Sedona, Arizona has plenty of intermediate, blue square mountain biking trails. Here are a few of our favorite trails:
- Featured Trails: Adante, Thunder Mountain, Tea Cup, Soldiers Pass, Jordan, Ant Hill, Grand Central, Powerline Plunge, Adobe Jack
- Sights: Chimney Rock, Lizard Head Rock, Capitol Butte (AKA Thunder Mountain), Coffee Pot Rock, Seven Sacred Pools, Devil’s Sinkhole, Ship Rock, Steamboat Rock, Sphinx Spire, Airport Mesa
- Ride Length & Time: 10 miles, 2 hours
- Distance to Trailhead: 1 mile to Sugarloaf trailhead, 0.8 miles to Adobe Jack trailhead
This advanced-intermediate level ride starts and ends at Thunder Mountain Bikes. Another superb option if you rent a bike from the shop and don’t want to drive to a trailhead. Though some may rate this ride as advanced thanks to the very technical climbing, the descents feature some classic Sedona flow.
This ride starts with Andante, often considered a connector. Enjoy the cruisy views of Thunder Mountain and Chimney Rock before hitting the slow-speed climbing of Thunder Mountain and Teacup trails where swells of slickrock, rock armor, and slow-speed chunk predominate.
Next up is the Soldier’s Wash area: this tight-knit network of trails offers swooping singletrack punctuated by enough chunk to keep you honest. Traverse Jordan, navigating some slickrock rollers and tech. Turn right at the sign for Ant Hill and tough it up the short, steep switchbacks of the Grand Central climb. The views over town from the Ant Hill summit are staggering, and the Grand Central descent is one of Sedona’s finest, beginning with an exposed roller right off the top. It’s a fast descent from here, eventually dipping in and out of numerous gravely washes. At the bottom, hang a sharp right on Crusty Trail to the parking lot, then another right to get back to the bike shop.
- Featured Trails: Chuck Wagon, Mescal, Aerie, Cockscomb, Rupp, Girdner
- Sights: Mescal Mountain, Boynton Spires, Doe Mountain, Cockscomb Rock, Bear Mountain, the backside of Thunder Mountain
- Ride Length & Time: 16 miles, 3 hours
- Distance to Trailhead: 3.7 miles
This true Sedona intermediate ride packs a grab-bag of rolling terrain, swoopy singletrack, lots of fast flow, and just enough rocks to keep you honest. Watch out for hikers at the start of Chuck Wagon, but the crowds will thin after the first couple miles.
Chuck Wagon is arguably Sedona’s truest flow trail, scrambling up and down high-desert ridges on red dirt that can be so grippy it buzzes under your tires. With quick, arced turns and mostly smooth surfaces, Chuck Wagon will put you in that flow state. But be aware: numerous tight tree sections, sudden corners, and quick arroyo crossings will get your attention.
Next up is Mescal Mountain, considered one of the seven “vortexes” in Sedona. Mescal is one of Sedona’s most distinctive trails, as it traces a mostly flat profile along a broad sandstone bench with a massive perspective out over a juniper-studded basin. It can feel as if you’re in a red rock amphitheater. Rocky corners and slabby friction moves punctuate long stretches of flowing singletrack. A couple of well-marked variants offer truly tough and committing alternatives. (If you want to branch off for something even wilder, duck out onto Canyon of Fools, a tight and sinuous descent down a rocky wash that feels like riding the inside of an esophagus)
Aerie gets you back on track with smoother trails and a quick, flowy pace. It’s cross-country terrain from here on out as you navigate the views, turns, and trail signage back to the start.
- Featured Trails: Little Horse, Llama, Baby Bell, Templeton, Hermit, Coconino, Slim Shady, Easy Breezy, HT
- Sights: Cathedral Rock, Baby Bell Rock, Slim Shady Mesa
- Ride Length & Time: 10 miles, 2 hours
- Distance to Trailhead: 7 miles
There are a few black diamond moves along this route, but overall this is an intermediate ride. We recommend parking at the Little Horse trailhead, as this is closer to Sedona proper. Begin on Little Horse with a few challenging uphills, which are short and easy to walk if needed, before turning right onto the flowy Llama.
Eventually, you'll work your way over to the northern end of Slim Shady and Templeton trails. Slim Shady is a rambunctious classic: nothing but good times while it’s on, followed by slight melancholy once it’s over. Painstakingly constructed with slickrock wall rides, bermed corners, and stacked-rock roll-ins, it’s engaging but still approachable. For maximum fun, you can repeat the northern Slim Shady descent by climbing back up Templeton to Hermit and Coconino for another “hot lap” - it’s a ripper when you know what’s coming.
Traverse Templeton on tablets of slickrock, with Cathedral Rock looming above. Just before the Cathedral hiking trail—and the swarms of hikers on it—hang a right on Easy Breezy. Despite the name, don’t take this one lightly. A wide, slickrock descent leads down a wash, with several three to four-foot drops to flat landings (all have ride arounds), then continue through a rocky creek bed. Make a left on HT, which winds under Hwy. 179 and connects back to the Little Horse parking.
Disclaimer: Trails are rated by "Sedona Standards," which may not line up with your home trails. Some trails may be more challenging than those you regularly ride. We can only recommend to be cautious, have fun, and live to ride another day! There is no shame in walking a section or circling back to try a move again. The experience will be worth the effort!