For years now I’ve been hearing and reading some good stories about the Tucson Trails, and although I had tried a couple of times to fit Tucson into my list of destinations, it never panned out.. until this time.

While on one of the Moab Trails in October, I got talking with two fellow Mountain Bikers [ Doug & Bill ] They were a wealth of information about Mountain Biking Trails throughout the USA, which also included the Tucson Trails.

As luck has it, when I arrived in Tucson I unknowingly set up base at the “Desert Trails RV Park” just 3 sites down from Doug who I had met in Moab, and both he an Bill were staying there, this meant I was gonna get the full trail intel incl. free guides.

I spent 4 weeks on the Tucson trails. and I just touched the surface of what Tuscon has to offer. I will definitely be back soon to ride all the trails I missed this time round..



My Experience


Riding the Tucson Trails for the first time was a great experience, it’s pretty daunting looking up at 40+ ft. cacti, thinking just ONE thing.. “Shit I hope I won’t be huggin’ one of them” .. The brain however must switch off, ‘cos minutes later I was dodging the cacti like I had a death wish.

I was lucky in Tucson, I had 2 well seasoned guides [ Doug & Bill ] that kindly showed me a handful of trails,’cos although the trails great, and clear, they are not very well marked and believe me there are plenty of places one can go wrong, and the Tucson dessert is not a friendly place to get lost. Your safest bet is to, just like me [ if just like me you are lucky ] make use of a guide, followed by a really good map, a shit load of navigation skills, and spare tubes!!. I used more tubes in the 4 weeks in Tucson, than in all the 5 previous years!. I used a “Tuffy” liner front and back, and slime tubes, and still had to take out a mortgage to finance my tubes.. and don’t think if you shred on “Tubeless” you are off the hook, ‘cos you ain’t!
I must say however, that the “Tuffy’ liners really did improve things, and I would highly recommend them in Tucson.

Although there were no really high trails, or at least not the ones I did, this doesn’t mean there are no strenuous climbs, and manic downhill sections, ‘cos there are lots of them, what I call short, brutal & fun.

One of my favorite trails was the pretty technical and very demanding “Brown Mountain” Trail.. don’t be fooled just because it’s just under 5 miles, ‘cos at some point you will curse this trail. I attempted Brown Mountain 5 times, the first 2 times I cleared without any problems apart from destroying my lungs!. However the last three times I ended up walking down, completely defeated or should I say deflated, cos three blowouts in three attempts, because of this Brown Mountain became together with the Porcupine Trail in Moab my most expensive rides, and it kicked my arse!
The final downhill section is pretty sick, and it was actually the first time I opted for semi-full body protection, and boy am i glad I did. The trail consists of of razor sharp rocks, and a lot of very scary looking cacti. This is definitely not a trail where you wanna lose your cool.

Another trail I really enjoyed was the Explorer Trail, another short but brutal trail. This is an “out & back” with a lot of climbing, a pretty technical section and of course a lot of downhill. This downhill is not as steep as the Brown Mountain section, however is is much longer, and because it is not as steep, you are more inclined to open up, and that can be very dangerous. Stay on your steed on this trail, and you will enjoy every minute of it.

The Robles Trail system offers miles and miles of fantastic trails, and it doesn’t matter how you do them, clockwise or counter clockwise, they are great both directions. Some moderate climbs, a handful of technical spots and some really fast flowing runs make the Robles System a MUST!

Another must do fantastic out and back is the Pistol Hill to Three Bridges Trail. This section is about 17 miles of the 800 mile Arizona Trail. There is quite a bit of moderate climbing on this trail, and eventually it physically catches up with you.. I was doing fine until about mile 12, and then my legs and lungs started giving up, and the last climb was very demanding. The really nice thing about this trail, is that it has one of the best finishes you can imagine.. The last 1.5 miles is a manic “Run Rabbit Run” a perfect finish to an excellent trail.


Tucson is a fantastic MTB Destination, although it is definitely not a summer destination, it could just be the best winter destination the USA has to offer. I can only speak for December and January, but the weather and trail conditions were perfect. I was pleasantly surprised at how quite the trails actually were, even during the weekend.

As I mentioned, I was in Tucson for a whole month, and I still just touched the surface of the Tucson trails. I will definitely head back to Tucson next winter, and will definitely explore all the trails I did not get to ride.

