The area offers accommodation, meal and activity options for all types of travelers. Even though tourism into the area was scarce or non-existent into the 1970's, things have developed quickly and the infrastructure is now relatively highly developed. Paved or gravel roads allow good access into many areas with public transportation available via the famed Chihuahua al Pacifico train, modern busses and hired or private vehicle. Motels range from rustic homestays to expensive lodges with all the amenities. Food/restaurants are plentiful if not exotic. Activities include guided sightseeing via vehicle/foot, mountain biking, canyon trekking (typically with burro support), backpacking, and rock climbing. Guides and equipment are readily available in some of the tourist centers (like Creel) and the various adventure opportunities continue to develop and expand. It is easy to explore the canyons in a variety of ways and at various levels of comfort. Do note that temperatures in the canyons can be brutally hot in the summer and brutally cold in the mountains (with snow not uncommon) during the winter.
OWA trips offer amenities somewhere in the middle with the opportunity to really experience the people and the place first hand. Our trips offer plenty of comfort including hotels w/hot water most nights and good--at times even exquisite--food. The areas we explore combine ancient culture and some of the most remote and spectacular backcountry in North America. This is an easy way to get in on an adventure--we know the area, travel is easy, the cost is right and the experience is a guaranteed winner! Our trips are NOT tours. We work hard to make each experience a unique small group exploration of the area. We only take small groups, so space is limited.
What Makes OWA different- There are other companies that offer similar trips to OWA and we are often asked how we compare. Here are a few things to consider:
1. OWA has been working in the area since the early 90's and we have developed close working relationships with the locals. We employ local guides who work closely with our regular OWA staff and we feel like their insight and experience in the area add immeasurably to our trips. Most OWA trips are led by the same staff each year-- including OWA director James Faerber and former directors Quentin Keith & David Appleton as well as the very knowledgeable and experienced OWA guides Ryan Sullivan and Ryan Dorsey.
2. On our mountain bike trips, we actually ride the single track that the area is most noted for. Some other programs focus their attention on the dirt roads of the area and same old rides, but we feel like it is ridiculous to travel to one of the true meccas of mountain biking and never experience the abundance of single track.
3. Our guides are highly experienced both in the locale and in the technical skills utilized during the course of each trip. Our mountain bike guides are experienced competitive mountain bikers as well as backcountry guides. We have spent a decade helping to develop new climbing areas, piecing together mountain bike rides, and exploring new routes all through the sierra and are always eager to share that experience with our clients. You cannot show up in the area once a year and have any chance of figuring out the multitude of opportunities that exist in various areas.
4. Our rates are lower than our competition-- not because we offer less, but because we keep our overhead lower by limiting our marketing and because we have been able to work out more cost effective rates with our local suppliers and guides.