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7 of the Best Mountain Bike Rides in Flagstaff

Hit the trails on one of these 7 classic rides in Northern Arizona.

Mountain Biking Easy, Moderate, Difficult

Photo: Hermosa Tours


Nestled along Interstate 40 in Northern Arizona, Flagstaff is often paired with Sedona as two of the best adventure destinations in Northern Arizona. While the small city of 75,000 residents serves as a welcome stop for travelers along Interstate 40, it’s also the most popular jump-off point for those planning a visit to the Grand Canyon. Just over 2 hours from Phoenix, it’s even a great way to escape the intense summer heat or city noise on the weekends and holidays. With countless miles of trail spread across multiple National Forests, BLM, County Parks, and Park Service lands, it’s no wonder Flagstaff has earned a reputation as one of the top outdoor destinations in the state. From classic rides near Schultz Pass, to city parks and easy spins near town, this guidebook highlights 7 of the best mountain bike rides near Flagstaff.

Often referred to as the "City of Seven Wonders," Flagstaff is home to a seemingly endless selection of wildlife, plant life, historical artifacts, and plenty of unique geological features. Located in the heart of the San Francisco Peaks, Mount Elden is the most prominent peak near town, towering nearly 2,300 feet above the city below. Pedal up gravel and enjoy an epic tour of the area on this ride as it showcases one of the area’s most iconic trails: Sunset. Full of views and with the option to hike to a decommissioned fire tower, this route offers a great base to build upon, or shorten, based on how you’re feeling.

If you’re able to commission a shuttle driver or stage a car in town, the Little Elden Shuttle is an excellent alternative with just 500’ of climbing and 1,500’ of descending over 8 miles. As you explore the area, take time to appreciate the shadowy forests and a unique ecosystem dominated by pine and aspen, and plan a visit in the fall to experience their transition into a brilliant golden hue.

If you’re looking for a mild spin on groomed singletrack around town, your options are plentiful. Loops like the Soldier Trail or Kelly Pocket offer shorter, easy spins near the Interstate and are favorites amongst locals. Pine trees offer a fair bit of shade, and the wildflowers are spectacular throughout the spring and summer. Similar, yet longer, rides around town include the Gold Digger Trail at Rogers Lake, or the classic Campbell Mesa Trails in town. While the first of these can be shortened or lengthened based on where you choose to park, the Campbell Mesa Trails offer 5 loops that make it easy to tailor a ride to your choosing.

Well-marked and with plenty of parking, the Campbell Mesa also offers access to the Arizona Trail, where you will find another local-favorite ride to Fisher Point. Stash your bike along the trail and hike to one of three defined overlooks, or simply appreciate the rocky singletrack as it traces along the canyon walls. Originally inhabited and built by the Sinagua, a pre-Columbian cultural group present until 1250AD according to this source, you can learn about the unique cliff dwellings and artifacts found in the area at the nearby National Monument to the east.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flagstaff,Arizona https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KendrickPeak

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