For entry-level mountain bikers to Sedona, Arizona, it can be intimidating! Thunder Mountain Bikes introduces you to some more comfortable rides around Sedona.
- Featured Trails: Sunrise trail, Soldier Pass Jeep rd, Soldier Pass singletrack, Adobe Jack trail
- Sights: Posse Grounds Park, Thunder Mountain, Coffee Pot Rock, Seven Sacred Pools, Devil's Sinkhole, Sphinx Spire, Soldier Pass canyon
- Ride length & Time: 6 miles, 1.5 - 2 hours
- Distance to Trailhead: 0.8 miles to Adobe Jack trailhead, 0.7 miles to start of Sunrise trail
The most adventurous of our entry-level rides starts and ends at Thunder Mountain Bikes. It's perfect if you're renting a bike from the shop and don't want to drive to a trailhead. You begin on the groomed Sunrise trail, a broad pathway winding along Soldier Pass Road that's an excellent place for newcomers to gain confidence and get their bearings. As a side note, Sunrise connects to the Sedona Bike Park. It's worth checking out!
Up Next is the Soldier Pass Jeep Road, a wide, sometimes loose 4x4 track. A short graded uphill will test your lungs and get you deeper into Soldier Pass Canyon, with expansive red-rock views to the south. Make your third right to visit the Seven Sacred Pools, a stunning slickrock bench where pockets in the stone collect water. Be sure to glance up for views of iconic Coffee Pot Rock.
Beyond the pools, the ride consists of intermediate-level singletrack, where some may prefer to walk the bike for short sections. Though it's a step up in difficulty, this is still considered easier terrain by Sedona standards. You'll pass by Devil's Sinkhole, with the towering Sphynx Spire in the background. From here, look for the Adobe Jack sign to the right. The next 2.5 miles are rolling, intermediate trail including a few short steeps, narrow passages, and some loose rocky terrain. At Highway 89A, Thunder Mountain Bikes is just 0.8 miles to the west.
- Featured Trails: Long Canyon, Deadman's Pass, Aerie, Cockscomb, Dawa, Oak
- Sights: Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness, Boynton Spires, Mescal Mountain, Doe Mountain, Bear Mountain
- Ride Length & Time: 6 miles, 2 Hours
- Distance to Trailhead: 5 miles
Our favorite entry-level ride in west Sedona is a step up in difficulty from the Bell Rock Pathway, with narrower "singletrack" trails and spectacular scenery. The surfaces are mostly smooth, and the few rocky sections are quick and easy to walk.
Park at the free Long Canyon Trailhead on Long Canyon Road. The route begins with Long Canyon, then turns onto Deadmans Pass. This pair of trails serves up a taste of Sedona's grippy, iron-red soil and expansive views into the wilderness without any significant technical challenges. Circling the northern flank of Mescal Mountain, it's a buffed-out and gentle climb to begin, followed by a straight shot down the other side, with a few small optional drops and obstacles along the way.
Cross the road and continue on Aerie, an engaging, twisty, mostly smooth singletrack. Be on the lookout for trail junctions, as you'll make a left at Cockscomb and, soon after, another left on Dawa. At the road, turn right for a short stretch of pavement back to the parking lot.
- Featured Trails: Bell Rock Pathway, Big Park Loop
- Sights: Courthouse Butte, Bell Rock, Baby Bell Rock, Chapel of the Holy Cross, Cathedral Rock, Twin Buttes
- Ride Length & Time: 8 miles, 2 hours
- Distance to Trailhead: 5.2 miles
Bell Rock Pathway is the easiest mountain bike ride in Sedona. This multi-use path on the southeast side of town is perfect for first-timers and families. Attainable doesn't mean boring, as the wide, manicured trail mixes short passages of sandstone slickrock with longer swathes of Sedona's famous red dirt. There's just enough rock that we recommend a quality mountain bike.
Our preference is to begin at the Little Horse Trailhead, as it's closer to Sedona and often less crowded than the Bell Rock Trailhead. Head south from here on Bell Rock Pathway. Once past the Bell Rock outcrop, look for signs to turn left on Big Park Loop. This section of trail is singletrack, but still rated easy, and it gives you dramatic, close-up views of Courthouse Butte. Past the formation, look for signs, and a right-hand turn to Bell Rock Pathway that will take you back to the start. If you miss the turn and continue straight, the trail narrows and eventually becomes a hike-only trail. If you ever see an "Entering Wilderness" sign, you know you've gone too far.
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!