- Where to Go
- The Best of the Valley of the Sun
- Wild West Adventure
- Let Scottsdale Rock Your World
- Finding Water in the Sonoran Desert
- Spring Training
- Arizona Family Road Trip
- Phoenix Points of Pride
- Southwestern Culture and Heritage
- Nocturnal Scottsdale
- Exploring Phoenix’s Architecture
- Unexpected Arizona
- Desert Chic
- Chilly Drinks and Cool Eats in Scottsdale
Strap on your helmet and get ready for some of the best off-roading in the country. Mountain bikers will find a terrain every bit as diverse and challenging as meccas in Moab, Utah, and Durango, Colorado—though far less crowded. The singletrack trails lure diehards and beginners alike, thanks to challenging combinations of dirt, sand, and slickrock.
Many of Sedona’s hiking trails allow biking, the most notable exceptions being designated wilderness trails where it is strictly forbidden. Consult signage at trailheads before starting. Also, the terrain can be a bit unpredictable, so exercise caution on rock formations and near cliff sides.
For a moderately challenging half-day trek, try Submarine Rock Loop at the end of Morgan Road, located just off of Highway 179 between Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek. The 10-mile loop starts with a singletrack trail that varies between dirt and hard clay, leading to slickrock at Submarine Rock and Chicken Point.
The Jim Thompson Trail can be accessed from the end of Jordan Road in Uptown Sedona or a couple of miles north at the Wilson Canyon Trailhead at the Midgley Bridge on Highway 89A. Thompson built the trail in the 1880s as a wagon road to his home, which is why it tends to be a bit wider than most trails in these parts. Loose rocks cover much of the terrain, and the ride is pleasant.
In West Sedona, the Upper and Lower Red Rock Loop Trails off of Highway 89A explore Red Rock State Park and Oak Creek. Also off of 89A, take Coffee Pot Road north to Thunder Mountain Road, where you’ll find trailheads for Little Elf Trail and Sugar Loaf Park, which access numerous trails that range from short loops to demanding climbs.
If you need to rent some wheels, Sedona Bike & Bean (6020 Hwy. 179, 928/284-0210, www.bike-bean.com, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily) in the Village of Oak Creek offers convenient access to trails near Bell, Courthouse, and Cathedral Rocks. The laid-back shop rents mountain and road bikes starting at $25 for two hours, and same-day reservations are welcome on any bike for any length of time. The coffee’s pretty darn good, too, and makes a great way to fuel up on caffeine before or after a ride. Inquire about the Bean’s tours, which include family-friendly mountain biking and road tours to wineries and galleries. A new location near Uptown (671 Hwy. 179, 928/204-5666, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily) specializes in road bikes.
Mountain Bike Heaven (1695 W. Hwy. 89A, 928/282-1312, www.mountainbikeheaven.com, 8 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Sat., 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sun.) is popular with the fat-tire crowd, offering adventure rides and dual suspension rentals. Prices start at $40 per day and $25 for each additional day.
If you’d like a guided tour, the shop’s Sedona Bikapelli Mountain Bike Adventure Tours offers outings that range from one-on-one instruction to group tours that scout out some of Sedona’s lesser-known trails.
© Jeff Ficker from Moon Phoenix, Scottsdale & Sedona, 1st edition