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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.
 
 
Hurkey Creek Epic

May Valley & Hurkey Creek

 

My first attempt to ride the “24 hour loop” went a bit pear shaped, and I missed the turn off to Rage through the Sage and Tunnel of Love.  While getting my steed fixed up, I got a lot of useful trail intel from the shop owner. The trails he marked for me on a very basic map were some local secrets, and there is no way I would have been able to ride them without this inside intel. The good thing was, I managed to map a loop that included the Rage through the Sage and Tunnel of Love..

I must say though, there was one thing that made me (almost) hate these trails….

 

Hurkey Creek Trails Map
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Trail Stats & Information

 

Nearby Town : Idyllwild
Length: 17.29 miles
Trail Type: Loops
Skill Level: [what the books say] no info
Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically easy to moderate. Physically moderate.
Duration
: My time was 04:25:15
Elev Gain
: 2,181 feet
Top Elev : 5,435 feet
Min. Elev : 4,378 feet
 

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Book Description

I could not find any Mtb Trail books describing the Hurkey Creek Trails, so the below descriptions are based on my personal experience :
>> The Hurkey Creek Trails just a few miles from Idyllwild offer some fantastic and scenic trails. Some of the trails are pretty popular, and are used in the 24 Hour Race held in the Spring. Trails such as Johnson Meadow, Exfoliator, Rage through the Sage and Tunnel of Love are some of the must do rides in this area.
May Valley offers some fantastic loop trails that can easily be combined. To get the most out of these trails you will really need a local to show you, or some local advice on which trails to take and HOW to ride them, for example the Lower South Ridge must be done counter clock, giving you an excellent downhill experience, rather than a hike up.
Visit the Hub bike shop, and get a map and  some advice before heading out.
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My Experience

Luckily for me, I had done a section of this ride a couple of days previous, so I had a much better grasp of the layout, I also had a slightly better map and a head full of trail info.
Again I set out early, I was on the trails at 6 am. the first 45 min. was on trails I had done before, so that went pretty smooth. Then onto the un-mapped “Meadow Trail” a sweet short trail that connected me to the Murkwood Trail. From here it was a gradual climb that took me to the Lower South Ridge Trail. From here it was a funtastic and pretty technical downhill to Coldwater Trail.  The Coldwater Trail is a moderate climb, it coud be an easy climb, seeing as it is pretty gradual however the sandy singletrack makes it some what demanding. You then continue pass the Murkwood Trail where you were more than an hour ago. When you hit the fire road, make a left, and immediately look for a well hidden singletrack on the RIGHT hand side, this will connect you to the Second Brother, that will then connect you to Cahuilla Cutoff. The Cahuilla Cutoff is also a really nice fast trail with a few “no warning” tech spots, so be careful. At the end of this trail, you cross a fire road and continue straight onto the “Coffee Pot” … Why is it called the Coffee Pot?.. ride it and you will know where the name came from.
The Coffee Pot ends at the beginning of the Exfoliator. I described this trail in my previous review, and all I can say is that the second time on this trail was just as mental as the first.. A MUST!!
This time I took the right left hand turn and crossed the creek and started the short but demanding climb to the top of Rage through the Sage.
Rage through the Sage is another fantastic and fast roller coaster ride,  not highly technical, but because of the potential speed you can reach, it’s not a trail to hesitate on which line you are gonna choose. If you choose the wrong line, my advice is to stick with it and hope for the best, ‘cos chances are you will bite the “Sage” if you try and change.
The Tunnel of Love is also a fantastic trail, a lot like the Exfoliator,  fast and sweet… Very Sweet!

 

Conclusion
I would say that 98% of the trails I did here are on singletrack, and sweet singletrack at that!. This ride is both technically and physically moderate, but there are one or two sections that are demanding . Lower South Ridge can even be pretty dangerous if things turn sour on certain sections. ( I actually endo’d on this section, and miraculously landed on my feet)
Exfoliator, Rage through the Sage and Tunnel of Love  are pretty well known trails, and once you’ve experienced them, you know why they are well known.
These trails are fantastic, but there was one thing that really put a damper on things.. Horse flies!!.. I’m not talking 2 or 3, I’m talking swarms!. I could not stop for 20 seconds to study my map without being attacked.
I mentioned this to some of the locals, and they said that it was really bad for some reason, and they confinced me that it is never this bad.

 

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : I had all the trails to myself, I did not see anyone.
Wild Life : A few dear along the Johnson Meadow section
Scenery : Great scenery
Getting There : Click HERE for directions from Idyllwild
Other : Take sun lotion and plenty of bug spray, the horse flies are terrible

 

My Trail Rating : 8 / 10


 

The Hub Cyclery IdyllwildThe Hurkey Creek and May Valley Trails review is proudly sponsored by :

The Hub Cyclery Idyllwild.

Don’t even consider riding the Hurkey Creek Trails before paying a visit to The Hub Cyclery. This is not your average Cycle Shop, the owners themselves are not just avid mountain bikers, they also build the popular Siren Mountain Bikes. The Hub Cyclery is well stocked with everything you and your bike will need on the trails, and a lot more. When you buy a Trails Map at The Hub, it comes with some free and unmissable advice and recommendations.

For more info please visit : www.hubcyclery.com

 


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