This article on the best mountain biking trails in Sedona is brought to you by our friends at Inno Racks.
For most of us, spring means rain, mud, and an all-consuming desperation for summer. But enough with the waiting — head to the desert. Those who appreciate single tracks over stunning landscapes will find springtime paradise in Sedona, Arizona.
April and May in the desert mean perfect temperatures and moderate crowds. In short: ideal mountain biking conditions. So while the rest of us endure mud season, be smart and journey to the desert where the shoulder season means a different type of adventure. One that involves slick rock, sandstone, and saguaro…
Best Mountain Biking Trails in Sedona
Sedona, Arizona offers challenging terrain for confident mountain bikers — but there are still options for beginners. Once you’ve unloaded the equipment from your roof mounted bike rack, check out these mountain biking trails:
Best Beginner Mountain Biking Trail: Intro to Sedona
This 5.2 mile loop with only 328′ of elevation gain, and an almost equal amount of loss, is great for the beginner mountain biker. There are plenty of bail out options, and some spicy (protected) sections, to get the adrenaline pumping. Follow Big Park Loop to Bell Rock Trail, and finish up on Baby Bell. The only consideration lies near the beginning of the loop where beginners may want to dismount and walk a more technical section.
Best ‘Blue’ Mountain Biking Trail: West Sedona Tour
Touring West Sedona is the mountain biking equivalent of running a half-marathon. The 13.1 mile loop is primarily single track (95%), and takes riders through 1,000′ of vert, through a breathtaking desert landscape. Riders can link up to the Chuckwagon-Mescal-Long Canyon loop for a longer ride, or shorten the loop via Canyon of Fools and Arizona Cyprus Trail.
Best Intermediate/Difficult Trail: Cathedral Rock Big Loop
Depending on your technical level, the Cathedral Rock Big Loop is the trail to navigate if you only have enough time for one ride in the area. Cathedral Rock is one of the most prominent rock features in Sedona, making this trail popular for both mountain bikers, hikers, and photographers. The max grade is 23%, and can be walked if necessary.
Best Difficult Mountain Biking Trail: Hangover Loop
Looking for a challenge? Take on the Hangover Loop. This 100% single track, 8.2 mile trail has a max grade of 38%, and plenty of vert to make you aware of your lung capacity. On the Mountain Bike Project website, an advisory warns: “Hangover Trail is only rideable for VERY experienced riders willing to take on a good deal of risk.” If your skill level isn’t there, consider turning this scenic ride into a hike.
Oh, and we do not recommend riding this with a hangover.
Where to Camp in Sedona
Once your legs are covered in red mud and you’re feeling the burn from a day of mountain biking, consider camping in Sedona to experience even more of this unique landscape. Not only is Sedona a premiere mountain biking destination, it’s also a certified dark sky destination. So you can rest beneath a brilliant sky full of stars after a big day on the trails.
You can view our feature on campground recommendations in Sedona, here.