Ultimate Guide to Mountain Biking in Sedona

Mountain biker riding away from camera on red dirt trail in Sedona, Arizona with cacti lining trail and snow-dusted mountains in background

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.

Pinterest Hidden Image

Sedona is hands-down one of my absolute favorite places to ride. The incredible landscape, vast network of trail, grippy red rock, and fast dirt make it a mountain bikers playground. Give me the option of riding anywhere in the US and I’d probably choose Sedona.

If it’s your first (or even second or third) time vising Sedona to ride, knowing which trails to choose and how to link them up can be pretty overwhelming. In this post, I share my favorite routes and a few tips to help you make the most of your mountain bike trip to Shredona.

Why mountain bike in Sedona?

For so many reasons! Sedona is one of my favorite places to ride because it has so many awesome things going for it:

  • Incredible views
  • Challenging – but rideable – terrain
  • Slickrock trails
  • Great restaurants
  • A fun vibe
  • Vortexes

Just to name a few. I tell everyone I meet – if you can only ride one place out west make it Sedona. It’s so good!

Beautiful landscape views out over red rock desert of Sedona, Arizona

Watch Nate Hills ride some of his favorite trails in Sedona

Important Things to Know

Mountain biking in Sedona is awesome, but there are a few things to know before hitting the trails:

  • Trails are multi-use
    Most trails in Sedona are open to mountain bikers, hikers, horses, and OHV’s (on designated roads and trails). Please be courteous when passing and share the trails. I actually find Sedona hikers to be some of the most accepting of mountain bikers, so let’s try to keep it that way.
  • E-bikes are not allowed
    Please respect the local rules and regulations.
  • Most trailhead parking requires a day-pass
    If you’re driving to a trailhead parking area most – but not all – require a Red Rock Pass. There are self-serve fee stations at the parking areas where you can purchase your pass.

    Red Rock Pass prices are:
    – $5 per day
    – $15 per week
    – $20 for a year

    The money goes back into the trails and maintaining the beautiful landscape of Sedona.
  • Traffic can be terrible
    Like beat-your-head-against-the-steering-wheel, terrible. There are only two-lane roads coming in and out of Sedona and even though there are half a dozen roundabouts to keep traffic moving, the roads can still get backed up pretty badly.

    If you’re visiting on a weekend or holiday, expect to add at least 20 minutes (probably more) to your drive to/from the trailheads.
  • It gets very hot during the summer months
    Summer isn’t the best time to visit Sedona for mountain biking, but if you do, be prepared. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, sun protection, and electrolyte drinks.
  • Sedona is actually at a pretty high elevation
    Sedona is situated at 4,350 feet, which is relatively high depending on where you’re coming from. Take it easy the first day or two and drink lots of water.
  • Know your skill level
    Sedona definitely has some high-stake riding, so know and respect your skill level. There is potential for some high consequences. I’m sure many a mountain bikers have used the services of the local hospital.
Woman standing on mountain bike trail in Sedona with mountain bike in the bushes below after minor crash
Didn’t quite get that techy section on the Hog Trails

Mountain Biking Guide to Sedona

Now to the fun stuff! The riding in Sedona is broken up into five main mountain biking networks:

  1. Village of Oak Creek
  2. Dry Creek/Western Gateway
  3. Adobe Jack
  4. Broken Arrow/Schnebly Hill
  5. Carroll Canyon

Village of Oak Creek

The Village of Oak Creek is not technically Sedona, but it’s only a short 20-minute drive away (or hour-long slog if traffic is terrible…) VOC, as it is locally known, has some of the best mountain biking in Sedona and some of the best views.

You’ll find the iconic Bell Rock here as well as the famous Hiline trail. If you only have a few days in Sedona, definitely start in the Village of Oak Creek.

Best trails to ride in VOC

  • Llama (blue)
  • Big Park Loop (blue)
  • Slim Shady (blue/black)
  • Baldwin Loop (black)
  • Hiline (double black)
Mountain biker riding down steep chute on trail in Sedona with a group of people watching
A steep (option) chute on Baldwin

VOC Route Recommendation:

1. Llama – Slim Shady – Easy Breezy

This route is a nice warm-up to mountain biking in Sedona. There’s a little bit of everything from slickrock riding, moderate tech, and awesome views.

