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· Saucy Size
4,472 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, this is the much-promised sticky we've been talking about. It's directed primarily at out of town visitors as well as new riders who don't know where else to ride in our glorious state besides their favorite city park trail.

To our visitors: We've created this thread to hopefully answer the most obvious questions you have about riding in our state. This has become necessary because every year, usually from mid-Fall into late-Spring, the tourist traffic in our forum becomes so great that we spend all our time answering "I'm coming to Arizona where should I ride?" type questions.

If it still doesn't answer your questions, then maybe we need to add more stuff to our sticky! Go ahead and post to the board if you still have questions.

Thread rules:

* Locals, please post your personal recommendations for your personal favorite rides. Include enough detail that the reader can determine the ride's difficulty, trailhead directions, ride directions, and seasonal considerations. Any post that fails to do these things will get deleted.

* Do not comment on someone else's recommendations unless it is to clarify or expand on what someone else is recommending. Any post dissing someone else's recommendations will get deleted.

* This is not the thread to recommend or criticize local bike shops. I will start a separate sticky for that subject. If you include information about a bike shop, please make sure it's related to the ride(s) you're recommending.

* If you have a thread in mind where we've already discussed riding in certain areas, send me a PM with a link and I'll review it.

* This is not going to be a "normal" thread with lots of back-and-forth. It will be informational only. Expect lots of posts to get deleted along the way that don't serve this purpose.

With that said, start posting up your recommendations! :D


· Saucy Size
4,472 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
DIY: Resources for your own research

This is a list of everything I have on my bookshelf: Every map, every book, everything. I've included links to or other online retailers to help you purchase them. Many of us here own copies; ask around and someone may be able to lend you theirs.

Mountain Bike America: Arizona (Paul Beakley)
Fat Tire Tales & Trails (Cosmic Ray)
Mountain Biking Arizona (Sarah Alley)
Rim Country Mountain Biking (Jeffrey Stevenson)
Mountain Biking Phoenix (Bruce Grubbs)
Mountain Biking Flagstaff/Sedona (Bruce Grubbs)
Biking the Grand Canyon Area (Andrea Lankford)
Biking the Arizona Trail (Andrea Lankford)
Flagstaff Hikes (Hiking & Biking) (Richard Mangum)
Prescott & Central Highland Trails (Ronald Smith)
Mountain Bike Adventures in the Four Corners Region (Michael McCoy)

The Map: Trails of East Phoenix (Arizona Mapping Kompany)
The Map: West Phoenix (Arizona Mapping Kompany)
The Map: Tucson (Arizona Mapping Kompany) (no link for AMK)
Epic Sedona (Epic Map Company)
Flagstaff Trails Map (Emmitt Barks Cartography)
The Original Sedona Mountain BIke Trail Map & Field Guide (Mountain Bike Heaven)
The No-Nonsense Mountain Bike Trail Guide: Flagstaff & Sedona Arizona
The Desert Quail Inn Presents Sedona By Trail
Sharlot Hall Prescott Trail Maps (free!)

ROG Sheets
The USFS offers Recreational Opportunity Guides (ROG Sheets) for free to anyone who calls and asks for them. These are very rudimentary trail guides for rides in their jurisdictions. Call the USFS office in question and they'll send you whatever they have for mountain biking.

Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
Coconino National Forest
Coronado National Forest
Kaibab National Forest
Prescott National Forest
Tonto National Forest

Local Clubs
While Arizona does not have a lot of mountain biking clubs, those we do have are very active with group rides and disseminating ride information.
Sonoran Desert Mountain Bikers (SDMB)
Southern Arizona Mountain Biking Association (SAMBA)

And last but not least...
The MTBR trail review page. Use at your own risk. :D

Did I forget anything? Hit me with a PM and I'll add it.


· Saucy Size
4,472 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Previous Discussions

Here are links to some of the better and more informative "where to ride" posts we've had. I'll add more to this post as I find them. I'm putting all the ride areas that pop into my head here -- if you have a thread you'd like to link to, let me know!


Phoenix Area
The National Trail | SoMo Trailhead info | Mormon/National/Javelina Writeup
Trail 100 Map by Epicrider
Hawes | Pass Mountain | Usery Park Map
Pima & Dynamite
Sunrise Trail
Pemberton/McDowell Mountains | Maricopa County Maps
Estrella Mountains | Maricopa County Maps
White Tank Mountains | Goat Camp | Maricopa County Maps
The FR/DH scene
Where to rent bikes
A Valley-wide comparison of trail difficulties, as suggested by the AZ Forum
Closest/coolest rides from Phoenix

Tucson Area
Starr Pass
Green Mountain/Molino/Milagrosa (Catalina South)
Samaniego/Red Ridge/Oracle Ridge/CDO (Catalina North)
Catalina/50 Year Trail
Fantasy Island
The FR/DH scene
A Tucson-area comparison of trail difficulties, as suggested by the AZ Forum

Sedona Area
Cathedral/Bell Rock (Sedona South)
Jim Thompson/Midgley/Damifino/Huckaby/Munds (Sedona East)
Secret/Teacup/Thunder Mountain/Airport Mesa/Cockscomb (Sedona West)
The FR/DH scene
A Sedona area comparison of trail difficulties, as suggested by the AZ Forum

