There are plenty of new trails in the Sedona. One local rider claimed that, in the intervening two years since our last visit, “tens of miles” of new trail have been cut. Add the fresh track to the old standards and there are plenty of sweet trails to ride in Sedona.
Aside from the recently added paths, there are plenty of additional changes on the trails. Most of these modifications are minor and consist mostly of short reroutes and gnarly line pacification. I’m not sure I like this later aspect. For example, a particular step up on Brewer Trail that I’ve wanted to make for years is now ramped and easy to ride. With the more moderate standard of many of the newly built trails and the active pacification efforts, Sedona has become a much more intermediate rider friendly place. I guess that’s a good thing.
The best of the new trails that we sampled was Highline. The start of Highline comes off of Slim Shady. We were told that the Highline trailhead is unmarked by intent and riders carry their bikes in per the wishes of the Forest Service. Highline, as the name suggests, is up high on the shoulder of the red rock hills. The trail starts with a climb. If you are decent shape, I imagine this climb would be straightforward to clean. We were not in good shape. Perhaps our untested beer and pretzel training regimen wasn’t that good of an idea after all. We could only climb a portion many of the steeper sections, stopping just before we started to cough up blood. The remainder of each steep that we couldn’t make always looked easy enough. Through constricted pupils it always does.
Once reaching the top, a short traverse along a ridge leads to the beginning of the descent. The drop has a few tricky sections, mostly step-downs and slick rock rolls, and one harder section that was too loose, steep, and unconsolidated for us to want to give a shot on our first real ride of the visit. (We weren’t alone in bypassing this sketchy section.)
Overall, our ride took us a bit more than two hours. We could have done the loop faster, but when you are trying to breath through your ear holes your vision narrows and everything slows down.
Later we rode another “new” trail while doing the standard Broken Arrow loop. The trail, Pig Tail, splits off and parallels Mystic Trail higher up on the hillside. I presume the primary reason for this short new trail is for access to Hog Heaven. (We didn’t explore this connection.) In any event, Pig Tail swoops through drainages and cruises along with plenty of opportunities for minor airtime. The trail is flow-centric and serious rolling fun. Sadly Pig Tail is a little too short to be a destination, but it does make for a great addition to many loop rides.
Without doubt we just scraped the surface of Sedona’s new trail sweetness. There’s plenty of more stuff to find and explore in Sedona. The good gets better.