The Best Beginner Mountain Bike Trails in Sedona for Mellow Riding

Mountain biker stopped on trail in Sedona for photo with red rock bluffs in background

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With miles upon miles of grippy red dirt and stunning views around every corner, Sedona is a world-class destination for mountain bikers. It’s even got a handful of beginner mountain bike trails if you’re new to the sport or just want to take it easy for the day.

Sedona happens to be one of my favorite places to ride and while I’m not exactly a beginner, I love riding the tamer trails. They pass by incredible vistas and the tougher sections are fun to session if you want to work on little rock gardens, drops, or kickers.

I know that as a newer mountain biker it can be hard to know which trails to ride and what to watch out for so hopefully, this guide will serve as an inspiration and resource for your next mountain bike trip to Sedona.

A Note About Sedona’s “Easy” Trails

While Sedona does have a variety of terrain and trails to explore, it isn’t the most-beginner friendly mountain bike destination. The only ‘true’ beginner/easy mountain bike trail in Sedona is the 7-mile out-and-back Bell Rock Path and even that has some techy sections.

The trails and link-ups I recommend below make up some of the easiest loops in Sedona, but don’t expect them to be sidewalks. There will be rocky features, steep climbs, and technical sections that may need to be walked.

If you’re looking for a more beginner-friendly mountain bike destination in Arizona, I recommend heading to Phoenix or Tucson where the trails are smoother and in general, have fewer trail obstacles.

Mountain biker descending technical section of trail in Sedona
This is on Llama Trail which is rated blue – intermediate – on TrailForks

What to Know

Sedona actually sits at a pretty high elevation
Sedona is situated at 4,350ft, which is actually quite high if you’re coming from a lower elevation. It’s easier to get sunburned and dehydrated at higher elevations, so be prepared!

What type of bike to bring/rent
Anything from a hardtail cross-country bike to an all-mountain/enduro full-suspension bike will do on the easier mountain bike trails in Sedona. You do not need (or want) a downhill bike. If you’re looking to rent a bike, check out my post on where to rent mountain bikes in Sedona.

What about e-bikes?
e-bikes are not allowed on most mountain bike trails in Sedona. Please respect this.

What to bring on the trails
Snacks, lots of water (ideally a hydration pack with a 2-3L bladder), a phone, spare tube, multi-tool, and a hand pump. See my posts on What To Carry In Your Pack and Essential Mountain Bike Gear List for a more detailed list of what to bring with you on the trails.

How to navigate your ride
Download the TrailForks app ($36 a year and totally worth it) then use the links and info below to navigate!

Best time of year to mountain bike in Sedona
Sedona is prime during the shoulder seasons of March-May and September-November. Riding is still good over the winter months as long as there’s no snow and you’re dressed for the temps (which can be chilly).

I do not recommend trying to ride in Sedona during peak summer months because temps can easily top 100°.

3 Beginner-Friendly Trail Networks in Sedona

There are hundreds of miles of mountain bike trails spread throughout Sedona, but many of them are best left to advanced and expert riders. If you’re newer to mountain biking or want to take the family out for a rider, here are three beginner-friendly networks that are home to some of the easier trails in Sedona:

  1. Dry Creek/Western Gateway
  2. Adobe Jack
  3. Village of Oak Creek

1. Dry Creek

Dry Creek is located out near West Sedona and it’s probably the most beginner-friendly network in the area. That being said, as I mentioned above, Sedona is not the most beginner-friendly destination, so keep that in mind. There will be rocks, exposure, and tricky features.

This area is also very spread out and bailing is not always an easy option depending on where you are. Before you head out, make sure you have a route planned, plenty of water, and a map.

Mountain biker pedaling along singletrack trail in Sedona, Arizona with red rock bluffs in the distance
Dry Creek is a great place to explore beginner-friendly mountain bike trails

2. Adobe Jack

I only discovered the Adobe Jack trails after a few trips to Sedona and now they’re some of my favorites! There is a good mix of beginner/intermediate trails here as well as more advanced technical riding.

