Wild Bunch Desert Guides In The News

A sampling of the “earned media” coverage received by the Wild Bunch Desert Guides follows our YouTube videos below. We hope you will become part of our still unfolding story soon by booking one of our now world-famous hiking or mountain biking guided adventure tours in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert.

As a small business, the Wild Bunch Desert Guides are thrilled whenever our local mom-and-pop shop receives attention from media outlets ranging from newspapers to online magazines to TV and radio stations.
Already in our relatively short history, the big headlines and bright TV lights have shined a spotlight several times on the Wild Bunch’s guided hiking and mountain biking adventure tours. The star treatment has helped our business grow and is a huge complement to our commitment to making every guided adventure safe, fun, and absolutely unforgettable for our guests.
A sampling of the “earned media” coverage received by the Wild Bunch Desert Guides follows our YouTube videos below. We hope you will become part of our still unfolding story soon by booking one of our now world-famous hiking or mountain biking guided adventure tours in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert.

Lake City Silver World NewspaperWild Bunch Desert Guides bring summer fun to Colorado
Lake City (CO) Silver World Newspaper, July 2023

Laurel Darren's face exudes joy and a deep love for all things outdoors. But the Wild Bunch Desert Guides owner truly lights up when talking about her hiking and mountain biking company offering tours each summer in her remote vacation outpost of our former mining community tucked away in the San Juan Mountains.

Read the full article here

JAIME'S LOCAL LOVE PODCAST, Nov. 2023Wild Bunch Desert Guides: For the Love of the Desert
Phoenix TV personality & podcast host Jaime Cerreta talks to Wild Bunch owner Laurel Darren. Hear about the guiding outfit's passion for showing visitors the beauty of the Sonoran Desert via guided Phoenix hiking tours and Phoenix mountain bike tours.
WATCH & LISTEN to the podcast here.

Arizona's Family
The impact of the Spring Training delay on Valley businesses
Arizona's Family, March 3, 2022

A local business, Wild Bunch Desert Guides, which offers hiking and mountain biking tours, says they have actually seen an increase in bookings.
Read the Full article here.

Duffin Media Podcasts
Reaching the mountain top, Jan. 14th, 2022

Wild Bunch Desert Guides owner Laurel Darren got Philadelphia media personality John Duffin to the top of Phoenix's iconic Camelback Mountain after two unsuccessful attempts. They became fast friends -- connecting on a number of issues with their many discussions during an incredible adventure. In this episode of Duffin's "Your Message Received ..." podcast, the duo recount their transformative journey and the many lessons to be learned and applied to real life struggles and challenges.

If you are a Spotify user, listen to the podcast here. Or, if you are an Apple subscriber, listen to the podcast here. You can also read about their Wild Bunch Desert Guides adventure together on our blog here

Shootout Arizona
Life lessons from a small business owner
Oct. 14, 2021
In less than 15 minutes each day, the "Shoutout Arizona" podcast promises to expose listeners to "some of the brightest and most inspiring entrepreneurs, artists and creatives" in the Phoenix area. Wild Bunch Desert Guides owner & operator Laurel Darren is the guest on this episode. Listen to the podcast here.

SalsaTwo-Wheeled Trail Angel
Salsa Cycles/The Mirnavator (Mirna Valerio), May 2021
"Laurel had been trying to get me to come out to Scottsdale for a long time, just to TRY IT AGAIN. She assured me that she would move at the pace that I wanted and needed, while pushing me a bit so that I could further hone any skills that I would learn." Full story here.

AZFamily.com 04-21-21Biking & Hiking: Adventure in the desert a sure thing with the Wild Bunch
AZFamily.com/JAIME'S LOCAL LOVE, April 2021
"With a dedication to customized details, customer service, and an unwavering commitment to delivering once-in-a-lifetime experiences to every guest, the Wild Bunch has become one of the premier adventure travel tour companies in the Southwest."
Read the whole article and watch the video here.

essenceGet Lost: A Socially Distant 72 Hours In Scottsdale
Essence, Dec. 2020
"Whether you want to bike or hike your own adventure, Wild Bunch Desert Guides offers an opportunity for exploring this special piece of land." Read the story.

