Sedona - Mecca in the Midst of Time

Jul 13, 2010 at 0:03
Jul 13, 2010
by Sharon Bader  
 
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There are many beautiful places in the world, many great places to visit and ride. We've ridden in many beautiful places in Canada and the American North and South West. We've heard about Sedona. Many of the friends we've shared amazing rides with have ridden there and told us we had to go. But it's just that little bit too far. But once you've been, its allure will shorten that distance and draw you in like an addiction.

Story inside,

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.
The easy way to get to the Damifino - Hangover saddle via cowpies.

Dave on Hangover Trail.
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.
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.
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:
Views: 6,092    Faves: 10    Comments: 3


Map of riding area:
Sedona June 2010 Trip at EveryTrail


Accommodations


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

 


Bike Shops


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!

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42 Comments

  • + 2
 Well I guess damifIknow is no longer a local's trail? I've been riding that one for years, but was told to keep it on the DL.I'm assuming it's now a legit trail? It's one of my favorite rides anywhere, though one year I had to push back out from oak creek because water was too high to cross. Not my favorite ride that year. Not knocking the vid, but it really didn't show much tech that was talked about in the write up. THere are tech lines there, but the vid chose to show intermediate trail riding?
  • + 1
 video doesn't always do it justice and sometimes you just have to ride!

more video here:
www.leelau.net/2010/sedona2010_06/highline2010_06_23/index.html
  • + 2
 I get to go once a year when i visit my sister in Arizona. Its all mountain heaven! The guys at bike and bean always take amazing care of me! I suggest going there, they are assume. The guys at mountain bike heaven are awesome too, i round with them once and they rip!
  • + 1
 These are terrific photos and the video is wonderful too. Would love to show some of this on GatewayToSedona.com. Please get in touch if you can, Susan... I think we may have spoken before. My email: victoria@gatewaytosedona.com. We'd be glad to post credits and link back to pinkbike.com as well. It's a great website and this is the first time I've seen it. Sedona visitors would love to know about it too.
  • + 1
 Nice write up. As stated previously Sedona trail system is difficult to navigate. With more than 130 trails and at least two weeks of different advanced loops to choose from a non-local is at a disadvantage. That is all changing due to people like Sharon who is willing to share her rides on Everytrail.com (www.everytrail.com/search.php?q=Sedona%2C+az&sent=true).Sharon only spent four days in Sedona so there is eleven days more of great riding. Sedona is a 350 day riding mecca if you are willing to ride early (by 7:30 AM) or late (after 5:00 PM) during the summer. The summer evenings in Sedona always cool off (low 70's) unlike other southwest locations. If anyone wants a copy of all the loops it is available.
  • + 5
 The waterfall? More like the deathfall
  • + 1
 Yeah i was a bit spooked riding it and thinking how cheese-gratered I was going to be if I clipped a pedal. These trails really have a habit of putting you outside your comfort zone
  • + 2
 some friends and i have been talking about a roadtrip down south to flagstff and phoenix for two years now...after this article and a few pics i saw in bike mag, i think it's gonna have to happen this summer. thanks tyler.
  • + 2
 You wouldnt regret it, lots of trail building going on in flag lately. Then, just hit sedona in the am or late afternoon.
  • + 2
 We did want to ride in Flagstaff. Their trail are a bit faster. A bit less gnar and less exposed - just different and to sample some of the variety. But there was a forest fire. Oh well, we'll have to go back
  • + 2
 there is riding everywhere up north az. from payson, to flag to sedona, and then towards vegas in boulder city. it's all good...
  • + 3
 "trail builders are working with the Forest Service in Sedona to have the network adopted" , haha
  • + 2
 We both know that never happens lol.
  • + 1
 Actually it has happened in some areas in the US. Colville Forest is one; Kettle Crest is another. I know it's also happened in the St Helens area but not sure what FS agency is involved there. Also quite a few success stories around OR in the McKenzie area. There is good news but you know how it is - the trail closures seem to generate more coverage as people seems to only broadcast the bad news. Key seems to be a bureaucracy willing to learn and a local organization or volunteers willing to go through the process
  • + 3
 Went there two summers ago, really want to go back! Such an awesome place to ride with a great town that supports riding.
  • + 1
 this place is awesome, the view, the colours, the temperature...everything is ok for a good ride whole year. The waterfall trail is the best
  • + 2
 Hey sweet! Nothing like doing big write ups on illegal trails! Way to go PinkBike!
  • + 2
 The trails shown on the video are all on the maps that you can buy or access online.
  • + 1
 It doesn't mean they need international attention drawn too them...
  • + 2
 It takes quite a bit of effort to get to Sedona, the trails still aren't that easy to find and they can take A LOT more traffic. Also, if you go to ride these trails and you can't you will walk so either way there won't be a lot of increased wear. It's still not as accessible as Moab and other areas in the SW so I wouldn't be too worried about an onslaught.
  • + 2
 sixsixtysix. We know there's sensitivy about this topic which is why we got the tour of those trails from the guy who built most of them AND spoke to another guy who worked on a large section of other trails. Hope that clears it up.
  • + 1
 Oh I'm plenty aware of Traildoc and the other builders up there. I'm also aware that all its going to take is some newb who gets in over their head tumbling off the side of HO to get it all shut down. I guess I just live by the old rule of "Don't talk about illegal trails". But then again, all this site cares about is increased traffic and ad revenue, as long as its not at the expense of the underground trails on the Shore.
  • + 2
 wow. Here I thought Lee was bitter!
  • + 0
 666: You are correct about the concern when people get hurt. I think Bell Rock Pathway (system trail) has the greatest number of severe injuries at this point. I am just curious how you feel about that reality? Also please explain why do you care about Sedona becoming a more popular place to mountain bike? I personally don't get your point of view. If you don't want to share the best rides just make it clear you are being selfish, I can accept that. I have corresponded with 100's of other riders like you, sorry some of us get a kick out of giving non-locals the most bang for their hard-earned vacation dollar.
  • + 1
 First off, Bell Rock Pathway is a sanctioned trail, next to a parking lot with probably the highest traffic of any trail in Sedona, so I don't see your injury analogy being very valid compared to an illegal trail that skirts the top of a mountain with sheer cliff face drop offs. Secondly, Sedona has been going through a gentrification en mass for the past decade and as it continues, the FS is just going to want to preserve and protect what it has too as more as more people start moving into the area. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against illegal trails, hell I build and ride them all around AZ all the time. My point is, don't talk them, let alone put a front page story about them on one of the largest bike sites on the net, its not going to help your cause. Thats all I'm saying Then again, its your trail system, do what you want, I don't bother with Sedona since it became so trendy and they decided to turn 179 into a 4 lane highway. But as stated in the comments below, good luck getting those trails adopted into the network, it'll never happen.
  • + 1
 sixsixtysix - I'm not going to get in a fight among locals. I can respect its your trail systems & thought we did the right thing by consulting with the people who built and maintained most of the trails. Just thought I would offer up some points about "underground trails on the Shore".

