Though this isn't a long ride, it's incredibly intense on the Hangover Trail
. Hangover is very exposed riding along the edge of a cliff. It's the most unique MTB experience in Sedona for sure, but it's not for the feint of heart.
You'll get a nice warmup on Munds Wagon Trail
, then things get very technical on the first third of Hangover, very exposed, transitioning to exposed and technical on the second third, then transitioning to smooth and flowy on the last third.
Start on Munds Wagon Trail
. This trail starts right at the trailhead parking off Schnebly Hill Rd. The trail is fairly loose and rocky right out of the gate, and it crosses the road back and forth a few times before you feel like you're really riding the trail.
After the initial loose section, the trail smoothes out a bit, meandering along slightly downhill for a bit. It starts to cross in and out of the creek bed, and at times runs right along the creek bed on a red rock surface for 100 yards at a time. These creek bed sections are very pretty, fun for playing around or stopping for a snack.
The trail has some short technical climbs and descents to keep things interesting for advanced riders. These will be hike-a-bike sections for some. It ends at another smaller trailhead, where it meets up with Cow Pies Trail
across the road from the parking lot.
Cow Pies bounces over a bunch of rocks up from the road and quickly opens up to an expansive view down the canyon and across to the big rock formation Hangover circumnavigates. Ride up a short section of steep slickrock to the start of Hangover Trail
Hangover climbs up to a saddle bisecting two large red rock formations rising out of the canyon, then continues along a knife edge right around the side of the rock, 200 feet above the canyon floor.
Starting from Cow Pies, the trail makes its character known right away. The riding, mostly on slickrock, is very challenging, with step-ups, roll-offs, and off camber sections. The first section climbing up to the saddle isn't terribly exposed, and it's all very rideable for advanced riders, but it's enough to make you think twice in many spots. Take a break on the expansive flat saddle, eat a snack, and contemplate what's next. This is a fine place to turn around and retrace your steps if you want to get the views without the exposure that comes next.
From the saddle, the trail descends down a short section of slickrock, then becomes a dirt trail right up against the edge of the rock, which rises straight up to your left, and drops steeply down to your right. There's plenty of vegetation to the right, and it doesn't feel exactly like the edge of a cliff, but it's quite exposed. The name of the trail begins to make sense here, as the rock hangs over the trail in spots, forcing you very close to the edge.
Wind around like this for a while, looking out at the views to your right when you can, and walk any sections where you're not comfortable! Eventually, the trail comes away from the edge and onto slickrock. Although you're off the edge, this is probably the most challenging, and dangerous part of the trail to ride. The trail descends steeply down the slickrock. In addition to the steepness, it drops down 3-4 foot roll-offs as it descends. With enough suspension, it's rideable, but it's so exposed that an endo feels as if it could send you tumbling for eternity. Most will choose to walk this section, which is challenging enough in bike shoes!
The trail becomes somewhat less exposed after this, but still quite technical until it suddenly changes to smooth and flowy through dense Junipers as it returns to Munds Wagon Trail
Retrace your steps back along Munds Wagon Trail
, or cross over to Schnebly Hill Road for a faster descent back to the trailhead.