Prescott Area
Overview of Prescott ride opportunities | More | Much more |
Granite Basin | More Granite Basin
Spruce Mountain
Lynx Lake
Thumb Butte
The FR/DH scene

Flagstaff Area
Mt. Elden
Fort Valley
Walnut Canyon
Williams/Grand Canyon
The FR/DH scene
A list of Flagstaff area rides, organized by progressive difficulty as suggested by the AZ Forum

White Mountains Area
Pinetop/Tour of the White Mountains
The FR/DH scene | Sunrise Ski Resort | More Sunrise

Everywhere Else
Globe | The Six Shooter Map
Casa Grande | More Casa Grande
Chad's 10 Most Underrated AZ Trails
Yuma NEW

· Saucy Size
4,472 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Local Events

We have quite a few events around the state that are either bike-specific or bike-related. I've listed everything I can think of here.

Arizona Spring Fling: Usually St. Patty's Day Weekend.
Valle Redondo Fat Tire Fiesta
Flight of the Pigs
New Belgium Brewing Company's Tour De Fat

Tour of the White Mountains
24 Hours in the Old Pueblo
Whiskey Off-Road
Soul Ride
MBAA Race Series
Dust Devil Race Series

Bike Swaps
GABA Bike Swap: Weekend before the El Tour de Tucson every year; another one in April. Check the GABA website for details.
CAB Phoenix Bike Swap
PAT Prescott Bike Swap
Tempe Bike Swap

· Ouch, I am hot!
4,761 Posts
My Favorite Phoenix Trail

By far, my favorite ride in Phoenix is the National Trail to Buena Vista parking lot and back. Here is a description:

Ride Difficulty - Advanced. This trail has some serious drops, rock gardens, some exposure (after Buena Vista parking lot), technical climbs and lots of hikers. It will beat the hell out of you year round. I always bring plenty of water (at least 100oz), especially during March through October. BRING PLENTY OF WATER. Note: Most of this trail can be done by most CARFEFUL intermediate riders. As long as you get off and walk the tougher sections, you too will have a huge smile on your face. Be careful.

Trailhead Directions. Most riders start this ride from the Pima Canyon Parking Lot at 48th Street and Guadalupe. Take 1-10 to Baseline Road go right (west) to 48th street. Take 48th street 1/4 mile past Euclid and turn right (sign indicating park entrance). Go 400 feet and turn left to parking lot/trailhead. Be careful, I got lost the first time I tried to find the parking lot. You will know when you are there because it is a big long lot with plenty of people. Park.

Ride Directions. From the parking lot, get on the bike and ride directly west out of the parking lot on the big fire road starting at the toilets to the end, about 1.3 miles. At the end of the fire road, head down on the left and follow the signs and singletrack to the National Trail trailhead to the left or the Mormon Loop/Morman Trail trailhead to the right. Both trails will take you up. Morman is easier and my preference by far. Follow the signs to stay on the trail, although there are not many deviations. If taking Morman (Morman Loop) up, do not follow Mormon trail down where it goes back down the mountain to 24th street on the right. You want to turn south and connect with the National Trail. If you took National Trail from the bottom, you will eventually get to the Morman/National intersection. Again, either way gets you there. Keep heading up, through some technical sections, including the infamous Waterfall. You can stop here and return back down, or continue on to the Buena Vista parking lot. If you continue, there will be some ups and downs (mostly up) until you get to the Buena Vista parking lot. You can't miss this big lot. At this point, I would return back down for the "most fun" possible on a bike. You can continue on National Trail from Buena Vista, but that is another ride. Going down, just follow the trail back to the Pima Canyon parking lot. At the National/Morman intersection, you can decide which way to go down - back down Morman or down Lower National. Morman is easier. Lower National is the bomb. Pure fun.

· I am Walt
6,345 Posts
Lost Dog Wash area/Sunrise Trail - McDowell Sonoran Preserve, NE Scottsdale

There is some great riding in Northeast Scottsdale that is still somewhat under the radar. It is in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and is known as the Lost Dog Wash area and also the Sunrise Trail (not to be mistaken with Sunrise Ski Resort in northern AZ).

- 124th St. dead-end, north of Via Linda and north of Shea. New trailhead being built; should be done in 2006 sometime.
- 128th St. dead-end, north of Via Linda and north of Shea. No real trailhead, just pull off parking. Best place to start until the 124th St. trailhead opens.
- 144th St. and Via Linda. New Sunrise Trailhead (in Hidden Hills neighborhood) opened in March, 2005. You generally don't want to start your ride here - up, up, up and steep. Lots of hike-a-bike.
- In all cases, take the 101 (Loop 101 in the East Valley, not West) to Shea, go east on Shea to 124th St., then go north on 124th and navigate from there.
- There is also access from the north in the McDowell Mountain Ranch area, but I can't describe the access as well as some others. They can post up with directions from that side.

