With great anticipation, we drove along the gravel forest service road into the wilderness to Backland’s eco-luxury resort for our glamping experience. I waited for months to unplug and disconnect at this eco-resort.
Five years ago, I began solo camping. No tent for me, though. I slept in my SUV and purchased comfortable gear for such adventures. I loved visiting Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California to observe and photograph the night sky.
Last year, I upgraded my car camping to glamping in a covered wagon, which was a step up from car camping. Camping fulfills my midlife crisis but glamping is so much better!
Backland offers the best glamping in Arizona if you’ve been thinking about glamping at eco-resorts. They’ve thought of everything to make your stay comfortable, relaxing, and enjoyable.
Backland hosted me on this visit. However, all opinions are my own.
Where Is Backland Glamping Resort
On a hidden ranch about 20 miles southeast of Williams, Arizona, Backland resides on 160 acres of private land. Surrounded by the Kaibab National Forest and the largest ponderosa pine forest in the world, this luxurious glamping experience is ideally situated for quiet, connecting with nature, and reconnecting with loved ones. Yet, it is close to exciting destinations like the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and Flagstaff for daytime entertainment.
Let’s talk about tent construction. Built to stay taut and not flap in the wind, the tents are fully insulated with high-efficiency heating, air conditioning, and automatic climate control.
Parking right by your tent is a plus. Transporting luggage to your tent is easy.
There are enough electrical outlets to keep all your devices charged, even though we were expecting to disconnect.
The ensuite bathroom with walk-in shower and water conservation fixtures rivals upscale hotel rooms in any big city. Add the bounty of thick white towels, and it’s pretty luxurious. Quality ecological toiletries are provided.
I enjoyed cozying up in a fluffy white robe. Need I say more?
The king-size bed with luxury linens speaks volumes for this eco-resort. We were in a skyview tent with a glass skylight over the bed. The full moon lit our room in its travel across the night sky.
The 16-foot-wide panoramic sliding glass doors on the front wall of the tent gave us an unobstructed view of the meadows, pine forest, and lake. We felt immersed in nature.
With more than 75 feet between tents and sound-dampening insulation, we didn’t hear our neighbors.
Enjoy gourmet meals inside or outside on the patio in the reception building.
Dining at Backland was such a pleasurable experience. The farm-to-table cuisine delivered to our table by knowledgeable waitstaff was memorable. The produce was fresh and the menu was creative. The breakfast and dinners, made to order, were delicious.
While you might think plastics and disposables are camping requirements, Backland uses compostable plates, utensils, and glassware. Backland doesn’t use dishwashers and saves many gallons of water every day.
In the afternoon, we received a text asking when we would like to reserve our place for dinner. It was personal and attentive.
Spa And Yoga
The spa tent has two massage tables where you can schedule massages for two or other spa services where herbs and botanicals come from the Backland property.
Reserving a massage and participating in a complimentary yoga session by the pond takes average glamping to a much higher level.
Keeping with eco-luxury, lighting on the paths to the reception building and tents comply with dark sky conditions. Arizona has the most Dark Sky Communities in the nation.
If you drive an electric vehicle, you will be happy to know that Backland provides an electrical vehicle charging station by the reception building.
Things To Do
You can do any or all of these when you are on a glamping vacation at Backland. I particularly enjoyed kayaking. It was a milestone in my adventure career.
Watch The Sunrise From Bed
If you’ve closed the shades, roll them up so you can see the splendor of the morning light or step out onto the patio while enjoying the first cup of coffee for the day.
Kayak On The Lake
Hop on a paddleboard or use one of the brightly colored kayaks pulled up onto the sandy beach for a paddle around the lake. You might see snakes sunning themselves on the rocks.
With over two miles of trails on Backland property, paved with wood chips, take a refreshing walk or run. Visit the original homestead, which may be placed into service in the coming years.
Complimentary use of sports equipment, books, games, and even sleds for winter snow fun, can be checked out at the reception building. They’ve thought of everything!
What I enjoyed most was watching the kids play indoor board games with their parents and siblings in the dining room. I also enjoyed when they were outside building sandcastles on the beach.
I asked Clare, the tiny 4-year-old guest digging in the beach sand under her mother’s watchful eye, what her favorite activity was. She said, “making sandcastles.” Clare’s 11-year-old sister, Emily, said she liked kayaking best and all the board games inside.
I have to admit, my favorite activity was kayaking, too. The lake was so calm and the kayak so sturdy, that I overcame my fear of the sport and was reluctant to return to shore and hand over the paddle.
