7 Best Adventure Vacation Ideas in the Western US

Grand Canyon North Rim 5-day guided mountain bike tour

Expand your soul — try something new!

Searching for the best adventure vacation ideas in the western United States? Do you love trying something you've never done before? Are you into wilderness, wildlife, camping and amazing scenery? Once-in-a-lifetime, soul-expanding experiences?

Here are our personal "not-your-grandma's vacation" favorites:

1. Mountain Bike and Camp in Canyonlands

Needles to Moab Canyonlands Mountain Bike Adventure"I've never been on an off-road mountain bike trail but I am physically fit and I have a great attitude." If that's you, then you might want to consider either The Needles to Moab Canyonlands mountain biking tour, or the White Rim Trail. Camp under the desert stars, enjoy gourmet backcountry meals, ride through amazing desert scenery in Utah's canyon country on a top-grade mountain bike. Everything's included on a tour with Rim Tours. Available during Spring or Fall. For summer, consider the Canyonlands Backcountry Weekend. All three are some of the best adventure vacation ideas you'll find.

2. Hunt for Buried "Treasure" near the Four Corners

join a group of archaeologists at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, located in Cortez, ColoradoAnother on our list of the best adventure vacation ideas is to join a group of archaeologists at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, located in Cortez, Colorado, to take part in hands-on archaeological fieldwork by excavating great houses on a site located on nearby private land. When you’re not excavating, doing lab work, or learning about archaeology, you’ll enjoy the Four Corners region of the American Southwest. You’ll explore restaurants and museums as well as sites such as Hovenweep National Monument, the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, and Mesa Verde National Park. Spring, Summer or Fall.

3. Safari with Llamas in Yellowstone

llama supported pack tripsPerhaps you like the idea of backpacking but don't want to spend all day with a pack on your back? Try a llama-supported hiking tour, like this one, by Yellowstone Safari in Yellowstone National Park. Pack your load on a llama and explore the countryside unencumbered, with your long-eared hiking buddy at your side and beautiful trails ahead of you. Their llama treks are suitable for families and young children as well as groups of adults.

4. Do Yoga in the Wild!

yoga in the wildCombine invigorating and restorative yoga practices with canyoneering adventures. Red Rock Yoga and Hiking Retreats offer unforgettable experiences.  Located in southcentral Utah, Goblin State Valley Park is inhabited by uniquely shaped stone goblins which lure visitors to join them in their desert playground.  The retreat includes guided hikes through canyon country including an all day canyoneering adventure.  Free time will be offered too in a land where one could easily spend days exploring the mysterious valley and its numerous intricately eroded creatures.

5. Sea Kayak down Labyrinth Canyon

kayaking green river labyrinth canyonTry sea kayaking down Labyrinth Canyon on the Green River: an ever deepening canyon of whites, grays, yellows and browns, accented with impressive red buttes, mesas and spires. This trip is for moderately active participants, previous paddling experience is helpful but not required. Your kayaking guide, Canyon Voyages, will review paddling techniques and river navigation to help you get the most out of your paddling experience. Camping on beaches with back-country gourmet meals cooked by skilled and friendly guides. Spring, Summer or Fall.

6. Ride Horseback in the Grand Tetons

Horsepacking tour in the Grand TetonAlways dreamed of experiencing "the old west" but didn't think it was really possible? Think again. Horsepacking outfitters like Dry Ridge can set you up with an all-inclusive tour of a few days to a week, exploring the Grand Tetons by horseback. Complete with savory dutch-oven cooking. If you enjoy lots of horseback riding, camping below the stars, relaxing around a campfire, fishing in mountain streams and lakes, and wandering through mountain wildflower meadows, then these guys can set you up.

7. Explore Ancient Indian Ruins on Cedar Mesa

Explore ancient anaszi ruins in Grand GulchThe backcountry that you’ll visit with Far Out Expeditions reveals some of the most outstanding archaeology in the United States.  Explore wondrous landscapes, experience the fascinating flora and fauna of the red rock desert, all while encountering the rock art, artifacts, and habitation sites of the Anasazi and other cultures who lived here in the prehistoric past.