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Q: What’s included in the price?

  • Professional, knowledgeable & medically certified guides

  • Transportation to and from the trailhead via origin city/town

  • Entrance fees into the park (when applicable)

  • Backcountry permits (when applicable)

  • All necessary gear: See Gear & Supplies

  • All meals starting with lunch on Day 1 through breakfast on the last day

  • Lodging on our Lodge-Based tours (not including the nights before/after your adventure).

  • An Adventure You Will Never Forget...



Q: How far in advance do I need to make a reservation?

As soon as possible. The more time we have to plan and prepare the better your adventure will be.


Q: How do I make a reservation?


To guarantee your reservation, we require a $250 per person deposit payable by Check, Venmo, or PayPal. We collect the remaining balance 90 days prior to the trip departing. If you pay by credit card, the final payment will automatically be charged on the appropriate date. If you would like to use a different form of payment, you must let us know before the final payment is due.


Q: What is your cancellation policy?

Please visit our Cancellation/Refund Policy page for more details.


When SOA secures your adventure, we incur many non-refundable expenses. When a guest cancels a reservation, we must enforce our cancellation policy. Once you are within 14 days of the departure date (or 60 days for Extended/Custom Adventures), these consequences become significant and result in forfeiting your deposit & 50% of trip cost. Furthermore, the majority of travel insurance claims happen one week prior to trip departure. For this reason, we strongly recommend buying Travel Protection Insurance.


Please visit this Travel Protection Insurance link for more details.


Q: Do I have to have previous hiking/backpacking experience?

No.  But you should be in good physical shape.  Backpacking trips require participants to carry at least 30 pounds, often for 5-7 miles per day over varying terrain. If you want to enjoy your backpacking trip as much as possible, please put in the time to physically prepare yourself. We can assist in recommending appropriate training exercises and help you determine what trips are best for your level of fitness.


We also offer a number of fantastic trips that do not require carrying a heavy backpack. Basecamp, and lodge-based adventures are all excellent options for folks looking for a more “easy-going” outdoor experience! But keep in mind, all of our overnight trips are designed to appeal to healthy, active travelers. Expect to spend the majority of each day hiking in the outdoors!


Q: How do you rate these hikes?

All of our trips are focused on active, outdoor pursuits and are designed for people looking to spend most of their vacation hiking in the outdoors. That being said, our wide variety of trips feature varying degrees of difficulty. Each trip is assigned a difficulty rating. These ratings are designed to help you determine the approximate difficulty of hiking and decide whether or not this is the right trip for you.


Please visit our Adventure Types page for more information.


Q:  Is there a minimum number of people required for an adventure to run?



Q: What age range do you recommend?

Many of our trips are appropriate for anyone over the age of 12. Every trip varies so please contact us for more information.


Q: Do you ever cancel adventures due to weather?

We reserve the right to change the trip itinerary due to weather or any other conditions beyond our control. SOA reserves the right to cancel a trip due to extreme weather circumstances. We only do this with everyone’s safety in mind.


Q: What can I expect the weather to be like on my adventure?

As you already know, predicting the weather is not an exact science. It’s even more difficult in remorse areas with drastic elevation changes. We will start sending you long-range weather reports 2 weeks out from your adventure and helping you refine what you need to have to be comfortable. However, erring on the side of caution and covering your bases is the best strategy for dealing with the weather. In short, be prepared for anything.


Q: Can I bring my own equipment?

Yes. If you have your own equipment you are more than welcome to use it.  If it does not meet our requirements we will ask you to use our gear. Contact us with questions regarding appropriate gear.


Q: How much weight will I have to carry?

An average backpack on a 3-day backpacking adventure weighs a total of 30 to 35 lbs. You can add 3 to 6 lbs. for winter hikes and trips lasting 4 to 6 days. Your day pack will unusually weigh less than 15 lbs on our Day Hike & Lodge Adventures. 


Q: Do I need to bring my own water bottles?

Yes. We ask that each participant be prepared to carry 2 liters of water on most of our trips. Many folks enjoy the convenience of a 2 or 3-liter bladder (Camelbak, Platypus, etc.) and we suggest also having a one-liter water bottle. Certain trips may require the ability to carry more water if the weather will be particularly warm.


Q: What else do I need to bring on the adventure?

Each trip will require you to bring your own clothing, footwear, toiletries, etc. Please see Gear & Supplies for more details.


Q: What kind of footwear do I need?

This can vary depending upon the hike, personal needs, and preference. Many of the hikes involve numerous creek/river crossings throughout the day.  You want a shoe that fits your foot comfortably, sturdy enough to handle hiking over rocks and tree roots, and light enough that you don’t feel like your shoes are made out of concrete. Please call us if you have more questions. Also, make sure if you buy new “kicks” for the trip to break them in a couple of weeks before we leave. 

No matter what trip you are on, it’s nice to get out of your hiking shoes/boots at the end of the day. Water sandals, crocs, or flip-flops are nice for relaxing around camp and hanging out in the creeks.  


Q: Do you cater to dietary restrictions?

Yes. If you have any diet restrictions or preferences (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, kosher, paleo, etc.) please let us know well in advance and we will accommodate your needs as much as possible.  We will work closely with you to custom tailor a menu that will meet your needs and wishes. Certain dietary requirements may involve a supplemental fee.


Q: Do I need to bring my own snacks?

Yes. We will provide all your meals and give you some guidelines to follow so you know which snacks to pack for your adventure. Please download Your Food Checklist for more details.


Q: How is cell phone reception?

When we are at higher elevations it's usually descent. If we are lower in the valleys the reception is spotty at best. The best thing for you to do in this situation is to think about unplugging from your phone and recharging your life battery.


Q: Can I be contacted in case of an emergency?

Please tell friends and family members to call (980)-521-3771 if there is an emergency.  Depending on the trip, it can take up to 24 hours (or more) for us to get a message to you in the backcountry.


Q: How big is the group?

Our average group size is 3 to 4 hikers. For private/custom adventures, we can accommodate groups as large as 6.  This would be good for weekend getaways, family vacations, corporate retreats, and leadership training. Please call or email for details.


Q: Meeting time and place?

We offer a variety of trips in a number of National Parks and Monuments across the Southwest so our meeting places/times vary. We will determine our meeting place on an adventure by adventure basis. All adventures involve a short welcoming orientation the evening before the trip departs. We request that you consider this when making your travel arrangements.


Q: Is there a place to park my car and store my luggage while I’m on the adventure?

Many of our guests leave their cars at their hotel while out on a trip. You may also drive your vehicle to the trailhead for logistical reasons. If you have multiple vehicles you may need to make plans with your hotel prior to leaving.


Q: Should we tip the guide?

It is never expected but always appreciated. Gratuities are a wonderful way for you to show your appreciation for the personalized care and attention you receive. Your guide also likes bourbon and high gravity dark beers.


Q: Do you offer customized adventures?

Yes, call or email us with your request.


Q: Do you offer discounts?

Yes, we offer discounts for returning guests.  Please contact us for details.

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