Bikepacking: Craters and Cinder Cones Loop
ElevationAscent: 8,329' 2,539 m
Descent: -8,334' -2,540 m
High: 9,353' 2,851 m
Low: 5,933' 1,808 m
GradeAvg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 19% (11°)
Popular rides nearby
Old English - Oldham Elden Loop
23.6 mi 37.9 km • Loop • 3,174 ft Ascent 967.58 m Ascent
'Round the Peaks
50.4 mi 81.2 km • Loop • 4,753 ft Ascent 1448.63 m Ascent
Two Lost Souls Loop
17.6 mi 28.2 km • Loop • 2,108 ft Ascent 642.67 m Ascent
14.5 mi 23.3 km • Loop • 913 ft Ascent 278.17 m Ascent
High Country Tour to Bismark Lake
17.5 mi 28.2 km • Loop • 1,774 ft Ascent 540.67 m Ascent
8.4 mi 13.6 km • Loop • 1,172 ft Ascent 357.29 m Ascent
“A multi-day route with 800+ volcanoes, gravel roads and 2-tracks, pines, grasslands, and abundant solitude.”— Bikepacking Roots
Electric Mountain Bikes Unknown
Features Commonly Bikepacked
● The northern part of the route passes through land owned by Babbitt Ranches. Public access and camping is permitted - simply respect their land and stock.
● Do not camp within ¼ mile of water sources.
Need to Know
● DO NOT attempt this route when wet or when rain is in the weather forecast. The soil in this region is full of clay that becomes impassable when wet in many areas.
● Water sources on this route are limited and include many stock tanks that are most reliable in late Spring and late Summer. Waypoints for these are provided with labels like “poor” (unreliable, likely silty) and “good” (more reliable, cleaner water). DO NOT plan that every stock tank will have water, and carry more water than you expect to need. Water from some stock tanks is often silty and will clog water filters and is not amenable to UV water treatments. Carry a means of chemical water treatment like Aqua Mira or iodine.
Beyond Williams, the route enters deserted, dry pinon-juniper woodlands and then high grasslands of the Babbitt Ranches. You’ll pass eerily dark, yawning cinder cones before climbing into the young, cindery landscape of Sunset Crater National Monument.
Sunset Crater is the youngest volcano in the area, having erupted just 1,000 years ago. The tallest peaks in Arizona, the San Francisco Peaks, are the final feature you’ll experience, climbing high into aspen forests at over 9,000 feet and then descending a hugely scenic water pipeline service road that’s closed to motorized use back toward Flagstaff.
This is a stellar ~3-day route with numerous options for side exploration and minimal technical riding in countryside rarely visited. But water is scarce, so plan accordingly.
Please visit Bikepacking Roots to download the complete guide for this route and to check for any route alerts or updates.
This route and associated information is just a starting point for your preparation, and your safety is your responsibility. Although this route, its GPS track, and route data were prepared after extensive research, their accuracy and reliability are not guaranteed. Check for current conditions, route updates, use your common sense, obey local laws and rules, and travel with alternative means of navigation. Bikepacking Roots, its directors, employees, and volunteers will in no way be responsible for personal injury or damage to personal property arising in conjunction with using this route. If you do encounter changed conditions or inaccuracies.
History & Background
Land Manager: USFS - Coconino National Forest Office