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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
Duration
: 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.

 

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My Experience

I was at the Munds Wagon Trailhead at about 8.am, 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.

 

Conclusion

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.
 
 
Highline Trail Sedona

The Highline Trail in Sedona, not just a mountain biking trail, but a mountain biking adventure.

 

Last year ( 2010 ) I did this trail for the first time, it was also the first ride I did in the USA with a guide. This year the roles had turned, and I was the guide. Luckily for me, I managed to find the trail a whole year later. The ride was just like last year fantastic, and I ended up doing it numerous times… Lucky, ‘cos on the first ride I had a fast crash, supermanning at least 20ft.
I had no idea why I crashed, until I watched the video that I was shooting when I came off, then it became clear…

The answer is in the footage..  

 

Highline Map 

 

Trail Stats & Information

Nearby Town : Sedona
Length: 10.28 miles
Trail Type: Lollipop
Skill Level: [what the books say] no info
Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically difficult / very difficult. Physically moderate / demanding
Duration : My time was 2:50:16
Elev Gain : 1,741 feet
Top Elev : 4,717 feet
Min. Elev : 3,963 feet

 

Book Description

I could not find any Mtb Trail books describing the Highline Trail, because it is not really an “official” trail, so the below descriptions are based on my personal experience :

>> The Highline Trail is unique in many ways, the whole trail is singletrack, slickrock and the occasional creek bed. This trail is not mapped ( yet?) which means it is almost impossible to ride, unless you ride with a “local” or someone that has done it before. Once on the Highline Trail the trail is easy to follow. The views from the trail are second to none. Another nice thing about the Highline Trail is that it does not get the crowds other Sedona Trails get.

 

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Conclusion

Two days after the group ride, I did the Highline Trail again, this time solo, and what I REALLY loved about this trail both times, was the feeling I got when riding it.. To me it did not feel like a mountain bike ride, it felt like an adventure, there was nobody else on the trail, when I was with the group I felt like we were a Posse, and when I was alone, I felt like the “Lone Rider”

The Highline Trail is as fantastic as it is unique, it offers sweet narrow singletrack, some slow tech. creek bed riding, some fantastic slickrock and some mental downhill sections and lets not forget the fantastic scenery. Its not often that you get all of this on one trail.

 

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : none on the actual Highline Trail
Wild Life : Too much scenery to notice any wildlife
Scenery : The Best!!
Getting There : Little Horse Trailhead :
Head out of Sedona on the 179 towards Oak Creek Village, just after the roundabout at “Back ‘o Beyond Road” take the first left onto the trailhead.
Other : take (an) extra innertube(s) / repair kit, this is punture country.

 

My Trail Rating : 10 / 10 with a GOLD STAR

 

 
 
 
 
Case Mountain Trails - Three Rivers - California

Case Mountain Trails - Three Rivers - California

 

These trails came as a complete and pleasant surprise to me, I had never heard of these trails, and was here to visit the Sequoias on my way to Downieville. The Case Mountain Trails are about 3 miles from Three Rivers.
These trails were described to me as ” Like the Downieville Trails were before they became popular” .. Well in that case I was at the right place..

Trail Stats & Information

Nearby Town : Three Rivers
Length: 12.07 miles
Trail Type: Loop
Skill Level: [what the books say] no info
Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically moderate. Physically moderate.
Duration
: My time was 03:57:57
Elev Gain
: 2.975 feet
Top Elev : 2,788 feet
Min. Elev : 979 feet

 

Book Description
 
I could not find any Mtb Trail books describing the Case Mountain Trails, so the below descriptions are based on my personal experience :
>> The Case Mountain Trails are riddled with fantastic singletracks. The area is not huge, but you can easily spend a day connecting these trails. One thing, these trails are NOT marked, and there are no maps available. I was very lucky to find a local ( Kevin from Three Rivers Hideaway) that was willing to get up at 6 am and show me the layout, and explain the possibilities. The trails here are sweeeet, but hard to know which ones to take.
 

 

My Experience

As I mentioned above, this whole area came as a pleasant surprise, I had not done any research at all, and had no plans to ride. While at the Three Rivers Hideaway Campground I noticed two nice looking Steeds, I asked at the office who they belonged to, and the rest is history. Kevin the owner of the steeds suggested we get an early ride in before it got too hot, the next day at 6 am we were on our way. Once on the trails we spent the first 20 min. on a sweet singletrack on one of the very few named Trails, this one was “Old Number One” the climb was gradual and easy, and it took us back onto a Fire Road. I could see 10’s of singletracks veering off in every direction, Kevin spent a great deal of time explaining each trail, cos a couple of days later I would be on my own.
We followed the fire road for about a good 30 min. all uphill, but nothing too serious. While climbing you will notice the very fast flowing singletracks to each side of the road .. These are trails that will be taking you back down.. FAST!!
We finally made it to the point where we had to prepare ourselves for the mayhem ride back down, all and only on sweet singletrack.
The descent was fast and fun, and I did not do too bad with keeping up with Kevin. I do confess that I did quite a spectacular Endo, luckily no serious damage done.
The downhill is really fast, and narrow, and there is zero room for any hesitation. All in all FANTASTIC!
2 days later I went back on my own and did the Trail that came highly recommended by Kevin, same kind of trail I did above, just higher and about 6 miles longer.. Again, it was fast and furious and a good 6 miles of sweet singletrack.
I wish I had more time to explore these trails, I will definitely be back one of these days to try the so many trails I did not manage to ride.

 

Conclusion
These trails really are sweet, and you are almost guaranteed the trails to yourself. They are however surprisingly well maintained by the local Mtb’ers ( Kudos to them for doing such a great job) Also, what is pretty nice, is that you can reach the High Spots by following the fire road, but 100% of the downhill is miles singletrack.
The downside is, the trails are not marked or mapped, making it very difficult for outsiders to know what the best routes are.. , but maybe this is a good thing!. I was lucky I had a guide that explained the layout to me.
Bottom line is, if you are ever near Three Rivers, you would be mad not to hit the Case Mountain Trails

 

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : I had all the trails to myself, I did not see anyone.
Wild Life : King Snake and a Rattlesnake ( huge)
Scenery : Great scenery
Getting There : From Three Rivers continue about 4 miles along the 198 towards Hammond. Just past Three Rivers Hideaway (on the left) take a right at the church up Skyline Dr. Follow Skyline all the way to the Trailhead ( do not veer off of Skyline)
Other : Take sun lotion and extra fluids, in the summer it can get hot ( 104 when I was there )

 

My Trail Rating : 8.5 / 10



 


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