Sedona’s magnificent red rock calls mountain bikers from all over the world seeking to test their legs, lungs, and bike handling skills on the iconic terrain. The myriad of trail options offer stunning backdrops from winding slickrock to steep singletrack surrounded by cacti.
While one could spend countless hours exploring the trail system, three trails stand out as must-rides to appreciate Sedona’s pedigree for mountain biking. Whether bombing down technical descents, weaving through tight switchbacks, or taking in the sweeping views, these routes are some of our favorite and ones we ride every time we visit.
TRAILFORKS: Hiline Loop
Strewn with blood-red boulders, this trail serves as a rite of passage for handling Sedona’s rocky trails. Don’t let the relatively short distance fool you, Hiline packs plenty of punch with rocky technical sections intermixed with loose, off-camber turns and rock drops. Riders ascend over 1,000 feet in elevation, opening spectacular panoramas of Cathedral Rock at the top. This advanced trail sits among the classics, but certainly tests a rider's nerves, fitness and bike control.
Brace yourself - Hiline Trail is not for the faint of heart or beginner riders. This route is full of exposure along cliffs, rock drops, and steep rocky technical sections that test the skill and nerve of every rider. Don't underestimate the challenging terrain that has solidified Hiline as one of Sedona's most notorious trails. Come prepared with the requisite experience, or continue honing skills on tamer terrain first.
TRAILFORKS: Chuck Wagon - Mescal Loop
In contrast to Hiline, this route rolls fast and flowy and can be ridden in both directions. Tight bermed corners of Chuck Wagon trail give way to short techy rock gardens before opening into the towering pillars of red rock of Mescal. While not overly technical compared to other Sedona epics, Mescal still warrants attention to navigate cleanly. The momentum and views easily rank Mescal among our top rides - we ride it every time we visit.
Scorpion + Skywalker Loop
TRAILFORKS: Skywalker - Scorpion Loop
For stacked stone views that exemplify Sedona's trails, this loop combines thrilling descents with steady climbs. Beginning from the top of Scorpion maximizes the payoff. Riders first bomb down Scorpion, traversing the bottom of an ocean floor-shaped area showcasing sedimentary layers. Note that the top portion of Scorpion is quite rocky with exposed lava rocks – it gets better, you'll just need to get through the top section. Technical challenges including slickrock ledges, loose corners and even some petroglyphs keep riders focused and there are some great photo ops on the way down. After dropping over 1,000 feet through towering spires, riders finish the Scorpion descent in the valley below.
From there, we recommend working your way up to Skywalker trail which serves as the wayback to the start of Scorpion. Weaving uphill past rock formations, riders take on rock gardens that add an extra challenge between the technical ascents. Skywalker is a great rolling singletrack in either direction. Cresting the top completes the 360° full circuit opening endless vistas and a well-earned descent back down Scorpion for round two.
Where to eat? Elote Café
After logging some miles on the trails, riders have certainly earned a proper meal. Elote Cafe ranks as a Sedona favorite for its chill atmosphere and focus on locally-sourced ingredients perfect for recharging those ride-weary legs and fueling more adventures on the area’s extensive trail network. Their signature fire roasted corn appetizer offers a southwestern flair, and their entrees are simply amazing - especially when paired with a mescal cocktail. However, make your reservations early as this is not a walk-in type of place.
Whether it's the first or fourteenth time riding in Sedona, linking these iconic trails with Elote's dishes makes for an unforgettable mountain biking trip. Ride safely, keep the rubber side down, and be sure to #shredthered responsibly so we can continue enjoying these magnificent landscapes together.