Sedona, February, and Hiline questions

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    • #126467

      Hi there! I’m planning a road trip to Sedona in February to do some MTB riding, and I have a few questions for those in the "know" about the area…

      I’m coming from Ontario, where I’m used to riding in cool-to-sub-zero temperatures; I’ve been told the weather in Sedona in mid-Feb is around 32-50… is this right?

      Does anyone have experience riding some of the trails in Feb? Are they okay to ride then? Do the trails close for part of the season or are they available year round?

      Hiline trail looks amazing, although I’m finding it difficult to get a clear view of just how expert level this trail is. I’ve ridden 18 Road trails in Fruita before, and I found those to be good but technically, nothing I couldn’t handle (Ontario’s trail system, while lacking the vertical thrills of the west, doesn’t fall short on the non-stop roots, rocks and other technical pile-on). I’ve also ridden lots of skinnies and bridges here which has its fair share of risks, but not the drops I’ve seen out west. Looking at Hiline and hearing people say it’s highly technical has me wondering a few things…

      Is the extreme technical level of the trail considered because of the exposure? Of the 3.2 miles, how much of it is really, actually exposed, percentage-wise? I’ve watched the videos but it’s hard to get a sense… I get the sense this trail is mentally taxing as it requires absolute focus on the ridges….

      Exposure – what is considered "exposure"? From the pictures I’ve seen much of the trail seems to have been cut into a sharp incline on the mountainside… so if I were to go over the edge, are we talking serious injury, or guaranteed death? I can handle the risk of serious injury (ie: bouncing off a mountain side), at least mentally, but I’m not really into making a mistake and free-falling hundreds of feet to my death…

      What kind of trails in the area should I ride first to get used to the terrain and feel of Arizona riding? Ontario doesn’t have much in terms of "desert" riding so before I get to the truly hard stuff I’d like to "warm up", so to speak..

      I’m really trying to get a sense if I can handle the challenge. I’ve raced XC and consider myself a highly skilled rider, but it’s a bit of the going into the unknown that I’d like to clear up before heading out there..

      Any help/advice would be great!

    • #126468

      Hiline is a great trail–you definitely need to do it! Just show up, throw down, and walk if you get too freaked out. There are some technical spots and some exposed spots, but it’s not even the most technical or exposed trail in Sedona–Hangover is.

      I could go into more detail, but what’s exposed and technical to one person isn’t to another. For what it’s worth, I think the average double black diamond rating given here on Singletracks is inflated a bit. I think I’d rate it a single black diamond. If you’ve been mountain biking for a few years, I just say give it a shot, ride within your limits, and enjoy the adventure of the unknown. That said, if you get seriously injured or die, I assume no responsibility for the outcome 😼

      BTW, there’s no comparison between this trail and 18 Road. None whatsoever. 18 Road is a cake walk in comparison to almost all the trails in Sedona.

      For more of an idea of what Hiline is like, be sure to check out all the pics we’ve uploaded here: … c=1&i=5956

    • #126469

      Greg is spot on.
      If you’re a "highly skilled rider," you should enjoy the trail immensely. It is totally unique, super fun, at times challenging, and has the most fantastic scenery anywhere you can drop a set of knobbies.

      Weather/trail conditions may or may not be an issue in Feb. Beware going around any tight corners which may hide ice and/or snow. Shadows may be cast all day by steep rocks and/or trees, especially on north facing slopes, so don’t charge blindly into anything. Open rock areas should be mostly good. Check with a local bike shop before hitting the trail to get the most current info on trail conditions.

      This article will give you a suggestion for the best route: … in-sedona/

    • #126470

      It may well be warmer than that. Could hit 70. There are trails all over the area. Black Canyon is great, 79 miles long. If chilly head to Gold Canyon east of Phoenix, a really fun network. Descend K-Trail. It’s going to bloom soon and this will be the best spring wildflower year in 10. It’ll start in 2 weeks!

    • #126471

      Hey guys, thanks for the suggestions! I am only there for 3 days so I’ve already accepted I won’t be able to do all the trails I want… I leave this Friday to get there for Sunday (nothing like driving 3000 miles in 48 hours…. 😀 ) but I still have a few questions that hopefully you can help me with:

      What’s a good local bike shop in Sedona, Cottonwood, or Oak Creek? I’m staying at Dead Horse Ranch State Park while there so hoping to find a good shop with some knowledge of the epic trails to do… and fix my bike in case the unthinkable happens!

      I realize Hiline is just one trail in a network, but I can’t really tell which network it’s part of… which one? Is the trailhead easy to find for the network?

      Anyone want to go riding with me when I’m there? I’m meeting a friend at the state park for some camping and sightseeing after biking but he’s not a rider, meaning I’m otherwise riding alone… I was hoping to ride in the mornings and if anyone wants to join in one of the days (or all of them…) let me know and we can figure something out when I’m there. I’ll be riding Feb 15-17th…

      I’m pumped! It’s been awhile since I’ve done some epic riding in the west and I’m looking forward to seeing the incredible views and gnarly singletrack!

    • #126472

      Since your staying at Dead Horse, the best shop for you to hit will be Over The Edge in West Sedona. They should have all the beta you need.

      Definitely get the Beartooth Publishing map "Sedona Core Trails." It will help you see which trail networks are where, and where the trailheads/parking for each lies.

      For Highline, I recommend parking at the north end of the Village of Oak Creek and doing Slim Shady>Made in the Shade>Slim Shady>Hiline>Baldwin>Templeton then grabbing any of the other trails back to the trailhead depending on how much mileage you want to put in. You can grab Slim Shady right back if your tired, or you can cross under the highway and connect with the Llama network if you’re looking to rack up more miles.

      If you’re a good and fearless rider, Hangover should be on your itinerary. Greg recently published an article on this newer Sedona masterpiece: … ing-jewel/

      Staying in Dead Horse, the Chuckwagon Trail would be a convenient, fun, and super gorgeous option. Chuckwagon itself is only six miles, but like most Sedona trails, it connects to a much larger network including the very cool and scenic Mescal and Aerie trails. Again, the Sedona Core Trails map will show you the possibilities, as will the folks at over the edge. The link I posted in my first response on this thread covers the Chuckwagon area as well as the Highline area.

      So that’s three extremely satisfying days of riding. Just one more add–if you have the legs for it, maybe try to get in two rides in one day and hit the Broken Arrow to Chicken Point route, catching the Hogs Trails on the way back. Chicken Point is a Sedona must do classic and the trail to it passes by an amazing sinkhole as well as Submarine Rock — and the newer Hogs Trails (High on the Hog, Hog Wash, Hog Heaven) are nothing short of spectacular.

      Wish I could join you. I’m hoping to make it in March to catch Hangover, the one must-do that remains on my to-do list.

    • #126473

      Totally jealous, sprodj!

      Have a blast!

    • #126474

      March 10-16th I’ll be in the area. Last year on a Family Vaca, I snuck a day of riding; Hogs, Hiline, (technically i walked a good portion), Slim Shady and a couple others. Looking forward to spending several days in the saddle this time around, 30mile / 4k elevation avg rides… If anyone will be riding the trails at the same time, shoot me a message. My wife and i will be staying in Sedona, so I plan to leave each morning from the hotel.. Last year i rented from Absolute Bikes. This year I’m shipping my bike to them and using their shop for supplies…

      My .02 on Hiline. Take the ridge/drop-off away and the actual singletrack is not that difficult. I ride clipped in and was tapping like a little b*tch… So i just hiked and snapped pics for most of the trail.


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