Tips for Tour OperatorsGratitude powers Wild Bunch Desert Guides
Tips for Tour Operators Podcast, Sept. 22, 2018
"On the ‘Tips for Tour Operators’ podcast, guests often provide tactic marketing and business advice. Laurel Darren called me with a different perspective. Her tour has grown, not because of a fancy, new strategy, but because of an old one: Gratitude. She shares how she has learned to be grateful and give thanks whenever possible. Laurel has trained her guides to do the same and her business has seen huge growth because of it."
Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6D3Wz2MkNhI


VoyagePhoenixMeet Laurel Darren of Wild Bunch Desert Guides
Susan B. Barnes, Dec. 14, 2017
"What sets us apart is we are genuine and true to ourselves when it comes to how we take care of the guests. All my guides are amazing in their own way and I would never want to take that from them. We do not charge extra for private trips and we provide excellent guest service. The communication is the biggest part of it for us–ensuring we give the guests what their vision is and keeping them safe and smiling." — Laurel Darren, Owner, Wild Bunch Desert Guides
Josie's Bike LifeWomen Involved Series: Laurel Darren of Wild Bunch
Josie Smith, March 11, 2019
“For me personally, EVERY TOUR is my favorite guiding experience. I can honestly say -- even with the other companies I have had the honor of guiding for, EVERY tour has its own piece that I LOVE and have had some sort of fun connected to it." — Laurel Darren, owner, Wild Bunch Desert Guides
The Telegraph UKLiving proof a middle-aged defeatist can develop willpower
Xenia Taliotis, Sept. 2019
“’Trust me, honey,” says Laurel Darren from Wild Bunch Desert Guides, looking at my stumpy little legs.”
Experience ScottsdaleWhat’s open on Christmas Day in Scottsdale
Emily Lawrence, Winter 2020
“You can get your hike on 365 days a year in Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve and Pinnacle Peak Park. Parking is free, and trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset.  If you want an expert-led outdoor adventure, Wild Bunch Desert Guides can take you on hiking and biking tours over the holidays, including Christmas Day.” 
ForbesDesert Relaxation, Food & Fastballs: What to do on a Spring Training Trip
Theresa Christine, Feb. 25, 2020
“A hike up Camelback Mountain is worth the early wake-up call. You will also benefit greatly from booking with a tour company like Wild Bunch Desert Guides -- you will not only learn more about the region but also enjoy the company of their cheery team. The desert heat can come on quickly and Camelback Mountain poses more of a challenge than you might initially think, so it’s helpful to have a guide along the journey.”
AZ Big Media
12 Spring Training deals around The Valley

Mallory Schnell, Feb. 23, 2020
“Take a private 1.5-hour hike in the Sonoran Desert. Guides will provide you with snacks, water, and an Osprey backpack to use. For pricing and more information call 602-633-0842 or visit wildbunchdesertguides.com.”


Spring Training Travel Guide: What to do in Arizona between games

Susan B. Barnes, March 12, 2019
"If you want to explore the trails but are unsure of which route is best for you, sign up with Wild Bunch Desert Guides for a guided hike of Camelback."

The Sun UKDesert Dreaming: Here’s seven reasons to visit Arizona
Stacey Halls, July 22, 2018
“Join a sunrise hike up Camelback Mountain outside Scottsdale with Wild Bunch Desert Guides. As well as taking in the incredible vistas at the 2,700-foot summit, there’s an almost needle-less Saguaro cactus you can hug on the way down.” 

