Nature Calls!

Continued (page 4 of 4)

Sedona Bike and Bean has a fleet of 35 front and full suspension bicycles for rent, including high-end demo bikes from well-known brands such as Kona. Bike and Bean no longer rents car racks (most of the area’s popular trails are near its shop) so if you are interested in trails in West Sedona such as Teacup and Jordan Trail, look into renting from an outfitter in that area. The shop also sells bikes ($250 to $5,000+).

Looking for partners when you ride? Sedona Bike and Bean hosts a 90-minute group ride every Friday at 4 p.m. in the winter and 5 p.m. in the summer. All skill levels are welcome and the group shares a pizza dinner at the shop after the session. Riding is free – just bring a few bucks to chip in for the food.


Cave Springs, Manzanita, West Fork

Red Rock Country Coconino National Forest Service manages six campgrounds in Sedona: Bootlegger, Cave Springs, Manzanita, Pine Flat East and Pine Flat West – all in Oak Creek Canyon – and Chavez Crossing off Hwy 179, near the Chapel area. All campgrounds cost $18 per night with the exception of Chavez Crossing, a group campground which ranges from $55 to $150 per night. Several will accommodate RVs up to 40 feet in length.

“We’re usually full on weekends in spring and fall,” says Connie Birkland of the Red Rock Ranger District. “Summer is very popular; make reservations far in advance. Usually you can reserve up to one year ahead, and I’d say a minimum of two weeks.”

Just outside Sedona, Verde Valley Public Land campgrounds are at Beaver Creek and West Clear Creek (east of Sedona) and Dead Horse State Park near Cottonwood. Private campgrounds include Hawkeye RV Park in Uptown, Rancho Sedona RV Park off Schnebly Hill Rd., and Lo Lo Mai Campground and Sunrise Resort in Page Springs.

Backpacking is permitted at least one mile from the trailhead in Red Rock-Secret Mountain, Munds Mountain, or Sycamore Canyon wilderness areas. Camping is not allowed at trailhead parking lots but you may park in the lots overnight with a Red Rock Pass for each day of your stay. Overnight parking is not allowed at Soldiers Pass trailhead.

Campfires are OK as long as there are no Forest Service fire restrictions, Connie says, though the Service recommends the use of cook stoves. If you do build a fire, be absolutely sure it’s completely extinguished when you leave the site.

Connie names West Fork Trail as a top spot for backpacking. People often begin at the top of the 13-mile trail, leaving the car in the West Fork parking lot. Be aware the West Fork lot is a separate fee area – only a Grand Annual Red Rock Pass allows you to park without paying an extra fee. The trail requires forging streams and scrambling over boulders, but it offers shade in the summertime and surrounds you with towering trees and red rock cliffs.

Canyon Outfitters’ Gary Stedman names Loy Trail in Sycamore Canyon as a top spot for backpackers to find solitude. “There is not a lot of water in this area so bring your own,” he cautions. “You need one gallon per day per person and that’s an extreme minimum. One gallon weighs eight pounds so you can see how heavy your pack can be if you are planning on being out for several days.”

He reminds campers to pack out whatever is packed in…including used toilet paper. “If you use it, you’ll have to carry it out in baggies,” he says. “Toilet paper won’t degrade in the soil.”

Connie asks campers to visit a Ranger Station  for help planning a trip, and advice on water needs and weather conditions before heading into backcountry.

“The issue is preparedness,” she says. “Do your homework. Wild­er­ness trails are not always easy to follow so be sure you have the right map and proper skills.”

MORE SEDONA ADVENTURES AND SPORTS: Helicopter, hot Air balloon and biplane tours, skiing, snowboarding and ice skating, four-wheeling, kayaking, hang gliding and skydiving, baseball, golf

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