Difficulty/Type of Riding
- Pretty much all singletrack XC riding, with some doubletrack thrown in. Not as rocky overall as T100, but some parts are pretty loose and/or rocky. WEAR A HELMET!
- Some moderate to moderate+ climbs (except the Sunrise Trail) and washes
- No rock gardens or drops anywhere
- Other than the Sunrise Trail, all easy+ to moderate riding, but you NEED to know how to handle your bike.
- Sunrise Trail is a grueling climb that gains about 1000' from either side, but is non-technical going up. It requires some skill going down, particularly to the east towards the Sunrise Trailhead, due to steep, loose sections and switchbacks. You'll want disc brakes going down that way. You can get hurt. Watch out for hikers.
- Has a backcountry kind of feel to it. Ride with a partner or bring your cell phone.
- Lots of cacti - saguaro, cholla, etc. Use slime or thorn-resistant tubes.
- Hardtails and SS's are fine; FS will be preferred if you're not used to desert riding.

- Lost Dog Wash - south of Taliesin Overlook
- Ringtail - east of Lost Dog Wash, south of Taliesin Overlook
- Quartz Trail - north of Taliesin Overlook, bears east
- MMR (McDowell Mountain Ranch) Loop - loops around a large portion of the MMR development.
- Sunrise Trail - gains (or loses) 1000 feet in just a couple miles

I could go on for hours attempting to describe these rides, but you'll still get mixed up. There are signs with maps at the the 128th St. and Sunrise trailheads, and there will be one at 124th St. when it's finished. There are also some good signs out on the trails and more signs are going in. Keep sense of where you are. Maybe the locals and I will post up further, more detailed ride directions.

I also recommend you search this forum (Arizona) for titles and/or threads with the following keywords: Lost Dog, Lost Dog Wash, Sunrise, Sunrise Trail, McDowell Sonoran Preserve. You'll find some great and informative threads and posts, some with pictures.

- Year-round, but when it's hot for you, be OFF the trail by 8 or 9 am. DO NOT underestimate the heat...and it's effect on you.
- The Preserve closes at sunset, but locals ride at night EXCEPT for the portion of Sunrise Trail that drops down to the east into the Hidden Hills neighborhood. DO NOT ride there at night.
- No pass or fees required...yet
- Bring that 100 oz. Camelback...filled!
- Tell someone where you're going

Always post up if you're riding and you may get some riding partners/tour guides. And heed all the cautions I noted!


· It rains here. :(
1,296 Posts
White Tanks Competitive Track

White Tanks Competitive Track

If you're new to riding and you're in Phoenix, go ride the beginner's paradise know as Pemberton. Upon successful completion of Pemberton, come to White Tanks. White Tanks is one of many "next step" rides in the Phoenix area. I ride white Tanks frequently because I work close to it. I feel that it offers a little bit of everything to everyone. It starts slow but once it gets going it offers good speed, lots of ups and downs, a few banked turns, a difficult climb, and some technical challenges. All this in a short track, can be a perfect introduction for a beginner or perhaps if your short on time.

Location - White Tanks Regional Park is located in the far west valley of Phoenix. It's part of the Maricopa County parks, and therefore costs you 5 bucks and the trails close at dark. White Tanks Competitive Track was designed for speed, so traffic goes one way, and it's one of only three trail systems in Phoenix where slower yields to faster.

Directions - Take I-101 west of I-17 to Olive Road. Continue west on Olive until you run directly into the park (Another option would be to take the 303 off of I-10 and go north, then west at Olive Road). Follow the main road once inside the park until it turns into a gravel road, this leads to the parking lot. The trailhead is in the Northwest corner of the gravel parking lot.

Length - At it's longest loop (staying to the left at each intersection) it is 6.3 miles. Shorten it or ride it twice depending on your ability. A good idea for beginners is to skip the Technical segment and the northern most part of the trail, this makes for a fast 5 mile loop. Average time for a beginner on the 5 mile loop is probably around 1 hour. The 6.3 mile loop takes probably about 1 hour and 30 minutes, due to the hills.

Difficulty - For the most part I'd rate White Tanks at the Beginner level with parts that require Intermediate or Advanced skill levels. White Tanks is mostly flat and smooth with numerous ups and downs through wash crossings. These crossings could cause problems for true beginners, but most wash crossings are fast with little to no loose rocks. If you pick a good line, normally your momentum will carry you through the wash. The washes here are continually getting more and more eroded, so take care to know the trail somewhat before you carry too much speed into some of the washes.

Also on the attached map, I have highlighted the most difficult of areas. The northern section of trail being the most difficult/dangerous. This area is reached by climbing some steep switchbacks, then heads downhill through a small canyon of sorts. The trail here is very rocky and in places becomes quite angled with some exposure to the left. Taking a wrong line while headed down through here could mean a crash. Also, don't be fooled by the Techncial loop section to the west, while it is harder than the rest of the trail, it isn't even in the same class as the northern most loop.

Safety - Uh yeah, this is Arizona so take water, helmet, and watch for snakes. Also this trail is sometimes quite deserted. It could be awhile for someone to find you if you go down on this trail and hurt yourself, so take a cell phone.

