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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.
 
 
Munds Wagon Trail Sedona
Munds Wagon Trail Sedona

On top of the Historic Munds Wagon Trail in Sedona

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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”.

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Munds Wagon Trail
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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

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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

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.

Conclusion

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.

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

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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.


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Mountain Biking Sedona

Stunning Sedona views on the Templeton Trail

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Doctors orders were to rest for at least 10 weeks ‘cos of a cracked sternum and a couple of broken ribs I acquired on the Sovereign Trail in Moab 3 weeks ago. I have been in Sedona now  for 2 weeks, and there is no way I can mooch around doing nothing for another 7 weeks… My Sternum and Ribs are doing great, so I decided to hit the Sedona trails, and just hope I don’t bite the Sedona dust.

The first network of trails I did was as followed :

>> Big Park Loop >> onto the >> Templeton Trail >> then counter clock  Baldwin Trail >> back onto Templeton Trail onto >> HT Trail onto >> Rock Pathway onto >> Llama onto >> Little Horse and finally heading down Broken Arrow

 Sedona Trails Map
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Trail Stats & Information

 

Nearby Town : Sedona
Length: 19.28 miles
Trail Type: Point 2 Point
Skill Level: [what the books say] no info
Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically moderate. Physically moderate [ there are some very demanding sections on Llama and Broken Arrow ]
Duration
: My time was 05:40:34 but I took it easy, I think this trail can be done in 3-4 hours
Elev Gain
: 2,519 feet
Top Elev : 4,676  feet
Min. Elev : 3,945 feet

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Book Description

I could not find any books describing the Trails I did on this ride, so the below descriptions are based on my personal experience :

>> Big Park Loop : I can keep this very short… BUSY!!!! I arrived at the Trailhead at 9.30am, and there were about 50 cars and 3 tour buses on the lot… If I did this combination again, I would skip this trail.

>> Templeton Trail : Fantastic singletrack with stunning views. There are some fast sections on this trail, but shred with caution, on some sections visibility is minimum, and this trail is popular with hikers. The first section is on dirt windy singletrack, and the second section offers some sweet slickrock riding. Extra caution is needed on the steep downhill to the creek, there is one VERY sharp rocky and gnarly switchback, that is just waiting to put a bitter end to your ride.

>> Baldwin Trail : The only problem I had with this trail, is that it is way too short!! I recommend doing this trail counter clock, it’s a fairly easy ride, but don’t be too Gung Ho or Baldwin will kick your ass!!. The climb is easy / moderate, and the down section is fast and can be furious.. be careful cos there are one or two sections that are pretty brutal.. all in all a fantastic loop.

>> HT Trail :  Short trail, sweet singletarck, more a connector than a trail

>> Rock Pathway : Mostly doubletrack, used as a trail connector

>> Llama : The skill level goes up a notch on this trail, the Llama throws a bit of everything at you, singletrack, slickrock, wash-outs, chicken heads, baby heads and  a bag full of stunning scenery. There is at least one section  on this trail, that anyone with the right amount of brain cells will dismount from their steed and walk…
The Llama Trail is a must !!

>> Little Horse : I only did a very short section of this trail connecting me to the Broken  Arrow.. The section I did was  very scenic.

>> Broken Arrow : Fantastic Trail, but can be pretty busy with hikers and Pink Jeeps!!… out of all the above trails / connectors, the Broken  Arrow was technically the most challenging of all.  Broken Arrow offers singletrack and  Slickrock. I would not recommend this trail to anyone wanting to test their new Walmart   Full Suspension Mongoose.

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My Experience

My first ever ride in Sedona was almost called off, because of the crowds at the Big Park Loop Trailhead, but once I got over the initial shock, and onto the Templeton Trail, I really started to enjoy myself.
What I really liked, was that the Sedona Trails offer various riding experiences, one minute you are are shreddin’ on a sweet dirt singletrack, then you get taken onto a slickrock   extravaganza.
Because of my injury, I did take things slow, but it gave me time to enjoy the trail more than I otherwise would have.

The people I met  on the trails, ( both mtb’ers and hikers) were very friendly (not so common anymore)

Conclusion

If  I had to explain to someone what the Mountain Biking in Sedona is like, it would be as followed :

Take a big shovel of  “Amasa Back Moab”, add a wheelbarrow of “Kokopelli Area Trails Fruita”, and mix it with a barrel of “Hartman Rocks Gunnison”.. Mix well, and let it settle, and you’ll have a fine piece of Sedona Trails..
I loved my first experience on the Sedona Trails…. BUT …

It is clear to me that there are tons of fantastic trails in and around Sedona, but if you are not a local like myself then you are pretty much limited to what trails to shred.  I have books, trail maps, GPS, websites, and more, but they all mean very little if you do not know the area like the back of your hand. I will be here for another 2.5 weeks, but I suspect that I will never get to ride the best trails in Sedona, ‘cos I can’t find them!!.. But I will do my best.

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : For a weekday, It was pretty busy, mostly hikers.
Wild Life : Definitely don’t need it on this scenic trail
Scenery :  Fantastic.
Getting There Bell Rock Trailhead: From Sedona follow the 179 to Village of Oak Creek, Trailhead is marked on the left side of the Highway
Other : Trails are well marked, but do not attempt this ride without a map. Keep your eyes open for hikers and dogs not on their leash

My Trail Rating : 9 / 10

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I would like to thank Traildoc for his help and info on planning the Sedona Trails

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