Any serious Mountain Biker looking to do some serious Mountain Biking in the winter months should definitely put Tucson on top of the list.


My Tucson Trails Rating : 8 / 10


Doug & BillI would like to thank Doug & Bill for the the time to show me some fantastic trails Tuscon has to offer. Without their guidance and trail intel I would have probably spent more time researching and less time shreddin’.

I’m sure our paths will meet again on a trail somewhere… Kudo’s to you both.













This Top 5 Mountain Biking Destinations in the USA is based purely on my personal experience I have gained while traveling around the USA for the past 5 years riding the trails.

What is a Trails Destination?

This Top 5 is put together with the following in mind. If you had a weeks vacation, and would like to ride at least FIVE different trails in that week, all within a 20 mile radius, then in my books these are the best places to use as a base to get the best rides.

This list is NOT a list of Best Trails ( for the Top 15 Best USA Trails 2011 click here) and as I mentioned above it’s based on my personal opinion and based only on the places I have been.





First Henry W Coe State Park – Gilroy / Morgan Hill – CA


The Henry W Coe State Park offers miles and miles and miles of the sweetest fast flowing singletracks a mountain biker could ever wish for.

The trails are well maintained and marked, but definitely not over done, and a map is definitely needed. All the trails start in the valley, and no matter what trail combination you choose, you will spend the first couple of hours climbing, and I don’t care how fit you are, you will be walking your steed quite a bit on the way up. However, the trails are so fantastic, even the brutal climb puts a smile on your chops, Why?.. ‘cos you know the downhill is gonna be out of this world!, and worth every second of the strenuous climb.

These are rolling hills, so it’s definitely not just an up & down trail network, however even the rolling hills start up high.

Looping, lollipopin’, out & back, you name it, the world is your oyster on the Henry Coe, and you can easily spend days exploring these fantastic trails.


Trail Stats & Information

Nearby Town : Gilroy – Morgan Hill

Length: Your call, but remember a Coe mile is very strenuous

Trail Type: Loops, Lollipop, Out & Back.. you name it!

Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically *challenging. Physically demanding – mental

*Note – I say technically moderate, ‘cos although there are no technical obstacles, the big problem is speed. The trails are very narrow, and extreme speeds are possible. Certain sections of trails are very bumpy, and 2 ft ruts appear out of nowhere.. and if you get caught out at high speeds, it ain’t gonna be beneficial to you!

The Pro’s :

  • fantastic singletracks
  • well marked trails
  • very scenic
  • trails are very low impact, chances are you will see nobody else.
  • Trail Head easy to get to
  • Free trail map at Hunting Hollow TH

The Cons :

  • It can get VERY hot – early start is recommended.
  • In the summer “stickers” are manic
  • LOTS of fluids needed on these trails

Henry Coe Trails Review




Moab – UT

I’m a huge Moab junkie, I love the Moab trails, and for 5 years running I have spent the month of October on the Moab Trails.

You could easily spend a couple of weeks here, and ride a different trail every day.

The Moab trails aren’t just fantastic, they are unique, and not just in the USA, but in the World.
A handful of my all time favorite trails are Moab Trails, Hidden Valley, Porcupine, Poison Spider, Gold Bar and Amasa Back and the world famous Slickrock Trail are just a few.

Riding on slickrock is a fantastic experience every mountain biker should at one point experience. Moab is without any doubt the Mountain Biking Capital of the World, and attracts more than 150,000 mountain bikers from around the world each year.



Trail Stats & Info

Town : Moab

Trails : some of the worlds best trails ( in my opinion) can be found in Moab. Some of my fav. trails are Hidden Valley onto Moab Rim, Porcupine Trail, Poison Spider down Gold Bar, Amasa Back – Rockstacker and the Flat Pass trail.

Pros :

  • Moab is a funtastic town, manic for MTB’ers
  • Trails are ALL unique
  • Trails are very scenic
  • Trails are technical
  • Huge choice of trails to choose from, from beginners to advanced, Moab can accommodate.
  • Good trail maps available at the bikeshops

Cons :

  • A lot of people that know me, will actually be quite surprised that I put Moab on the second place, ‘cos everyone that knows me, knows I’m a self confessed Moab Junkie. Although I love the Moab trails, there is also a lot about Moab that I don’t like. The main reason Moab is in second place, is probably the same reason I put Henry W Coe at the first place… CROWDS!
    Moab trails (can) get VERY busy, I would never hit a Moab trail during a weekend, and in Moab I always get a very early start. I’m an un-sociable bastard, and although I don’t mind meeting fellow MTB’ers on the Trails, in Moab it can be bang out of order.
  • A lot of the Moab Trail Heads are pretty remote, and you definitely need a shuttle or drop off and pick up.
  • Expect to pay over the odds at the bike shops, I always try and “stock up” with parts before arriving in Moab.





