Outdoors: Tackle the Unique Terrain While Mountain Biking in Sedona | Local
RACHEL GIBBONS Arizona Daily Sunshine
I am not a master of any sport, and I do not claim to be one. However, I generally consider myself capable of achieving any goal or task that I set for myself. And being a Flagstaff girl, many of those activities include the multitude of shenanigans that can be accessed in the outside world: hiking, skiing, climbing, biking, kayaking – you name it, I’ve tried it. I would also classify most of my forays outside as successes.
Sedona, however, is a beast of its own kind – particularly the mountain biking found in this awe-inspiring landscape is a challenge on its own level. There’s a reason some call it “world class” and why people come from all over to test themselves on Sedona’s unique terrain.
I’m certainly no expert on two wheels; in fact, the majority of my experience before moving to Flagstaff 10 years ago was riding my bike to and from school. That was in college, but of course that extended to my transplant to our bike-loving town. After a few years here, I found myself the proud owner of a brand new gravel bike for commuting, and then eventually a used hardtail mountain bike.
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And so, it was last Friday that I took this mountain bike to Sedona for my second attempt at those famous red rocks. I was invited by a good friend – whom I taught to ride a bike during the first pandemic shelter-in-place orders – but unfortunately she gave up at the last minute. Not to be swayed, I met the other two people from the guest group, one I knew and one I had never met before, and we carpooled to Sedona for a quick breakfast before to go on the trails.
Since the three of us, while more than capable of standing on two wheels, aren’t trail pros by any means and out of shape on bikes, we opted for a nice and easy route, listed on some apps like Intro to Sedona. We parked at the Courthouse Loop South Trailhead and hopped on our bikes to ride – cautiously, due to foot traffic – down Bell Rock Trail. Once Bell Rock Trail intersected with the Big Park Loop Trail, we took a right to start our day with a loose and flexible plan of where we wanted to go.
We were all immediately challenged with dropouts and dips which I’m sure are a piece of cake for some of our readers, but for us it was certainly quite the ‘intro to Sedona’. We continued to Courthouse Butte Loop and took it to the Llama Trail, which is an intermediate trail that we felt ready to attempt by the time we got there. Did we ride the llama? The jury is still out for that one, but we certainly had a great time.
Half way up the Llama trail, we were pretty sore and tired at that point. So we decided to take the easier, well-named Bail trail back to the Bell Rock trailhead and our car.
All in all, we ended up doing an eight mile loop in two hours. This loop would easily go faster for the more experienced rider as well as people who don’t occasionally stop to take photos, but if you’re riding with a photographer it’s bound to happen.
This particular loop and area of Sedona is a great place for people learning or regaining their mountain biking skills. There are all levels of trails which will include fun and flowing bits as well as sections to test your abilities. Just be sure to watch out for hikers and control your speed, as this is also a popular tourist area for tourists.