When Ryder-Walker was first founded in Telluride, Colorado, we set out on a journey to find the best hiking and hotels in the Swiss Alps, a mountain range that had captured the entire company’s devotion. However, as we started to travel to more and more magical locations around the world, we remembered the landscape that inspired us to travel in the first place: the Desert Southwest. Truly a land unlike any other, the Southwest blurs between mountains and broad sandstone deserts, a surreal landscape that has called to explorers and hikers for centuries.
Telluride Trek: The Switzerland of America
Telluride, Ryder-Walker’s hometown, always felt like a distant sibling to the mountains of Europe and our Telluride Trek combines everything we have learned about European trekking with the awe-inspiring beauty of the Rocky Mountains. The San Juan Mountain Range is one of the most enigmatic mountain ranges on earth: a gorgeous combination of mountain and desert landscapes, with the Telluride valley itself offering views of peaks that hold their own against the legendary Matterhorn or Mont Blanc. Here the summits of the Wilson Massif rise well above 14,000 feet, while forests and planes sweep across the remote Southwestern wilderness. Few places on earth have spoken to us like the mountains of Telluride and it is our joy to bring you to some of the classic trails we started hiking on, such as the Ouray Perimeter Trail and the magnificent Wasatch Trail, with majestic views of the surrounding peaks that just get better and better as you ascend. These mountains have earned the Telluride region the moniker “The Switzerland of America.”
Rocky Mountain High Life: Aspen to Telluride
Our Rocky Mountain High Life hike will take you through the most iconic locations in the Colorado Rockies. With the help of one of our local guides, you will get to explore the high reaches of the Maroon Bells, San Juans, and the hot-spring valley of Ouray. With ascents to passes that sit above 11,000 feet, the Rocky Mountain High Life trek will show you the true grandeur of the Rockies in a way that no other hike can. The towns themselves, Aspen, Ouray, and Telluride are all a delightful mix, with world-class facilities in Aspen reminding us why it has become one of the most beloved mountain destinations in the world, Ouray remaining the best kept secret in all of Colorado and the mining and frontier ruins of Telluride displaying the region’s not so distant history.
New Mexico: Santa Fe to Taos
The landscape of Northern New Mexico must be seen to be believed. Here, the red sand of the Chihuahuan desert crashes into the last peaks of the Rockies. Beginning in the trading post turned luxury getaway of Santa Fe, our New Mexico Trek will take you out of the deep desert and into the charismatic peaks surrounding the legendary vacation town Taos. Whether wandering down into the center of the earth in the Rio Grande Gorge or ascending to the high summit of Wheeler Peak, New Mexico will show you a land of dramatic contrasts and imagination-captivating landscapes. Beyond this, the region has a deep settler history, where the legendary cowboys will feel as alive as they were in the 1800s: visit thriving Native American trading posts, the historic chapel in Chimayo, and the oldest village in North America at the Taos Pueblo with a native history that extends over 1000 years.
The Heart of Redrock Country: Sedona, Arizona
For those who are looking to delve into the heart of the American Desert, our Heart of Redrock Country: Sedona Arizona hike offers everything one imagines when picturing the Sonoran Desert. Deep canyons, blood-red bluffs, sandstone arches and spires, and hidden oases all await you in the heart of the desert. This unique trek is only offered as a guided trek because of the mysterious nature of the desert – it holds its secrets well and hides them even better. However, our guides will be happy to take you on hidden hikes far beyond where the typical tourist travels. Sedona itself is a magical town, where multiple First People’s tribes, some of the last true cowboys, local hippies, and even extra-terrestrial devotees all join together to form a town that makes the words “vibrant” and “eccentric” feel like understatements. Highlights of our itinerary include the picturesque Hangover Loop, underground Anasazi ruins in the sandstone Boynton Subway, and a stunning view out across the untamed desert from the summit of Wilson Mountain, the highest summit in Sedona.