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desert adventures vans at willow beach

Our Committment 

Behind the Scenes

We are committed to doing the right thing, even when no one is looking. We are proud to operate legally with all the necessary permits, insurance, and licenses. We won't compromise our standards for cheaper prices and we don't think you should, either.  Remote backcountry activities are inherently dangerous, and this isn't the place to cut corners to save a buck. 


All drivers adhere to federal Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations, must pass a pre-employment drug test, and carry current DOT medical certificates. Our vehicle fleet is strictly maintained and current with DOT operating permits, Motor Carrier and FMSCA requirements.  

We do not use 1099 contractors. This is a common way to avoid paying for workers compensation, payroll taxes, and unemployment benefits. It is usually illegal and employees have no coverage if injured on the job. Desert Adventures values its employees and maintains appropriate workers' compensation insurance.


We also conduct post-offer background checks (abiding by the Fair Chance Act) and voluntarily participate in E-Verify. 

Professional Guides

Training You Can Trust

Desert Adventures guides are true outdoor professionals. Guides are required to complete an intensive training program once offered a position at Desert Adventures. They must demonstrate mastery of multiple technical skills, proper judgement and decisions making, group management, risk management, and interpersonal skills. Local history, plant and animal life, and other narration and interpretation skills are mandatory. 


Our program has been developed and fine-tuned over the past two decades and we believe this is part of what creates so many successful trip outcomes.

packrafter with yellow boat in a canyon
kayakers in water trying to inflate paddle floats and self rescue
backpacking guide assisting another backpacker down a small cliff

Core Competencies

Technical Skills

Guides who lead trips at Desert Adventures must meet a minimum level of competency in their chosen specialty. River guides must be proficient in both solo and tandem river rescue techniques, as well as basic paddling instruction in a number of modalities (canoe, kayak, SUP, etc.). Many of our guides are accomplished paddlers, rafters, and packrafters. They are safety-minded knowledgeable people, who value being prepared and self-sufficient. Crewmembers often seek advanced levels of training and gain certifications in swiftwater rescue, rope rescue and rigging, and canyoneering. 


Backcountry guides are familiar with a variety of equipment types and are resourceful at making repairs in the field when necessary. Hiking and biking guides must show competence in each discipline they lead. Many are experts in their field and have been actively biking, hiking, backpacking, or canyoneering for years. 

rope technician instructing students and building a litter


We are proud to have instructors who are authorized to teach courses related to our industry. For those seeking advanced training and education, Desert Adventures offers high angle rope rescue training, CPR, AED, basic First Aid, and wilderness medicine courses. Our Leave No Trace instructors teach for and for incoming staff. We also have ACA (American Canoe Association) instructors on staff and offer canoe, kayak and SUP courses.

Remote Medical Training

Preparing For The Unexpected

Once upon a time (long before it was common to see a kayak in the desert), our company was struggling to find suitable training for wilderness emergencies. Local classes were not relevant to the kind of backcountry emergencies we faced, and guides would have to travel out-of-state to gain the necessary experience and certifications. It was clear we needed to take action.


By implementing our own program (in coordination with ASHI and EMS Safety Services) we were able to control the standards and quality of training for our guides, tailoring it to the exact needs of our business. When an emergency does occur our guides have the skills, tools, and confidence to respond appropriately. This commitment to risk management and emergency preparedness creates a value for our guests that is difficult to put into a dollar amount.

wilderness first responder taking blood pressure of injured female in desert at night
hiking guide wrapping a sprained ankle of another hiker
wilderness first responders attending to injured paddler

Raising The Bar

Certifications & Standards

All staff must maintain current CPR, AED and First Aid certifications. Most guides at Desert Adventures are Wilderness First Responders, with the minimum requirement being certification in Wilderness First Aid.  Several of our program instructors are frontline EMT's and paramedics, with an emphasis on remote backcountry medicine. A medical director oversees all training, ensuring we comply with the most up-to-date practices.

Guides will carry either a satellite phone, cell phone, or VHF marine radio depending on the trip.  All guides carry extensive first aid kits suitable to the activity, and each van we travel in carries a kit suitable for a first responder.


Going one step further, river guides carry waterproof automated external difibrillators (AEDs) for remote areas like Black Canyon where the Colorado river is cold and frigid, and there is increased risk of cardiac arrest.


Continuous learning and growth is strongly valued within our organization.  Desert Adventures offers ongoing training programs, staff outings, and field trips.  Our continuing education program rewards employees who go above and beyond. It keeps our staff engaged, passionate, and informed - and it creates value for our guests!

guides doing research at the library, studying, searching for books
The Gold Standard

What Sets Us Apart

Rest assured when you book a trip with us, we have done everything in our power to minimize risks and prepare for your arrival.  Our guides have dedicated numerous hours of their time and energy to meet or exceed standards set by our governing agencies. Educate yourself, do your research and shop around. Don't be afraid to ask your outfitter hard questions so you can make informed decisions. Ultimately your safety is your own responsibility, so choose wisely.

several kayakers participating in a kayak course
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