MTB Seflagdona, Coconino NF

This is a day-long mountain bike ride. Start from the bottom of Schnebly Hill in Sedona. Up Schnebly. Dirt roads to Flagstaff. Turn around and head back to Sedona. Total distance is ~88 miles.

My friend, Kevin, and I headed up to Sedona on Friday evening. On Fri and Sat nights we stayed in Sedona with a long time friend of Kevin's family. I appreciate his hospitality and his amazing skill and attention to detail in the work he's done to his house.

On Saturday morning, Kevin and I met Matt and Jerrod at the parking lot at the base of Schnebly Hill. We hit the road a little before 7:30. The ride starts with a long climb up Schnebly Hill Road. It is by far the biggest climb of the day. While you're climbing it, don't focus on how long and steep it is, instead, think about how much fun you'll have bombing down it later.

Took dirt roads all the way to Flagstaff. No real problems other than a little uncertainty on my part about where to turn - but we made it through flawlessly.

We reached Flagstaff around 1pm. In Flagstaff, we stopped at Crystal Creek Sandwich Co for lunch. Decent sandwiches and cold water, ahhh. I thoroughly enjoyed lunch. Crystal Creek also had a big cooler of cold water where we refilled our water bottles for the ride back to Sedona.

As planned, Matt and Jerrod stayed in Flagstaff Saturday night. They did the return trip on Sunday. Kevin and I turned around and headed back to Sedona.

Kevin and I set out on the second leg (Flagstaff >> Sedona) around 2pm. We were a bit tired but we kept a good pace and kept breaks to a minimum because we were concerned about running out of daylight. Of course, it is much easier heading down Schnebly rather than up but the rest of Flagstaff >> Sedona is only marginally easier than Sedona >> Flagstaff.

We reached the top of Schnebly around 6:15. Very good timing because the sun was low in the sky and everything was kinda glowing. The ride down Schnebly was a total friggin' blast. I was loving my bike down that hill.

Reached the bottom of Schnebly around 7pm. Made some phone calls, loaded up the bikes, and headed out.

On Sunday, Matt and Jerrod got up early and took 89A from Flagstaff to Sedona. Took them ~2 hours. That sounds like a fun route - just be careful in traffic on the many steep, tight, and narrow curves.

87.75 miles, 8775 calories, 6,487 ft ascent (that can't be right - Matt what did your altimeter say?), 11.5 hrs, 8 hrs moving time

Detailed Route Description: Park at the base of Schnebly Hill Road (Red Rock Pass required). Head up Schnebly Hill Road. After reaching the top, continue on Schnebly. After some rolling hills, Schnebly passes under I-17. On the east side of I-17 the road is named FR226.

Take the second left after passing under I-17. Follow this road to its end. You'll see a small non-functioning water reservoir (?) with red sheet metal lying about.

Maybe 100 ft before the road ends, another road branches to the right and heads uphill. Take that road (it isn't marked on the maps and there are no signs). This road heads uphill and is rough in spots with loose rocks/boulders - part of the road is a dry creek bed. It is rough but it is easy to follow.

Close to the top of the hill you'll T into another road. Take a right. Soon after turning, you'll see a small water reservoir/pond on your right (it might be dry). Bear left (mostly straight) at the reservoir. The road descends for a mile or two and you'll see see a larger water reservoir/pond on your left. Bear right (mostly straight) past it and continue to follow the road downhill. The road T's into a smooth, wide dirt road called Mormon Lake Road.

Take a right onto Mormon Lake Road. After about a mile, you'll come to an intersection. Take a left onto FR133. This road is rougher than Mormon Lake Rd.

We followed 133 for about 2 miles (probably less). It T's into what I think is Old Mund's Highway. On the map, it is marked as a railroad but in reality it is a smooth, much traveled dirt road. [I've driven my mini-van on it with no worries.]

Take a left. Stay on this road for many, many miles - I don't know...maybe 12 or 16 miles...A LONG WAY. It is relatively straight with gradual ascents and descents. It eventually T's into Mountainaire Rd.

Mountainaire is paved and highway-like. Be careful. Take a right onto Mountainaire Rd. Climb a short hill. Take the first left onto Old Mund's Highway.

Old Mund's Highway is variously known as Fairgrounds Rd and FR237A. It is paved for a few miles and then turns into a dirt road. Follow it through a tunnel that runs under I-17. Stay on it until it T's into 89A.

Take a right onto 89A. BE CAREFUL. This is a busy road and you have to ride your bike on an uphill curve with no shoulder (you might feel claustrophobic between the traffic and a guardrail). But you aren't on it for long (1/2 to 3/4 mile).

There is a busy intersection at the top of the hill after the slightly scary curve. This is an entrance/exit ramp between I-17 and 89A so it can be busy. BE CAREFUL. Take a left at this intersection and head into the fairgrounds (Fort Tuthill). Follow the signs for 'Trailhead' through the fairgrounds (just follow the natural flow of traffic without making any turns until you see the trail).

Take a right onto Flagstaff's wonderful urban trail system. This trail is straight and mostly flat for 4 or 5 miles. Stay on it until you see Walmart. You made it to Flagstaff!

Take a break for lunch. Refill water bottles. Head back to Sedona!

Note: If you're doing this ride for the first time, I suggest you ride Flagstaff >> Sedona in a day before you try to do the round-trip in a day. What I've done in the past is ride from Sedona to Flagstaff, overnight in Flagstaff, back to Sedona the next day.

Note: Carry a lot of water - more than you think you need. There are no places to refill on water along the way. I carried 200 oz. each way. I drank ~150 oz each way (128 oz = 1 gallon). Watch your electrolytes; bring endurolytes and/or cytomax and/or goo shots - and take them even if you don't feel like it.

Note: The roads are pretty rough from the turn off of FR226 until you hit Mormon Lake Road. To drive them, you'd need a 4x4 with some serious clearance...or an ATV.

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