located in northwestern Arizona. The park’s central feature is the Grand Canyon, a gorge of the Colorado River, which is often considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. During a first visit to the Grand Canyon, President Theodore Roosevelt gathered a small crowd on the south rim and addressed them. “The Grand Canyon fills me with awe,” Roosevelt stated. “It is beyond comparison! Beyond description; absolutely unparalleled throughout the wide world. Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. Do nothing to mar its grandeur, sublimity and loveliness. You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see” – Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt created the Grand Canyon Game Preserve by proclamation on November 28, 1906 and Grand Canyon National Monument in 1908. Further Senate bills to establish the site as a national park were introduced and defeated in 1910 and 1911, before the Grand Canyon National Park Act was finally signed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919. The National Park Service, established in 1916, assumed administration of the park.





Yosemite National Park

One of California’s most incredible natural landscapes, Yosemite National Park features nearly 1,200 square miles of towering waterfalls, millennia-old Sequoia trees, daunting cliff faces and some of the most unique rock formations in the United States. But despite its enormous size, most of the tourist activity takes place within a 7-square-mile area of Yosemite Valley.  In 1864 President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill granting Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove to the State of California. John Muir helped spark the creation of Yosemite National Park in 1890. In May 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt camped with Muir near Glacier Point for three days. On that trip, Muir convinced Roosevelt to take control of Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove away from California and return it to the federal government.

Death Valley

Death Valley is known as America’s lowest, hottest, and driest national park, adventurous visitors enjoy Death Valley for its many extremes and mysteries such as the sailing stones. Death Valley became especially popular in the 1920s when resorts were built around Stovepipe Wells and Furnace Creek. Death Valley was declared a National Monument in 1933 by President Herbert Hoover setting aside almost two million acres of southeastern California and small parts of south westernmost Nevada.  The park was then substantially expanded and became a national park in 1994.

New Mexico

El Morro

Located in the northwestern part of New Mexico is a magnificent natural outcropping of sandstone known as El Morro (which means “the heartland” or “the bluff” in Spanish)

This landmark has been a beacon for travelers and a natural canvas for Native American, Spanish and American explorers for hundreds of years. In the late 1500s, Spanish conquistadors came upon El Morro and began to record their presence at the base of the bluff. Rising so high above the surrounding landscape, El Morro became a guiding beacon for these early Spanish soldiers as they crisscrossed what is the American Southwest today. To preserve the site and the rock inscriptions telling the story of El Morro’s past, six months after signing the Antiquities Act into public law, President Theodore Roosevelt established El Morro National Monument for being “of greatest historical value” on December 8, 1906.



Crater Lake Park

Oregon has only one national park, but with 360 miles of public beach, gorges, wild rivers, forested peaks and fossil-rich desert it is by no means lacking in scenery. Crater Lake national park in western Oregon is known for having one of the deepest, clearest lakes in the world, due to the eruption of the Mount Mazama volcano, which created Crater Lake over 7,700 years ago. President Roosevelt signed the bill which resulted in the official creation of the park on May 22, 1902. Crater Lake thus became America’s 6th national park, following Yellowstone, Yosemite, Sequoia, General Grant (now Kings Canyon), and Mt. Rainier.




Zion National Park

Zion National Park’s canyons and mesas boast an especially exquisite beauty, even in a state known for dramatic landscapes. Breathtaking Zion Canyon is the centerpiece of this 147,000-acre parkland that protects a spectacular landscape of high plateaus, sheer canyons and cliffs. In 1908 eight southern Utah ranchers applied for a survey of lands near Little Zion Canyon in eastern Washington County. The report is said to have persuaded President William Howard Taft to set aside on July 31, 1909, over 15,840 acres in Little Zion Canyon as Mukuntuweep National Monument. Zion National Park was established as Utah’s first national park in 1919. The highlight of Zion National Park is an expansive canyon averaging 2,000 feet deep, Zion Canyon offers hiking opportunities along its floor in the 20 to 30-foot-wide area known as The Narrows and the challenging area known as The Subway. Two of the most prominent are the Crawford and Kolob.

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon is most famous for its colorful hoodoos, and there are more of these artfully eroded spires in the park than there are anywhere else on Earth. The area was originally settled by Mormon pioneers in the 1850s and was named after Ebenezer Bryce, who homesteaded in the area in 1875 and was known to have described the canyon as “a hell of a place to lose a cow”. Following a visit to Utah with the First Lady, President Warren G. Harding proclaimed Bryce Canyon a national monument on June 8, 1923. On June 7, 1924, Congress passed a bill to establish Utah National Park, when all land within the national monument would become the property of the United States. The land was acquired and the name was restored to Bryce Canyon. On February 25, 1928, Bryce Canyon officially became a national park.


