Tomcar Adventure in the Sonoran Desert w/ Green Zebra Adventures

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Each time we visit a new place, we always try to experience the local adventure. For example, while in Kauai (Hawaii), we took a helicopter tour of the island and while in Winter Park (Colorado), we went snowmobiling. When planning our trip to Scottsdale, Arizona, it was of utmost priority that we go on some sort of adventurous ride through the desert!

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Green Zebra Adventures provided us with the funnest, dustiest, most adventurous tour through the Sonoran desert! It was exactly what we were looking for!

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Only located about 45 minutes from where we were staying in Scottsdale, we met up with our guides and the other riders at a quaint location on the Fort McDowell Yavapai Reservation for our 9 am tour.

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I felt as if we had been transported to a town in the great Old West.

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The neighboring buildings had a rustic and charming appeal.

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We were surrounded by open desert, a plethora of cacti, and even saw a coyote in the distance as we were getting our safety briefing!

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Before this adventure, I had never heard of a Tomcar. According to Green Zebra: from its origins as a fast, tough, off road military vehicle, Tomcar has evolved into an ultra-functional, durable and versatile machine fit for commercial and private use in the most demanding conditions.

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“From its immensely strong, fully-welded steel tube chassis to its heavy duty four-wheel independent suspension, the Tomcar is designed to be safe, rugged and extremely dependable.” – Green Zebra Website

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After our quick safety briefing, it was time to take off! My dad drove first, with Sam riding shotgun and me strapped in the back looking like a bad-ass bandit!

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Fashionable green bandannas were provided to all drivers and riders to prevent the inhalation of the massive amounts of dust these vehicles kicked up in the desert! We started out down a fairly mild road through the desert so the drivers could get accustomed to the feel of the vehicle.

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We came across some desert cows within 5 minutes of our departure. They pretty much minded their business and didn’t seem too bothered by the noisy caravan of Tomcars passing through their habitat.

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Within a few short minutes, we put the pedal to the metal and took off into a well-marked pathway through the 23,000 private acres of the pristine Sonoran Desert at Fort McDowell.

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Fortunately, our car was second in line right behind our front guide, John, so we only had the dust from the one car in front of us. Be warned that if you are located closer to the back, it can get very, very dusty! (Even near the front, we got caked with dust! It’s all part of the adventure!)

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After a while, we stopped for a break, to explore the desert around us, and to switch drivers.

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The dust was starting to accumulate! We simply called it our “desert tan”.

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During our first stop, we learned about the variety of cacti, like the Saguaro, found throughout the Sonoran Desert at Fort McDowell. John, our guide, was very knowledgeable about the surrounding area, along with its plants and wildlife.

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After about a 15-minute stop, Sam hopped in the driver’s seat, dad took shotgun and I stayed in the back! We set off yet again for another adventurous ride! This leg of the tour was particularly dusty and we ended up making our second stop in a little forest by the river, passing some wild horses along the way!

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John, again, gave us a little history lesson of the surrounding area while we rested. Then, it was my turn to drive!! I got strapped in, checked my mirrors…

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… and we were off!

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I felt a little bad, because I honestly feel like I got to drive during the most adventurous portion of the trip! There was plenty of flat land where I really got to test the speed of the vehicle, along with some fairly sharp turns and rocky terrain! It was an absolute BLAST!! We made a final stop just minutes from the completion of the tour, simply due to the stunning landscape!

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Of course, we had to take more photos of the massive accumulation of dust we had collected throughout the duration of the tour. Thank goodness for bandannas and sunglasses! (I honestly would recommend goggles of some sort for future adventurers, especially those who wear contacts, as the dust did get in and around my sunglasses.)

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Also, I recommend that you DO NOT bring an expensive camera due to the amount of dust you will encounter. I brought along my little point-and-shoot camera, and as protected as I tried to keep it, some dust still got into the lens. Here’s what the case looked like…

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After 2+ hours of buzzing through the desert, it was time to head back to the cute little western town on the reservation!

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All-in-all, this was a FABULOUS way to spend a morning in the desert.
The sky was slightly overcast and the weather was just perfect during our early November tour.

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If you’re in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area and are looking for adventure, look no further!!

To find out more information and to book an adventure with Green Zebra, click here.

Check out a quick video of our off-road adventure below!

Green Zebra Adventures
partnered with Forget Someday to provide us with a discounted tour. The experiences shared in this review are an honest representation of the adventures we encountered on our Tomcar tour of the Sonoran Desert!

Click here to learn more about how we spent a week in Scottsdale and please feel free to download our Scottsdale/Phoenix Destination Guide for quick reference to help with planning your own Arizona getaway.


  1. hi, just saw you on AZ Highways TV show and wondered about your rates and if you have any shorter rides. thanks, Mike 480 620 0184

  2. Sounds like such a fun and exciting adventure–this really makes me want to go! We were just in Phoenix and missed out on this–will definitely have to add it to the list for next time. Also, I can’t believe how dusty you were, but I do have to say I love the desert tan!! 🙂

  3. Nice photos! That roadtrip looks epic indeed!

  4. This looks amazing! What a way to experience the desert! Noted to not take an expensive camera 😀

  5. Whoa that looks fun! I can only imagine the dust…but who cares! So worth it.

  6. Oh my goodness, look at all of that dust on your face and your camera case! Did you shower down somewhere before getting back in your car? 😛 It looks like SO much fun. I’ve never heard of anything like this before. I’m glad they gave you bandanas and thanks for the tip about contact lenses – I’d have to worry about that one! 🙂 What a thrilling experience indeed!

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