- Side note -

White Tanks has other trails besides the easy Competitive Track, for the stupid brave, check out the expert level Goat Camp, Ford Canyon, and others. Check out for more information on where they are located in the park.


· I am Walt
6,345 Posts
McDowell Mountain Regional Park

This is another great Maricopa County Park. It is a few miles north of Fountain Hills, which is in the far Northeast Valley, east of Scottsdale. Here's a link to the park's homepage:

- From the 101 in the East Valley, get to Shea Blvd. and go east
- Or from Mesa or Payson, take 87 (Beeline Hwy) to Shea Blvd. and go west
- In either case, take Shea to Fountain Hills Blvd. and go north
- Follow Fountain Hills Blvd. through Fountain Hills for about three miles
- Continue north out of Fountain Hills on Fountain Hills Blvd.
- The park will be about 4-5 miles north of town on the left
- You'll need to pay a $5 entry fee - either self-pay or pay an attendant, depending on the time of year.

Difficulty/Type of Riding
- Pretty much all desert singletrack XC riding. A very fun riding experience.
- Easy to moderate in nature, but you NEED to know how to handle your bike.
- Not very rocky, though there are some rocky sections
- Ride with a partner or bring your cell phone.
- Lots of cacti - saguaro, cholla, etc. Use slime or thorn-resistant tubes.
- Hardtails and SS's are fine; FS will be preferred if you're not used to desert riding.
- Excellent workout riding where you can push yourself as hard and long as you want without ever having to dismount

Competitive Tracks
- Parking area will be on your left as you drive into the park.
- Three loops that are built for racing, flow well, with few technical obstacles
- Here's a link to a map of the Competitive Tracks:
Sport Loop
- Park to the west end of the parking area
- 3.1 mile loop
- No technical obstacles
Technical Loop
- Park at the west end of the parking area
- 3.0 mile loop
- A couple steep, short sections towards the start, then a not-too-bad climb up a ridge with a sort-of-steep, loose downhill section on the backside of the ridge.
Long Loop
- Park to the east end of the parking area
- 8.4 mile loop
- One ledge to hop up about 3.5 miles in
- One longer climb of note about halfway, lots of cobbles
- Long, easy grade downhill after that climb, lots of rocky spots, mostly cobbles, ends in Cactus Corner
- Lots of short ups and downs throughout
Outer Loop
- About 10.2 miles
- This is a combination of the Sport, Tech and Long Loops
- Make all right turns at the two trail junctions you will encounter - Sport to Tech to Long
- This is the 24-hour race loop​
Pemberton Trail
- Instead of pulling into the parking area for the Competitive Tracks, continue on the winding park road, past the Visitor Center.
- Look for the right-hand turn to the Horse Staging Area (or something like that), continue to big parking area with facilities
- 15.4 mile BI-DIRECTIONAL loop, most common way is clockwise
- Easy riding, excellent for beginners
- A couple harder-than-easy climbs that will tire out beginners
- Clockwise ends in a long down-grade spin down a sandy jeep road, into some nice singletrack
- Here's a link to a large-scale map; Pemberton is marked with PB:

- Year-round, but when it's hot for you, be OFF the trail by 8 or 9 am. DO NOT underestimate the heat...and it's effect on you.
- The Park closes at sunset - NO NIGHT RIDING, though they host some moonlight rides on Pemberton during the summer months
- Bring that 100 oz. Camelback...filled!
- Tell someone where you're going

Always post up if you're riding and you may get some riding partners/tour guides. And heed all the cautions I noted!


· I am Doctor Remulak
1,425 Posts
Hawes/Twisted Sister/Wild Horse

The Hawes trail network is part of the Tonto National forest, is located in northeast Mesa and is filled with fun and relatively easy desert singletrack.

- Power Rd about 1 mile north of Thomas Rd and the Red Mtn Ranch/Las Sendas area. No real trailhead at this time, just pull off parking on the west side of the road just after crossing the canal.

Difficulty/Type of Riding
- All singletrack XC riding, with some short rocky sections and some switchbacks.
- Some moderate climbs throughout and a few sandy washes.
- Other than the descent from the Mine Loop and Twisted Sister, it's all relatively easy to moderate riding, but you NEED to know how to handle your bike.
- Has a backcountry kind of feel to it. Ride with a partner or bring your cell phone.
- Lots of cacti - saguaro, cholla, etc. Use slime or thorn-resistant tubes or a tubeless system.
- Suitable for hardtails, SS's and FS rigs.

Map courtesty of Epicrider

- Standard Loop - enter from Power Rd and follow the Pig Trail to until it intersects with Hawes Trail. Follow Hawes trail over to the intersection with Saddleback Trail. Shortly after the switchbacks you come to an intersection, turn right to hit the Mine Loop. At the bottom of the Mine loop turn left and return to Power Rd via the Ridge Trail.
- Twisted Sister/Wild Horse - make your way to the Mine Trail and about halfway up the climb you'll see a trail head off to the right, this is the start of Twisted Sister. Twisted Sister is a tight piece of singletrack that's fairly new to the system. Follow Twisted Sister to Big Rock (watch your speed in the tight corners) and head down to Wild Horse (there are actual wild horses out there!). Wild Horse is a gradual climb out to Usery Pass Rd and
the NRA pit, and is a ton of fun on the way back. You can either head back via Big Rock and Twisted Sister or head out to Power Rd (also called Bush Highway).

