John’s Top 15 Trail

New Year’s Day is always a mixed bag of feelings as I reflect on the year gone by and look forward to the year ahead.  As for the year ahead, I always look for ways to make it grander than the one gone by.  2015, while not necessarily grander than 2014, was at least more interesting.  I had hoped to ride many more new-to-me trails than I did, but the ones I did get to ride had greater geographical diversity than usual.  So while this year’s list has some of the usual suspects from my haunts in the four corners states, it also manages to hit Southern California, the Northern Rockies, and even the Upper Midwest.  Variety was indeed the spice of life in 2015.  Of somewhere around 50 new “discoveries,” here’s the cream of my new singletrack crop, the top 15 of ’15.

Arizona

Hangover, Sedona

The scenery can't be beat on the Hangover Trail in Sedona, AZ, but you dare not take your eyes off the trail for long! (photo: Michael Paul)
The scenery can’t be beat on the Hangover Trail in Sedona, AZ, but you dare not take your eyes off the trail for long! (photo: Michael Paul)

Sedona’s Hangover Trail can be described in three words:  Ex.  Po.  Zhure.  I know there are more exposed routes on the planet, but none of them are considered legitimate routes open to the general public.

The Hangover Trail takes the idea of bench cut to the extreme. As you make the counterclockwise loop, the left handlebar is banging the red rock face on the left while the right handlebar is hanging over the edge of a cliff.  Then you get to dodge the occasional pinion tree, all while being distracted by panoramic views of the planet’s most gorgeous red rock scenery.  It’s not for the faint of heart, but should be on every biker’s bucket list.

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