Girdner -> Aerie -> Outer Limits Loop

Sedona

A long loop connecting Sedona trails both old and new.

Mountain Biking Difficult

Distance
30 km
Ascent
557 m
Descent
557 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
1.3 km
High Point
1.4 km
Gradient
Girdner -> Aerie -> Outer Limits Loop Map

At over 18 miles long, this loop combining Girdner, Aerie, Mescal, Outer Limits, and more is quite a lengthy ride by Sedona standards. The punchy up-and-down nature of the trail will make it feel like even more. Indeed, even though it might look like this loop runs through one of Sedona's flatter zones, it still climbs over 1,800 vertical feet along its length.

Description

This route is also quite interesting because it combines some of Sedona's oldest trails with some of its newest. The Girdner trail is an older route that's seen plenty of historic horse traffic, but the loop mapped here finishes on some of the Western Gateway trails, which are some of the newest singletrack trails to be built in Sedona. As you ride along the loop, an astute observer will note the older fall line sections of Girdner and will contrast them with the artfully-crafted benchcut trails with grade reversals and beautiful corners on the Outer Limits section.

While Outer Limits and Western Gateway do provide a fantastic end to the loop, by far the highlight of the entire ride is a classic stretch of trail that traverses Aerie and Mescal. Mescal, in particular, runs along a stunning slab of red rock on one of Sedona's classic domes. You'll get to pedal along an incredible uplifted slickrock ledge that affords stupendous views across the region. And if you want a little extra difficulty, there's an optional high line on an even more elevated shelf that ends in an abrupt, steep descent back down to the lower line.

Overall, this cross country-oriented ride ranks as upper-intermediate in difficulty. Some sections of the trail are smooth and flowy, but in true Sedona style, these long flowy sections are punctuated by abrupt rock gardens. In this area, most of the rock gardens are relatively short-lived, and afterward, it's back to smooth singletrack. The trails included in this loop are by and large some of the easiest trails that you can find in Sedona, but that doesn't make them "easy." Sedona will test your mettle one way or another, but even still, you'll almost assuredly finish this ride smiling!

Difficulty

Difficult

Mostly stable trail tread with some variability featuring larger and more unavoidable obstacles that may include, but not be limited to: bigger stones, roots, steps, and narrow curves. Compared to lower intermediate, technical difficulty is more advanced and grades of slopes are steeper. Ideal for upper intermediate riders.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November

Features

  • Technical
  • Picturesque
  • Singletrack
  • Drops
  • Rock Rolls
  • Rock Slabs
  • Rock Gardens

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area