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I'm trying to develop a desert trail riding etiquette, focused on Sedona trails, winter and spring riding conditions and need your help in this little project. So, please add your experience of what works out in the desert.
One thing that I did find was how Fruita is addressing the same issues as Sedona. I also keep tabs on the St. George area, and Moab. I like Fruita and its Keep Singletrack Single. www.otefruita.com/advocacy/

First thing, do your research before heading out on the trails. Winter riding between December and April. Rain, snow, sun, wind, sometimes all four on the same day is possible. Its best to watch weather reports, radar images, and ask on internet forums such as MTBR of current conditions. Once temperatures drop to the freezing point, and the ground freezes, the soils on trails take a lot longer to dry. Even with less than .25" of precipitation followed by freezing can make the trails muddy for days.

If bike tires compress more than 1" into trails, its time to turn around and plan something else.

Second. Choose trails on exposure to the sun and elevation. Generally, trails that dry out first are those from the airport to the high school. This followed by Dry Creek area, then the trails out of VOC, Llama-Broken Arrow-Templeton, Thunder Mountain, and Finally Schnebly Hill. Consider riding in Cottonwood first after a winter storm, then slowly work up in elevation and exposure.

Third. Be aware of trail design and your riding style. Once the trail is dry enough to ride on, its time to follow the principles of Keep Single Track Single (KSS). Basically keep touching the trail with tires and feet as much possible. Ride in the middle of the trail, not on the plants trying to grow on the margins. You paid for all that suspension, use it. Don't ride around obstacles, creating a wider trail. Keep disturbance outside of the trail to an absolute minimum. Use slickrock area for stops, rests, and getting out of the way of other trail users.
If you are blowing corners, skidding, or generally flailing, its time to improve your skills. Slow down, don't skid. Ride a less demanding trail if you are not keeping in line with the trail.
Signs of poor trail design are wide (more than 48"), eroding, ugly, not fun trails. Let the locals know, volunteers and fix a bad design. But please try to keep to the middle of the trail as best you can.

Respect the design and flow of trails. Don't cut corners, skid around corners, create new lines, remove vegetation, remove rocks, and build water bars with rocks placed up on edge. Stegosaurs-suckious.

Be extra sensitive around cryptobiotic soils. Many trails pass through these areas. Keep to the middle of the trail.

Stay on Slickrock as much as possible, for the least amount of trail impact takes place there. Very slow erosion there. On the opposite spectrum is what to do while riding through puddles. Ride slow and in the middle of the trail and puddle. A big puddle that covers the whole trail is a maintenance issue that needs help. Take a minute to clean out the drain or alert the locals to do the necessary work.

Have fun, clean up, enjoy some good food and beverage.:)
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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I hate to say that most people don't give a damn about the trails. They have some time off, a weekend, and they are going to ride no matter what. I got to see this to a higher extent in California over Christmas, but it also holds true for here. Most people will rationalize riding on muddy trails and leaving huge ruts. This is especially true when the beginning of the trail is "ok", or it's not "all" terrible. I see the same thing with equestrians around here to a higher extent, but the mountain bikers are surely guilty of it too. Plenty of people claim that some trails "drain well", and then I'll go out on the same exact trail and see that it's COMPLETE BS. It doesn't "drain well", it's a mud fest and while some areas are ok, others are nasty and you leave huge ruts. The best wet-experience I've had is national, right after INCHES of rain. There wasn't any mud on the trail, just the normal hard-packed sandy surface, tacky but no ruts or mud, just due to the surface. There were only a few puddles, but these too consisted of hard-packed dirt/sand and there weren't any ruts. I compare this experience to others and situations where I've turned back and decided not to ride after going a short distance. Unfortunately, I don't really see this phenominon stopping, it's the whole reason people buy SUVs, live in excess, speed on the highway, and so on. They don't care about anyone else.
 

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CP:

We left the Little Horse trailhead today heading to H.T on Bell Rock Pathway and it looked like a herd of cows with hiking boots had walked on the trail a day or so after the recent snowfall. I have never seen Bell Rock Pathway look like that.

All the non-system trails were is great shape. Hog Heaven was a little slippery on the wet spots of slickrock, but the actual trail was good shape.

TD
 

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traildoc said:
CP:

We left the Little Horse trailhead today heading to H.T on Bell Rock Pathway and it looked like a herd of cows with hiking boots had walked on the trail a day or so after the recent snowfall. I have never seen Bell Rock Pathway look like that.

All the non-system trails were is great shape. Hog Heaven was a little slippery on the wet spots of slickrock, but the actual trail was good shape.

TD
That's what Aerie looked like today. The equestrians couldn't resist riding it when it was soft. It should smooth out with time but it would be nice if they could stay on the trail as well.

I think one of the biggest things is yielding to other riders. Countless times I've observed riders riding off trail rather than simply stopping and putting one foot off the trail and leaning out of the way. You can get away with this in other places where outside of the tread it might be grassy or whatever but in sedona it just leads to unsightly tracks and widening. Not to mention damage to crypto. Keep singletrack single.
 
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