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“What a perfect day away from the city....”

Southwest Adventures Day Tours
Ranked #105 of 263 Tours in Los Angeles
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Owner description: Southwest Adventures offers adventure camping tours in and around the national parks of Southern and central California. The tours are a combination guided excursion mixed with a road trip with friends; everyone helps around camp and are encouraged to explore each unique location for themselves by choosing from the many hikes and activities available. The result is a great shared experience that is also uniquely personal for each participant. Equipment and food is provided, but we rely on our customers to bring a desire and willingness to share, create and explore with each other.
Reviewed 3 July 2014

Aaron was a great host - truly enjoyed my day trip to the Joshua Tree - I have lived here for years and had always intended to visit - having seen it on U2 album cover as a kid - and never did until now! Got a great deal through Goldstar - my mum was visiting from Scotland and she'd enjoyed glaciers in Alaska, drive up PCH through Central Coast and I wanted her to experience the desert just to give her the all-round feeling....

We both had so much fun - there were only 5 of us on the trip in a lovely air-conditioned van - with excellent commentary on what we were seeing...

We started by visiting Pioneer Town, an old movie set in the desert, got a lovely pottery soap dish from the wee artisan shop, then was intrigued by an outdoor sculpture place, then lunch in Joshua Tree, near the entrance, dined on pizza at 'Pie for the People' and bought some fresh loose tea - 'Mountain Witch Tea' at the local Farmer's market that Saturday....

There is some gentle hiking - more wandering though the desert, nothing too exertional - wear layers, bring water and a camera....

i plan on going back in Spring next year to see the flowering desert plants and sunset....using Aaron's expertise to guide me!!!

What a fabulous day! Fascinating for those who live in the city and even more astonishing for those visiting from out of town.....they get to see a great place and you don't have to do the driving!!!!

1  Thank Yvonne M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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9 - 13 of 17 reviews

Reviewed 25 June 2014

I went on this tour with my husband -- we were looking for an active outing and a chance to get to know Joshua Tree. We found both and more with Southwest Adventures. An excellent guide, Aaron, drove us the 100 miles from L.A. in a comfortable van. Not having to drive made us able to enjoy the hiking and to thoroughly rest after walking around in the heat. We went on 3 hikes ranging from 15 minutes to an hour, and all were scenic with little elevation. On the longer one, to Barker Dam, we noticed something remarkable that you rarely find in L.A.: overwhelming stillness and quiet. If only I could bring that home! We felt we were in good hands with Aaron. He knew all about the landscape and flora and looked out for our safety, which was comforting in a remote desert area. He tanked up on water upon entering the park, warned of us a spot where bees hang out and generally exuded competence. We stopped at a couple of interesting spots on the way to JT-- a movie set and a modern art compound -- that made for some fun Facebook pictures. Before hiking, we stopped at downtown JT for lunch, and Aaron gave us helpful restaurant reviews. I chose Natural Sisters Café (Yum!) Despite taking this trip during summer solstice, the heat was never oppressive due to cool breezes. It was a real bargain; especially the chauffeur/guide aspect of the trip. I now feel as though JT is a "known" area of So Ca to me.

1  Thank LauraGay2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 May 2014

Firstly I need to say that we found Aaron nothing short of brilliant to deal with.We did the overnight Joshua Tree adventure but it wasn't quite as we expected. Food, itinerary etc were excellent but as I discussed with Aaron, the addition of a family with young children to this tour changed everything. Firstly, they weren't too keen on walking, and their safety had to become a priority. Of course the inevitable happened and one got hurt (I have never seen anyone scale a rock face so quickly as Aaron who delivered first aid like a pro). Unfortunately this meant our early morning plans to leave camp and set out to explore were put aside.

I would like to see "adults only" trips being offered, and then those who want to experience everything on the blurb can opt for these. I enjoy the company of children but their interests are quite different from those of adults. We were back in LA before 7pm and felt a little let down.

1  Thank small-Jo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SouthwestAdventures, Owner at Southwest Adventures Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 22 May 2014

Thank you for voicing your concerns about the trip. As a result of your specific comments, we are in the process of modifying our policies to help ensure our trips consistently deliver the high level of satisfaction we know our customers deserve.

Unfortunately, accidents do happen sometimes, and the one that occurred during your trip was the first we've had in 4 years of operating tours. We hope you will give us another chance to share with you all that California has to offer.

We appreciate your business, your willingness to experience California through our eyes, and especially your interest in helping us improve our services.

Thank you,

Aaron Sims
Owner/Lead Guide
Southwest Adventures

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Reviewed 3 March 2014

It never rains in LA - except when I take the day off to do a trip to Joshua Tree! Actually thank goodness no matter how ominous the skies looked we never got rained on. Aaron was a wonderful and flexible guide. None of us knew anything about Joshua Tree or had any preference what we were going to do. We went on a Sunday which had some of the other sites not at Joshua Tree closed, but that didn't stop us all from having fun.

We did 3 easy 1 mile hikes. I wasn't feeling into walking around and just wanted to sit and look at the scenery. Aaron was happy to oblige and let me sit in the van and then found a spot with a picnic table so I could enjoy the views while the others hiked.

This trip is well thought out, flexible to the groups needs and well stocked with food and beverage. I always bring my own snacks due to food allergies and didn't need it at all. Aaron had us all covered.

Lunch was pizza and salad at a great eatery. Dinner he allowed us to veer from his usual places and we spent an extra hour at a BBQ place a bit off the beaten path. Very kind of him to let us enjoy the live band and excellent local grub!

Aaron was an excellent guide, driver, and all around great guy. This was an wonderful day tour and worth every penny. I noticed when I got off that he didn't ask for tips - but he deserves them so be sure to tip your guide/driver! I did and so should you. 12+ hours of awesome deserves something extra.

1  Thank Cybil S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SouthwestAdventures, Owner at Southwest Adventures Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 8 March 2014

Wow Cybil, thanks for that great review! And thank you so much for coming on the trip, it was really a pleasure spending the day with you.

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Reviewed 10 April 2013

I hesitated to book this trip both without having met Aaron and being unfamiliar with Joshua Tree. But Aaron's prompt and attentive communications and responses to my questions, and the general 'good vibe' that I got from this, made me pretty comfortable. Our two-day trip went off without a hitch, and that was largely to Aaron's knowledge of the routes to and through the park, his planning, his experience and his enormous flexibility. If anything, his flexibility made some of the decision making more difficult, because we were three adult customers (strangers to each other) plus my two kids, and Aaron typically completely deferred to our collective wishes when planning our next steps. Fortunately, our group was pretty sympatico, and it was easy to reach agreements, but I can imagine it might not always happen like that. My kids really enjoyed being on the trip, they have camped quite a bit but not in a setting like this. Oh, and the food was excellent, and plentiful. Our group talked about a reunion next Easter in Yosemite... watch out Aaron!

4  Thank margie s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SouthwestAdventures, Owner at Southwest Adventures Day Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 12 April 2013

Thank you for that wonderful review and feedback! It was great having your family on the trip,and it would be great to have you all back again.

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