There are many variations to be ridden in the Hawes trail system. Explore them all, it's pretty easy to navigate, and the Forest Service has recently added sign posts at trail intersections (although I don't know if they use the same trail names).

I also recommend you search this forum (Arizona) for titles and/or threads with the following keywords: Hawes, Twisted Sister, or Wild Horse. You'll find some great and informative threads and posts, some with pictures.

- Year-round, but when it's hot for you, be OFF the trail by 8 or 9 am. DO NOT underestimate the heat...and it's effect on you.
- Located in the Tonto National Forest
- Watch out for hikers
- Wear a helmet
- Bring that 100 oz. Camelback...filled!
- Tell someone where you're going

Always post up if you're riding and you may get some riding partners/tour guides.


· viva la v-brakes!
2,435 Posts
SEDONA: the lowdown

The Area

The beauty of Sedona rivals most national parks. In addition to biking there are opportunties for hiking, canyoneering, climbing, fishing, photography and so forth. There are also many resorts and spas. It's a good place to keep everyone in the family happy. The culture is a strange mix of old-west conservativism, outdoorsy 'granola' types and new-age hippy types.

There are two towns, but three town centers. Uptown Sedona is highest in elevation and the first you'll run into rolling into the area from Oak Creek Canyon. Lots of tourist shops here. West Sedona has the grocery stores and most of the hotels and dining places. It is separated from uptown Sedona by a chunk of National Forest, and though these two areas in in two different counties they are still part of the same town. The Village of Oak Creek (VOC) is south of Sedona, on Highway 179, just south of Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte. This town has a little bit of everything you might need.

There is a Red Rock Fee to park on National Forest land around Sedana. This fee helps maintain the trail and trailhead facilities, it really does go to a good cause. You can buy them at any FS facility (including major trailheads) and at some shops and stores (such as Circle K). If your a cheap skate, however, you can park in a grocery store or bike shop parking lot and ride from there without fear of a ticket.

There are a lot of trails in Sedona that go into wilderness where no bikes are allowed. Keep yourself (and the MTB community) out of trouble and stay out of the wilderness.


Here are my three favorite rides in the area (in no particular order):

1) Broken Arrow (w/ Submarine Rock detour), Llama Loop, Templeton, Baldwin and back. If you don't have enough time to do a complete out and back, there are several short cuts you could take. Don't forget to take take a flop off the rope swing at Budda Beach.

2) Jordan, Tea Cup, Thunder Mountain, and back. A little bit shorter then the other two.

3) Up Schnebly Hill Road (or Munds Wagon Road Trail if you want a technical climbing challenge) to just past the overlook, then right on FR 153A, then right where it comes to a "T" (just past the fenced off radio or whatever equipment) then continue on down Schnebly Hill Trail, hit the road, and just 30 or so feet downhill from there continue on down the Munds Wagon Road Trail to the trailhead. This has some options, for example you can keep going down from the trailhead on Huckabee to the creek or turn off on Cow Pies and hook up with the "extreme" Damifino Trail, though its very hard to find.

The Girdner trailhead behind the cultural center will lead you to a substantial trail network. Also, check out the Carroll Canyon area trails, best accessed from the Shelby Dr. trailhead. A loop down there would probably be my number 4 favorite trail.

Check out the Arizona Trail Reviews for more info.

Trail Maps and Books

Emmitt Barks Cartagraphy, Cosmic Ray, Mountain Bike Heaven and Bear (something) Cartography all produce maps of the area. The Emmitt Barks map is the best for navigating since it's a true scale map with contours, shaded relief, the whole nine yards. The Cosmic Ray map is less expensive and bike specific, but has a quant, cartoonish appearance that isn't the best for navigating if you're not familar with the area. Personally, I would buy both. The MTB Heaven map is also decent, however the Bear (something) Cartagraphy map is a crappy glorified USGS topo map with a few trails thrown in on it. Its so unimpressive, I can't even remember the propper name!

Both Cosmic Ray and Paul Beakley have produced state-wide mountain bike books that highlight the best trails in the Sedona area. See the "Books" section in the post by Paul B above for more details.

Bear in mind that none of these maps or books have all of the trails in Sedona. The best of them have perhaps about 1/3 of the actual trail milage in them. This is because they only contain official network trails. There are many non-system trails which are legal to ride, and many of them are quite fun. Other non-network trails are miserable paths carved out by hikers, horseback riders and cattle. You will find plenty of fun riding to keep you busy for a solid week on the network trails, try not to get too distracted or get lost on side trails.


Sedona MTB Adventures offers mountain bike tours for anyone from complete novices looking for a slightly more interesting sight seeing tour to experienced, hard-core rider looking for the most challenging trails. The local knowledge keeps you from getting lost on the somewhat confusing trail network and you can learn a bit about geology, natural history, local history and so forth as you go, or you can just ride. I work for Sedona MTB Adventures as a guide, so I appologise if my description is especially glowing. :)

Bike and Bean also offers tours, appariently through 360 Adventures.

