Pink Jeep Tours has been scrambling up and over Sedona’s magnificent Red Rock outback for over 50 years. Started as an impulse by a cornet player from California to entertain friends and sell some land, Pink Jeep Tours has become the unforgettable, you-gotta-do-it thrill of any Sedona visit.
Today Pink Jeep Tours is the undisputed granddaddy of off-road touring and the longest running adventure company in the country…maybe the world. With guides certified by the National Association for Interpretation on its staff, Pink Jeep Tours is committed to a fascinating eco-historical experience that delightfully adds to the breathtaking, heart-pounding WOW factor of every trip.
Tracing the history of Pink Jeep Tours begins with the happenstance convergence of two dreamers: one, a famous American industrialist who built a small empire in Hawaii, and the other, a gifted jazz musician from California who gave up a solid career when he fell in love with Sedona. Both men impacted their respective destinations in significant ways.
The story really begins in 1954 when wartime shipbuilder, and multi-millionaire steel magnate Henry Kaiser, after vacationing for the first time in Hawaii, went on to be one of the Big Island’s most ambitious developers. Kaiser soon branded his Hawaiian empire – hotels, houses, earthmovers, cranes, dredges, and a fleet of 200 vehicles – with his favorite color: shocking pink!
Around the same time, Don Pratt, Hollywood entertainer and concert cornet player from Long Beach, smitten by Sedona’s beauty, moved there in 1959. Purchasing a 1946 Willys Jeep vehicle soon after his arrival, Pratt began to explore Sedona’s otherworldly backcountry. A steady stream of friends came to visit Don, now a real estate broker and soon-to-be successful developer. “Every time friends would come up, I’d take them for a ride, and that would be the highlight of their trip.” Being the entrepreneur that he was, Pratt combined off-road touring with a way to get more visitors to buy his land offerings. Many of his California friends would return, not to buy land necessarily, but to take another thrilling ride through the Red Rocks.
Then it hit him: create an off-road touring company to take people out on a regular basis. On a fortuitous trip to Hawaii the following year, 1960, Don Pratt stayed at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Waikiki Beach, part of Henry Kaiser’s “pink paradise” with it’s shocking pink façade and of course pink vehicles for the island tours. That was it, pink Jeep® vehicles in Red Rock country would be his signature look. Why not? “pink is fun”, he was fond of saying. And so in 1960 Pink Jeep Tours was born.