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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My girlfriend and I will be heading to Sedona for the better part of a week (4 - 5 days) soon and were hoping to bring our bikes along for some riding. If possible, we were hoping to get two or maybe even three rides in while we're there. We're not from the area and were hoping to get some trail information from some people who know the area.

My girlfriend is more of a beginner and prefers smaller hills or flat terrain -- climbing is not her forte (although we're working on it). I have no problem climbing (I'd consider myself at least intermediate) and she doesn't have a problem walking certain sections if need be. That said, what are the beginner to intermediate trails that you would recommend in the Sedona area?

I do want to say that we did some searching in the trails section of this site, but were a little confused by some of the write-ups. Some trails had ratings ranging from beginner to advanced. Chances are it's one or the other, not both. :) In some cases, the trails referenced almost sounded like a system of trails, in which case they could vary in difficulty. If this is the case, we're hoping to get specifics on the trails that would be best for us.

Thanks in advance for any advice that you can all offer ... it's greatly appreciated!
 

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the climbs in sedona are very short, some are steep, but the wilderness area starts at a certain elevation, and it ends up with only like 300 vertical feet of riding that you can do in sedona on a mountain bike on 95% of the trails there. So there will be short steep climbs, but you won't be walking long if you have to walk. The key at this time of year is to take plenty of water, and then take extra water. The more water you have, the better time you'll have.

the technical aspect of sedona is that it is largely not technical, but there are short steep sections, just like what you go up, there are short chutes that you may go down in a few places, some are "advanced/expert" by most people's definition. Again, these are short 10-15 foot affairs, so while a certain trail may be 98% ridable and fun, there can be some short little technical parts. There are some switchbacks on trails near cathedral rock and munds wagon trail, as well as a few others. There's some rocky areas in the chutes that can be difficult to get down. The "beginner trails" in sedona are largely wide bike-path affairs, and most of the "technical" trails are just intermediate with the occasional short expert section...it's hard to really portray it correctly, but you may be riding a trail and 95% is intermediate, and 3 or 4 steep rocky sections will be the "expert" part. Overall I'd say that sedona is non-technical, the small technical areas are not enough to warrent it being a "technical place" like south mountain is...
 

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Hey RockyGuy,

There are three bike shops in Sedona - well one in Sedona and two in the Village of Oak Creek. Cosmic Ray has the BEST guide out there. His ratings of difficulty, danger and fear factor are all quite conservative, though.

The heat will be your greatest strain! Ride early and late!

This said, you can't go wrong with the Tempelton trail! Uber uber fun, a creek, excellent scenery...! Llama tr is also fun, but a beginner will have to dismount on two or three sections - do this one earlyearly or late as the sun exposure is intense in the afternoon. The Carrol Canyon area is literally in my backyard, and as my "local" trail I've ridden it hundreds of times. There are many varriations. The Slodiers Pass "secret trails" near "devils dining room" (or is it deivils kitchen ) are fun and easy - this is where I first learned to pedal eons ago. Fun easy stuff there with excellent variety!

PLEASE STAY ON THE HARDPACKED TRAILS, esp in Carrol Canyon area. The cryptobiotic soil is exceptionally sensetive here - one quick juant off the trail and your path will be recorded for years (yes, years). We've been fighting the landuse battle here longer than most other places - the ultra rich anti-bike nazis have the USFS over a barrel and I hear things are heating up again.

If it's too hot in Sedona, there are great rides in Flagstaff as well. During the summer we ride up there two or thee times per week. Fisher Point (you'll need to pick up a map @ Absolout Bikes for this one now that golf course construction has changed things) is fun, fast and easy - until the end where there's an intimidating, but short uphill to an incredible overlook! If you go there, by all means muster your girlfriends courage and ride/walk up the hill through primordial forest to the excellent and oh-so-dramatic view! My GF just walked/rode up it and roade down - she just started riding this summer. It's easier than it looks, and a shame to miss the view/expeience!
The really killer stuff in Flagstaff is probably out of your girlfriends league at this time.

