Our Story

West Adventures & Tours (WAT for short) is a family run business started by a local school teacher and her father, a former scientist for the US Forest Service. WAT officially opened in 2017, although the idea for our tour company had been brewing in our founders’ heads long before that.

Throughout high school, Helen, the chief officer of West Adventures & Tours, spent her summers a tour guide for a biking & hiking company in her hometown of Sitka, Alaska. Helen loved being outdoors, getting to meet new people and teaching them about the land and culture she loved. In 2011 the family relocated to Cortez, Colorado while Helen was away at college. Returning for school vacations, Helen quickly fell in love with Cortez. After finishing her graduate degree in Music Education, Helen finally decided to permanently move to the Four Corners.

While searching for a job, Helen was dismayed by the lower pay for teachers in southwest Colorado and began to hunt for summer jobs to supplement her income. Immediately her thoughts turned to her time tour guiding in Alaska. What Helen quickly realized, however, was almost all of the guide jobs in and around the Four Corners were limited to river rafting, mountain biking (neither of which she did) or had specific requirements to guide in Mesa Verde National Park. Disheartened by the lack of guiding opportunities in Cortez, Helen’s father suggested the two start a tour business themselves.

Thus, West Adventures & Tours was born!

WAT specifically focuses on what Helen & Rand know best - education and community. During the school year Helen teaches high school music on the Northern Navajo reservation and Rand now works as a psychologist for the Indian Health Service. Both are passionate about teaching and helping others; a value they carry into the business. WAT expands the offerings and opportunities for visitors to the Four Corners area by specializing in historical walking tours. WAT encourages all guests to learn about the area they are visiting through experiential, guided adventures. We are committed to strengthening our community through education and our values of engagement, compassion and adventure. If you’re visiting Cortez, our community includes you and wether or not you’ve decided to tour with us, please feel free to reach out if you have any questions about our beautiful corner of the state! We want to help in any way we can. Have fun, be safe, learn a lot and happy adventuring!