South Lake Tahoe – CA

The South Lake Trails are in three words FAN TAS TIC !

Probably my all time favorite trail is in South Lake Tahoe the Cold Creek – Star Lake – Armstrong Pass – Corral Trail is the “Viagra” of MTB Trails, if this doesn’t do it for you, then nothing will.

The thing I personally like about the Tahoe trails, is you have to earn your reward, the saying “No pain no gain” definitely goes for these trails.

The trails are brutal, technical, scenic and damn right fun.

The majority of the Tahoe trails are fairly technical, and physically demanding with a lot of climbing.


Trail Stats & Info

Town : South Lake Tahoe

Trails : If like me you like pretty technical and demanding trails, then Tahoe is definitely for you. The section from Freel Pass all the down Armstrong and Corral is probably the best ride you will and can ever experience. 100% pure mayhem and adrenalin pumpin’ fun on a mtb.

Pros :

  • Fantastic technical Trails
  • Many of the better trails ( in my opinion) can be looped
  • Trails are very scenic
  • Good trail maps available at the bike shops

Cons :

  • South Lake Tahoe has a very short mtb season
  • The timing of these trails is pretty essential for a great riding experience – weekends can be manic on the trails.





Sedona AZ

Sedona offers some fantastic and unique trails, for all levels of experience.

The scenery Sedona has to offer, is fantastic, and Sedona is perfect for mountain bikers.

There is a large choice of trails in Sedona, suited for all levels of experience.

Some of my favorite Sedona trails are – the Highline Trail, Munds Wagon down Schnebly Hill and the Slim Shady- Llama -broken arrow loop.

All the above trails I mention are pretty technical and very demanding. If you prefer to takes things a lot easier on the trails, no problem, there are a lot of easy trails to choose from.


Trail Stats & Info

Town : Sedona

Trails : A wide range of trails to choose from, from very easy ( Bell Rock) to very challenging (Munds Wagon Trail)

Pros :

  • Fantastic technical Trails
  • All trails can be looped and most can be combined with other trails to make longer or shorter
  • Trails are very scenic
  • You don’t have to travel far to reach the trails
  • A lot of the trails can be done from downtown Sedona

Cons :

  • Trails can be very busy and over run by hikers and tourists
  • Helicopters and (pink) jeeps can ruin the experience on certain trails.
  • some of the better trails are not marked, and can be very confusing
  • You need a “Red Rock Pass” to park at the majority of the Trail Heads



5thBozeman and Missoula MT

Bozeman and Missoula in Montana are just 120 min. from each other, and they both offer some fantastic trails, so in my my books they count as one.

Missoula has the Rattlesnake Recreational Area that offers some nice technically easy but very strenuous trails, well worth a day or 2 of trail riding.

Bozeman also offers some fantastic trails in the Hyalite Peaks area. These trails are scenic, and some of the trails are very strenuous and very technical, the The Hyalite to South Cottonwood Trail is a prime example of this.
Another fantastic MUST DO trail in Bozeman is the 28 mile beauty “Bangtail Divide” a trail that should be on every mountain bikers list.


Trail Stats & Info

Town : Bozeman & Missoula

Trails : Two destinations for the price of One. Fantastic range of mtb trails, all levels from Easy to Mental

Pros :

  • Fantastic technical Trails
  • Variety of trails
  • Trails are low impact and scenic

Cons :

  • For a lot of these trails ( Bozeman) you will need a drop off and pick up
  • Very short season


Munds Wagon Trail

Munds Wagon Trail offers some of the finest views you will ever get to experience on an mtb trail.


The Munds Wagon Trail became one of my all time favorite trails last year, and I was really looking forward to riding this gem again.
Last year I went UP Munds, and continued UP Schnebly, while climbing Schnebly I was already planning coming down this section, next time I was in Sedona.. Well, I was back, and I was planning on sticking to my plan I made a year previous. 

However, this time the ride nearly went pear shaped because of  a tiny piece of rubber.