Good luck and have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks

Thanks JM and Rollin' -- we definitely appreciate the advice.

We'll be staying in Oak Creek at a friend's vacation home, so we shouldn't be far from the shop you mentioned. We'll hit that soon after we get in and then go from there. I appreciate your specific trail recommendations. Climbs of 300 feet or so aren't going to discourage her -- the problem around here is that many climbs are 2000 feet and steep. At this point, she's still building the strength and stamina to make it to the top ... right now she makes it a few hundred feet up and wants to turn around, meaning she misses the good stuff. :) I think the rides you mentioned sound fine. Neither she nor I have a problem walking something we don't feel comfortable about -- better safe than sorry, especially when you're a long way from home. As long as we can ride the majority of a trail, we're fine.

We're looking forward to our trip and the riding we'll get to do. It's such a beautiful area. Just out of curiosity, how far is it from Sedona to Flagstaff? It might be nice to head up that way for a day or so and maybe even include a cooler ride. And what kind of temperatures can be expected around this time of year?

Finally, thanks for the information on the environmental impact of riding off the trails. Every area of the country is so different in this respect and I can honestly say that I wouldn't have thought about it if you hadn't said something, especially since our local trails aren't like that. We're definitely going to respect the local trails and keep them in good shape.

Thanks again!
 

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Flag is about an hour north of Sedona, but if you GF is discouraged by climbs, you might want to leave her behind. Well, that is, unless you park at the top of Eldon. With one car, there is really no option for just going down hill, without climbing back up Mt. Eldon, which is not a very difficult climb, but it's long (4-5 miles I think?). However, if she likes going down, you can park at the top of Eldon, bomb down, and then you can climb back up. IMO, Flag is the best riding in the state.
 

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RockyGuy said:
...Just out of curiosity, how far is it from Sedona to Flagstaff? It might be nice to head up that way for a day or so and maybe even include a cooler ride. And what kind of temperatures can be expected around this time of year?
Thanks again!
It's 26 miles from "uptown" - usually 45 minutes or so. Flagstaff is 3000 feet higher than Sedona, so the temps are usually 15 -20 degrees cooler. The top of the mountain is 8000 feet higher than Sedona, and is a whole other world!

We're right at the transition time here in terms of weather. Up until a week ago the daytime temps in Sedona were around 102. The past few days we've had early cloud cover and the temps have been in the high 80's. So it's hard to say.

What JM said about the hills/trails here is right on! Sedona is a great place to learn how to ride because there are always great challanges available, but 90% of the riding on 90% of the trails is "intermediate" cruisy fun! There are tripple black diamond DH /FR death rides to be sure, but you're not just going to just stumble onto those!

When will you be here?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Rollin'

Rollin' -- thanks once again for the helpful information. We will be heading to Sedona on the second of September, so about a week and a half. As of now, the plan is to stay for about six days. I'm sure the holiday weekend in the middle will be a little busier than other parts of the year, but there's not a whole lot we can do about that. :)

The reason I asked about the weather is because I saw the shift in temperatures when looking at weather.com last week. The first time I looked, it was around 100. Within a few days, it was down to something in the 80s. It seems like the numbers in the 80s have been more the norm for the last week or so. Of course we'll be ready for both warm and hot weather and we'll bring plenty of water bottles and the Camelbacks ... the last thing we want to do is show up unprepared.

I'm excited to ride the trails for a number of reasons. The change of scenery will be nice -- I love the red rocks and the canyons and it seems like every trail has a view of something beautiful. On top of that, it really sounds like there are plenty of riding opportunities that will suit us well. My biggest concern was finding trails that would make my girlfriend happy (if this biking trip works out well, then we might take another one down the road -- yeah). The information you provided has removed those concerns. I'm sure the trails you've described would be perfect for us. It's nice to know there really is something for everyone.