Additionally there are group rides leaving from Bike and Bean, MTB Heaven and possibly also Absolute Bikes, on most days.


Absolute Bikes (VOC): 928.284.1242
Bike & Bean (VOC): 928.284.0210
Mountain Bike Heaven (West Sedona): 928 282-1312


There are two locations for primitive camping near Sedona. The one I would recommend most is Forest Road 525/Red Canyon Road/Bill Gray Road 7 miles west of Sedona (4 miles past the high school) on Highway 89A. The other is an area called Beaver Head Flats, just south of Beaver Head Flats road on Hwy 179, south of VOC, (about a mile north of the intersection of I-17 and AZ 179). Neither of these places has water or other facilities, so you will have to pack it in and pack it out. These places are also further from trails, only kinda sorta within riding distance of a few trails. But its free camping so you get what you pay for.

Most of the commercial campgrounds in Sedona do not take tents. If you're in a RV, there are several RV parks, contact the Sedona Chamber of Commerce for more information on these places. The Hawkeye RV park on the north end of Uptown Sedona is a bit dumpy, but they have tent camping for $18.88 per night. The phone number there is 928-282-2222. Showers available. If you're camping elsewhere this is a good place to go sneek a shower. Just don't tell them you heard that here.

The better campgrounds are run by the National forest. Chavez Crossing Group Campground is the perfect place for a group of riders (10 or more) to camp. At $55-75 a night, its a bit pricey, but there's water, toilets, its located on Oak Creek, and best of all its within riding distance of all the trails. The rest of the campgrounds are up in Oak Creek Canyon, a beautiful area but futher from the trails. The Manzanita campground is the closest of these to town, only about 4-5 miles of road riding from there. Check out the Coconino National Forest Red Rock Recreation page for more info. I would recommend getting reservations (required for Chavez Crossing) in advance if you plan on being there over the weekend.


There are plenty of expensive resort type places to stay at. If you're looking for something less expensive you can get away for about $60 a night at some of the motels further west in West Sedona (along 89A) and in the Village of Oak Creek. A nice, bike specific place is in the rooms above Bike & Bean in Oak Creek. Contact the Sedona Chamber of Commerce for more information on hotel accomidations in the area.


My place favorite is Mayan Taco, a good post-ride meal. The Red Planet Diner next to MTB Heaven is an interesting and tasty place to have dinner. Oak Creek Brewery has some good beer and food. There are many other options, I just don't eat out down there often.

· Registered
17 Posts
FishMan473 said:
Also, check out the Carroll Canyon area trails, best accessed from the Shelby Dr. trailhead. A loop down there would probably be my number 4 favorite trail.
I rode this loop a few weeks ago. As an out-of-towner, I'd just like to add that finding this trailhead isn't very easy. On the map it looks like it's just near the end of Shelby Drive. Approximately 100 feet after you pass Stanley Steamer drive, look for about a 3' wide gap on the right between a chainlink fence and a wall. This is right across from the recycling center. Ride down that gap about 60 feet or so and you'll find the trailhead. And yeah, it was a great little loop.

And many thanks to the guy who was dropping off his recycling to point it out to me. I must have looked lost.

· Ouch, I am hot!
4,761 Posts
Phoenix Hidden Gem - T100 System

The T100 System is, in my opinion, the true hidden gem of Phoenix mountain bike riding. It has unjustly been the victim of much criticism by many of the local gurus and greenhorns alike. I believe the belittling is largely due to the fact that most of its critics never venture off of the main trail (Trail 100 proper) to explore the many options and side trails this system has to offer. It's in the middle of Phoenix. It's easy to get to. It's large. The hikers are less hostile than many other places in Phoenix. It's two blocks from my house! Here is a description:

Ride Difficulty - Beginner to Advanced. This trail system has it all, at least in small bits. There are easy beginner trails to hard advanced trails. Most of it fits into intermediate riding, largely due to the fact that it is rockier, with many heavy shale and loose sections, than most areas within the Phoenix vicinity. There is not much "real" climbing, but some nice hills that can put on the burn (legs and lungs). Any rider of any skill can hit the system and have a blast. But it is rocky, and can be a bit harsher on the body than some of the other "smoother" beginner trails in Phoenix. I always bring plenty of water (at least 100oz), especially during March through October.

Trailhead Directions. There are several trailhead options, and quite frankly, I am not a good "directions" guy. One of the main trailheads is at the Dreamy Draw Recreation Center, which is near 19th Street and Northern Avenue. From this intersection, head east on Northern to the parking lot at the end (Northern turns into a short, twisty, small road),
or take the Northern exit from the Squaw Peak Freeway (51) and head east and follow the signs. Go riding from the parking lot. You can take trails heading east or west. East is more popular. To go east, head past the ramadas located to the southeast and get on the sidewalk/bike path for a brief moment. You should see a single-track to your left, go there. It starts with a climb, but it's worth it. You can also access the east end of the main trail, T100, at Tatum and Tomahawk, where there is a small parking lot (5 spots). Tomahawk is south of the Tatum and Shea intersection. It's hard to spot, so keep an eye out. There is also a large lot at the end of 40th Street. From the 40th Street and Tatum intersection, head south on 40th Street to the very end. Park and ride. There are many other access points, but I have had enough.

