Sedona, AZ.- Synonymous with warm temps and dry singletrack year round; Sedona is quickly becoming a bucket list mountain bike destination. With a vast network of trails rolling through the red rock hills surrounding the town, one trip to Sedona will have you hooked on its technical trails, amazing views, and vibrant community.
The Hangover trail has quickly become a very popular trail for Sedona residents and tourists alike, a lung busting climb, technical granny gear traverses, and amazing scenery make it a must ride for those riders looking to challenge their perception of where a mountain bike trail can be built.
(View from the saddle on the Hangover Trail)
Originally built by a few locals, the Hangover trail like many other popular trails in Sedona has long been an social trail as far as the Forest Service is concerned. But recent efforts by the local Verde Valley Cyclist club have built a positive relationship with the local land managers. “It has taken a lot of work and cooperation, but it is great to see this finally coming together,” said Lars Romig, President of the local club “We just have to work together with the land managers if we want to continue to build trails here.”
Like many other communities surrounded by public lands with trails, Sedona has seen an influx in economic growth from recreational based tourism. “Most of the business that comes in to our shop is from outside the area,” explains Jason Firsty, an Owner at the newly opened Over The Edge Bike Shop (a sister shop to the infamous OTE in Fruita, Colo.), “If we can build good relationships with land managers, we can continue to grow the trail networks around Sedona legally, making it better for the community as a whole. "Social" trails can only offer so much. Signed and mapped trails are what will really make this place great for visitors.”
(A few problem areas needed to be addressed before the trail could be legalized.)
Adopting the Hangover trail into the Forest Service’s trail network is a huge step, it’s technicality and exposure show that sustainable trails can also be extremely challenging and rewarding for riders and hikers alike. One ride on the newly adopted trail will have you believing in Sedona’s growing potential as a world-renowned mountain bike destination.
Hangover provides intoxicating views paired with a very unique and challenging singletrack experience. The trail begins just east of the town of Sedona off Schnebly Hill Road. To ride the trail as a fun loop, park in the main parking lot before the pavement ends. Continue riding northeast on the gravel portion of Schnebly Hill Road. After approximately 4 miles the “Cow Pies” trail shoots off to the left and traverses the red rock through very unforgiving vegetation. Continue to follow the traverse as it begins to gain elevation and the ground beneath you transforms in to open expanses of technical slickrock.
A new reroute features a large gradual switchback that snakes its way strategically through the challenging steep terrain and directing you to the breathtaking saddle. With mind blowing views of Sedona and its unique terrain, this is a great spot to regroup and top up your energy levels before the immense traverse that begins on the west side of the saddle. White dots along the slickrock lead off the saddle and down a steep rock face to your left. Staying pointed downhill on this section is key as traversing across it can be difficult due to its steep grade. Once on the dirt the trail is simple to follow but watch your speed, loose soil and abrupt corners with significant exposure make this section of the trail relatively high risk.
Continue along the steep slickrock switchbacks that drop to another saddle and begin the traverse back towards Schnebly Hill Road. This section of trail offers some higher speed descending but consequences are still high with cactus and aloe plants lining many of the corners. An intersection will put you on to the Munds Wagon Trail where a right turn will drop you back to your vehicle via a fun fall line descent that following a creekbed, a left turn will lead you on another lap of Hangover if you’re still looking for more excitement.
If you have never been to Sedona, it is definitely a must ride destination and the recent trail advocacy is opening up even more terrain. When winter has you trapped inside, the warm, dry climate of Sedona makes a unique escape with top notch riding. For more trail information stop in to Over The Edge (otesports.com/locations/sedona/) or The Bike and Bean (www.bike-bean.com/). -J. Carr
Before legalizing the Hangover trail, some trail maintenance was needed to make the trail more sustainable for the additional traffic the trail will soon see. Verde Valley Cyclists and the Forest Service partnered to fix a few problem areas, Mountain Flyer was there to lend a hand and document the monumental day for Sedona mountain biking.