This is a great zone to explore with multiple levels of riders since all the trails basically start and end at the same place.

Mountain biker pedaling along singletrack trail in Sedona. Terrain features red dirt and red slickrock
The Adobe Jack trails are home to some of my favorite riding in Sedona! This is the trail ‘Crusty’

3. Village of Oak Creek

The Village of Oak Creek is technically still considered Sedona, but it’s a bit off on its own to the south via route 179. This area has some of the best mountain biking in Sedona, for both beginner and advanced riders. It also has amazing views of Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock

If you’re looking for easier trails, it’s best to stay on the east side of Route 179 on trails like Bell Rock Path, Llama, and Big Park Loop.

Mountain biker posing for photo on trail in Sedona with tall red rock mesa in the background
Llama Trail in the Village of Oak Creek is one of my favorites for its awesome views

5 Beginner-Friendly Rides

If you’re looking to make the most of your trip, here are 5 beginner-friendly rides to check out.

Remember, Sedona isn’t a true beginner’s destination, so be prepared to walk some sections and do your research so you know what you’re getting into.

1. Easy Girdner Loop

  • Route difficulty: Beginner
  • Trail network: Dry Creek
  • Mileage: 4.5 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 348 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

Route directions: Cultural Park – Girdner Parking > Girdner > Stirrup > Saddle Up > Girdner > Optional: Roundabout

Route notes: This is one of the most beginner-friendly and easy mountain bike loops in Dry Creek and all of Sedona. It’s a 4.5-mile loop and relatively flat with a fun descent down Saddle Up at the end.

Make it longer: If you want to make your ride longer, you can add another 2.5 miles via the Roundabout Loop.

Make it harder: If you want to make your ride harder and longer, continue climbing up Girdner all the way to the top then descent back down to finish the route. There’s nothing too technical on Girdner, but you’ll add a few hundred feet of elevation gain.

2. Sedona Beginner Loop

  • Route difficulty: Beginner
  • Trail network: Village of Oak Creek
  • Mileage: 9 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 766 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

Route directions: Bell Rock Parking > Bell Rock Path > Llama > Little Horse > Bell Rock Path > Phone > Bell Rock Path Bypass > Big Park Loop

Route notes: This is a great beginner loop in Sedona. Bell Rock Path is mellow and picturesque and a good introduction to Sedona slickrock riding. From Bell Rock Path, you’ll head over to Llama, which is one of my favorite easier trails in Sedona because of its minimal elevation gain and beautiful views. There are some tricky sections that will most likely need to be walked (or sessioned if you’re up for it!), but all-in-all it’s very ridable and fun!

Finish with an easy lap around Big Park Loop or skip it and head back to the car.

Make it shorter: Skip the Big Park Loop at the end.

Make it longer: If you’re feeling up for a few more miles, you can tack on Little Rock and Rabbit Ears to make the Big Park Loop longer. Full transparency, I haven’t ridden this bigger loop, so I can’t say how the trails are.

3. West Side Beginner Singletrack Ride

  • Route difficulty: Beginner
  • Trail network: Dry Creek
  • Mileage: 6.1 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 441 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

Route directions: Long Canyon Parking > Long Canyon DT > Long Canyon > Deadmans Pass > Aerie (lower) > Cockscomb > Dawa > Road

Route notes: This is a great beginner-friendly ride in the Dry Creek area of Sedona. The highlight is cruising down Deadmans Pass, which is fast, fun, and flowy. There is a bit of climbing up Long Canyon at the start, but after that, the terrain is mostly rolling.

To finish the ride, you can roll back to your car via the road or cobble together some of the singletrack on the way like Oak, Mescal to Long Canyon.

Make it longer: Add the 4.5-mile Chuck Wagon loop.

Make it harder: See the Mescal Loop route recommendation (#5) below.

4. Central Sedona Beginner/Intermediate Loop

  • Route difficulty: Beginner/Intermediate
  • Trail network: Adobe Jack
  • Mileage: 5 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 516 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

Route directions: Adobe Jack Parking > Adobe Jack > Jordan > Javelina > Crusty

Route notes: This is a good loop for beginner/intermediate riders who like a bit of a challenge. The Adobe Jack climb is straightforward for the most part with a few punchy ups and one really steep pitch.

