Tales from the Trail Blog

Tales from the Trail Blog

Phoenix adventure tours: Beat the summer heat

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • May, 02, 2021
The Wild Bunch Desert Guides are offering an online booking discount along with the annual roll out of special summer start times for the safety of our guests from June 1-Oct. 1. Read on to get discount details and understand how a highly rated Phoenix adventure tour company handles the heat of the summer. more...

Posted in: Adventure Tours  |   Views: 141  

Top 3 Phoenix guided hikes from a Scottsdale adventure tour company owner

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • April, 25, 2021
I am posed with this question often: When friends or family visit from back home in the Midwest, where does a Scottsdale adventure company owner take them for a Phoenix guided hike? The answer: The same places I like to walk my dog – and the Wild Bunch Desert Guides take our guests! Here is my list of all-time favorites, though. more...

Posted in: Hiking  |   Views: 141  

'The kids are all right' on hiking & biking tours

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • April, 11, 2021
The scenery is unbelievably beautiful. The experiences are unforgettably memorable. If only your kids could be part of your guided Phoenix hiking trip or guided Scottsdale mountain biking tour. But wait! They can! Here is how families can enjoy the same thrills together with the Wild Bunch Desert Guides. more...

Posted in: Hiking, Mountain Biking, Adventure Tours  |   Views: 213  

Hiking or Mountain Biking in Phoenix? Watch for these ‘Easter Eggs’

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • April, 04, 2021
Easter comes only once per year, but the Wild Bunch Desert Guides offer an “Easter Egg Hunt” of a different kind daily in the Phoenix Metro area. From Flora to Fauna, Arizona’s Sonoran Desert boasts all sorts of colorful and exotic sights not seen elsewhere. And those cool plants and animals are just waiting to be discovered, too, during a guided hiking tour or guided mountain biking trip. more...

Posted in: Hiking, Mountain Biking  |   Views: 188  

The Business of Love: The Adventures of Bonnie & Clyde

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • March, 21, 2021
Life is an adventure, but especially when you own an Arizona adventure travel tour company. The demands of the industry make long-term personal relationships a tough business. An understanding significant other is a requisite for success in both business and love. more...

Posted in: Adventure Tours  |   Views: 311  

Survival drive delivers lessons in gratitude

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • March, 13, 2021
When the CoVid-19 pandemic began a year ago in March, I was worried the dream of owning a small business was over for me. However, my Arizona adventure tour company not only survived, but is thriving a year later – and I have a front-line job to thank for saving my small mom-and-pop specialty shop, as well as my sanity. Here’s how I got from that perilous Point A to the paradise of Point B. more...

Posted in: Adventure Tours  |   Views: 211  

'March Madness' underway: Here's 'Elite Eight' Arizona adventures

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • March, 06, 2021
“Selection Sunday” is fast approaching. Spring Break also is upon us. If planning a “March Madness” Spring Break dance to Arizona, these are the “Elite Eight” adventure you must consider during your visit to the vaunted “Valley of the Sun.” more...

Posted in: Adventure Tours  |   Views: 318  

IF YOU BUILD IT: 'Field of Dreams' realized through business, friendship

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • February, 27, 2021
A chance meeting with a top baseball executive has led to a wonderful friendship and annual spring training tradition for the Wild Bunch Desert Guides. While I have reveled in the career successes of “Mr. Diamond” -- including a huge promotion after winning the 2016 World Series with my childhood team and home-state Chicago Cubs – he has been incredibly supportive of my small mom-and-pop specialty shop’s steady rise, too. Suffice to say, we have enjoyed the ride since our first mountain bike meeting in 2015, and become each other’s biggest fan while building our personal “Field of Dreams.” more...

Posted in: Mountain Biking  |   Views: 236  

Cancel culture: Why there is a refund policy

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • February, 20, 2021
A cancellation policy is a necessary protection for a small business in the service industry. However, as an Arizona adventure tour company owner, I am torn by putting myself in other people’s shoes when a last-minute cancellation crops up. We all have been there as a customer, right? But there have been a few nightmarishly notable reasons for a strict 48-hour no refund policy in the past for the Wild Bunch Desert Guides. more...