  • Route difficulty: Intermediate
  • Trail network: Village of Oak Creek
  • E-bikes? No
  • Mileage: 10.1 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 897 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

Route directions: Little Horse Parking > Bell Rock Path > Little Horse > Llama > Templeton > Hermit > Coconino > Slim Shady > Templeton > Easy Breezy > HT Trail > Bell Rock Path

Route notes: This loop is mostly a blue intermediate route, but it does have some challenging features that may need to be walked or sessioned.

Do more: Add a fun descent to this ride by taking a left onto Slim Shady from Coconino. This will be an out-and-back, but this descent down Slim Shady is super fun and flowy and the climb back up is pretty mellow. This out-and-back will add about 2.5 miles and 400 ft of climbing.

Mountain biker smiling for camera in Sedona with Cathedral Rock in distance
Cathedral Rock views from Llama

VOC Route Recommendation:

2. Hiline Loop

Hiline is one of the must-ride trails in Sedona for experienced riders. The climb is techincal with some exposure and the last quarter-mile has some steep, rocky riding.

  • Route difficulty: Expert
  • Trail network: Village of Oak Creek
  • E-bikes? No
  • Mileage: 8.6 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 958 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

Route directions: Yavapai Point Parking > Coconino > Hiline > Baldwin > Templeton > Hermit

Route notes: This route is only for experienced riders. Also, there is a not-so-fun climb to make it a loop. If you want to skip Templeton, you can take Valley Verde School Road back to the Village of Oak Creek.

Do more: If you want to extend your ride, take HT trail up to Llama on the other side of the highway

Alt route: This is another good way to link up Hiline if you want to make it a bit longer and end on a downhill.

Learn more: Head over to my Hiline trail guide to learn more about what to expect.

Mountain biker riding down narrow chute on Hiline Trail in Sedona, Arizona
Coming down ‘the chute’ on Hiline
need help planning your trip?

Download a 5-Day Sedona MTB Itinerary

Get a detailed Sedona Mountain Bike Itinerary complete with:

  • Day-by-day ride recommendations
  • Intermediate & advanced options
  • Downloadable maps via RWGPS
  • Google Maps locations
  • A packing checklist
  • Links to websites & resources
  • And more!

Dry Creek/Western Gateway

Dry Creek and Western Gateway are the trail networks northwest of town. This area is more cross-country and has less tech (although there’s some of that here too). There has actually been a lot of recent trail development happening here in the last few years, including the new trail Bottom Out.

If you’re looking for longer days out in the saddle or you’re more of a beginner rider, I recommend heading to Dry Creek in the north.

If you’re looking for a bit more tech, some of the Western Gateway trails are a bit of a step up.

Best trails to ride in DRy creek

  • Mescal (blue)
  • Chuck Wagon (blue)
  • Outer Limits (blue)
  • Canyon of Fools (black)
  • Ground Control (black)
Mescal mountain bike trail running along base of Mescal mountain in Sedona
Mescal has some of the best views in Sedona

Dry creek route recommendation:

1. Mescal Loop

Mescal is one of my favorite trails for its beautiful views and slickrock riding. It’s got a few technical moves, but nothing overly challenging for an intermediate rider.

  • Route difficulty: Intermediate
  • Trail network: Dry Creek
  • E-bikes? No
  • Mileage: 12.2 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 1,058 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

Route directions: Dry Creek Trailhead > Chuckwagon > Mescal > Deadman’s Pass > Aerie (lower) > Cockscomb > Dawa > Ok > AZ Cypress > Snake > Girdner

Make it easier: Skip the Chuck Wagon loop, which has a few techy bits

Red rock views in Sedona, Arizona
Views from Mescal Trail

Western Gateway route recommendation:

2. NW Sedona Loop

I haven’t ridden this exact loop, but I have ridden most of the trails in it. It’s a good cross-country ride with the option to add some tech if you’d like. 17 miles is a big day in Sedona, though, so make sure you’re prepared with lots of water, snacks, and repairs.

