120mile drive North from Phoenix, 280mile drive South East from Las Vegas, 120miles North to the South rim of the Grand Canyon, Sedona
sits on the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau, the land mass that gives us Moab, Fruita, the Grand Canyon and other amazing pieces of South West geology that creates epics.
Unlike Moab, Sedona does not have a history of mining or jeep roads, thus the trails built are specific to the users who built them. In our case, mountain bikers. Sitting at 4500feet there are ~130 trails in Sedona, only 8-10 are considered beginner or intermediate. All the trails are on Forest Service land and were built with varying degrees of permission, most are being accepted. This creates the other problem with riding in Sedona. Lack of trail information. There is a very good overview map of Sedona by Frank Hassler
showing many trails, there are also other more detailed maps by Dale Wiggins
. Unfortunately these maps don't correspond to any kind of trail signage since there aren't any, so it might be a good idea to have a GPS or hook up with a local. You can also buy a similar map at the Info Center. The riding community of Sedona does not mind sharing the trails with like minded riders. Since if you are not ready for the trails, you will not be an issue to them.
Being from the North Shore I have a pretty good idea about technical trails, but Sedona did teach me something. There is more to technical than rocks and roots. Add in exposure, overhanging rocks, cacti, yucca, mandatory walking sections and you have additional tech brought to you by Sedona. Add in again incredible views, sun and red rock and your senses are going into overload. In most areas calling a trail a Black Diamond trail is relative, not here. Just like in a ski area Black Diamond is Black Diamond. It will be just as hard if not harder to walk them as to ride them. The bike of choice in Sedona is one you can pedal up, but competent riding down. Six inch travel, all mountain bikes with pinch flat resistant tires are best. Currently people are running Maxxis Ardents 2.4, Kenda Nevegals 2.35 or Continental Trail King 2.2 or 2.4.
The easy way to get to the Damifino - Hangover saddle via cowpies.
Dave on Hangover Trail.
At first I thought this trail was named by the builder since he was hungover all the time, but NOOOO it's because of the rock hangovers you go under and a lot of the trail is hanging over the next layer of rock! Not recommended if you suffer from vertigo!Damifino Trail
- The saddle in the back is the Damifino - Hangover Saddle. Hangover
heads into the trees to lookers right, Damifino goes through the trees at the rock tree interface behind me in the photo.
Damifino is named after the canyon this trail exits into. When someone asked the name of the canyon a guy replied - Damn If I know!
John on the Damifido Waterfall.
One advantage of riding in Sedona is that all the trails are very close to town. You could ride to most of the trails from town and ride back quite easily. Most new trails are extensions of existing trails. If you know where you are going you can create many different variations.
Being the desert Sedona gets just as hot as Moab since its riding season is fairly similar - September to Mid June.
If Sedona gets too hot, people head 25 miles North to Flagstaff. If it gets too cold, or snows - which is known to happen in December, it's an hour and a half drive South to Phoenix. Also the trails in Flagstaff, which is at an elevation of 7000feet with more open rolling terrain, tend to be more open and flowy. There is also riding in other neighboring towns including Payson and Prescott. This gives Sedona an incredible variety of trails that would take many trips to experience.
Also unlike in Moab where riders are currently being ticketed by the BLM for riding new trails, trail builders are working with the Forest Service in Sedona to have the network adopted.Video of Sedona Riding
Map of riding area
:Sedona June 2010 Trip at EveryTrail
Now that you are enticed to visit where will you stay? As a resort town Sedona as a wide range of accommodations.
Information on Short Term Vacation Rentals by Owner can be found here.
Information on Longer term vacation rentals can be found here.
Information on Time Share Rentals can be found here.
Check out information on some Hotels and Motels:
Inexpensive Sky Ranch Lodge || Sedona Sugarloaf || Red Agave Resort || Super 8
Nicer: Poco Diablo || Sedona Rouge
Oak Creek Canyon Hideaways at Garlands Lodge or Junipine
Need to be pampered check out Enchantment Resorts
Do you really want to impress the chicks? Then book at Adobe Grand Villas
Other Hotels, Bed and Breakfast etc in Sedona can be found here.
What Else Is There To Do?
So you want to go but your family doesn't ride. What will they do?
While Sedona doesn't have the same National Parks that Moab does it isn't lacking for incredible hikes, tours or hanging out. Including a two hour drive to the south rim of the Grand Canyon.
Other attractions include:
- Town of Jerome: Cool Old Mining Ghost town 35min West of Sedona (Check out the spirit room "biker bar" and Caduceus and Merkin Vineyards near the town of Jerome, a vineyard and winetasting room run by owner Maynard James Keenen of the band Tool)
- Tleaquepaque: Arts and craft shopping restaurants tourist attraction in Sedona.
- Sedona Hiking:
Check out one of the many stunning trails around Sedona (West Fork of Oak Creek)and or one of the several heritage sites that has preserved the dwellings of the local indigenous peoples - Montezuma's Castle, Montezuma's well, Palatki - Red Rock Ruins of the Hopi and Wupatki - near Flagstaff.
- Flagstaff & the San Francisco Peaks: Shop, hike, and take in the high altitude mountain air - Flag is a cooler get-away 45min North up Oak Creek Canyon
- Jeep Tours: Pink Jeep || Safari Jeep Tours || A Day in the West || Red Rock
- Out of Africa Safari: Out of Africa Wildlife Park - See all the critters from the African Savahna including the big cats. Near Camp Verde, Arizona
Since you are going there to ride your bikes, you'll need to know which bike shop to visit.
Check out Fat Tire Bike Shop - so into biking they don't even have a web site!
Or one of the other shops in town:
Mountain Bike Heaven
Bike and Bean
Still not convinced?
Check out Sharon and Lee's trip to Sedona June 2010. Here you will find more pictures, links to maps at Everytrail.com, more videos and information on where to ride.
Another online resource for mountain biking in Arizona is here.
Also MTBR has some great info on riding in Sedona and where we did our research for our trip.
See you there!