Posted in: Adventure Tours  |   Views: 235  

Open love letter to the real superheroes of the Sonoran Desert

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • February, 13, 2021
As “The Devil Woman,” I get to be a superhero to tourists by delivering fun and adventure during their visits and vacations to Arizona’s “Valley of the Sun.” However, the unsung heroes for me are the super team making my Wild Bunch Desert Guides a success. Together those talented pros and fantastic human beings make either a guided mountain bike tour or guided hiking adventure an amazing experience. more...

Posted in: Adventure Tours  |   Views: 202  

Camelback Mountain Master Class: This is 'F'ing hard'

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • February, 05, 2021
Look at the spectacular pictures from the peak, and the attraction of a Camelback Mountain hike is easily understandable. I certainly get the allure for visitors to Arizona’s Valley of the Sun, too, as a Midwestern transplant blessed with many unforgettable moments in my memory bank. However, as an adventure tour company owner, I must be honest with my guests -- a guided Camelback Mountain hike is not for everybody. more...

Posted in: Hiking  |   Views: 291  

An adventure guide walks into a coffee shop … (no joke!)

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • January, 28, 2021
A chance meeting with visiting multi-media specialists TOTL turned into a glorious day of mountain biking in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. A mutual-admiration society also was formed that day in the Phoenix area, as well as a wonderful promotional video produced for my small adventure tour company, Wild Bunch Desert Guides. But more than anything, the experience served as a great series of lessons learned by this small business owner. more...

Posted in: Mountain Biking  |   Views: 193  

This woman’s adventure tour company truly a ‘wonder’

by Laurel Darren, Wild Bunch Desert Guides • January, 21, 2021
I am lovingly referred to as the "Devil Woman" because I bring the heat as a hard-working taskmaster with a wicked sense of humor, devil-may-care demeanor and fun, adventurous spirit. Those super powers serve me well as the leader of the Wild Bunch Desert Guides, a band of do-gooders fighting a never-ending battle against boredom, lethargy and the "crime" that is the CoVid-19 pandemic. more...

Posted in: Adventure Tours  |   Views: 167  

Coronavirus & Tours

Getting outdoors and hiking or biking is not only good for you mentally and physically, but it's one of the safest activities you could participate in. We are taking all appropriate measures following CDC guidelines to avoid any COVID-19 transmission. More details here.
 

Summer Tours on SALE!

Use code SUMMER21 when checking out online to get a 15% discount on your tour.
 


Featured Reviews

Laurel was absolutely amazing, giving us all the insight and local tips, which were extremely helpful. She runs a really great operation and can't thank them enough for squeezing us into their busy schedule last minute. No corners were cut and everything is really well thought out. … I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone. They greatly impressed me with both their customer service and integrity to do things right. The Black Canyon Trails are lucky to have this business and Laurel around.

- Jonathan W.

Our geographically-distributed company meets in a unique location each year. This time, we wanted to experience the Sonoran Desert. On the recommendation of our resort concierge, we booked a trip with Laurel and the Wild Bunch Desert Guides. What a great pick! From our initial contact months before the trip, Laurel was very responsive, a pleasure to work with, and it was clear she was passionate about providing a memorable experience. Laurel picked the 14 of us up at the resort and immediately established a fun and high-energy rapport with our group. She was great at reading the group dynamic, making us all feel comfortable, and reminding us that we were out to have some fun. Upon our arrival at the trailhead, our bikes and gear were equipped and ready per our specifications (including SPD pedals for those who requested them). All the gear was in top shape, and we were able to hit the trails quickly. I had initially been concerned that riding might be more "nose to tail," frustrating our more beginner and advanced riders alike. Fortunately, Laurel and our two guides, Rebel and Eric, did an awesome job of allowing the group to naturally separate a bit so that we could ride at our ability while also intermittently meeting up so that we could enjoy the experience together and shuffle up the groups. Along the entire ride, our guides were cheerleaders, support crew, comic relief, and naturalists. They did a great job of assessing each riders' experience and adjusting and making recommendations accordingly. Laurel's passion for riding, for the desert, and for providing everybody with a great experience was exceedingly evident and made for a memorable afternoon. It was a perfect way to experience the Sonoran Desert. I would not hesitate to recommend Wild Bunch!

- Tom S.

See All Reviews