A rider enjoys mountain biking in Sedona AZ.

Mountain Biking in Sedona – 9 Popular Bike Trails

Dan Turner

Sedona is a mountain biker’s paradise, with over 300 miles of scenic bike trails winding through the iconic red rocks. From long descents to technical singletrack, the trails around Sedona offer exhilarating riding for mountain bikers of all skill levels. This article covers the top 9 trails perfect for those looking to progress their riding skills.

With stunning desert scenery and the right amount of challenge, these trails make for an unforgettable mountain biking experience. Read on to discover the best trails for mountain biking in Sedona!

Key Features That Make Sedona a Mountain Biking Paradise

What makes Sedona such a renowned mountain biking destination? The spectacular red rock formations provide a dramatic backdrop unlike anywhere else. The area’s geology also lends itself to trail building, with sandstone slick rock and limestone caliche soils ideal for etching flowy bike paths.

With over 300 miles of trails traversing desert, canyons, and forests, Sedona has options for every skill level. Choose from cross-country trails, adrenaline-pumping downhill runs, and highly technical rock garden routes. Sedona also appeals to mountain bikers because its mild climate grants nearly year-round trail access.

While famous trails like Hangover and Slim Shady offer expert challenges, beginners have plenty of options, like Bell Rock Pathway’s smooth singletrack. However, the intermediate trails make up the “sweet spot” for progressing skills and soaking up Sedona’s scenery.

Top 9 Mountain Biking Trails in Sedona

Bike rider races down red rock slope while mountain biking in Sedona AZ.

  1. AERIE TO COCKSCOMB LOOP TRAIL
    Location: West Sedona, AZ.
    How to Reach: To reach the Aerie trailhead, from the State Route 179/89A traffic circle in Sedona, head west (toward Cottonwood) on SR 89A for 3.2 miles to Dry Creek Road. Turn right and continue for 2.9 miles to Boynton Pass Road (FR152C)
    Length: 9.8 miles.
    Difficulty: Moderate.
    Elevation Range: 4,570 – 4,200 feet.
  2. CHUCKWAGON TO MESCAL TO AERIE LOOP
    Location: Near Sedona, AZ.
    Length: The length varies slightly between different sources but is around 12 to 16 miles long.
    Difficulty: Intermediate.
    Elevation: The elevation gain is around 1,043 to 1,538 feet with a max elevation of about 4,698 to 4,731 feet
  3. DRY CREEK AREA TOUR
    Location: The Dry Creek Area is in Sedona, AZ.
    Description: This tour is described as a moderate riding adventure, offering open slick rock areas, elevated Vista views, and fun downhills throughout.
  4. HOGS/GRAND CENTRAL TOUR
    Location: Sedona, AZ.
    Description: This tour covers the famous Hog Trails, and Adobe Jack trail network on Soldier’s Pass and offers slick rock slabs, punchy climbs, and incredible views
  5. HILINE TRAIL TOUR
    Location: The tour starts at the Yavapai Trailhead, Sedona, AZ.
    Description: Known for its steep and technical climbs, slick rock slabs, and steep descents offering 360 views of the beautiful red rock formations
  6. SLIM SHADY TRAIL
    Location: Near Sedona, specifically in the Village of Oak Creek area.
    Description: The Slim Shady Trail is part of a loop trail system that includes the Made in the Shade Trail. It’s a moderately challenging route that spans 2.3 miles with an elevation gain of 347 feet and is generally used for both hiking and mountain biking. The trail is well-marked and is often used to create a loop or point-to-point route, connecting to several other trails like Made in the Shade, Hiline, and more.
  7. BELL ROCK PATHWAY
    Location: The trail runs between the north and south parking areas for Bell Rock, along Highway 179, linking the Village of Oak Creek and Sedona.
    Description: Bell Rock Pathway is a 3.6-mile trail offering fantastic views of Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, and other landmarks. The trail is wide and hard-surfaced, suitable for both walking and biking, with some areas near Bell Rock being rougher and having modestly steep hills.
  8. LLAMA TRAIL
    Location: It’s located between Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek, accessed from the Bell Rock Pathway. Specifically, its south end connects to the Courthouse Butte Loop trail near the Village of Oak Creek, and the north end connects to the Little Horse Trail.
    Description: A challenging, intermediate singletrack trail that runs through the forest and over slick rock at the base of Lee Mountain. It’s 2.7 miles long, offering some technical spots, big drops, and is shared with hikers. Llama Trail provides an alternate connector between the Little Horse Trail and Templeton Trail for mountain bikers wishing to avoid the popular Bell Rock Pathway.
  9. HANGOVER TRAIL
    Location: The trail is often accessed from the Cow Pies Trailhead off Schnebly Hill Road in Sedona. When combined with the Cow Pies Trail and the Munds Wagon Trail, it’s part of a larger loop.
    Description: Hangover Trail is a unique and technical trail stretching for about 3 miles in Sedona. The trail climbs up to a saddle bisecting two large red rock formations, then continues along a knife edge right around the side of the rock, 200 feet above the canyon floor. It’s considered an expert-level trail due to its technical nature and high consequences if one messes up. It’s a multi-use trail but is incredibly popular among mountain bikers for its unique terrain and stunning views.