  • Route difficulty: Intermediate with good fitness
  • Trail network: Western Gateway
  • E-bikes? No
  • Mileage: 16.7 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 1,598 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

Route directions: Cultural Park Trailhead Parking > Girdner > Stirrup > Saddle Up > Girdner > Axis > Girdner > Axis > Rover > Rupp > Cockscomb > Outer Limits > (optional Ground Control) > Last Fronteir > Outer Limits

Make it easier: Skip Last Frontier and stay on Outer Limits

Make it shorter: There are lots of ways to make this route shorter:

  • If you want shorter and more technical, skip the fluff and focus on Ground Control, Last Frontier, and maybe add Bottom Out at the end
  • If you want shorter and less technical, take Girdner to Axis to Outer Limits
Mountain biker riding singletrack trail in Sedona with red rock formations in distance
On Outer Limits

Adobe Jack

Adobe Jack is a great place for a quick ride or multiple loops if you want to lap Grand Central (so fun!) or Javelina. It’s also a nice place to be when traffic in and out of Sedona is maddening.

The Sedona Bike Park is also located near Adobe Jack, so you can do a lap on Grand Central or Javalina and then hit up the skills park.

Best trails to ride in Adobe Jack

  • Javelina (blue/black)
  • Grand Central (black)
Two mountain bikes lying on red rock slab in Sedona with red rock buttes in background
Views from the top of Grand Central

Adobe Jack route recommendation:

1. Central Sedona Rip

A ‘spicy blue’, this is one of my favorite rides. There are two climbs up Adobe Jack and two descents. Javelina is a bit mellower and a bit pedally while Grand Central is fast, flowy, and techy.

  • Route difficulty: Intermediate+
  • Trail network: Adobe Jack
  • E-bikes? No
  • Mileage: 8 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 919 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks

Route directions: Adobe Jack Parking > Adobe Jack > Jordan > Javelina > Grand Central/Coyote > Adobe Jack > Grand Central > Crusty

Do less: Do only one lap on either Javalina or Grand Central.

Broken Arrow/Schnebly Hill

These two networks aren’t technically connected, but I’m mentioning them as one because they have similar very challenging riding. Broken Arrow is home to the Hog Trails, which are super fun, but very technically challenging with the potential for high consequences.

Nearby Schnebly Hill is home to Hangover trail, which is also an expert-only trail with extreme exposure.

If you’re an advanced rider, these are two great trail networks. If you’re newer to mountain biking, I recommend skipping them.

Best trails to ride in Broken Arrow

  • Submarine Rock (blue)
  • Grand Central (black)
  • Hangover (double black)
  • The Hog Trails (double black)
Mountain biker with bike standing in front of towering red rock formations in Sedona, Arizona
Views from Little Horse

Broken Arrow Route Recommendation:

1. Broken Arrow to the Hogs

This is one of my favorite rides in Sedona. It’s got a bit of everything from awesome views to a whole lot of tech. From Chicken Point, you can also see where the crazies ride the White Line.

  • Route difficulty: Expert
  • Trail network: Broken Arrow
  • E-bikes? No
  • Mileage: 6.7 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 776 ft
  • Map/GPS: Trailforks

Route directions: Broken Arrow Parking > Broken Arrow > Submarine Rock > Broken Arrow > Chicken Point > High on the Hog > Hog Heaven > Pig Tail > Peccary > Hogwash

Route notes: Don’t estimate this ride. Even though the mileage and elevation gain are on the shorter side, it’s quite technical and a bootcamp for the legs.

Do more: If you still have juice at the end, hop back on Hog Heaven and hit Pig Tail again!

Two mountain bikers riding long strerch of red slickrock trail in Sedona
The Hog Trails have some of the best – and most challenging – riding in Sedona

Schnebly Hill Route Recommendation

2. Hangover loop

Hangover is pretty technical in places, but the thing to know most about this trail is that the exposure is no joke. There are a few places where you do not want to fall. Walk if you need to.

  • Route difficulty: Expert
  • Trail network: Schnebly Hill
  • E-bikes? No
  • Mileage: 8 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 1,060 ft
  • Map/GPS: Trailforks

Route directions: Munds Wagon Parking > Munds Wagon > Cow Pies > Hangover > Munds Wagon

Alt option: The lookout at the start of Hangover is really beautiful, so you can just take the Munds Wagon trail (which honestly isn’t that fun), to the saddle for the views, and then come back down Munds Wagon.