Wil Lewis, another young guest, said his favorite activity was s’mores after dark. He was so happy because he could make s’mores two nights in a row.
You can play outdoor games like tetherball, volleyball, and corn hole that are right outside the reception and the dining room. I must warn you this is not just child’s play.
Try your hand at fishing with complimentary fishing poles. While the lake is currently not stocked, there’s something about casting a line in the water and watching the appealing float bob.
The staff organized scavenger hunts with geo-caching for the kids. While I didn’t see the hunt, I heard from the young guests how much fun it was.
All the activities are close to the reception building, making it easy to access after dark and keeping the space around the tents quiet. From roasting s’mores over the firepit to stargazing with the telescope, wrapping up with a star-spangled walk along the lit pathway to your luxury room is the perfect day’s end at Backland.
Stylish and cushy couches face the lake on the patio and provide a comfortable place for quiet conversations or reading in the sun. Two lounge chairs with a small table on the side of the patio also make a nice meeting place with a view for couples or solo travelers. While Backland is a great place for families with children, my husband and I enjoyed the luxury and location for just the two of us.
Connect With Nature
Connect with nature by bird watching with the complimentary use of binoculars and a bird guide.
Listen to coyotes in the distance as you watch the sunset over the lake or borrow a book from the library at reception. They have many to choose from.
Things To Do Off-Site
If you want to leave Backland for the day, here are some suggestions for things to do in Williams, the Grand Canyon, and Sedona.
Pro Tip: Consider visiting Sedona before your Backland experience because I promise you won’t want to leave once you get to Backland.
Grand Canyon Railway
You can have breakfast at Backland then head into Williams for the Grand Canyon Railway experience that includes almost three hours at the south rim of the Grand Canyon. You’ll be back in time for dinner at Backland.
Grand Canyon Deer Farm
The Grand Canyon Deer Farm is close to the Backland turnoff from Highway 40. The farm is the most fun hands-on animal experience I’ve ever had. You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy this.
Bearizona is the perfect place to view wildlife in natural environments. The walk-through experience allows you to stroll through winding walkways and get up close to jaguars, grizzly bears, and smaller animals. You must stay in your vehicle for the drive-through experience.
Elephant Rocks Golf Course
Have breakfast at Backland then take your golf clubs to Elephant Rocks Golf Course in Williams. This championship course is nestled amongst the ponderosa pines with giant lava rocks at the entrance resembling elephants.
Historic Route 66
A visit to Williams wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Route 66 Museum & Gift Shop. Many neon signs decorate the downtown with memorabilia exhibited throughout the town.
I ate at the Red Raven Restaurant midday and had a healthy wrap sandwich. Red Raven would be an ideal place to have lunch while you are in town.
Sedona is known for its art, shopping, and mystical influence.
Red Rock State Park
Learn about the scenic wonders and outstanding recreational opportunities in the park. See exhibits and environmental education services about the local geology, the human influence on Verde Valley, and seven biotic communities in the area.
Bell Rock Vista & Pathway
Bell Rock is a butte north of the village of Oak Creek. It’s a famous landmark with panoramic views. A hike up Bell Rock is fun, especially for kids.
An open-air trolley ride provides lively narration if you want something less strenuous than a hike up Bell Rock.
Pro Tip: Traffic can be heavy in Sedona and Oak Creek. Bring your patience in the afternoon.
Things To Consider
Mosquitos were not a problem when I was at Backland in the fall. However, they have all-natural mosquito bye-bye wipes that are aromatic with 100 percent natural oils that are safe for the whole family.
Water is shipped in for all consumption, so conservation is a priority at Backland. Because of their rigorous water-saving measures, they can utilize the existing septic system. I appreciated the awareness that it brought to my time there.
Backland provides a pitcher of water (with a cover) on request for your tent rather than bottled water.
Backland welcomes and accommodates people with disabilities. Tent #1 is expertly adapted for wheelchair use. Pavers in front of the tent for parking and the low front door jamb provide an accessible entrance and exit. In addition, the brick pavement wraps around the tent for patio accessibility.
The handicap-accessible tent has a roll-in shower and a roll-under bathroom sink. The towel rack design makes the towels easy to reach. Area rugs are eliminated and a height-adjusted twin bed is conveniently close to the bathroom and entry door.
Handicapped parking with pavers at the reception and dining room allows the whole Backland eco-resort experience for all guests.
Allow yourself to succumb to the Backland experience. If you only have a two-day weekend, don’t leave the property. Live and deeply experience all that Backland has to offer. It’s a simple encounter with immeasurable results.