The Monolith Garden Trail Is Worth A Stop On Your Way Through Kingman, Arizona
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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 I discovered, the small network of mountain bike trails around Kingman, Arizona is quite fun as well as really beautiful and unique. The Monolith Garden Trail is definitely worth a pit stop 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.
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 (mainly the Monolith Garden Loop), 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 Garden Trail. Apparently, heavy rains in 2018 completely rutted out these trails and there has been very little 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’ (aka cows).
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 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. I haven’t ridden them since.).
1. Monolith Garden Loop
The Monolith Gardens Trail 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.
Route directions: 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.
Route notes: The Monolith Garden Trail is 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.
Do more: Add the Camp Beale Loop below.
2. Camp Beale Loop
If you rode the Monolith Garden Trail and are looking for a few more miles, head across the highway to the Camp Beale Loop. This 3.3-mile loop is ok, but don’t expect it to have the flow or scenery of Monolith Gardens.
Route directions: Camp Beale Loop TH Parking > Camp Beale Loop (clockwise)
Do more: There are other trails in this area like Rattler and Sidewinder. I haven’t ridden them and the reviews mostly say they’re pretty eroded and washed out.
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 me know what they’re like in the comments!
Where to Eat & Camp in Kingman, Arizona
You used to be able to camp right at the Monolith Garden Trailhead, but unfortunately, I think they put a stop to that.
There are several RV Parks around Kingman, but you’ll need to head a bit farther out of town to find free camping. There is free dispersed camping near Chloride Ghost town or a paid campground up at Hualapai Mountain Park.
Food & Drink
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 is 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 is an authentic Wild West mining town an hour south of Kingman that is now inhabited by wild donkeys!
Discover more fun things to do in Kingman, Arizona
- A Complete Guide to Mountain Biking in Las Vegas, Nevada
- Best Winter Mountain Biking Destinations for Year-Round Riding
- Best Places to Mountain Bike in Arizona
Have you mountain biked in Kingman, Arizona? What did you think of the Monolith Garden Trail? Leave a comment below!
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