FYI almost every trail on the Shore started out as underground. Nothing was built as a sanctioned trail. Over time they got more popular. Soon they got so popular that myself, Digger and Mitch & many others started a trail association to try to get the local authorities to recognize, sanction and legitimize the trail system. By and large this has succeeded to the point that most people riding Shore trails don't realize that around 1998 - 1999 there was real risk of having most of the trail system shut down.

I hope the local Sedona riders will also have that success in getting trails legitimized & sincerely believe that this article will not hurt their cause.

Best to you
  • + 1
 I rode with Traildoc and other locals on a trip to Sedona in January. The area has excellent local trails and he knows them all. It was a great time and a great winter getaway. That said, in general I agree with 666. Building and riding non-sanctioned trails is one thing, but publicizing them outside of the "bro system" is different, I think. Often these trails don't get the maintenance that sanctioned trails would by volunteers and hired builders that work on sanctioned trails. Also often these are on sensitive land and increased use can lead to officials shutting the trails down. . . .I'm certainly not an expert on the Sedona area but I don't think this article blew the top off of illegal trails in that scene. Keep non-sanctioned trails on the DL. . .This is essentially IMBA policy.
  • + 3
 "Mecca in the midst of time" --- what does that even mean?
  • + 2
 i went there for my honeymoon 8 years ago. the local shops did not seem keen on showing me anything but what was in the guide books, some of which were fun trails but i knew there was more. i finally met a guy who worked at our hotel who was psyched to show me some non-tourist stuff but we were not able to hook up. maybe attitudes have changed and the network has expanded but i was not impressed with local hospitality then.........
  • + 2
 It is a mecca whose time is coming. Just like anywhere there are people stoked to ride with the locals and people who want to keep things all to themselves.
  • + 2
 Alex - not only what Sharon said but when you ride through the rock layers you're literally riding through geologic time. Wild to drop down through millions (sometimes billions) of years. Don't let creationists hear you say that though
  • + 2
 Great write up! Makes me want to ride. I grew up in flag hitting alot of those trails on the weekends, place is so fun.
  • + 3
 gnar....straight gnar
  • + 2
 looks like a awesome place to ride!
  • + 1
 Looks like you guys really enjoyed this trip ! Great footage, thanks for sharing.
  • + 2
 Love the Maple Leaf Knolly!
  • + 1
 Thanks! Maple leaf sticker kits at some arts and crafts store - I was always a sucker for the old Rocky Mountain decal kits
  • + 1
 it is awesome place to ride . Wink
  • + 1
 Looks very hot there.
  • + 2
 it was still cool for June, only 35oC during the day!
  • + 2
 it's far cooler than here in PHX...
  • + 1
 hey i live there

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