Best Luxury Adventure Tours
Explore America’s wilderness—without sacrificing comfort—through these modern tours.
Too often, the joy of America’s pristine wilderness is spoiled by dehydrated camp food and the blisters formed getting there. But there’s no reason a sunset on Idaho’s Salmon River or a starry night in Arizona’s Havasu Canyon should be reached through perdition. A new breed of safari combines spacious tents, gourmet meals and exclusive access, and these four outfitters bring five-star service to the wild. With purple mountain majesties, hot showers and sundowners, natural beauty has never felt so good.
Utah and Beyond: O.A.R.S.
American rafting pioneer George Wendt’s Grand Canyon tour is iconic, but his trip to Utah’s Cataract Canyon is unforgettable. Guest lecturers describe desert wildlife; astronomers, stars; and historians, ancient civilizations of the Southwest. Chefs serve multicourse dinners on white linen tablecloths illuminated by candlelight. And there’s no need to pack: Send along your sizes and O.A.R.S. assembles all the gear you’ll need. From $1,466 per person; oars.com.
The Southwest: Off the Beaten Path
These journeys through Arizona, Utah and New Mexico focus not only on the land but also on the people who live there. After a ten-mile hike into Arizona’s Havasu Canyon, travelers relax at Off the Beaten Path’s deluxe camp (Aerobeds, room-sized tents, gourmet meals, hot showers) before joining Havasupai elders who share their stories of the Grand Canyon corridors. Custom trips start at $1,500 per person; offthebeatenpath.com.
New Mexico: EcoNewMexico
Chip and Sandy Cunningham specialized in Africa, Australasia and Latin America for decades, and now they offer excursions in northern New Mexico. During the six-day Llama-Chama Adventure, guests raft through Georgia O’Keeffe country to a camp complete with beds and a decadent Dutch-oven chocolate cake before spending a night at the sacred Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs, then trek, with some help from llamas, up to the Taos wilderness camp. From $2,995 per person; 888-326-4440.
Idaho: Far & Away Adventures
The Salmon River’s Middle Fork is one of the most beautiful and pristine U.S. waterways. Guests can raft down its 100 rapids over 100 miles with a 3,200-foot elevation drop or hike along it. The Big Five—elk, wolf, bighorn sheep, bear, moose—are seen either way. At camp, guests enjoy chef-prepared organic feasts with wine and Pacific Northwest microbrews before retiring to tents lit by solar lanterns. From $1,840 per person; far-away.com.