SEDONA: ARIZONA PLAYGROUND
BY: CHAD DE ALVA
Type the word Sedona into Google and you’ll see results for a red rock paradise in central Arizona. Images of hikers and mountain bikers in epic landscapes that look like a fusion of Moab, Zion, and something unique all rolled into one will cover your display. There will also be images of fancy resorts, wineries, and even some mentions of vortexes and other homeopathic oddities just to add breadth to the results. Sedona is a town that caters to everyone from dirtbag hippies to wine aficionados and every type of person in between. While they might not show up in the first few dozen search results, Sedona does have a number of trails for motorcycle riding that make it a great spot for a winter riding vacation.
Sedona is surrounded by the Coconino National Forest, which means that there are miles of trails in almost every direction out of town. The trick to finding trails to ride is to use one of the Forest Service’s map resources, or a program like onX Offroad that pulls its data directly from the Forest Service. Do not assume that just because you see a road on Google Maps that you can ride on said road. Sedona is a very actively managed part of the world when it comes to trail use, so make sure that you’re riding on official trails and following TREAD principles. Trails are also actively closed and reopened as weather affects trail conditions, so again, know before you go.
Broken Arrow is a short and sweet multi-use 4x4 trail that works its way to some of the best views in Red Rock Country. It’s like a mini-Moab, with a good portion of the trail routed across slick rock formations that are a ton of fun to play around on. The trail ends at an overlook, where motorcyclists who are also mountain bikers will instantly recognize the famed “White Line.” Punch that one into YouTube if you need to get up to speed. The trail starts and ends right in town, so it’s a great trail to enjoy even if you only have a couple of hours to play.
Two other trails that work their way through the heart of Red Rock Country are Van Deren Cabin and Schnebly Hill Road. Van Deren Cabin is another short and sweet ride that takes you through some truly beautiful country and provides access to a few great hiking trails too. Pro tip: Use your moto to score great parking spots at some of the more well-known hikes in the area.
Schnebly Hill Road stretches the use of the word “road” a bit, but thankfully dirt bikes and ADV bikes can easily tackle the 15-odd miles of trail that has all of the embedded rocks in it. The road snakes its way up on top of the Mogollon Rim, and along the way you’ll find killer views and other neat trails to explore on foot. Once on top of the Rim, riders can use a network of Forest Service roads to connect to Flagstaff and other destinations.
Other notable trails in the area are Greasy Spoon and Outlaw. These are multi-use trails, but they’re good fun on a bike, thanks to the way side-by-sides tend to berm all of the corners. Just keep an eye out for other user groups when you’re out there.
Sedona is surrounded by public land on all sides, so it’s definitely a place that rewards exploring. Use onX Offroad, or an official resource like a Forest Service Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) and you’ll find miles and miles of roads, trails, and single track in the surrounding Verde Valley and up on top of the Mogollon Rim. After you’ve had your fill of riding for the day, Sedona has no shortage of great places to eat, stay, or enjoy another form of recreation. If you’re looking for a place to escape the snow, or the cooler temperatures of fall and spring at home, Sedona is certainly worth checking out.