Mountain bikers looking out over views from top of rock slab saddle in Sedona
Views from the saddle at the start of Hangover

Carroll Canyon

Carroll Canyon kind of feels like the black sheep of Sedona mountain biking because it’s not quite as well known or ridden. That being said, it’s a locals favorite and there are some awesome trails.

If you’ve already hit the other trail networks or you’re looking to get away from the crowds, head over to Carrol Canyon and ride Scorpion, Herkenham, and Ridge.

I honestly haven’t found the best way to link up these trails. There isn’t a good climbing trail, so if you ride here be prepared to work for your descents!

Carroll Canyon Route Recommendation


I honestly haven’t found the best way to link up these trails. This route hits two of the best descents: Pyramid and Ridge, but the climb up Old Post (twice) is…. questionably ‘fun’.

  • Route difficulty: Advanced
  • Trail network: Carroll Canyon
  • E-bikes? No
  • Mileage: 11.4 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 1,552 ft
  • Map/GPS: Trailforks

Route directions: Schueman Parking > Scorpion > Pyramid > Old Post > Carroll Canyon > Ridge > Secret Slickrock > Ridge > Old Post > Skywalker

Make it shorter and easier: Another fun and less technical loop would be to take Scorpion (skip Pyramid) to Old Post to Herkenham, which is a really fun downhill. Finish by climbing back up Old Post or taking the road back to the car.

Getting Around

If you don’t have a car while you’re in Sedona, check out Sedona Shuttle and Verde Shuttle. Both lines have bike racks for three bikes and offer dropoffs at major trailheads, including the Village of Oak Creek.

If you do have a car, opting to take the shuttle will help cut down on traffic! You also won’t have to pay the Red Rock Pass fees.

Mountain biker riding on huge slab of red rock in Sedona
Submarine Rock

Best Time To Ride in Sedona

Sedona can technically be ridden year-round since it only occasionally sees snow. However, that being said, temperatures can be extreme during the mid-summer and mid-winter months.

It’s not uncommon for summer temps to top 100° and Dec/Jan lows tend to be around 34°.

The best time to ride Sedona – in my opinion – are the shoulder seasons – March to May and September to November.

Mountain bikers walking around bikes on huge slab of red rock in Sedona, Arizona with snow-dusted mountains in the distance

Looking for more fun things to do?

Check out these popular tours in Sedona

Final Thoughts

The mountain biking in Sedona is world-class. In fact, a lot of things in Sedona are world-class from the views, the food, the tucked-away spots, and more.

It’s one of my favorite places to visit for mountain biking and I think you’ll love it as well.

I hope this post helps you plan an unforgettable trip!

What are your favorite trails to ride in Sedona? Do you have a favorite mountain bike link-up? Let us know in the comments!

Was this post helpful?

Consider ‘buying me a coffee!’

Similar Posts

I love hearing from you and appreciate your comments! However, if you leave a rude, unconstructive, or spammy comment, it will be deleted. It’s cool to be kind. Have an awesome day!


  1. Great resource. Well done.
    Done a few of these rides now or similar variants. Mescal loop was my fav so far, I will head back and do the Canyon Of Fools variant tomorrow.
    For other readers if you’re like me and have no car while here check out sedonashuttle.com and verdeshuttle.com

    1. Mescal is so beautiful – definitely one of my favorite trails. Thanks for the shuttle recommendation, I wasn’t aware of them. I’ll add a link when I update this post next!

  2. So we just road the suggested Bell Rock to Slim Shady route. I do NOT recommend this direction. If you want great decent start on Slim Shady from VOC. Then ride the suggested Bell Rock route in the blog backwards. There will be some climbing, but WAY less than if you do it from the BR trailhead.

    1. Thanks for your input! The loop can be ridden in both directions. I actually do enjoy riding it counterclockwise (as suggested in my post) because I like technical climbing (which Templeton and the first half of Slim Shady does have). The second half of Slim Shady is then a fun and flowy descent.

      If you do it in reverse, the climb up Slim Shady is easier for sure.

      I updated the post to let readers know that Clockwise is an option!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *