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Segment 2: Williams to Flagstaff

Intermediate
 5.0 (1)

High grasslands, cinder cones, and secluded doubletrack.


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Map Key

129.9

Miles

209.0

KM

Doubletrack

9,382' 2,860 m

High

5,893' 1,796 m

Low

7,895' 2,406 m

Up

7,714' 2,351 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

19%

Max Grade (11°)

This has been hidden from our maps to prevent overlap with existing trails, or because our research has found there is no legal access.

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Features Commonly Bikepacked

  • Dispersed camping is permitted in most areas of this segment except for the first ~12mi northeast of Williams. Sunset Crater N.M. has a small campground near the Visitor’s Center, and there’s another campground in Lockett Meadow just before the high point on the route.
  • You NEED an Arizona State Land Department Recreation Permit for this section of the route.
  • The northern part passes through land owned by Babbitt Ranches. Public access and camping is permitted.

Section Of

Description

Continue north through the heart of the San Francisco Volcanic Field and its nearly countless cinder cones. From Williams, you’ll pass through rural neighborhoods on mostly graded dirt roads before turning onto remote doubletrack into a quiet countryside of pinon-juniper woodlands before descending north into lower grasslands. Red Mountain Lookout offers a short side trip option along the way.

SP Crater marks the farthest northeastern corner of the loop. The striking cinder cone is worth a hike to the top for stellar views into the crater itself. Locate the obvious steep trail on the southwest side to complete a scramble up to the top. Plan for ~90 minutes round trip at least for this side hike.

Once riders have circled around SP Crater, the route climbs back toward the San Francisco Peaks, passing the yawning Colton Crater along the way. The route then turns east around O’Leary Peak and onto loose cinder trails that lead to a back entrance of Sunset Crater National Monument. The cinder trails are generally packed from ATV traffic, but they can be slow going for ~4.5 miles as you experience the otherworldly landscape and views of the 1,000-year-old Sunset Crater.

The route continues on pavement through the National Monument along recent lava flows before tackling steep dirt road climbs into the San Francisco Peaks’ inner basin. The final part of the climb to route's highest point can be accomplished on old doubletrack, or a very technical but beautiful singletrack. At the top, 2,500 feet above the Monument, you’ll turn onto Waterline Road, enjoy huge views along the west side of the Peaks, and then drop from Schultz Pass back to Flagstaff (with singletrack or dirt road options for the descent.)

Recommended printed topographic maps:
Trails Illustrated maps 856 (Flagstaff/Sedona) and 854 (Sycamore Canyon/Verde Valley) provides nearly complete coverage.

Logistics:
  • Like on the first segment of the route, water sources are limited in this dry landscape. The most reliable water sources are (1) a pipe-fed stock tank at mile 44, (2) several pipe-fed stock tanks between miles 51 and 53 (FILL UP HERE!), (3) Sunset Crater N.M. Visitor’s Center at mile 98, (4) a pond in Lockett Meadow at mile 105, and (5) a piped spring at the high point on the route at mile 98.
  • There are no resupply options on this segment until returning to Flagstaff aside from a gas station seven mile above Williams.

Contacts

Shared By:

Bikepacking Roots

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#2697

Overall
  5.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#84

in Arizona

#2,697

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344 Since Apr 24, 2017
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Photos

Aspen Alley.
Oct 13, 2016 near Flagstaff, AZ
Easy spin through the aspens.
Oct 20, 2015 near Flagstaff, AZ
Fall colors on Waterline Road.
Oct 14, 2015 near Flagstaff, AZ
Everyone say "Cheese!"
Oct 14, 2015 near Flagstaff, AZ
Riding through the 2010 Shultz Fire burn area
Oct 20, 2015 near Flagstaff, AZ
Schultz Creek
Dec 16, 2019 near Flagstaff, AZ

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