TOUR DESCRIPTION

Traveling from north to south, this four-day adventure includes over 100 miles of amazing Arizona Trail between Flagstaff and Mormon Lake. You’ll experience a variety of landscapes from start to finish, including the juniper-studded high desert near the Babbitt Ranch, the red dirt beneath Elden Mountain, magical groves of aspens and ferns, the dense ponderosa pine forests of the Colorado Plateau, wind-sculpted cliffs of Walnut Canyon, and the amazing vistas near Mormon Lake.

While Flagstaff is a world-famous mountain biking destination, you’ll spend time on trails that are often overlooked. This trip is great for intermediate to advanced riders who want to see a lot of the Arizona Trail at higher elevations, including a segment of the AZT that is considered the best in the entire state of Arizona.

Arrival day

 

Our meeting point for this trip is Flagstaff, AZ at Flag Bike Revolution. The day before the trip starts you can pick up a cooler (if needed) from us to do your shopping for the week.

 

Day One

 

Your ride begins in the high desert where the Coconino National Forest meets the vast expanse of the Babbitt Ranch, among sagebrush and juniper trees near 6,300 feet. Head south and begin climbing up a gentle grade toward the thick green forest in the distance. By the time you reach Kelly Tank in 12 miles you’ll gain 1,400 feet. The riding is never too technical and affords you plenty of opportunity to find a good groove on the uphill grind. After Kelly Tank, the pitch intensifies and the next 8 miles will test your lungs as you top out above 9,000 feet. Aspens dominate here, and riding through massive forests of the ghostly white trees is otherworldly. After a short descent to Bismarck Lake, you’ll follow a connector trail to our camp among the pines. Ride length is about 21 miles.

 

Day Two

 

Leaving camp and rolling through the grassy meadows at the base of the San Francisco Peaks is an inspiring way to start the day. The AZT hugs the Kachina Peaks Wilderness boundary, allowing for world-class mountain biking and views that will leave you feeling blessed to be alive. The tallest summit, Mt. Humphreys, is Arizona’s highest at 12,633 feet, and dominates the skyline to the east. The AZT along this scenic passage is among the last to be constructed, and is what defines the Arizona National Scenic Trail for many hikers, runners, mountain bikers and equestrians alike. You’ll lose 1,400 feet of elevation and enjoy every minute of it until a gentle climb takes you toward Schultz Pass. Here, the AZT splits – one route takes you toward Flagstaff and onto the Flagstaff Urban Trail System but our route continues along excellent singletrack to the east. We camp beneath Elden Mountain – a volcano unlike the others – in the Elden Springs CG. Ride length is about 18 miles.

 

Day Three

 

After two easy miles of riding, the AZT crosses the Rio de Flag and enters Picture Canyon. A short walk leads you to some spectacular petroglyphs that are a great reminder of the cultural history of this area. Pedaling southeast, the trail is fast and flat before it crosses under I-40 and soon enters Walnut Canyon. Here, the AZT stays just outside Walnut Canyon National Monument but still provides the same incredible views that make this an international destination. Wind-sculpted cliffs, Sinagua cliff dwellings, trickling water and prime singletrack might make this your favorite segment of trail. If you like technical riding, you’ll find some exciting rock steps near here that will test your ability. The trail follows Walnut Canyon for many miles before crossing Anderson Mesa and the many tiny alpine lakes found nearby, including Marshall Lake, Vail Lake ad Horse Lake. The ride ends at the Pine Grove Campground on the southern end of Upper Lake Mary. Here, the wide valley is a refreshing contrast to the dense forest you’ve been riding through all day long. Enjoy a cold beverage and soak your feet in the lake while bald eagles soar overhead. Ride length is about 38 miles.

 

Day Four

 

The final day features some truly amazing mountain biking through the ponderosa pine forest. Most of the terrain is gentle in terms of elevation gain/loss, but a variety of soil conditions make for exciting riding. Sometimes you’ll be flowing along at high speed on soft tread, and other times you’ll be navigating over volcanic rock obstacles and climbing in your granny gear. It’s all fun, mostly rideable, and will leave you wanting more. A short side trip down the Navajo Spring Trail leads to Mormon Lake Lodge, an oasis in the forest, where you can grab a slice of pizza or a cold beer before getting back on the trail. The final four miles are relatively flat and allow you to sit up and enjoy the view – it’s a great way to end this four-day adventure. Ride length is about 23 miles.

What’s Included

 

  • Shuttle Van and driver
  • Luggage, gear and cooler/food relocation
  • Ready Camp kitchen and general gear

 

Not Included

 

  • Alcoholic Beverages – we can haul and keep them cold though!
  • Lodging
  • Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner
  • Weather Control – Mother Nature has a mind of her own

Phoenix International Airport has plenty of flights each day. Flagstaff, AZ also has a small airport.