Trail Stats & Information


Munds Map


Nearby Town : Sedona
Length: 11.24 miles
Trail Type: Lollipop
Skill Level: [what the books say] no info
Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically difficult. Physically very demanding
: My time was 04:01:40
Elev Gain
: 2,163 feet
Top Elev : 6,219 feet
Min. Elev : 4,437 feet


Book Description

I could not find any Mtb Trail books describing the Munds Wagon Trail and Schnebly Hill Trail, so the below descriptions are based on my personal experience :

>> Munds Wagon Trail : 4 miles ( one way) of sweet scenic and fairly technical singletrack through stunning scenery. The trail is in excellent condition and easy to follow. The rewards are among the best, but you will have to work hard to earn them.

>> Schnebly Hill Trail : At the top of Munds Wagon Trail you will probably think the views cannot get any better.. well think again, the climb continues, and so do the stunning views. The first mile is an excellent narrow “chicken head” singletrack that takes you to the very top of the rim.. Now you are at the Top of the World!!..
Although the trail does continue to “Jacks Can Trail” .. My route took me onto a ( very nice) 4 wheel drive trail and back to Schnebly Hill Road, that then picks up the “Munds Wagon Trail ” for a “Gauntlet” ride back to the Trailhead.



My Experience

I was at the Munds Wagon Trailhead at about, and there was already a handful of cars parked there. I knew this didn’t really didn’t mean much, ‘cos there are a handful of trails that start here.  As it turned out, this was the least of my worries.

After getting my steed and myself ready for the ride, my Camelbak mouth piece sprung a leak, and there was no way I could leave with a leaking mouth piece, and of all the spare parts I carry, I did not have a spare mouth piece on me. I have numerous spare Camelbak’s, but they were in Cottonwood, 35 min away.

I decided to call it a day, and head back to Cottonwood. Luckily I decided to take a chance, and drive by the bike shop, in the hope they would be open… Luckily for me they were, and I got a new mouth piece, and headed back to the trail.

Again it was a fantastic and scenic ride, easily one of the most scenic trails.



Just like 2010, I climbed Munds Wagon Trail, this time around I felt it was not as strenuous as last year, however there are some very technical and physically demanding stretches. This time around however, at the top of Munds, instead of continuing the climb up Schnebly Hill, I followed the road up for about 2 miles.  Just past the scenic view point  on Schnebly road, I veered off onto the excellent 4 wheel drive route. Follow this 4 wheel drive route for about another 2 miles until your reach the very scenic rim.
From here, you can enjoy the views, and prepare yourself  for a fantastic 6 mile downhill ride of your life, the first 2 downhill miles on the VERY narrow and bumpy Schnebly Hill singletrack.

Munds Wagon Trail and Schnebly Hill Trail is without doubt one of the best and scenic trails in the USA.

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : A handful of hikers on the first mile of the trail
Wild Life : Too much scenery to notice any wildlife
Scenery : The Best!!
Getting There : West Trailhead From the junction of Routes 89A and 179, take 179 south 0.3 miles. Turn left on Schnebly Hill Road just across the Oak Creek Bridge and go .08 miles to the Huckaby/Margs Draw Trails parking area on the left.
Other : Carry extra fluids, suncream and lipbalm.


My Trail Rating : 10 / 10 with a GOLD STAR


History of Munds Wagon Trail

In the late 1800s, rancher Jim Munds ushered his cattle to the lush mountain meadows on the Mogollon Rim along this very same Bear Wallow Canyon route. In 1896, Munds launched a construction project that by 1902 had transformed the rough, steep trail into a wagon road that made it much easier for Verde Valley homesteaders to bring produce and livestock to market in Flagstaff.
When the road up Oak Creek Canyon opened in 1914, Munds Wagon Rd. was displaced as the primary route from Sedona to Flagstaff. With the construction of the current Schnebly Hill Rd. in the 1930s, the older Munds Wagon Rd. was neglected and fell into disrepair. In recent years, the National Civilian Community Corps and U.S. Forest Service restored the trail, now recognized as historic by the state.
With no cattle to mind, those who hoof it today can focus on amazing views of Mitten Ridge and the Munds Mountain wilderness. The roughly four-mile (one-way) trek takes you past the “Cowpies” and Merry-Go-Round Rock before connecting with Schnebly Hill Trail. Look also for original retaining walls built by the pioneers; many are still standing.