The traverse along Jordan at the top is very scenic with lots of rock slabs. Take your time and enjoy it! Javelina is rated black (advanced) on TrailForks, but I think it’s more of a spicy blue. You may need to walk a section or two. If you don’t want to take Javelina down, you can descend back down Adobe Jack, which is fun with some flow.

Make it easier: Instead of taking Javelina down, do Adobe Jack as an out-and-back

Make it longer: If you’re up for a bit more climbing, you can climb back up the first third of Adobe Jack then descend Coyote to the last section of Grand Central.

Make it harder: I actually prefer descending Grand Central over Javelina. It is a bit more technical and it has a bit more climbing to get to the top, but I think it has more flow and less pedaling than Javelina.

5. Mescal Loop

  • Route difficulty: Intermediate
  • Trail network: Dry Creek
  • Mileage: 12.2 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 1,058 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

Route directions: Dry Creek Trailhead > Chuck Wagon > Mescal > Deadmans Pass > Aerie (lower) > Cockscomb > Dawa > OK > AZ Cypress > Snake

Route notes: This is the longest, most technically challenging loop on this list. Before you choose this route, I recommend riding one of the previous routes first, especially if this is your first time in Sedona.

Mescal is one of my favorite trails in Sedona because it’s absolutely beautiful and most of the trail is on slickrock. There is some exposure and punchy goat lunges, so be prepared to get off your bike on a few sections.

Chuck Wagon is a fun loop and a good warm-up for Mescal. If you found Chuck Wagon to be challenging, you might want to consider skipping Mescal and doing a shorter loop. Also keep in mind that once you head out onto Mescal, the options to bail are not good, so you’re committed to at least another 7-8 miles of riding.

Make it shorter: You can just do Chuck Wagon as a loop which is just over 5 miles.

Make it harder: Canyon of Fools is a really cool trail that isn’t overly technical and it has a lot of fun and flow. You can opt to descend Canyon of Fools from Mescal, but you will miss out on some great riding on Aerie (Lower) and Dawa.

Sedona Mountain Bike Park

The Sedona Mountain Bike Park is a great place to hone your skills and work on fitness if you’re just getting into mountain biking. It has several flow lines to work on cornering, a beginner jump line if you want to practice getting air, a pump track, and more.

Spend a few hours here in the morning and then go hit the trails!

The Sedona Mountain Bike Park is located near the Adobe Jack trails. Find more information and directions here.

Rentals, Instruction, & Camps

Bike Rentals

Whether you’re just testing out the wonderful waters of mountain biking and don’t yet have your own set of two wheels or you left your bike at home, there are a handful of places in Sedona that rent mountain bikes.

Check out my post on where to rent bikes in Sedona and if you need a bike rack for your rental car, Thunder Mountain and Absolute Bikes can hook you up with those, too.

Mountain Bike Instruction & Camps

If you’d like to get a little mountain bike coaching in while you’re in Sedona, you have some great options:

  • Sedona Mountain Bike Academy: Sign up for a private and group lesson with Sedona Mountain Bike Academy. Their instructors are both very skilled and super fun!
  • Trek Dirt Series: Trek Dirt Series usually offers at least one coaching clinic in Sedona each year. Check out their schedule to sign up.
  • Ladies AllRide: Ladies AllRide also usually has one or two clinics in Sedona each year. You can check their schedule here.
  • Ninja MTB Performance: These guys offer coaching and performance clinics throughout the US, including Sedona. They have top-notch coaches and can help you with any skills from cornering to sending drops.

Looking for more fun things to do?

Check out these popular tours in Sedona

And there you have it! A beginner’s guide to mountain biking in Sedona.

If you have any questions or comments about beginner mountain bike trails in Sedona or any of the route recommendations listed above, don’t hesitate to drop a comment below. Happy trails!

If you're looking for a mellow ride, check out these beginner mountain bike trails in Sedona including route recommendations and more.
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