Running Boy Tours (guided vehicle tour)

Steve, talking us through “The Narrows”

Yep, you heard that right. The desert is a really, really dusty place. If you drive through it at 30 mph in an open-air ATV, you are gonna get dirty. So is your purse, your sunglasses, and your kid. But you know what? It’s super fun!

My family and took advantage of Running Boy Tour‘s Mother’s Day special and booked a tour last Sunday. We had the choice between a few types of vehicles…a Jeep Cherokee, a smaller Chevy Tracker, and an open air Polaris Ranger. Feeling adventurous, we booked the Ranger.

Steve Thornburg, owner of Running Boy Tours

We met Steve Thornburg (owner), at the Paradise Casino, strapped our car seats into the Ranger, and headed out to the desert. We left at 8:00 am so heat was not a big issue, but I would recommend a closed vehicle if you plan on going out later this summer.

Steve is a GREAT tour guide and I could not believe the details he thought about (and his wife…let’s give her credit too!). My girls received little airplane fan toys (which they LOVED), a photo book to look at with pictures of local wildlife and scenery, snacks, juice boxes, little visors, the works! He also had goggles and sun hats for them (bad mommy didn’t think of everything). Luckily the kids were covered in sun block but the goggles really helped the kids (and me) on the dusty roads.

We chose to drive through the Narrows on our tour, but there are lots of different things you can do. It really depends on your family and how much time you want to spend on the road. We only wanted to do about two hours so unfortunately we weren’t able to explore too much, since the drive out to the Narrows is pretty far. On the way back we stopped at a beautiful little pond (“The Oasis”) to take a break, feed some swans and ducks, and take some photos.

“The Oasis”

Steve knows so much about Yuma and the local landscape, even though he is from Iowa! Here are some things we learned:

  • Palo Verde can live three years without water.
  • Lavender grows wild in the desert (and smells amazing).
  • Wild donkeys (burros) live in the desert, too.
  • Yuma used to be underwater, as evidenced by the “coral reef” you will see near the Narrows.
  • Volcanic rocks cover the desert landscape.
  • Tamarack isn’t just a neighborhood in Yuma. It’s a type of tree.
  • …there is SO much else to learn! Because we had two small children with us, we had a very short tour. But we are excited to go out again sometime and hopefully learn even more about this fascinating area.


“Are these too big for me?”

Curious about the desert around you but nervous to explore it on your own?

A Running Boy tour is really a great way to get out there.

Visit their website or call Steve at (928) 581-8202


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