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3 things you need to know about mountain biking in Sedona

Think about these 3 things before mountain biking in Sedona

mountain biking on a trail in Sedona Arizona
Travis Reill / The Manual

Southern states are phenomenal for escaping cold winter days for those of us who live up north. I recently had the privilege of heading down to Sedona, Arizona, for a mountain biking media camp. I’d heard that Sedona mountain biking is incredible, but it is something you must experience for yourself.

Forgive me if this sounds a bit cliche, but Sedona is truly like stepping into a postcard. The city sits in a valley surrounded by towering red rock cliffs, with multiple trail systems reaching out from the city into these hills and cliffs. And they are not for the faint of heart.

No, Sedona mountain biking is for more experienced riders. While anyone can go mountain biking in Sedona, you may quickly find that not anyone should go. Of the 220 or so mountain biking trails in Sedona, only 20 are considered “beginner.”

So, if you are planning to head south and Sedona mountain biking is in your future, here are three things you want to consider before hitting the trails.


A rough and chunky mountain biking trail in Sedona Arizona
Travis Reill / The Manual

In Sedona, all mountain biking trails are rugged. Even the beginner and intermediate trails are challenging. 

There are few places with riding quite like Sedona. The towering red rock cliffs surrounding the city mean Sedona mountain biking is littered with this chunky red rock. For the most part, the only smooth surface is when you are riding on one of the red rock slabs.

Because of this rocky terrain, you can expect to be exhausted after a day of mountain biking in Sedona. The riding there is very active, meaning you will lift the front wheel up and over rocks, followed by the rear wheel. You will be up, out of your saddle, and over your handlebars for most of the day.

The more difficult the trail, the more tired you can expect to be.

Many of us may be used to spending the first part of our ride pedaling to the top only to turn around and descend back down. This style of mountain biking can be excellent, as it gets all of the climbing out of the way at the beginning and allows for a rest time at the top.

Sedona mountain biking looks more like an EKG. When you think you’ve got a long descent ahead of you, you’ll see the trail go back up. Up and down, up and down, can make for a grueling day.

It’s hot, but kind of cold

Mountain biking in a rainstorm in Sedona Arizona
Travis reill / The Manual

This may not come as much of a shocker, but it can get pretty hot in Arizona. 

All joking aside, one of the great things about Sedona mountain biking is that it can happen nearly all year. Yes, Sedona does get the occasional snowstorm, but from talking to residents, that may only happen once or so during the winter. Aside from the occasional rain storm, which can provide some excellent wet riding, expect pretty mild conditions. 

I was in Sedona at the beginning of March. We had some rain come in, and it even started snowing for a bit, but, for the most part, it was pretty warm. Even when the temperature said it would only be a high of 51°, it was pretty hot while out mountain biking.

Even with cold temperatures, the skies were blue, and the Arizona sun was shining down on us. Where I live in Oregon, 51° usually means I am riding in pants and a light jacket. In Sedona, it is shorts and a T-shirt. 

If you are heading down in the spring or fall, be ready for all weather.


A group gets ready to go mountain biking in Sedona Arizona
Travis Reill / The Manual

Sedona is a town of around 10,000 people, which makes it relatively small compared to other cities across the country. However, this small Arizona town sees millions of tourists every year.

Why so many tourists? If you go to Sedona, you’ll realize why. The landscape is breathtaking. Not only is the area beautiful, but it is also an outdoorsman’s paradise. Aside from mountain biking, there are ATV trips, hiking, and rock climbing. 

So, while you are out mountain biking on the trails, expect to see people. Runners, hikers, tourists, and mountain bikers are all on the trails. If you get going down a rad descent, don’t get so caught up that you forget to think about and listen for others coming up the trail. Know that there will be others who may not be paying as much attention as you are.

Don’t get too frustrated with the tourists out on the trails. Remember, you are one, too.

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Travis Reill
Hi! I'm Travis, a teacher turned stay-at-home dad turned freelance writer. Mountain biking is my passion. Fortunately, I've…
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