Bryce Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon Overlooks That Will Blow Your Mind

As one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon is an extremely popular destination for locals and tourists from around the world to visit. This magnanimous destination is so rich in beauty and history that it’s almost difficult to know where to begin when planning your visit. The Grand Canyon offers exceptional hiking, horseback riding and camping; but one of the most incredible ways to experience the Grand Canyon is to catch a sunrise or sunset with a hike to one of the many overlooks.

Imagine seeing the sun tip toe in from behind the mountains, gradually illuminating the huge canyon in a breathtaking display that comes to life more and more every minute – or watching the sun slowly rest its head while coloring the sky with shades of orange, pink, and purple allowing the extreme contours of the canyon to catch the final remaining rays of light. While there are numerous overlooks to experience the Grand Canyon from, there are three unique vantage points we highly recommend including in your visit.


Shoshone Point

First on our list is on Shoshone Point, which is possibly the best kept secret at the Grand Canyon South Rim. Shoshone Point has simply jaw-dropping views and provides a good amount of solitude without the crowds and without requiring a deep hike into the canyon. This overlook offers spectacular views and the hike is .5 to 2 miles in length with less than 200ft elevation gain. Other than the occasional wedding, this area is the least travelled area of the entire South Rim, which makes your visit so much more private. A small parking lot is visible beside the access road (trailhead start), which is gated to prevent vehicle entry. The parking lot is located on the north (left) side of the road, between mile markers 244 and 245 along East Rim Drive. During the winter months when snow is prevalent you can ski the trail to Shoshone Point. However, as you begin to reach the rim, remove your skis to prevent accidents at the canyon’s edge. Camping is not permitted and the hike back to your vehicle should begin before dark. Make sure you pack your camera so you can capture the stunning 180 degree views offering from this overlook point.





Lipan Point

Next on our list is Lipan Point, which is one of the few places where you can see the Grand Canyon Supergroup of sedimentary rock formations. Lipan Point is located at the end of a short spur road north of Desert View Scenic Drive about 6 miles from the Desert View East Entrance to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It is located about 20 miles east of Grand Canyon Village. Lipan Point is just west of Navajo Point and the Watchtower at Desert View Overlook. Lipan Point also features the widest views of the canyon and the longest stretches of views of the Colorado River versus any other point at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The spacious panorama features many spires, buttes and temple formations that resemble ancient pyramids. Similar to Shoshone Point, Lipan Point is also less crowded versus other lookout points and offers the feeling of serenity and solitude with nature, and a must see when visiting the Grand Canyon.





Hopi Point

The final overlook on our list is the fantastic Hopi Point located along Hermit Drive. This overlook skirts the Grand Canyon rim west of Grand Canyon Village. You can walk to Hopi Point along the Rim Trail, it’s about a two-mile walk from the start of Hermit Drive, and as a bonus you will pass several good viewpoints along the way. Hopi Point is located on the northernmost spot on this part of the south rim, and the first point where much more of the western Grand Canyon comes into full perspective Because of the wide-ranging, unobstructed views, Hopi Point is one of the most popular viewpoints for watching the sunset and sunrise because of its wide vistas. In addition to the stunning views from this overlook, you will also be able to catch a glance of the Colorado River to top off your Grand Canyon experience.



Things to Know Before Visiting the Navajo Nation

Monument Valley Navajo Nation - DETOURS

“Yá’át’ééh.” Welcome to the Navajo Nation, a Native American territory that lies in northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah and northwestern New Mexico. Covering over 27,000 square miles with a population of over 300,000, the Navajo Nation is the largest area retained by any federally recognized tribe. When touring the Navajo Nation, you can travel back in time to see how the Anasazi people (or Ancient Ones) lived thousands of years ago. Well-known landmarks of the Navajo Nation include Window Rock, Canyon de Chelly, Monument Valley, and 186 miles of Lake Powell shoreline. This area attracts thousands of visitors every year and it’s important to remember that the Navajo have some cultural and social etiquettes that are useful for non-natives to know before visiting the Navajo Nation.

Social Etiquettes

Visitors are welcomed with open arms in Navajoland, but Navajo greetings and social interactions are a bit different than what non-natives are used to. Overall, Navajos value personal space and have a larger area of personal distance than non-natives. They use very little eye contact and generally do not hug when greeting someone new. Don’t forget, just like people in your hometown or community, the Navajo people like to be treated with respect. Once they get to know you, the Navajo are warm, inviting people who enjoy living in harmony with visitors.