These trails offer a variety of experiences, whether you’re looking for a scenic ride, a technical challenge, or a bit of both. Each trail showcases the stunning natural beauty and unique terrain that Sedona has to offer to mountain biking enthusiasts.

What to Know Before Mountain Biking in Sedona

Now that you’re pumped to hit the trails let’s cover some key tips for mountain biking in Sedona:

  • Pay attention to trail ratings – Most routes are marked by colored tags corresponding to difficulty level. Green is easiest, blue intermediate, and black most difficult. If a trail’s rating is uncertain, check maps and signs at trailhead kiosks.
  • Visit rental shops – For the best selection and fit, rent bikes and gear from local shops versus online. Ask about trail recommendations suited for your skill level.
  • Consider a shuttle service – Shuttles allow tackling point-to-point trails versus out-and-backs. Leave your car at a shuttle point and get dropped at the trailhead.
  • Prepare for warm, dry weather – Stay hydrated and protected from the sun while riding. Early morning and late afternoon provide the most comfortable temps.
  • Pack appropriately – Bring essential gear like a multi-tool, spare tube, first aid kit, and extra water/nutrition. A helmet and gloves are non-negotiable safety items.

Bike Independently or Join a Tour

These trails can be accessed independently, as they are part of the public trail system in Sedona. However, if you prefer a guided experience, several tour companies offer mountain bike tours on these and other trails in Sedona. Here are some of them:

  • Trail Lovers Excursions
    Offers private and customized MTB Tours in Sedona, showcasing the best Enduro rides, scenic loop rides, and one-way rides​​.
  • Sacred Rides
    They offer a multi-day tour, including the Hogs/Grand Central and Hiline trails, among others​​.
  • Hermosa Tours
    Known for its daily guided mountain bike tours catering to all skill levels, from beginner to advanced​​.
  • 360 Adventures
    They provide intermediate & advanced Sedona mountain bike tours departing from their bike partner Absolute Bikes in the Village of Oak Creek​​.

These companies provide various tour options, including full-day and half-day tours, and can cater to different skill levels. They also provide necessary equipment and transportation as part of their packages. If you prefer to explore independently, it’s advisable to have a good map, plenty of water, and prepare for the local conditions. Remember, checking the current trail conditions and potential area closures before heading out is always a good idea.


Sedona offers mountain bikers an exceptional blend of scenery, challenging terrain, and consistently ideal weather. The trails covered in this article are excellent for intermediate riders looking to expand their technical skills or enjoy a thrilling desert ride.

The stunning red rocks provide endless inspiration to progress your abilities. These routes will build confidence across varying terrain, from steep slickrock climbs to rock gardens and ledgy descents. Mix in easier trails to rest and take in the views between hearty doses of skill-building.
With hundreds of miles to explore, Sedona has trails to satisfy any mountain biker. Take your riding to the next level on the beautiful desert singletrack this area is famous for!

Key Takeaways

– Iconic red rock scenery with over 300 miles of trails ranging from beginner to advanced
– The top 9 trails highlighted offer skill progression within scenic settings
– Nearly year-round riding thanks to Sedona’s mild winters
– Come prepared with proper gear, fitness, and provisions like water and nutrition
– Options for bike rentals and shuttle services to maximize trail time
– Trail ratings marked by colored tags guide difficulty

Sedona’s breathtaking beauty and thrilling trails create a mountain biking experience unlike any other. With unique attractions like the Sedona Mountain Bike Skills Park, bikers of all abilities can enjoy this world-class riding destination. Start planning your mountain biking adventure in majestic Sedona today!

Birds-eye view of mountain biking in Sedona AZ.

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