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arizona Winter riding in AZ

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Will be passing through in early January. Novice rider and my self. He is really set on riding somewhere near Sedona. Bikes are small bores so massive amounts of heavy sand riding is less that desirable. So far Copper Canyon trail head looks nice, but I have just started my research. Double/ single track preferred, and nothing with difficult technical sections. He managed the practice loop at Moab's Slick Rock but steep rock gardens will probably be an issue. Anywhere not too far off of I40 or I10 would work because we do not have a set route yet. Open to any and all suggestions. Thanks guys!

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There is no riding in or around Sedona. All the single track there is non-motorized. It's a pretty stuck up enviro-nazi town. Some epic mountain biking but otherwise is pretty much just a tourist trap. Beautiful though, worth a visit just to see.

Only thing beginner friendly near I40 is Cornville. Plenty of easy double/single track there. https://goo.gl/maps/b5FoVx98P1D2

There is some easy stuff in Flagstaff (Kelly Canyon) but it's Winter up there so that's a no-go.

Best overall bet is probably Boulders OHV. Everything from beginner to "A Only" out there. Just have to be careful with all the SXS/Quad dipshits running around the main areas. https://goo.gl/maps/q7ojsHUW2k82

Just a little farther down the road there is another less public staging area. We race there once a year and there are a couple short/easy loops set up for the youth race classes. Should be easy to see if you look at the satellite view. https://goo.gl/maps/yNFvh2uraUv

It's state trust land though, so you will need a permit to park there. https://land.az.gov/recreational-permit-portal

Never heard of Copper Canyon for moto riding so there must be not much/nothing there.

 

 

 

Edited by Kosmic
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+1 on Boulders. Great variety of riding and all trail mapped and maintained very well. Best place to go if you don't have a guide as pretty much no matter how deep you go Carefree highway always creates a southern border that you can find again. If lost, ride south until you hit asphalt! Bathrooms, campground with tables and such. Could spend a nice weekend in there and not ride the same stuff twice.

I've lived in AZ since 2006 and its been my primary riding area the entire time. Been out of the country for 2 years, headed back tomorrow and its the first thing on my mind. 

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On 12/22/2018 at 10:45 PM, 87XR250R said:

He is really set on riding somewhere near Sedona. ... Double/ single track preferred, and nothing with difficult technical sections. 

Agree with singletrack recommendations above. But if he is really set on Sedona, you can ride the famous "jeep trails" with a plated bike. They are definitely not singletrack, they are eroded, difficult in spots, and they are busy. But you can ride them.

BTW, among its many restrictions Sedona has a "No camping zone" around it, as shown on this map. One place the map appears is in the "Red Rock Ranger District Recreation Guide to Your National Forest"

https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprd3806979.pdf

And now they have a "No drone zone" too. 

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Bikes are not plated. They currently have Oregon off-road stickers so the Jeep trails are out of the question. Will the Or stickers be ok or will we need to buy the Az stickers for a day or two of riding? The land trust permit seems very straight forward, but I am not sure on the state OHV stickers. 

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11 minutes ago, 87XR250R said:

Bikes are not plated. They currently have Oregon off-road stickers so the Jeep trails are out of the question. Will the Or stickers be ok or will we need to buy the Az stickers for a day or two of riding? The land trust permit seems very straight forward, but I am not sure on the state OHV stickers. 

https://azstateparks.com/ohv-laws-regulations

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Kosmic is steering you in the right direction.  Sedona is a bust, you won't even be able to ride the crowded jeep roads if you aren't plated.  Even if you were, I wouldn't recommend it.  If your buddy insists on riding near Sedona, the Cornville loop he mentioned is your run.  Keep in mind it is nothing like Sedona in terms of red rocks, and as beginners if you want to ride the whole loop make sure you give yourself plenty of time.  You should be fine with the OR stickers.

I second Boulders OHV.  Its world class away from the main areas, still really good at the staging area.  Huge place, easy to get lost and easy to find your way out.  Start with Loop 1 and Loop 2 east of the main staging area and see how you do.  One person's beginner trail is another's intermediate...

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11 hours ago, borlo said:

Kosmic is steering you in the right direction.  Sedona is a bust, you won't even be able to ride the crowded jeep roads if you aren't plated.  Even if you were, I wouldn't recommend it.  If your buddy insists on riding near Sedona, the Cornville loop he mentioned is your run.  Keep in mind it is nothing like Sedona in terms of red rocks, and as beginners if you want to ride the whole loop make sure you give yourself plenty of time.  You should be fine with the OR stickers.

I second Boulders OHV.  Its world class away from the main areas, still really good at the staging area.  Huge place, easy to get lost and easy to find your way out.  Start with Loop 1 and Loop 2 east of the main staging area and see how you do.  One person's beginner trail is another's intermediate...