Parsons VillasThings to do: Fall Journey to enjoy Seasonal Scottsdale
Parsons Villas, April 29, 2019
"If you like to cycle and you love the desert, this Scottsdale thing to do is for you. Ride mountain bikes through the desert, between the towering cacti, up and down dusty washes and rocky terrain, covering more ground than if you were simply hiking. The Wild Bunch Desert Guides will design your trip to fit your biking skills, so you will be able to enjoy the beautiful Sonoran Desert scenery as you roll through it."
The Irish TimesArizona: A small piece of Unforgettable Heaven
Gemma Tipton, July 7, 2018
"Hike Camelback’s Echo Canyon trail with Wild Bunch Desert Guides."
inews UKScottsdale: The West's Most-Western Town a hub of Adventure
Katrina Congalen, May 14, 2018
"Fortuitously, jet lag means the 5 a.m. set-off for a hike up Camelback Mountain with Wild Bunch Desert Guides isn’t so much a hindrance as a boon — my body clock thinks it’s nearing noon. Camelback is a local institution, an obligatory jaunt. The hike is classified as a 'double black diamond' — which is to say, 'extremely difficult, long, rocky segments with possible drops and exposure, loose uneven rock, more than 20 percent grade, obstacles and excessive heat.’ The guides make heavy weather of how tough the climb is, but if you’re experienced, it’ll take under an hour to summit."
Phoenix MagazineSonoran Sojourns: Opt Outside with these Desert Exploration Experts
Mike Meyer, Dec. 2018
"Runner and cyclist Laurel Darren started the boutique company Wild Bunch Desert Guides three years ago. Guides take guests on private, custom tours that include hiking and mountain biking. 'I want them to talk about our guide for days post-tour, and how amazing they were,' Darren says. 'Or clink beers together because they rode 15 miles on mountain bikes.' Simmons recently added a full-day tour of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve that combines hiking and mountain biking. Call for availability."
12 NewsEverywhere A to Z: North Phoenix Mountain Biking
Brandon Hamilton, Sept. 18, 2018
“’The most important thing with mountain biking, your front wheel goes where you are looking, you have to know your brake systems and you have to have situational awareness, so you don’t hit a rock or a rattlesnake,’ says Tommy Collins, certified mountain biking instructor and trail guide with Wild Bunch Desert Guides.”
Mountain ShadowsOutdoor Activities to enjoy Dazzling Desert Beauty
Mountain Shadows
"Camelback Mountain. This iconic mountain next to the resort offers two advanced trails and unparalleled views. Choose Cholla Trail for a gradual ascent or the challenging Echo Canyon Trail with large boulders and rails for gripping. Explore on your own or schedule a private hike with Wild Bunch Desert Guides."
inspirockScottsdale’s Wild Bunch Desert Guides
Inspirock Trip Planner
“This is a journey and I hope lots of you will join us!!! Before you head to Scottsdale, plan trip itinerary details with our user-friendly Scottsdale tour planner, to make sure you see all that Scottsdale has to offer, including Wild Bunch Desert Guides."
pinkbikeLook at Wild Bunch Desert Guides
"Wild Bunch Desert Guides was born in the imagination of a couple of people who love the desert and all it has to offer. What better way to share this with the countless visitors each year, than to take you ourselves and show you around! Our gang is made up of guides with years of experience here in the Sonoran Desert that have a passion for exploring and a genuine commitment to making adventures safe, fun, and unforgettable."
Dry Spell: The many charms of Arizona
Tate Gunnerson, Dec. 21, 2017
"One of the most popular destinations in the area, Camelback Mountain, has a number of trails of varying difficulty that lead past wildflowers, Saguaro cacti and, let’s face it, at least a few rattlesnakes, but cliff tops overlooking magnificent 360-degree vistas make it well worth the trek. Wild Bunch Desert Guides will lead you up to the summit via the Cholla trail and then wind back down the Echo Canyon trail, pointing out wildlife and edible cactus fruit along the way. The quirky, highly entertaining guides also lead biking adventures and private hiking tours of other less-challenging trails."


Recent Blog Posts

Hunt for ‘Easter Eggs’ on Phoenix hiking tours

Easter is the final Sunday in March this year. But it hardly needs to be the holiday for Wild Bunch Desert Guides guests to go on an “Easter Egg Hunt” with guided Phoenix hiking tours. From colorful plant life, exotic animals and a rich tapestry cascading across the sky during sunrise or sunset, Arizona’s Sonoran Desert boasts all sorts of once-in-a-lifetime sights waiting to be discovered.

Winning selection: ‘Elite Eight’ of Phoenix adventure tours

“Selection Sunday” is March 17. Three weekends after that, “March Madness” for college men’s basketball concludes with the “Final Four” in Phoenix. If making a fastbreak to the Valley of the Sun for “The Big Dance” – or even visiting for spring training baseball or Spring Break from school -- here is an “Elite Eight” list of must-do Phoenix adventure tours.

Phoenix hiking tours: Lights! Camera! Action!

I have heard comparisons before to Drew Barrymore, with everyone from friends to guests noting I have a similar “crazy chick vibe” to the iconic actress and current talk show host. But recently, I got to step into Drew’s shoes for a glimpse into her world under the lights, with a camera crew turning the desert trails for guided Phoenix hiking tours & Phoenix mountain bike tours into a sort of movie set with me starring in a production all about my life.