Ride Directions. I am not going to get into detailed ride descriptions. There are too many small options and side trails, and I get a headache every time I try. You can take T100 and stick to it. It's 11 miles end to end. Follow the signs. I almost never stick to T100. There are also many signed and unsigned options off of T100. This is where much of the good stuff is. Just get there and explore. Don't be afraid. It's hard to get lost. 8 and 8A are good trails. 1A is good. Many others. Just ride and explore, please.

· Live, Freeze, and Ride
315 Posts
Fantasy Island

Fantasy Island(found at the South end of Harrison Rd) is a great loop trail system that borders the "Boneyard" for the USAF, in SE Tucson, and most of it can be ridden by all levels. This trail is easy but gets harder the faster you go. The trail was concieved and built by Chuck Boyer (I hope memory serves), a man now in his sixites(?) that routinely went by in a blur. I don't know him but know who he is, and after following him, I can tell you he can ride!
The trail is on State land and requires a permit ($20/yr - well worth it - permit good on any state land). Please get one as there has been controversy - Team ______ showed up hit trails with 20+ people and no permits:nono:, all while the trail system was under threat of development. They aren't the only ones, just ones I know about, and ones who should know better. I beleive it is safe for the moment thanks to locals and IMBA.:thumbsup:
Anyway, it's quick, twisty, sometimes sandy in spots, and pretty techinical at times (through the washes). It's a good intro to desert riding - roadrunners, rattlers, and cacti. The main loop is 6mi long, with another 6mi(?) available. One way only (it's a bummer but you can feel alone on a crowded trail that way). Good training spot. Watch out for the big piles of cow ___. :eekster:
Thumb Butte (Prescott) area is fun too.


· Registered
1,134 Posts
Is running slime a must in Flag or Sedona? I don't have a tubeless setup and heard to be prepared for flats. Truth to this? is it thorns or cactus? Looking forward to the beautiful South West Thanks!

· Kathleen in AZ
5,081 Posts
m-dub said:
Is running slime a must in Flag or Sedona? I don't have a tubeless setup and heard to be prepared for flats. Truth to this? is it thorns or cactus? Looking forward to the beautiful South West Thanks!
Not required at all in Flag. In Sedona just be sure to stay on the trails... thorns (from cacti and other pointy plants) and debris tend to get brushed aside by the foot and bike traffic. I rode for years in AZ with no slime. Recently I did go slime and noticed a decrease in flats in the Phx area, but there is no rule that says you must slime to enjoy. Just be sure to carry plenty of spare tubes (two at a min) and a patch kit on your rides. A good rule of thumb in AZ is to touch nothing... In other climates you can brush by folliage and it gives. In AZ everything is pointy and sharp and will hurt you.

· weirdo
6,027 Posts
First things first- thanks a lot for the info here. It was a great help in planning our Sedona trip, both for bike related and non bike related issues. I have a few comments/suggestions for inclusion to offer that will hopefully add to the good stuff you already have here.

1. We ended up with several "freebie" maps, the best being this one by USFS:
It was more usefull for hiking and mtb than most maps or guides I`ve actually shelled out money for (though I didn`t try any Sedona guides). You already have a link to a site that could probably have gotten me indirectly to this map (the ROG links), but I didn`t see the map when I originally followed the existing link. The same map is also free on line in PDF, but I try to avoid PDF with my slow connection.

2. The third post in your sticky has links to other mtbr threads for various subjects. None of the Sedona links worked for me and I don`t know if it`s because the links are actually "broken" or just because there aren`t any threads linked to them yet.

3. Lo Lo Mai Springs resort- the only place I was able to find that offers tent camping in conjunction with shower and laundry facilities. We stayed there and I recomend the place to anyone else who wants to tent camp and still have convenient shower access. Unfortunately, it would probably be a good hour`s ride by fat tired bike from West Sedona, but only fifteen minutes or so by car. They also offer RV spaces and a small number of cabins. Very pretty and reasonable prices. (982) 634-4700
Note: One of the posts for Sedona info (by FishMan473) mentions the Hawkeye RV Park as another tent campsite with showers. I could be mistaken, but it seems to be out of business now.

