Aravaipa Canyon Backpacking Trip

From $695 See Rates

ArizonaSonoran Desert
Tour Length
3 days, 2 Nights
Backcountry Camping
Guide Type

What do you picture when you hear the term ‘desert’? Whatever may come to mind, it is unlikely to include lush grasslands, verdant groves of cottonwood and sycamore trees, and crystal-clear water that flows year-round. That is exactly what you’ll find on our Aravaipa Canyon backpacking trip! An Arizona highlight, this secluded canyon has long been an oasis for backpackers looking for adventure in the Sonoran Desert.

Aravaipa Creek makes hiking during hot summer months a downright pleasant experience as you traverse the wide and meandering stream under towering, majestic cliffs. Be on the lookout for bighorn sheep, coatimundi, and any of the 228 species of birds known to live here. Due in part to the high biodiversity, the area is protected as a federal Wilderness Area managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The Nature Conservancy also manages a preserve that borders the Wilderness Area, further protecting sensitive species and rare riparian habitats. Hone your backpacking skills and learn about unique local history in this beautiful, isolated gem of the southwest.

Read about Camping in Aravaipa Canyon

What's Included

Tour Price Includes

  • Meals starting lunch Day 1 through lunch Day 3
  • Filtered water during van transfers and a variety of healthy hiking snacks
  • Professional Wilderness First Responder certified guide(s)
  • Kitchen and group gear (cooking utensils, stove, fuel, water filter, food storage where needed, dish washing necessities)
  • Personal mess kit (bowl, mug, fork, spoon)
  • Van transfers to/from Holiday Inn Express to the Aravaipa Wilderness
  • Bottled water and snacks for van transfers

Permit & Land Use Fees Include

  • Backcountry permit for 2 nights of camping

Not Included ​​​​​​​

  • Personal insurance and expenses
  • Pre- or post-trip lodging
  • Breakfast Day 1, dinner Day 3
  • Airport transfers
  • Air transportation
  • Sleeping bag (available to rent from AOA)
  • Sleeping pad (available to rent from AOA)
  • Backpacking pack (available to rent from AOA)
  • Backpacking tent (available to rent from AOA)
  • Trekking poles (complimentary upon request)
  • Gratuities to AOA Guides

Upgrades + Additions

Gear Rental

  • 1-person backpacking tent ($25 per)
  • 2-person backpacking tent ($35 per)
  • 55 to 65 liter backpack with removable daypack option fitted to individual ($30 per)
  • Sleeping bag ($25 per)
  • Inflatable sleeping pad ($25 per, sleeping pads add insulation and are required on AOA trips)
  • Trekking poles (complimentary upon request)

Other Additions

  • Purchase: 3-liter Camelbak reservoir/bladder ($35 per)
Optional upgrades, additions, and rentals subject to tax (8.05%).



  • TOUR PRICE $ 695 pp 695 pp
  • +Permits & Land Fees $ 36 pp* 36 pp

*Subject to change and will be based on actual costs at time of departure

*Subject to change and will be based on actual costs at time of departure

Do you have five minutes to save $25? Learn about our 25for5 promotion on our Promos & Discounts page! (Seasonal discounts may apply)


Hikers cross stream on Aravaipa Canyon backpacking tour

Today you will meet your guides and fellow travelers at our host hotel in Scottsdale. After brief introductions, we will load into our van and transfer to the west entrance of Aravaipa Canyon, where we will begin our backpacking trip. Your guide will distribute any rental gear and give a safety briefing and then we start our hike! The route into Aravaipa Canyon begins on an established trail but it quickly enters the creek and will remain in and out of the creekbed for much of the hike. Unlike hiking in Tucson or Phoenix, your feet will be wet throughout much of this journey – be sure to bring your best hiking socks and shoes! We’ll make camp near Horse Camp Canyon and settle in for the next two nights. Relax and enjoy a delicious guide-prepared meal around the campfire with your new adventure companions.


4-6 miles


Breakfast on your own, lunch and dinner included


Backcountry camping

Hikers cross stream on Aravaipa Canyon backpacking tour
Hikers look up at Aravaipa Canyon cliff on backpacking tour

Wake up to the song of the cactus wren and the smell of fresh-brewed coffee. Today is a day of exploration! After enjoying a hearty breakfast, we will begin our day by hiking further up Aravaipa Canyon and into some of the tributary canyons. We leave most gear behind in camp to lighten our load as we explore today. We will be returning to the same campsite after the trek. The day is ours to discover what this biologically-rich oasis has to offer. After a day filled with hiking, scrambling, swimming, and taking in the canyon views, we will return to camp to enjoy another wonderful dinner before settling into our sleeping bags for one more night under the stars surrounded by Arizona canyons.


7-10 miles


All meals included


Backcountry camping

Hikers look up at Aravaipa Canyon cliff on backpacking tour
Hikers in Aravaipa Canyon on AOA backpacking tour

We rise once again to the calming sounds of Aravaipa Creek. We’ll enjoy breakfast and coffee as we break camp and begin the journey back to the trailhead. Even though this is an out-and-back hike it will seem like a different route as we head downstream and view the canyon walls from a different perspective. Once back at the trailhead, we will load back into our van and head back to Phoenix while reminiscing about our shared adventure in an incredible Arizona desert oasis.


4-6 miles


Breakfast and lunch included, dinner on your own


On your own

Hikers in Aravaipa Canyon on AOA backpacking tour

Nitty Gritty

AOA’s adventures might challenge you, but we don’t want them to surprise you, these Nitty Gritty details can help you decide if this the right trip for you.

Comforts of Home

Cell service & Electricity: While backpacking in Aravaipa Canyon, you will not have cell phone service, you should expect to be unreachable by phone. There is no electricity available. Bring a portable battery to charge your phone for photos.

Bathrooms/Showers: During this trip we will not have access to showers or bathrooms. We will use a WAG Bag system to pack out our waste and ensure we Leave No Trace.

Age & Group Size

Minimum Age: 14
Max Group Size: 8

Hiking & Terrain

This backpacking trip requires that you carry all you need and a portion of the group gear on your back. Expect to carry about 35-50lbs in your backpack. We will be hiking in and out of Aravaipa Creek over slippery rocks, your feet will be unavoidably wet, and sand will get in your shoes. Trekking poles are very helpful on this trip and gaiters are a must.

Trip Ratings

Challenge 3.5 | Comfort 1 | Solitude 5 | Participation 3