Sedona has become one of the most popular mountain bike destinations in the U.S in recent years. The city has been welcoming mountain bike tourists with new trails, updates to old trails, a new urban bike park that opened in 2016 and one of the country’s largest mountain bike festivals. Oh, and the mild, high-desert weather and beautiful views don’t hurt either.
With all of these great additions, our team has spent countless days enjoying everything that Sedona has to offer. Here are five of our favorite, advanced mountain bike trails in Sedona.
1. Hangover Loop
The Hangover Loop packs a punch. At eight miles and roughly 1,400 feet of climbing, you’re not going to ride your legs off. However, the technical sections are enough to keep expert riders on their game.
Much of Hangover’s terrain can be explained by referring to its name. With insane exposure to the right-hand side, you may want to tie some dumbbells to your left handlebar to remind you not to steer off the cliff. If riding steep slickrock faces is your jam, then make it a point to ride Hangover. Once you manage to get your bike down the exposed sections, you’ll be dodging cactus patches around the turns as you speed back to the trailhead.
2. Slim Shady
The Slim Shady trail offers a respite from the relentless tech in the area, as well as a good warm up into the Hiline trail for more relentless tech. Slim Shady is rolly and hard-packed with a lot of fun flow to keep your speed and make it interesting. There’s two and a half miles of turning and burning on this skinny, tree-covered singletrack, and you can probably find a new line or rock to pop off of, or air into every time you ride it. You can access Slim Shady across from the Bell Rock trailhead on Highway 179, just south of downtown Sedona.
3. Triple H
Triple H is Sedona’s big gun. By combining the notorious H trails, Hiline, Hangover, the Hog trails, and multiple connector trails, you get something that every mountain bike destination should have; a massive, all day ride, that’s 32 miles long, with 3,400 feet of elevation change and starts and ends within a half mile of a coffee shop and a cantina.
After you warm up on Slim Shady, you’ll be pushed into the rowdy, steep chutes of Hiline, and then off to Hangover trail. When it finishes on the Hog trails, push your bike down and around the rocky switchbacks, and pause for at least a second to take in the pink and red cliffs that surround Sedona before your big day is over.
4. Broken Arrow Trail
Broken Arrow is a scaled back version of the Hog trails that are in the area. If you’re still feeling the effects of Triple H, then Broken Arrow might be a good option for a short out-and-back recovery ride.
That’s not to say that Broken Arrow is easy though. Rolling descents become technical climbs that force you out of the saddle. Baby head rocks over hard pack make you second-guess your traction. Be sure to smile at the passengers on the 4×4 tours as you ride past them. We all know that it’s more fun on two wheels. If you ride it as an out-and-back, the trail will net you three miles and 700 feet of elevation change, or you can make a loop out of the other trails there that will take you back to the start, which is just a half-mile off of Highway 179.
Just northwest of Sedona, the Mescal trail also gives you several options for long and short routes. Start out by rolling fast and cornering around Juniper trees, before Mescal hugs the desert walls and takes you on a steady climb of smooth sandstone.
When the fun starts, you’ll have two choices: the “extreme” line, and the “difficult” line. The extreme line serves up technical turns and drops with exposure, while the difficult line tapers back the portion size. Both are satisfying. Since you’re already out there, you might as well link Mescal with some of the other trails. If you’re legs aren’t feeling quite juiced yet, then the Chuck Wagon trail will take care of them, or hit Canyon of Fools for a bobsled like ride out of what seems like a deeply eroded riverbed.
These are just a taste of what Sedona has to offer. There are many more miles of flow and tech to offer in Arizona’s high desert, but here’s our take on the most notable advanced trails. For more information about Sedona, come check out our complete guide to mountain biking in Sedona.
Mountain Bike Vacations was developed by a team of mountain bike enthusiasts to share their insights on how others can make the most of their mountain bike adventures. For more, you can follow them on Facebook and Instagram.