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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

 

 
 
 
 
The Highline Trail in Sedona

  . This is the first ever ride in the USA that I have not done solo.  For this ride I needed a guide, ‘cos there is no way I could have otherwise experienced this trail. Although once on the Highline Trail, it is easy to follow, but finding this trail as an “outsider”  would […]

Mountain biking in the Dordogne

The Vezere Valley in the Dordogne, a region in South West France is the undisputed Prehistoric Capital of the World, and the place our Prehistoric Ancestors called home more than 460000 years ago.

Mountain biking in the Dordogne offers a unique experience, offering mountain bikers miles of trails that takes the rider through stunning ancient scenery, riddled with caves, shelters, overhangs, troglodytes, ruins and stunning views. The trails in the Dordogne are probably the oldest trails in the world.

In the past 5 years, the  Dordogne has  spent a lot of time and money clearing, marking and connecting hundreds of trails, creating a fantastic, well marked  trail system. The downside is, that maps and / or trail books for mountain biking are non existent.

Walking Dordogne, is owned and run by “Duke” who I met a few years ago in Fruita and then again in Moab. Walking Dordogne launched Mountain Biking Dordogne, and they offer without any doubt the finest and most unique mtb trails in the Dordogne. Mountain Biking Dordogne have combined the best trails, linking them together creating a trail network  that is second to none.

Quote from Mountain Biking Dordogne

We have spent the past 3 years creating a handful of Mountain Biking Trails, that have become the best trails in the Dordogne … Now we have taken another big step and have linked all our trails to create the fantastic an unique ” Neanderthals Revenge”.
Unlimited kilometers of off road trails giving every mountain biker an unforgettable experience.
Caves, shelters, troglodytes, medieval ruins, singletracks, downhills and lots more.
Without any doubt the best and most unique trail in the South West France.

I stayed at the beautiful 1000 year old B&B Ferme de Tayac while I did the trails in the Dordogne, and most trails actually leave from here.
Neanderthals Revenge is actually 3 completely different loops, connect to each other by other trails. This means that Neanderthals Revenge can be done from any direction, and can be as long as you choose.

Neanderthals Revenge Vezere Valley Dordogne

The trail option I went for was clockwise, and started with a scenic easy climb through the medieval hamlet of Tayac, but after just 3 minutes disappeared onto a singletrack into the woods. The following 20 minutes is climbing up an ancient very rocky track. The track levels out slightly and takes you onto a dirt double track for another mile. A singletrack on the right quickly drops off, this is the trail you have to take, so make sure your gears are out of granny and you are prepared for a fast bumpy, slippery and grade 3 technical downhill.. choose your comfortable speed and your path, and stick to it, be easy on the brakes, ‘cos this is a “slip & slide” section.

The trail takes you down to a road, that you must follow for 2 minutes to continue  off road. Ride over the bridge, and make an immediate left down the steep short path that leads to the river, continue past the canoe outfitter and follow the river for about 2 miles.. Cross a railway line, and take an immediate left and follow the double track for a few miles, passing a very picturesque  medieval hub of  houses. The trail leads to a rural road that you will have to follow for a few miles.. This road is a steep climb, taking you to the top, so keep telling yourself that you will soon be on a long sweet downhill singletrack.
The downhill is fast and fun, somewhat rocky, but technically a grade 2, however, there is little room for error at these potential high speeds.

The smile on your face will soon disappear, ‘cos you bottom out to a long and tiring climb, the good news is, you are nearing “Hells Gorge”
Hells Gorge is just under 2 miles, but believe me, it is steep, extremely fast, slippery as an eel in a bucket of snot, rocky, bumpy, blind spots and it bottoms out onto a busy road. Being Gung Ho on Hells Gorge is definitely not a good idea, and I suggest you do a “Granny Run” before you attempt this section… don’t get me wrong, Hells Gorge is not a technical run, as in “Technical” but due to a combination of all the above, it is a very demanding section, with zero room for any errors.


Two loops down, one more to do, and without doubt, we have saved the best and most unique for last. This is also by far the most technical section of Neanderthals Revenge. Anyone not comfortable with heights, and very narrow sections with extreme drop-offs should avoid this loop, or contact Mountain Biking Dordogne for an alternative section of this loop.

This section of trail is just mental, both physically  and mentally, and you will spend some time walking your steed, sometimes ‘cos because you have to, and sometimes ‘cos you’ll prefer to.

I have done 100’s of trails worldwide, but never anything like this.. I was told to make sure I had flashlights fixed in the bike, but I did not realize I would be disappearing into caves!! Some sections of this trail takes you on a 4ft rock ledge with a 60ft sheer drop.. definitely not for the faint hearted.
Once you’ve topped out, you’ll spend a few fast miles on some fun singletrack that takes you to the final downhill section..
This section is an adrenalin rush, narrow singletrack that dives down through the forest, dodging the trees. You will feel like you are part of an extremely fast video game, you need to plan at least 3 trees ahead, cos the come at you out of nowhere.. There are 2 very short but grade 4 tech. spots on this section.

About 3 hours after I left, I finished this trail with a huge smile on my chops, thankful that I made it in one piece and still on my steed… I had conquered Neanderthals Revenge!!!
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