March 11, 2022, Outdoor Activities, Pet Friendly

A Beginner’s Guide to Mountain Biking in Sedona

Full of endless choices for fat-tire fun, Sedona boasts a labyrinthine, extensive trail system of more than 250 miles of singletrack – and the majority of the routes are either easy or intermediate, making them appealing to complete newbies and experienced riders alike. So it’s an ideal place to rent a bike, get the local intel from a bike shop, and wheel off into red rock country with your family and friends. New bike fix-it stations at seven popular trailheads make Sedona mountain biking even more appealing for beginners.

Here’s the lowdown on how to get that mountain biking high. (Keep in mind Sedona’s elevation of 4,350 feet, which may require a bit of acclimation to those visiting from sea-level locations.)

Trails You Can Tackle

Aerie Loop: This 5.4 mile loop around Doe Mountain in Dry Creek includes flowing singletrack and some spots of slickrock – not to mention killer views of the Sedona desert and the Sedona red rock.

Bell Rock Pathway: Wide, mostly flat and full of vistas, the Bell Rock Pathway draws bikers (and hikers) to explore the 3.6-mile trail. Look for views of Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte.

Big Park Loop: The stars of the show on this 2.4-mile trail are the wildflowers: bright red Indian paintbrush, purple lupine, and yellow balsamroot. It’s flat, well-marked and, like Bell Rock Pathway, delivers gasp-worthy glimpses of Courthouse Butte.

Llama Trail: Once you’re comfortable on the shorter Sedona trails, consider the Llama, which stretches 10.4 miles into the Arizona desert. The fast, flowing singletrack, lined with rocks, has earned national acclaim for its hills and thrills.

Slim Shady and Made in the Shade Loop: As the names imply, these sections of trails offer some respite from the sun thanks to the trees – but you’ll probably be too busy having fun on the 2.4-mile loop of rolling red dirt lined with wildflowers to stop.

Sedona Mountain Bike Festival

Held every March, this three-day celebration showcases more than 90 gear vendors, skills clinics, live music, bike demos, shuttled rides and more. It’s a great opportunity for mountain biking rookies to learn the basics from the experts while picking up the lingo and inside intel on the best trails from the locals.

Tour Guides

Hermosa Tours: Based inside Thunder Mountain Bikes, this outfitter offers full-day and half-day private tours suited to ability levels.

360 Adventures: Two-hour tours of the red rock desert and backcountry depart from Absolute Bikes twice daily, and are geared toward beginners and intermediate riders.

Sedona Mountain Biking Academy: Offering lessons, clinics, and longer adventures, this outfitter has personalized lesson plans based on experience levels.

Bike Shops

Thunder Mountain Bikes: Locally owned for more than 25 years, this shop has rentals and tours in addition to all the gear you need for a day in the desert.

Bike & Bean: Sit down with an Italian espresso while the team sets up a rental bike and gives you the local trail info.

Absolute Bikes: Specialized bikes are this store’s speciality, which is home to 360 Adventures and offers equipment, rentals, and clothing.