A look back – Riding and hiking in Arizona – 2015

It seems harder to come up with things to write about when I’m not riding, but one of my highlights from 2015 was our family trip to Arizona.  This included four nights in Sedona, (which is an amazing destination for mountain biking and hiking), three nights at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and stops in Page and Flagstaff.

In Sedona, we stayed at the Red Agave Resort, which is actually just south of the town of Sedona, in the Village of Oak Creek. Once we checked in, we found a trail head (for both hiking and mountain biking) literally just outside our door.

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I hit this trail every morning on my rented Kona (Thanks to Bike and Bean – which was across the street from where we stayed.  This trail linked to the hundreds of miles of trails in the area.  I stuck to the beginner and intermediate trails (some of the expert trails are truly EXPERT trails!).  I managed to take this bike selfie by setting up my phone against a rock and taking a video while I rode towards it.

The terrain is a combination of packed sand and hard sandstone.  There are places where some trails are a bit washed out and other places with cobbles and boulders of sandstone and  I was able find quite a bit of trail that was rideable for my “intermediate” skill level.

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I wanted to enjoy the scenery on my rides so I stopped frequently to admire the vistas.  The surrounding rocks are a sight to behold.
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After Sedona, we drove north to the Grand Canyon.  At the South Rim, there are a couple of trail heads that lead all the way down to the river.  Because we were there in the summer, we had to be careful with the heat.  As you hike down, it gets hotter.  In the South Rim village temperatures were cool (mid 70s), but as the sun rose and we descended, it got closer to 100F quickly.  As such, we didn’t hike all the way to the river.  Instead, we hiked for about an hour and a half down before hiking back up.  When I go back there, I’ll definitely be hiking farther down and starting earlier in the morning (it’s hard to get an early start with a teenager!).

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A view of the Bright Angel trail.

The last main stop on our trip was Page, Arizona.  We only spent a day there, but there are two amazing hikes in Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons.  Here, water has eroded the red sandstone into slot canyons.  Access is by tour only and is arranged by the local natives.

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Antelope Canyon

Just outside of Page is the famous Horseshoe Bend.  It’s only a mile or two outside of Page, and the river is a short walk from the parking lot.  But once there, you’re rewarded with this view.

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Horseshoe Bend, Page, Arizona

Of all the hikes we did on this trip, this was actually the scariest.  There are no guard rails or steps.  That edge in the foreground drops some 800 feet straight down (I only got to about 5 feet from the edge).

From Page, we drove to Flagstaff for one night. We sampled pizza at the Pizzacletta (highly recommended) and walked along Route 66 before heading back to Phoenix.

It was a fantastic trip, and it’s definitely a place I want to go back to.  Utah is not far from here and there are some amazing places that I want to visit there – Zion, Bryce, Moab.   Soon!

 

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