Thanks again for all the info. I hope you can use some of mine.
Brian, Reno NV

· Registered
627 Posts
Sedona Ride Options

Here is one of my favorite loops in the Sedona Area. Start by staging either at Bike & Bean or Absolute Bikes in the Village of Oak Creek. I like Bike and Bean cause they have a nice cup of java after the ride.:thumbsup:
Mileage is about 15 miles, rating is easy to intermediate. I have taken my wife (novice +)on this ride and she does walk the technical sections, but still has a good time. Everyone I've taken on this ride comes back happy and I seem to ride this trail alot when I'm down there. Basically the trails are; Bell Rock Pathway (BRP) to Templeton, to Cathedral Rock, to Back-O-Beyond Road, to BRP, to Littlehorse, to Llama, BRP, and return to your car.
Okay, here is some more detail. When I ride up BRP to the crest of the trail where all the tourists stop, park and walk into bell rock, I take the left track that borders the fence and down west of the main BRP path. Nice and smooth. It shows on the E. Barks map. Continue down the trail to the left leading to Templeton going under hwy 179. Look for the technical rock "ladder"(lack of a better term) just off the concrete undercut. Impress your buddies by riding down this feature. They will want to do the same once you do it.
Okay now up the trail and you will now be detoured under the new section of hwy 179 and another underpass. Ride and have fun til' you reach the Cathedral Rock trail. You will know it because there a billion tourists clammering around. Go down the technical steps and the tourists will take pictures of you and your buddies riding prowess.:D BUT be prepared to run into grannies, dogs, kids, women in high heels, climbers, new agers, old agers, tour busses, and maybe a jeep tour or two. Thankfully this is only a quarter mile or so.
Now follow the paved road (Back-O-Beyond) up the hill and cross highway 179. On the right is a church, follow along the left(north) side of the church up a gravel road which shortly becomes the trail. The trail winds around the back of the church and links into the FS trailhead parking lot at the end of the BRP. Flow along, fade left and down into the wash the trail goes. Now you are on Little Horse. Up and over the steps, finally you will run into Llama on your right. Now what I like to do is keep going up Little Horse to Chicken Point and have a break and a snack. Your visitors will want to take photos too. Watch out for the pink jeeps!
Alright, after the needed break I ride back down Little Horse (the way I came up) and join up onto Llama. At one point on the trail (one mile in), it is easy for some folks to miss the need to stay left or you will be punted back down to BRP. Look for the big prickly pear cactus on the left. :confused: The last mile of Llama is much more fun than the first mile. Near the end of a fun downhill section you will enter into a dry streambed. Make the left in the wash onto the main trail heading south (aim towards courthouse butte). Make the second left and join up with the Courthouse Butte Loop trail. This quickly joins onto the BRP. Follow this around to familiar terrain, the parking area I described before at Bell Rock. Now just before you crest the saddle on the BRP, look for the bike tracks on the right leading onto the horse trail between the highway and BRP. Follow this fun little section down to where it joins back onto the BRP. Cross directly over and onto the Courthouse Butte Loop trail. Go . 3 mile and turn right and follow this fun little downhill trail all the way back to the developed trailhead at Bell Rock. Then its an easy coast back to your car. Remember the coffee at B&B. :thumbsup:

· Registered
627 Posts
Another Sedona ride

Here is another of my favorite Sedona rides. Mileage varies between 15-20 miles depending on what trails you choose to take along the way. I use the E. Barks map. Difficulty is intermediate overall but can be rocky, small ledges, and sandy in places. Again, I have taken my wife (novice rider) along and she did not grumble too much but had to walk her bike in a couple of places. She enjoyed it! :thumbsup: However, I will not take her up the two fences trail. She did not give a thumbs up rating to that POS.
I park at the "Thunder Mountain" official trailhead, just off Thunder Mountain Road. You can also park next to the water tank off Andante Road. The general layout is a clockwise route of Chimney Rock, Girdner, Rupp, Cockscomb, Deadman Pass, Az Cypress, and back to the car. These are all great trails but the one downer is the necessary use of the Dry Creek road along the way. However, if there was a little more development of a faint trail that lies off of FS road 9908 (near the junction of Dry Creek Road and FS road #152) one could link singletrack from there to the trailhead at Long Canyon, thus avoiding most of the pavement on Dry Creek Road. What starts out as a trail finally fades along the streambed of Dry Creek. Finding a path from the stream to the road at Long Canyon Trailhead is a bushwack. Its been a couple of seasons since I have tried this trail and wonder is things have changed? Any other riders been using this trail?
Anyway, take the Lower Chimney Rock trail clockwise to the westmost point and onto Dry Creek Road. Follow the pavement to Girdner. Down Girdner to Rupp. It can be sandy down at the bottom in Dry Creek, during the dryer season, so keep that in mind. Okay, up Rupp to Cockscomb and onto the newly paved road.:madmax: Pedal right (east) to Deadman Pass trail which leads to Long Canyon. Back onto the pavement to the junction of DCR and FS #9589. Onto the AZ Cypress trail. This is good is the sand is moist and hardpack, but is not fun if dry and loose. And it is really not fun during or shortly after a heavy downpour. Follow this to that little cutoff (Snake?) to Girdner and back to Chimney Rock. There are a lot of variations one can do here to add more milage. Once back at Chimney Rock, intermediate Riders will want to go up to the saddle between little sugarloaf and chimney rock (the middle trail, not upper since that crosses "wilderness"). Novice riders will want to go back down to lower chimney rock. Again, my spouse gave me a talkin' to when I told her that it would be "fun".:madman:
The nice thing about parking here at Thunder Mountain that it is a short trip to Oak Creek Brewery off of Yavapai Drive.:thumbsup:
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