Jewelry and Hair are Sacred

The recognition of personal space includes clothes, hair, and jewelry when touring the Navajo Nation. Non-natives are accustomed to touching a piece of jewelry or long hair in admiration but the Navajo would prefer a compliment in words, not in touch. In fact, it’s considered a violation of that personal space to touch a Navajo’s hair. Often times jewelry worn by the Navajo is breakable, can easily detach, or is being worn for ceremonial purposes. If you are so compelled to feel a piece of clothing or item of jewelry, it’s ok to ask although the invitation may not be accepted.

Dances and Other Customs are Ceremonial

Dances like the Enemy Way Dance, Yeibicheii Dance and others are mostly held for Navajos by Navajos and are not open to the public. Pow-wows and dances are often governed by the seasons and are sometimes exhibited for the benefit of the tourists in public forums. Many of these events are of a religious nature, and should be accorded the same deference as a church or prayer service, even if tribal members behave informally. Please do not ask ‘to see’ a certain dance, and refrain from applauding unless obviously apparent. There are many Navajo fairs, festivals and parades that are open to the public and are great for non-natives to attend to learn about the Navajo culture.

Remember to be conscious of taking photographs on the Navajo Nation. A good rule of thumb is do not take photos without asking unless it is a public event. Special permits are required when photographing for commercial use.

Go With An Open Mind

Experiencing any new culture is a time to be present. The Navajo strive to live in harmony with Mother Earth, Father Sky and the many other elements such as man, animals, plants, and insects. Visiting the Navajo Nation is a great time to turn off those iPhones and Androids and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of your every day life. Immerse yourself in the Navajo culture and soak in every moment of new adventure.

“Ahéhee'” (Thank you, in Navajo). For more information about the Navajo Nation, we invite you to the Navajo Tourism Department’s website. Many times navigation and/or Google Maps are unreliable so we strongly recommend visiting the Navajo Nation with a tour guide that knows the area intimately.

Venture To The Verde Valley On The Verde Canyon Railroad

Take a moment to imagine the world-famous landscape of Sedona with majestic colors, historic red rock buttes and rolling hills with lush greenery. Now imagine this landscape as untouched wilderness – without roads, resorts, homes or hotels. Picture cactus kissed high cliff walls, graceful cottonwoods, sycamore trees and agave plants as far as the eye can see. The picture you have just painted is a true image of the historic Verde Canyon and now you can experience it with DETOURS for the very first time!

This guided tour of Verde Canyon and Jerome departs the Phoenix/Scottsdale area on Wednesday and Saturday at approximately 6:45am and returns at approximately 7:00pm. After hotel pick up, you will be whisked away to tour the heart of the Verde Valley.



The tour kicks off in the historic mining town of Jerome, which dates back to the late 1800 and during the course of its history produced approximately 33 million tons of ore, including copper and gold. The tour will explore the history that made Jerome “the wickedest town in the West.”

After the Jerome tour, the small group will continue to the copper mining mecca of Clarkdale at the Copper Art Museum. Guests will explore both the functional and artistic uses of this second oldest known metal on the planet, from the functional uses in home kitchen supplies and tools throughout time to the ornate works of art used to adorn palaces and castles.



The final leg of the tour will explore the historic Verde Canyon Railroad. The very first tracks were put down over 100 years ago to transport local workers and ore mined from the surrounding Jerome mountains and are still in use today. The Verde Canyon Railroad runs between two protected sanctuaries, the Coconino National Forest and the Prescott National Forest, where dramatic high desert meets a unique riparian area. The unspoiled wilderness you will tour through is a scenic and historic treasure that has left people in awe since 1911. With stunning views of the Verde Canyon from either your first-class seats or your open-air viewing car, the casual elegance of the train allows guests to discover the heritage uniqueness of the landscape and its diverse ecosystem. From the stunning 1,800 foot tall red rock canyon walls as we get closer to Sedona to the consistently rippling waters of the Verde River, the scenery explored on this four hour journey is truly breathtaking. As it is said, “it’s always a good day when you’re on a train.”

Grab your friends and family and book your next adventure to explore the Verde Valley and the Verde Canyon Railroad with DETOURS!


Winter Wonderland Photos from the Southwest

One of joys of the holiday season is spending time with loved ones soaking up the dreamy wintery scenery.  While most visions of a white winter are usually in deep forests or lush greenery, there is something truly transcendent about winter in the Southwest. Witness the transformation of the warm dry southwest desert into an enchanting winter wonderland during the holiday season this year. Here are five of our favorite winter wonderland locations from the Southwest to inspire you this season.