I have to say that my girlfriend is making good progress on the bike. My goal is always to take her places I know she can do well at and that still challenge her so that she gains confidence with each ride, but also continues to build her skills and strength. I want her to continue to progress, but I don't want to take her places that she is too intimidated to ride. Sometimes striking that balance is hard. It's especially hard when you don't know an area or its trails. That's why I turned to the board. Of course you came through with some great information.

Thanks again for your help!
 

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On the aspect of Sedona vs Flagstaff, the drive up to flag is fantastic. I takes about 30min and is on a twisty turny road that meanders through forests and red rocks up to the pine forests of the flagstaff elevation. The most important thing about this road is that it leads to Flagstaff where you will be able to find good food. As an ex-chef I have to say that that food selection in Sedona/OakCreek is possibly the worst of any "resort" type area I have been to. Expect food for the RV crowds vs. Food for the young and hip. If you fall in the RV crowd type you may actually like it, and by it I mean overprice bland food, but I digress. Make the trip to Flag for supper and you won't be disappointed. As a college town the restaurants are fantastic and cheap ($) but good quality and spirited.

As for Sedona I searched through the restaurants there for our wedding reception and the best that I could come up with is the Heartline Cafe, which despite its name is not healthfood nor is it a cafe. Good meals that are unique and tasty although it is $$. Supposedly there is also a good thai place but I have never found it. I also recommend the Bike and Bean in Oak Creek for mornin' Coffee and possibly as a ride trailhead.
 

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Oak Creek

If you are stayin in oak creek look up Bike and Bean. Those guys are the best. They know it all. They can hook u up with tours, trail info, even a bike if need be. That is deffinetly the most informative shop in sedona.
 

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I am planning a pseudo-epic weekend ride with a couple of harder core biking freinds from San Diego. We are looking for a 30-50 mile ride from a trailhead to a campground. The thought of Flagstaff to Sedona came up.

Is there any sort of a trail system between these two places? We are planning on having our girlfreinds/wives drop us off at one spot, and meet us at the other the next day with one bike camping night in between. Closer to 50 miles is probably better this being the case. We regularly ride 20+ miles in an afternoon here in SD. We are all experienced backpackers too, so that won't be much of an issue. Travel light, freeze at night and all that.. ;)

In any case, where would I start with this trail search? Need maps/info.
 

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Forget Flag to Sedona - you'll be disappointed. You can drive the entir route in a car.

Circumnavigate the San Francisco Peaks instead! This would be a FANTASTIC ride!!! I've dreamt of doing this myself for 8 years, and have biked or hiked all of it, but not in one go. I believe it's 46 miles, all excellent trail, all in gorgeous country.

Pick up Cosmic Rays' guidebook wherever you can, it spells out the entire route very well. That's all you'll need - maybe check in with Flagstaff bike shops and club web sites for last minute details.

Post you question on the MBForum AZ site with the title "50 mile Flag epic" or the like and see what sort of responce you get.

Good luck!

Froggystyle said:
I am planning a pseudo-epic weekend ride with a couple of harder core biking freinds from San Diego. We are looking for a 30-50 mile ride from a trailhead to a campground. The thought of Flagstaff to Sedona came up.

Is there any sort of a trail system between these two places? We are planning on having our girlfreinds/wives drop us off at one spot, and meet us at the other the next day with one bike camping night in between. Closer to 50 miles is probably better this being the case. We regularly ride 20+ miles in an afternoon here in SD. We are all experienced backpackers too, so that won't be much of an issue. Travel light, freeze at night and all that.. ;)

In any case, where would I start with this trail search? Need maps/info.
 

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Rollin'in'Zona said:
Forget Flag to Sedona - you'll be disappointed. You can drive the entir route in a car.

Circumnavigate the San Francisco Peaks instead! This would be a FANTASTIC ride!!! I've dreamt of doing this myself for 8 years, and have biked or hiked all of it, but not in one go. I believe it's 46 miles, all excellent trail, all in gorgeous country.

