Kingman, Arizona Is Worth A Stop On Your Mountain Bike Road Trip

There’s a good chance that affiliate links are scattered throughout this post. If you click on one I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you and I’ll definitely be using it to buy bike gear.

 

 


Amazing mountain bike trails may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear Kingman, Arizona (home of the largest Electric Vehicle Museum, randomly, and also one of the most conservative counties in AZ, ironically). But as we discovered, Kingman, Arizona mountain biking – what little of it there is – is quite fun and very scenic. The Monolith Gardens Loop is definitely worth a pitstop if you’re driving through.

So where is Kingman, Arizona? This small town is located at the junction of Historic Route 66 and highways 93 and 40. You’ll most likely be driving through if you’re headed east from LA or Las Vegas toward Phoenix, Sedona, Tucson, or the Grand Canyon. Kingman is not a big town, only about 45,000 residents, but it’s spread out over a large area with tons of open space surrounding the city limits.

And there are mountain bike trails. Only about 26 miles in total (that I’m aware of), but the Monolith Gardens Loop is one of the most unique trails I’ve ever ridden. It’s located just a few pedal strokes off the highway and the landscape is surreal. Towering monoliths dominate the foothills, goblin-like rock pillars line the trail, green hills are studded with cows… it’s super cool and absolutely beautiful. The area is called the Cerbat Foothills Recreation Area and it blows my mind that it’s not more popular. So if you’re driving through, plan on a day or two to explore!

Headed through Arizona? Check out the Kingman, Arizona mountain bike trails on your way through. Here’s everything you need to know about mountain biking in this small Arizona town.

(There’s a good chance that affiliate links are scattered throughout this post. If you click on one I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you and I’ll definitely be using it to buy bike gear.)


How to Get to Kingman, Arizona

As I mentioned above, Kingman, Arizona is situated at the junction of Historic Route 66 (one of the original highways that crossed the US) and highways 93 and 40. Kingman is approximately 105 miles south of Las Vegas, 165 miles northwest of Phoenix, and 320 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

The town of Kingman is steeped in history from its simple beginnings as a railroad town to its role as one of the largest US Army Airforce sites during World War II. Today, Kingman is well-known for its location along Route 66 as well as its proximity to the Grand Canyon and other outdoor recreational areas.

 

 



Mountain Biking in Kingman, Arizona

There is mountain biking around Kingman, Arizona, but before we dive in, it’s important to point out that I do not consider Kingman to be a mountain biking destination. Sure, there are fun trails, but the network is small and it’s best to think of Kingman as a place to ride on your way to, say, Sedona or Phoenix.

I also DO NOT recommend riding the Foothill Rim Trail or anything directly west of the Monolith Gardens loop. Apparently heavy rains in 2018 completely rutted out these trails and there has been no work to restore them since. I’d say about 60% of the higher network is unrideable because of baby head rocks, erosion, and ‘bovine intervention’. The views are beautiful – yes – but unless you’re up for a super epic backcountry hike-a-bike ride I wouldn’t recommend it. We did a 14-mile day in this area and it was mostly a sufferfest.

(UPDATE: this was report was recently left on TrailForks “Recent extensive maintenance with a tractor work tamed most of the issues. A few reroutes planned for the remaining problem spots. Major erosion (major ruts or slumping, large boulders and roots exposed due to erosion.)” So perhaps these upper trails are getting reworked and fixed).

 

Kingman on Trailforks.com


Monolith Gardens

  • Monolith Gardens Loop
    Beginner/Intermediate | 7 miles | 476 ft +/-

    The Monolith Garden Loop is my favorite mountain bike loop in Kingman. It’s rated green on TrailForks and truthfully there’s not a whole lot of tech, but some reviewers have mentioned that they felt like it’s more of a blue/intermediate ride, so keep that in mind. The scenery and landscape are super cool and unique. There are interesting rock formations, expansive views, a little bit of slickrock riding, and a surprising amount of flow (riding it counterclockwise).

    Metwell TH Parking (longer & more difficult) or Coyote TH Parking (easier & less difficult) > keep right on Monolith Gardens Loop. The trails are well-marked, but it’s a good idea to have TrailForks downloaded to your phone or another map of the area.

  • Camp Beale/Rattler Loop
    Intermediate | 7.4 miles | 936 ft +/-

    There is another network of trail on the north side of Route 93 that is worth checking out as well, namely this Camp Beale/Rattler loop. Camp Beale is an intermediate climb with a few technical sections and then Rattler is a fun, semi-flowy descent back to the car. The views from the top are great!

    Camp Beale Loop TH Parking > Camp Beale Loop > Castle Rock > Rattler

 

White Cliffs

There is another small network of mountain bike trails in Kingman, Arizona called White Cliffs. I haven’t ridden this area yet, but from what I’ve gathered from TrailForks, it sounds like it’s a brand new trail system that is expected to grow and expand. There are currently two loops – Upper Loop and Lower Loop – that have been built around the historic wagon road in downtown Kingman. If you ride these trails, let us know what they’re like in the comments!


Where to Eat & Camp in Kingman, Arizona

Camping

If you want to camp near the trails, there are two access points to Monolith Gardens and both allow for overnight parking. The main one is the Cerbat Foothills Parking Area. It’s a large gravel parking lot with quick access to trails. It also has a bathroom and maps of the area. This lot can get pretty busy, though, and it’s close to the highway so you’ll definitely hear traffic noise.

My preferred parking/camping spot is much smaller and a little more tucked away and private. It doesn’t have a bathroom and requires a bit of a climb (some of it techy) to get to the Monolith Gardens Loop, but it’s quieter and the descent at the end of the Monolith Gardens Loop makes for a good finish. Access this spot by taking Metwell Drive and staying left at the fork.

 

Eating & Drinking

Once you’re done snapping photos and ogling at the cool rock structures during your ride through Monolith Gardens, get yourself to Rickety Cricket Brewing in the historic part of Kingman for some delicious food and local brews. There is also the old-timey and historic restaurant – Mr D’z Route 66 Diner if you want to take a trip down memory lane.

If you’re a beer connoisseur (which I am not, but I definitely travel with friends who are), walk over to Black Bridge Brewery for a local pint.


Other Things To Do In Kingman, Arizona

Kingman is not – at least not yet – a destination for mountain biking, but it’s a great place to stop and ride if you’re passing through. If you have extra time, Kingman is also home to a few other cool and interesting sights and experiences:

  • The Historic Route 66 Museum filled with paraphernalia, electric cars, gifts, old photographs, and lots of mining/railroad history

  • The Grand Canyon Caverns, home to the largest dry cave in the United States and about an hour northeast of Kingman

  • Oatman Ghost Town, an authentic Wild West mining town an hour south of Kingman that is now inhabited by wild donkeys

 

 



Have you experienced Kingman, Arizona mountain biking? What did you think of the Monolith Gardens Loop? Leave a comment below!

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