Bryce Canyon

The bright orange sandstone formations that Bryce Canyon National Park is famous for are even more beautiful when they are capped with snow. It’s a side of Bryce Canyon that most visitors don’t get to see. Be sure to pack your camera so you can capture images just like these.


Natural Bridge

Red Rock Canyon

Just 17 miles west of the Strip, you’ll find the enormous Red Rock Conservation Area, 195,000-plus acres with 30 miles of hiking trails, rock climbing, and mountain biking. Now imagine seeing this gorgeous red rock covered in pillows of white velvety snow.







Grand Canyon

A winter sunset is a truly an inspiring and rewarding experience as you watch the setting sun. Imagine a brilliant changing of colors as the sun slowly descends behind the beautiful canyons of red rock. The array of color reflecting off the snow magnifies the already astounding beauty of the canyon. Here are some of our favorite images from The Grand Canyon during the winter.



Grand Canyon Winterc Mike Koopsen


Seeing Sedona red rock and vegetation blanketed with multi-inches of snow is literally breathtaking. When the sun heats Sedona the day following a snowstorm, the effect is unforgettable. Melting snow causes clouds of water vapor to rise up through the red rocks creating an almost mystical scene with starkly contrasting color and unusual visual effects.




Your Perfect Three Day Trip





With perfect winter weather, varied terrain, excellent accommodations, and wide variety of leisure activities, Tucson has it all; especially gorgeous snowy wintery views of the rich luscious desert.



Five Best Places in the American West to Visit During the Holidays

‘Tis the season to celebrate the holidays with family and friends in your own unique way. While the holidays often illicit visions of snow covered banks and forests, there is truly nothing more breathtaking than a visit to the American West during this magic season. Experience everything from snow covered red rock canyons to thousands of Christmas lights that illuminate the desert landscape. Whether you’re an American West local or planning a visit, here is a list of the five best places to visit during the holidays.

Grand Canyon South Rim

The Grand Canyon is one of the most majestic natural wonders of the world, but the beauty of the Canyon, especially the South Rim shines through on a deeper level during the holiday season. Imagine a light dusting of fresh snow sprinkled on the tips of the deep red rock with the smell of pine and cool crisp desert air filling your senses. Now imagine soaking in every moment of the enchanting views of the South Rim with your loved ones during the holiday season, can you think of anything more magical?



Phoenix Light Parade

Twinkling lights, hot chocolate, friends and family – it’s the most wonderful time of the year at Zoolights! Each year the Phoenix Zoo puts up an amazing holiday display of lights called ZooLights, and it is open in the evenings for about six weeks during the holiday season, beginning late November and continuing through early January. ZooLights shines with millions of lights, a three-story-high holiday tree, lakeside music-in-motion shows and hundreds of glimmering light displays. Plus, did we mention, you’re actually walking through the Phoenix Zoo? If you’re visiting the American West this holiday season, make sure you add this event to your list!






Antelope Canyon

The holiday season can be chaotic in itself, so why not whisk yourself away to one of the most tranquil destinations in the American West? Book a tour to one of the most photographed places in America and immerse your senses in the incredible natural beauty of the canyon. Enjoy viewing the warm honey and clay colored curves illuminated by small beams of light with your loved ones – every step you take is truly a picture-perfect moment. Mix up your holiday traditions this year and create memories with your loved ones in this extraordinary American West destination.

Lake Havasu City

There aren’t many American West desert towns that boast miles of lakefront property, so that fact alone should detail why Lake Havasu City is such a special place. Located three hours (driving time) from Phoenix, two and a half hours from Las Vegas and four to five hours from Los Angeles, this desert jewel attracts over 775,000 visitors each year.  Now imagine visiting Lake Havasu City and seeing it covered in over 650,000 holiday lights strategically intertwined to create a city within a city. Light displays are programmed and choregraphed to twinkle in time with holiday music, reflecting off the lake water under a clear desert sky. Can you think of a more magical way to celebrate the holiday season?




Santa Claus, Arizona

With a name like Santa Claus, who wouldn’t want to visit this town during the holiday season? Located in the Mojave Desert among the Joshua trees and unique rock formations, there is a place honoring the man whose traditional home is the North Pole. In 1937 a family named The Talbot’s founded Santa Claus, Arizona,  as an attempt to attract buyers to the desert location. The town featured several Christmas-themed buildings and allowed local and visiting children the opportunity to meet Santa Claus at any day of the year. As you can imagine, the town’s post office became very popular in December as children and parents could receive mail postmarked with the town’s name. Who wouldn’t want to visit Santa in the middle of the desert? Add Santa Claus, Arizona to your list of American West destinations and take a step into holiday history with the charming nature of Santa Claus, Arizona.