I have been mountain biking around the USA now for 4 years, and also spend a lot of time on the European trails, and can say that I have done my fair share of trails. This also means that I’m not often lost for words on the trails, but every so often, out of the blue I find myself on a trail that just blows me away. It’s not just the trail, it’s a mixture of everything.. The trail, the scenery, the weather, how I’m feeling, how my bike bike is performing etc etc.
The Munds Wagon Trail and Schnebly Hill Trail just blew me away, it was the “Perfect Storm”.
Trail Stats & Information
Nearby Town : Sedona
Length: 21.55 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 05:53:44
Elev Gain : 3,304 feet
Top Elev : 6,504 feet
Min. Elev : 4,135 feet
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.
The Trailhead was pretty busy with cars, but there are numerous trails that start here, and apart from a few friendly hikers, I had the trail to myself. The well maintained singletrack winds through both open and wooded areas with fantastic views. The trail is both smooth and rocky, and you even get to enjoy a slickrock section. The higher you get, the better the ride gets. In my books, this ride is very technical and physically very demanding, but the rewards are definitely worth it.
The way I experienced this trail came as a complete surprise to me, I was on the trail for just under 6 hours, it seemed like 2 hours, and I enjoyed every second of it.
This trail is however both technically and physically very demanding.
What I really like about this trail, is that you have to “earn” the reward, the higher you go, the better it gets.
We all know that NO trail is perfect, but this one, in my opinion comes close, actually, the trail itself is perfect, if there was a way to get rid of all the jeeps on Schnebly Road, and the helicopters that buzz around, then this trail would be “The Perfect Trail”.
Munds Wagon Trail and Schnebly Hill Trail is without doubt one of the best and scenic trails in the USA.
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
I would like to thank Traildoc for his help and info on planning the Sedona Trails
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.