hunting for precious gemstone
Arizona Silver Rush and Old West History
classic Sonoran desert scenery
use real mining/geology tools
epic sunsets, remote desert solitude
Up to 25 mi/47km
The Graduate geologist adventurer will be capable of hiking 4 – 10 miles daily. Trails are generally maintained and have 5000 feet or less of change in elevation. Your backpack will weigh 30-45 lbs. Graduate time traveling hikers should be in good health, and exercise regularly. Previous backpacking experience is advised.
Strike it rich in Arizona’s Wild West Boom Country
Tombstone. Bisbee. The OK Corral. Doc Holliday, Waytt Earp, Wild Bill Hickok, Geronimo, and the Wild West. It all happened right here in the grand Sonoran Desert of Arizona. John Wayne, Gary Cooper, and Clint Eastwood made movies to commemorate those lofty days, and now you have a chance to create your own peice of history on our Wild West Prospector Backpacking Tour. Hunt for silver, copper, and all of their related minerals in the howling desert mountains of southern Arizona. Your geologist/guide knows the best spots to find the coolest stuff, not to mention your use of hammers, hand lenses, chisels, acid testers, and other mining/geology equipment. The adventure alone is enough to say you’ve struck it rich.
Hikers should have the ability to walk up noticeable elevation change and over uneven ground and surface for up to 9 miles per day and carrying a small pack of gear. Many routes and trails don’t have a shortcut or turn-around option. The hiking party moves at a gentle but steady walking pace with breaks.
A real back-packing trip, comfort is what you carry with you. There are no showers or electricity on the trail and restrooms are primitive. Backpackers can expect to sleep on a sleeping pad outdoors or in a small tent. Food consists of single-entrée meals, some food are freeze-dried or dehydrated with a few fresh food selections. Meals are prepared by your guide and served “group-style” out of pots and usually eaten out of personal meal-kits while sitting on the ground.2
Hikers will visit the remote frontier. Guides will take you to the hard-to-reach and hard-to-find attractions that remain completely untouched by the crowds. Groups will see few, if any, other hikers through the trip. Overnighting is private and secluded.
Our Wild West Prospector Experience begins in Tucson, Arizona, the city known as the “Old Pueblo” and capital of the old Arizona Territory. From there we head south to the rich mining districts outside of Tombstone and Bisbee, world famous for producing ore worth many millions of dollars sparking the 1880’s silver rush in Arizona. We will then strap on our packs, load up our hammers and prospecting gear, and head off into the turquoise mountains. Hiking among these rugged desert mountains and iconic Saguaro cactuses will lend a true sense of old school adventure. After a few miles we will find our camp and spend the night eating a classic miner’s supper and dreaming of riches beyond our wildest dreams.
Time in the car: 2.5 hours
Elevation & Distance: 3-5 miles, 1000 foot ascent
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
This morning wakes with the sun, as we will be spending the day searching for associates of silver and copper; bornite, chrysocolla, wulfenite, and other colorful specimens yielded by these historic mountains. In tow will be chisels, geologic hammers, hand lenses, and everything else that the 1880’s prospector might have been carrying with him. Your geologist/guide will hunt alongside with you, explaining the source and formation history of these fabulous gems, and giving perspective as to why this area is particular was of such interest. Happy hunting!
Elevation & Distance: 3-5 miles, rolling topography
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Our final day contains more great gem hunting in the turquoise mountains, a search for some of the world’s finest “peacock ore” outside of a small ghost town, and a stop in Tombstone to drink in the history and culture of this Old West mining boom town. After we get our fill we will head back to Tucson.
Elevation & Distance: 2-4 miles, rolling topography
Give me some details!
What is included in the Trip Rate?:
Your geologist/guide with all professional, medical, and backcountry certifications
Gear: backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trek poles
Kitchen: bowls, cups, utensils, backcountry kitchen
Food: Full meals and trail snacks
Transportation: Roundtrip from the host hotel to all activities/attractions
Fees: Permits, Entrance Fees, Camping Fees, all necessary trip fees
What is the Food Situation?:
Blue Marble takes care of all meals on your tour. Starting with breakfast on your first day through lunch the final day, your geologist/guide will prepare a variety of chef-inspired meals on the trail and in camp. All dietary needs are accommodated, so please get in touch with us to give us details of your requirements. There may be times where special needs necessitate a small rate increase.
Meals with include one main dish, which is prepared by your geologist/guide. Fresh options may be limited, as backpacking typically requires lightweight, non-perishable foods. Trail snacks will include meats, cheeses, nuts, chocolate, and other filling, delicious, and varying backcountry food.
Is there anything that i need to provide myself?:
Transportation to and from the host city/hotel
Lodging prior to and following your trip
Gear such as clothes, rainwear, and boots/shoes
Personal items such as toiletries and sunscreen
BMAG does not provide water bottles or Camelback-Style bladders
Personal lighting such as headlamps or flashlights
We suggest gratuities for your guide, typically 10-15% of the total trip cost
*Booked guests will receive a detailed information packet
What kind of group size can i expect?
Standard backpacking tours will accommodate 6 people plus one geologist/guide. The maximum group size is 10 guests and 2 guides.
Can I bring small children?
Children under 12 are generally not permitted on any of Blue Marble’s scheduled trips due to insurance liabilities. This can be negotiable on private tours, please contact us to discuss this policy
I want to book a trip, how can i do that?
Tour bookings can be completed through our online booking platform or through our office. A 50% deposit is required, and the full trip rate will be due 90 days prior to trip departure. Bookings within the 90-day window require payment in full. Trip rates are payable through our online booking platform or over the phone by Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, or Discover. Checks by mail are fine as well, as are bank transfers ($35 transfer fee).
Tell me more!
Where do tours start and finish?
This trip will begin/end in Kanab, Utah and you will need to spend the night prior to your trip’s scheduled departure in Kanab. You will want to fly into St. George or Las Vegas.
Can I meet the guide before the trip?
A pre-trip briefing is held at the host hotel the evening before trip departure. Any questions will be answered, and you will have the opportunity to discuss anything you wish with your geologist/guide. Most trips will depart between 6am and 9am the following morning.
ummm, what should i do with all my luggage and whatnot?
BMAG provides all transport throughout the trip. Our guests staying at the host hotel may choose to leave their car at the hotel. Our designated host hotels will typically store your luggage if necessary. In the event that this cannot be arranged, BMAG is more than happy to store luggage and personal belongings in a private and secure location during your tour.
how should i plan my travel after the trip?
In general, most trips can expect to be back to the host hotel by 6pm on the final day of the trip. Some trips may return earlier. BMAG typically recommends that you do not plan to fly home on the same day your trip finishes. Each trip has its own particular set of circumstances and logistics, so please contact us with any specific questions you may have.
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