This is the first ever ride in the USA that I have not done solo. For this ride I needed a guide, ‘cos there is no way I could have otherwise experienced this trail. Although once on the Highline Trail, it is easy to follow, but finding this trail as an “outsider” would be almost impossible.
Luckily for me, and for anyone else visiting, Sedona has a fantastic self confessed Mtb Ambassador who is more than willing to take you “on a ride” ( in the good sense) I would really like to thank Traildoc for everything he did to help me plan my Sedona rides, without his knowledge, help, advice and guidance, I would have never experienced the Sedona Trails the way I did.
Trail Stats & Information
Nearby Town : Sedona
Length: 10.64 miles
Trail Type: Lollipop
Skill Level: [what the books say] no info
Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically difficult. Physically moderate / demanding
Duration : My time was 03:41:00
Elev Gain : 1,822 feet
Top Elev : 4,712 feet
Min. Elev : 3,964 feet
I could not find any Mtb Trail books describing the Highline Trail, because it is not really an “official” trail, so the below descriptions are based on my personal experience :
>> The Highline Trail is unique in many ways, the whole trail is singletrack, slickrock and the occasional creek bed. This trail is not mapped ( yet?) which means it is almost impossible to ride, unless you ride with a “local” or someone that has done it before. Once on the Highline Trail the trail is easy to follow. The views from the trail are second to none. Another nice thing about the Highline Trail is that it does not get the crowds other Sedona Trails get.
As mentioned above, this was my first ever ride in the USA with a group, so I was a bit worried how I would feel about the whole experience. I am an unsociable bastard, and like to take things easy on the trails, and of course I was worried I would slow down the whole group. Traildoc put together a great (small) group … Traildoc, Cakewalk, Chris, Paul, Kevin, Sol and myself.
We all met at the “Little Horse Trailhead” at 11.00am, and by 11.05am we were following Traildoc and Cakewalk onto the trails. It soon became very clear that without a guide there was no way I could / would have found this trail. We stayed on a trail for a short time, then we veered onto a dry creek bed that we followed for a while, this offered a great and different riding experience.. nice and slow but with some tech. sections. So far so good, the ride was fantastic and I was keeping up with the group. After following the creek for a good 15 minutes, we started on the “Highline” climb.
Seeing as this trail in not marked or “official”, I was amazed at how well this trail / route was blazed, kudos to everyone that has ever worked on this trail, ‘cos they have done a fantastic job.
The climb up the Highline was actually not too bad at all, both technically or physically. Actually, the biggest problem on the climb was trying to keep your eyes on the trail, ‘cos there was so much scenery it was difficult not to want to enjoy it.
The singletrack is just 2 foot wide, and even though the drop is not sheer, there are sections on the trail that you definitely don’t want to fall, ‘cos a fall here will definitely put an end to this ride, and probably a lot of future rides.. and that’s if you are lucky!!
The sweet narrow singletrack will take you to the high point, where you can “prepare” for the Mayhem downhill ride that lies ahead.
Also, the tech. level goes up a notch here.
The sweet singletrack continues downhill, but it is a hell of a lot faster now, and a few doable switchbacks come at you pretty fast. By the time the trail levels out, you enter a fantastic slickrock section, with some moderately tech. sections.
We stayed on the slickrock plateau for a good 15 – 20 min, a fantastic section.
At the end of this slickrock plateau the trail takes another dive.. This section is where the “Cream” gets seperated from the “Milk”.. and I’m afraid I didn’t make it in with the “Cream” ..
When Traildoc and Cakewalk, stoped and calmly explained what was coming, and how we had to approach what I called “Suicidal Staircase” ( and even that does not do it justice!!” ) I laughed, ‘cos I thought they were joking!!… You can imagine my horror when they got onto their steeds, and disappeared into the abyss, I was almost “touching cloth” watching them do it, and there is no way I was gonna follow, at least not on my steed.. luckily for me I was not the only one with enough common sense. The technical section did not end at the bottom of “Suicidal Staircase” it was followed by some mental switchbacks, that although some of the others proved ridable, I even had trouble walking them!!
I was amazed at the high technical skill level and endurance level of Traildoc and Cakewalk the two oldest riders in the group, showed.. it was unbelievable.
Once the mental downhill section was behind us, the trail continued on a dry creek bed.. rocky as hell, but at least it slowed us down to a normal pace until we reached the “Baldwin Trail”
Once on the Baldwin Trail, I was on familiar ground, seeing as I had done this trail a week ago..
I was on Paul’s tail on this section, and we both opened up.. this is where Paul got his nickname “The Rubber Man”, cos he was really bouncing about up, down, left & right at high speed dodgin’ the obstacles.. I did well to keep up with him for a few minutes, but his reflexes were second to none, and he soon disappeared into the distance.
In theory the Highline Trail was now behind us, you can connect back onto the Templeton Trail and HT Trail to loop back to the Trailhead..
On this ride however Traildoc took us on a few other trails / routes that were fab. but that’s for another day..
Two days after the group ride, I did the Highline Trail again, this time solo, and what I REALLY loved about this trail both times, was the feeling I got when riding it.. To me it did not feel like a mountain bike ride, it felt like an adventure, there was nobody else on the trail, when I was with the group I felt like we were a Posse, and when I was alone, I felt like the “Lone Rider”
The Highline Trail is as fantastic as it is unique, it offers sweet narrow singletrack, some slow tech. creek bed riding, some fantastic slickrock and some mental downhill sections and lets not forget the fantastic scenery. Its not often that you get all of this on one trail.
Also, Traildoc and the rest of the group were fantastic, and made my experience of the Highline Trail an unforgettable one.
Traffic on Trail : One friendly hiker with his dog
Wild Life : Too much scenery to notice any wildlife
Scenery : The Best!!
Getting There : Little Horse Trailhead :
Head out of Sedona on the 179 towards Oak Creek Village, just after the roundabout at “Back ‘o Beyond Road” take the first left onto the trailhead.
Other : take (an) extra innertube(s) / repair kit, this is punture country.
My Trail Rating : 10 / 10 with a GOLD STAR.
I would like to thank Traildoc for his help and info on planning the Sedona Trails..
he went far beyond the call of duty to make this ride happen, and I was invited on various other rides. If it was not for Traildoc, I would not have experienced the Highline Trail. He doesn’t just Talk the Talk, he definitely Walks the Walk as well.. My advice to anyone planning a visit to Sedona, is to get in touch with him, he will definitely be able to advise you about any trails, and maybe you to will get an invite to experience the REAL Sedona Trails.