In the summer of 1998 Rubicon Outdoors began offering a variety of adventure-based programs for teenagers, adults, and families learning to travel safely in wild places like the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Grand Canyon, the Swiss Alps, and South Africa. Over the years, we’ve had some incredibly fun, rich moments along the way and have discovered some remarkable places; since then, our enthusiasm for sharing these experiences with others has only continued to grow. Our mission is to offer the finest adventure tours available in these areas we know and love best!
Rubicon Outdoors is committed to offering affordable and exciting first-class adventure experiences in some of the world’s best locations for hiking, backpacking, and climbing. Check out a short synopsis of Where we go.
We keep our groups small and intimate, and we never cancel a tour because of a minimum group size requirment–for a trip to run all we need is one person, so if you’ve signed up, we’re going! Our tours provide a chance to meet new friends, dive into wild landscapes, and immerse yourself in the most beautiful places in the world. We’ve uncovered the best trails, the most breathtaking vistas, and the hard-to-find outstanding campsites. We know the most comfortable lodges to stay in, and where the locals go (that’s us!) for delicious fare. We’re picky–and we’ve assembled, we believe, the very best that the American Southwest has to offer.
Historically, the river Rubicon in northern Italy has come to symbolize crossing a point of no return. Come take a trip with us and you may find that you won’t want to go back because out here, a world of adventure awaits!
At Rubicon Outdoors we understand that almost as much as where you go, a great vacation depends on who you go with. Our guides are friendly, detail-oriented professionals who strive to meet your needs and exceed your expectations by providing the highest quality personalized service on your tour.
Many of our guides have bachelors’ degrees in Adventure Education, Wilderness Leadership, Environmental Studies, or a related field. Climbing guides are certified by the American Mountain Guides Association, and all of our guides are certified in CPR and are trained Wilderness First Responders. With years of training and experience our guides possess not only a wide range of technical skills from extended wilderness expeditions, but also the interpersonal skills to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable trip!
Matt Brown is the founder of Rubicon Outdoors and still gets out on tour every chance he gets! Growing up in California, Matt was fortunate enough to live close to the Sierra Nevada mountains, and his parents instilled in him a healthy respect for the outdoors and helped foster a desire to go further into the mountains. Matt earned a degree in Wilderness Leadership from Prescott College and worked in Yosemite National Park, where he met his wife Marieta. Matt has been organizing and leading tours with Rubicon since 1998 and is a Wilderness First Responder, and is a certified Top Rope Site Manager and Rock Climbing Instructor with the American Mountain Guides Association.
Steady, knowledgeable, and reliable Matt is always there with a helping hand just when you need it. He loves the Southwest, and always looks forward to meeting new people and showing off his favorite places. After a hike, you’ll often find Matt relaxing on an outdoor terrace, posting photos of the day to Facebook, and sharing a beer with anyone who cares to join him. Matt lives in Prescott, Arizona with his wife, their two daughters and son. He also has guided many tours in the Swiss Alps with our partner company, Alpinehikers, since 2006. When he’s not guiding Matt does many things behind the scenes to make sure your trip runs smoothly, organizing logistic for our guided and self-guided tours.
“Matt and Hayden were exceptional. They were extremely attentive, fun, knowledgeable, told us what was coming up the next day, took care of us. I realized during the first day that I didn’t have to think all day – everything was taken care of. I was impressed by them – getting to each town, shopping, having dinner with us, always answering questions and telling us about where we were. They were non-stop. The lunch and snack bags each day were such a treat. They got to know each person and were attentive to all of us.”
Troy Haines is the owner of Rubicon Outdoors and our partner company Alpinehikers. Troy first moved to the Alps in 1997, living and working in the hotels in Mürren, and spending many happy summers wandering the trails and discovering new places. Troy led Alpinehikers’ first guided tours in the summer of 1999, while he was still a year-round resident in the Alps, and added self-guided tours the next year. Upon moving to Prescott, Arizona in 2001, he found it to be the perfect complement to summers in the Alps, with a friendly vibe, great weather and easy access to countless trails through the surrounding forest.
Before the tours, Troy earned a degree in linguistics from Stanford University, taught 1st Aid and CPR classes for the American Red Cross, and led rock-climbing, hiking, and cross-country skiing trips. He also owned a bakery for two years (which helps explain his love of Swiss pastries) before moving to Switzerland in 1997. When not with the tours, he loves being a Dad and hanging out with his two young kids. Troy is also an enthusiastic trail runner, and have competed in a few of the excellent trail races in Switzerland and the Southwest, including the Jungfrau marathon, Prescott’s own Whiskey Row, and the nearby Flagstaff Sky Race. He loves meeting and walking with new people in beautiful places, and always looks forward to meeting others on these tours who share the same love of life and discovery.