Pick up Cosmic Rays' guidebook wherever you can, it spells out the entire route very well. That's all you'll need - maybe check in with Flagstaff bike shops and club web sites for last minute details.

Post you question on the MBForum AZ site with the title "50 mile Flag epic" or the like and see what sort of responce you get.

Good luck!
I plan to ride round the peaks this Saturday !! If you are interested in joining us, meet at 8:30AM. We will be starting from our usual campsite - go up Schultz Road. After the first cattleguard, turn left. You will find some campers down the road a short distance on your right. look for my dirty silver 4Runner with 4 bike racks up top. I think I'll start a new thread to see if I can get any other takers!

Kathleen
 

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Skip Ray's guidebook and pick up the new Flagstaff trails map instead. http://www.emmittbarks.com/
Its got all the rides on it except for non-system trails. A lot less confusing than Ray's book which is better suited for getting you to the trail than using the trail. IMO and don't get mad if you read this Ray.

If your trying to sniff out some of the non-system trails have a look at the topo map on the wall in Absolute Bikes. They may not give you much info on them because they work closely with the Forest Service on trail issues/access/building, etc but just about all of them are on there. Especially if your looking for creative options for circumnavigating the Peaks.
 

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Froggystyle said:
I am planning a pseudo-epic weekend ride with a couple of harder core biking freinds from San Diego. We are looking for a 30-50 mile ride from a trailhead to a campground. The thought of Flagstaff to Sedona came up.

Is there any sort of a trail system between these two places? We are planning on having our girlfreinds/wives drop us off at one spot, and meet us at the other the next day with one bike camping night in between. Closer to 50 miles is probably better this being the case. We regularly ride 20+ miles in an afternoon here in SD. We are all experienced backpackers too, so that won't be much of an issue. Travel light, freeze at night and all that.. ;)

In any case, where would I start with this trail search? Need maps/info.
I think you will also be dissapointed with the round the peaks ride. It's a great ride and all, but can be done in a morning. 4 hours if your riding constant. Plus, no trails. The Flag to Sedona ride can have a lot of variety. There is a singletrack that you can take all the way down schnebly hill. Once your down there are countless singletrack miles to ride. Or there is a little known skull and crossbones type trail that goes down schnebly hill as well. I don't think that one is safe with a lot of gear though (I don't think that trail is ever safe!). And, up on the mtn you will be way too cold without gear.(It's been getting down to high 30's in town, probably mid 30's up on the mtn.) Down in Sedona, no bag needed. You'll be comfy all night long. Plus, you can meet the girls at any one of dozens of great campgrounds or creek rec areas. But, the flag to sedona ride can also be done in the day pretty easily. But, you can ride down to Schnebly hill, camp, ride a bunch of singletrack down to Sedona and meet the girls at an official campground by the creek. The ride from Flag to Schnebly hill is forest road, top of Schebly on is singletrack. So, about half and half.

Anyways, search for the red rocks ranger district for maps and info on sedona. They have a pretty complete trail map in a little tourist type paper. Hit up Absolute Bikes in Oak creek for info on how to connect the different trail systems, or just bring a compass. The Peaks ranger district should have trail maps and stuff for Flagstaff, or hit up Absolute Bikes in downtown flag when you roll into town. They have a topo with every trail drawn out pretty well.

Flag to grand canyon is a good one too, that would have enough distance to camp in between start/finish and you would get out of the cold on day one and you would end up at the grand canyon, which is always pretty cool. But, no trails, all forest road.

One note on Sedona, if it's the holiday weekend, and sometimes even if it's not, if you are wanting an official campground, have the girls get the group camping spot early, or see if you can reserve it, that place will be crawling. But, there is always forest camping up Schnebly hill road. And don't forget about the red rock pass that you will need if you plan on parking anywhere near Sedona. (insert user fees collected by out of state company rant here)

Have fun,

T.A.
 
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