 

Well aware if how difficulty is rated by the rider. Doing my best to keep us out of trouble we are a bit out of shape and he has minimal bike time. Been watching some of videos on YouTube and Boulders sure seems like a winner. We will have a few days in NC to run through the bikes before we start the drive across. Is there anything in NM along the way? I flew all the way over here might as well try to ride as much as possible.

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11 hours ago, 87XR250R said:

Is there anything in NM along the way?

Generally Red Rock Motorsports is nice technical ATV (not quite singletrack) just off 40. Gate https://goo.gl/maps/eDwoV2cod472 seems to always be open, just stay away from the MX track.

But NM is pretty snowed in right now.

Edited by RedMesa

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Posted (edited)

If you want something a little less populated (Boulders can be a Chit-show) try Hayfield Draw OHV.  Its across the 260 from the Copper Canyon trailhead (and connected to it by a trail that goes under I-17 (good beginner trail).  It has a nice easy staging area with tables and shade, connected to long, large washes, and some power line doubletrack.  There is some super secret singletrack in there, but it's NOT beginner trail for the most part.

Copper Canyon DOES have some doubletrack in it, but it is the rockiest, nastiest, crap that I've ridden to date (at least that's how I remember it) and not much mileage.

Cornville is a great singletrack, again, NOT beginner friendly, though the plethora of fire roads there are.  EXCELLENT views of the verde valley.  If Sedona is a study in red rocks, Cornville is a study in limestone grapefruits and ledges.  FYI, Cornville is on track to be our newest LEGAL trail system and will have some brandy new trail by the time you get out here, that so far has only been ridden by two people.

 

"nothing with difficult technical sections"  ALL of arizona is a difficult technical section....lol.

Edited by bikedude987

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7 hours ago, bikedude987 said:

Cornville is a great singletrack, again, NOT beginner friendly, though the plethora of fire roads there are.  EXCELLENT views of the verde valley.  If Sedona is a study in red rocks, Cornville is a study in limestone grapefruits and ledges.  FYI, Cornville is on track to be our newest LEGAL trail system and will have some brandy new trail by the time you get out here, that so far has only been ridden by two people. 

"nothing with difficult technical sections"  ALL of arizona is a difficult technical section....lol.

Went back and watched some older video of mine. Cornville perhaps is more rocky than I remember, LOL. I guess compared to the stuff I usually ride, it's easy.  I do remember one big hill, some tight windy MTB type trails, and the loop that goes out along the cliff edge is sketchy at times. The newer stuff closer to the staging area that goes up on the hill is definitely not beginner with those rock step ups. Some easier stuff out in the flats though.

 

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On 12/22/2018 at 11:01 PM, Kosmic said:

Just a little farther down the road there is another less public staging area. We race there once a year and there are a couple short/easy loops set up for the youth race classes. Should be easy to see if you look at the satellite view. https://goo.gl/maps/yNFvh2uraUv

It's state trust land though, so you will need a permit to park there. https://land.az.gov/recreational-permit-portal

Here is video of one of the youth race course loops I was referring to. Not going to get any easier than that in the desert.

 

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14 hours ago, Kosmic said:

Went back and watched some older video of mine. Cornville perhaps is more rocky than I remember, LOL. I guess compared to the stuff I usually ride, it's easy.  I do remember one big hill, some tight windy MTB type trails, and the loop that goes out along the cliff edge is sketchy at times. The newer stuff closer to the staging area that goes up on the hill is definitely not beginner with those rock step ups. Some easier stuff out in the flats though.

The main trail has gotten really beat up in a lot of places in the last 2-3 years as more people have discovered it.  Those rock ledges in the beginning you mentioned are super dug out now, most people are taking the cheater line.  The big hill through Grandpa wash is the same, and it just getting wider and wider as people avoid the big step ups/downs. 

All these big (and unsustainable) obstacles are being removed by the USFS for various reasons, mainly related to hydrology and/or cattle ranching I believe.  They are splitting the main loop into two separate loops (and adding about 12 miles of new trail, much along the rim) on either side of Grandpa wash.  They guy doing the layout (Forest with the Forest service) is a genuine A rider, and is doing a pretty darn good job of keeping a fun, flowy, and technically challenging trail.

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Sycamore Creek, Mesquite Wash and 4 peaks area are also very good. Pictuesque with terrain of all skill levels. By the sound of it, you might want to stick to the double tracks and there are tons of good ones out there. The singletracks in this area are awesome and plentiful too, but they can get pretty technical in areas and your buddy might curse you - super fun though, especially around mesquite wash :)

Not my video, but heres some dudes out having fun in Sycamore. Gives you a good idea of the terrain & landscape out there, beautiful high desert with lots of great views, elevation changes, boulders, and saguaro cacti.



i love this entire area, but only when u get away from the main washes (too crowded with drunken idiots driving out of control in side by side vehicles). Let me know if you need directions to these locations, good luck and have fun on your road trip!

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