Troy and Matt Brown joined forces in 2006 when Matt came to the Alps to as a guide, and now both Alpinehikers and Rubicon Outdoors are run by the same team from our Prescott office. As the founder of Alpinehikers, and the owner of Rubicon Outdoors, Troy is intimately involved in every detail of all of our tours, and is ultimately concerned with the safety and satisfaction of our clients. Troy still leads many of our tours personally; his long-time experience and commitment to providing the best service in adventure tourism brings a great wealth of knowledge and experience to both our Southwest and European adventures.
Matt Hart might have become a classically trained chef, but his path led instead to Prescott College over the French Culinary Institute. Their loss is our gain, and you will find him making his way up one trail or another equipped with a degree in Educational Use of Adventure and Wilderness and passion for the outdoors. A skilled rock climber and mountain biker, Matt loves the perspective and growth opportunities the outdoors affords; and he is great at helping other people step more comfortably outside their comfort zones to achieve their own personal best. “When you’re out like that, you get to know yourself and others in a truer sense. It’s transformative.”
Growing up in Colorado, Matt developed a strong sense of self through his time in the mountains and hills surrounding his home. More than anything, Matt is thrilled by the chance to make a career from activities normally relegated to weekends or vacation. “I’m really happy. There aren’t too many people that get to go to Grand Canyon, the coast of California, the Alps, the Himalayas, and the rainforest within a calendar year.” Matt’s work with Rubicon Outdoors builds on his experiences guiding and teaching in the American Southwest, India, Central America, and the Swiss Alps. When not guiding, Matt works as a photographer and an educator utilizing a variety of methodologies and educational theories to bring high academic standards to non traditional settings with young people and adults alike. Matt often posts photos and thoughts on his guiding and teaching experiences on his blog, Viewfinder Dispatch.
Abby Strauss-Malcolm believes in dynamic balance — stretching comfort zones — life as an experience of change and growth. She’s always willing to get out there to experience things for herself, and she’s always got an outstretched hand and quick laugh ready to encourage anyone who wants to join her.
Trained in Holistic Health and Adventure Education at Prescott College, Abby is also a certified yoga teacher, Wilderness First Responder, and nationally certified massage therapist. Like many professional guides, she considers her ‘office’ to be one of the best parts of her job, and she’s had the opportunity to explore widely from Israel and Jordan, to Mexico, Canada, Alaska, Thailand, India, Vietnam, Singapore, Burma, and much of Europe.
Abby’s approach to leading a fulfilling life: “Time spent sharing incredible places with a group, moving through the landscape on foot, enjoying good conversation and food, and inspiring people to reach their goals and attain new heights.”
After years of travel, Abby now calls Prescott, Arizona home. She works in our office as a tour designer, helping to organize our guided and self-guided tours, and leads many of our local tours in the fall, winter and spring.
“Our guide, Abby, was excellent. Just loved her!! The whole trip was like a dream come true.”
Before talking with Zach Dahlmer, you might not know there’s world-class surfing to be had off the coast of Nova Scotia. As one of his first adventure playgrounds, those waters gave Zach some of his most significant encounters with the sheer strength of nature — and the meaning of responsibility. Now, as a professional outdoor guide, Zach calls on that responsibility and those life lessons on a daily basis.
Zach focused his degree in Adventure Education on the educational and interpersonal aspects of outdoor adventure with small groups. “It helps me understand students and clients needs on many levels; to know when to offer a challenge. They’re at a point of stretching, of growth, while they’re out there. My job is to have fun with people and meet them where they are.”
Certified as a Wilderness First Responder and trained in a wide range of skills such as backpacking, climbing, sea kayaking, sailing, and wilderness navigation. Before calling Prescott home, Zach spent years guiding in the mountains and canyons of the U.S. Southwest and the nine years prior to that as a sail charter guide on the New England coast. His favorite part of leading a group is the chance he gets to share his passion for wild places, “to offer them the chance to interact with the world and each other in a very real way.”
Jimmy Marshment-Howell has a passion for adventure matched by his eagerness to lead the way for others. As a professional outdoor guide, Jimmy’s spent the last twelve years leading wilderness canoe trips in northern Wisconsin, whitewater rafting trips on the San Juan River, archaeological expeditions in the canyons of Utah, backpacking trips in the canyons of Arizona and mountains of Colorado, and snowboarding instruction in the Alps and the Black Forest.
Jimmy trained at Prescott College in ski mountaineering, technical whitewater, expedition logistics, and group management. His degree program in Outdoor Experiential Education and Wilderness Leadership took him to mountain ranges and rivers from southern California to Alaska. From there, Jimmy became the Head Guide at the Four Corners School of Outdoor Education, where he planned and managed a variety of expeditions combining adventure and environmental education on the Colorado Plateau. During that time, Jimmy broadened his horizons guiding commercial rafting trips for Wild Rivers on the San Juan and summer camp groups at Deer Hill Expeditions.
Currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Forest Science from the University of Freiburg in southwestern Germany,Jimmy is reconnecting with the city where as a child he first learned to love hiking among castles and forests. Fluent in German, Jimmy explores languages with the fascination he brings to climbing peaks. The Alps are his perfect workshop for experiencing other cultures in a landscape rich with history and natural beauty: an outdoor adventure playground like no other.
“Jimmy Marshment-Howell is a great guide; very intuitive on group dynamics (not coddling or overly solicitous), calm and he makes great trail sandwiches! I really enjoyed his company and our wide ranging conversations, how he fit so well with our group (despite being about 30 years younger). He worked hard to keep things moving well and it was obvious to me that his day preparations started much earlier than ours.”
Rubicon Outdoors uses state of the art field equipment to ensure your comfort and safety throughout your tour. All equipment meets or exceeds industry standards and is closely tracked and maintained on a regular basis by our knowledgeable staff. We provide any and all technical equipment necessary for our tours. For rock climbing days we’ll provide everyone in your group with a pair of climbing shoes, helmet, and harness, as well as all ropes and hardware needed for the day. For our backpacking tours we have an optional gear rental package that includes things like backpacks, sleeping bags and ground pads, tents, stoves, and cookware.
WHAT YOU NEED TO PACK
When you sign up for a particular tour, we will send you a tour package that will include a detailed list of specific items you will need to bring. Broadly, these items will include personal outdoor clothing, sun protection, hiking boots or shoes, a day pack, and water carrying capacity. If you have specific gear questions, feel free to get in touch! Our staff is knowledgeable, and quite happy to make recommendations for outfitting your trip. Or, check out What to Pack page for additional information.
Rubicon Outdoors provides three meals a day and trail snacks during our guided tours. Our guided lodge-based tours will include breakfast and dinner either at your hotel or local restaurant, excluding the cost of any beverages. Lunches will be prepared for you each day by your guides. On our guided backpacking tours, meals on trail will most often be prepared by your guides, all of whom are certified Safe Food Handlers by the Department of Health. We are happy to accommodate any dietary needs or preferences you may have when planning our menus, just be sure to let us know when you sign up for your tour!
All lodging and camping is included in all of our adventure trips. In general, our prices per person for lodge-based tours are based on two person occupancy per hotel room. The price for our backpacking tours includes all campground and required backcountry permit fees. Permits for camping in Grand Canyon National Park are often limited and are granted on an individual trip basis; if you have specific dates in mind please inquire early–we can apply for your permit as soon as four months in advance.
During guided tours, Rubicon Outdoors provides transportation between all hotels, towns, parks, and trailheads. Participants are responsible for all airfare and/or ground transportation to and from trip start and finish locations as outlined in your tour package. Additional transportation needs and logistical support, such as airport shuttle service can be arranged through our office for an additional charge.
All participants must complete and submit the Medical form before the start of any tour. It is important that participants with specific medical needs let us know in advance so that we can best support you during your tour. Any food, insect, or other allergies are especially important information. A physician’s signature is required for all participants. All of our guides are CPR certified and are trained Wilderness First Responders. This is an 80-hour certificate course that focuses on emergency medical care in a wilderness location, where immediate access to medical facilities are not available. Guides are required to update their certification every other year with a three-day recertification course.
WEATHER & CLIMATE
The climate in Northern Arizona and the American Southwest is generally quite favorable for hiking, backpacking, and climbing for much of the year. Spring and fall are particularly nice times to visit this area because of the mild temperatures and relatively dry weather. Winters here are cold but not oppressively so, are often sunny, and can make for ideal conditions to be active outdoors. The summers here are quite hot; high temperatures can sometimes reach upwards of 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which isn’t very conducive to intense outdoor activity. Due to this added risk, we generally do not offer our Grand Canyon backpacking tours during the summer months; although, it is often still quite feasible to do our lodge-based trips that include shorter day hikes or climbing days during this season.
Although we always try to be fair with our costs in the event of a cancellation, there may be other costs from outside vendors—such as your hotel accommodations—that cannot be avoided if something comes up and you’re not able to make the trip. Although we do not require travel insurance, for this reason we strongly recommend it for all of our clients. Our cancellation policy can be found online by downloading our Payment + Refund Information. Travelguard’s Gold Plan is a good policy that has worked well for our clients in the past. You get extra coverage and options for buying insurance within 15 days of paying the initial deposit on your tour, so if you decide to take this option, it’s best to choose your policy at that time.
If you have any questions about a tour or destination, please feel to call or email anytime. We’re always happy to talk about the tours and your particular needs, and are normally in the office Mon-Fri from 9:00 – 4:30. If we don’t pick up, it just means we’re busy or away for a moment, so please leave a message and we’ll call you right back. We are located in the mountains of Northern Arizona, which is on Pacific time from early Nov to mid-March and Mountain time otherwise.
329 S Montezuma St.
Prescott, AZ 86303