Late March: West Coast vs. Prescott>Sedona>Moab-
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Dec 2014

    Late March: West Coast vs. Prescott>Sedona>Moab

    Hi Folks,

    Just soliciting some opinions from you folks.

    Girlfriend and I are looking at a 2 week trip March 18 - April 3rd.
    We live in Alberta Canada and our parents are snowbirds in Phoenix, AZ, where we keep our bikes over the winter.
    So we are thinking of going straight down to Phoenix to pick up our bikes and go riding and exploring for the rest of the time.
    We ride Phoenix & Sedona a couple times over the winter and Moab 1-2 times per year, which we absolutely love, so I got planning our trip to hit Prescott (which we've never ridden because the weather is so-so in December, love the town though), then Sedona over a week, than Moab for our last week (which is Jeep week, which we don't mind actually, cool to see the rigs and the crazy stuff they go over).

    I'd be pretty stoked on this trip but we have been to Sedona & Moab quite a bit over the last 1.5 years so we are now entertaining the idea of somewhere else.

    Any thoughts?

    Couple years back we did a road trip around same time of year (maybe April) without bikes down the west coast from Oregon to Los Angeles, which was beautiful, but very busy and we regretted not having booked everything a head of time, and we felt we spent too much time just driving and not enough 'doing things'.
    We've thought again maybe this would be a better experience if we have bikes with us as this is our preferred holiday now that I've converted my girlfriend. I'd say I'd be an advanced rider on a 2016 Santa Cruz Bronson and my girlfriend around an intermediate on a 2016 Jualiana Furtado, we both like XC, all day epics, bike park laps but without big hits, I love tech stuff (hence the Moab addiction) and steep stuff, girlfriend needs to get more used to riding everything =).
    We are also both roadies, mainly just to train for the MTB season at home but if theres awesome roads and scenery and on travel days we don't mind just spinning a nice loop for a few hours and on this trip we'd entertain brining the road bikes too since I know there is awesome road riding in California.
    Our vehicle set up is a Tacoma with a shell, with a roof top tent on that + ground tent, and a 4 bike carrier hitch rack + 2 thules on the cab roof, so we could carry our XC bikes, trail bikes & road bikes =). We'd be self sufficient for a night or two off the grid if there are some awesome back ways to the destinations we are heading and we would like to incorporate this into our trip if it's not out of the way.

    So my question is, what do you guys think for that time of year?
    My thoughts are cruise from Phoenix > Joshua Tree, spend a night there just to say we have > Malibu road riding > San Luis Obispo > Big Sur road riding > Santa Cruz > Eventually Bend, Oregon (snow?).
    Seems like there is so much in California I'm not sure where to start and I've also heard some of the trails are tough to find or get information on or are not legal (Santa Cruz).

    Further, anyone have any recommendations for my original trip? We haven't ridden Prescott before and are thinking it would be fun but the riding looks pretty tame? Sedona is always good for a couple days but we have been there a few times this winter so we are debating maybe cutting it a bit short there and trying to get to St. George/Hurricane Utah as we've never ridden there actually, but I feel like maybe it's quite similar to Moab and I'd wish I had just gone there instead?

    Anyways, just looking for some brain stormed ideas from people from the area or have done a similar trip that I can start looking into and stringing together.

  2. #2
    Yeti SB95c
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    We love road trips and usually head from San Jose to south Utah every chance we get.


    The Hurricane MTB festival is March 18 - 20. It is a small affair compared to Outerbike or Crankworks but fun. We'll be there for a week. Lots of great MTB riding around St. George and Hurricane and roadies love riding in Zion NP.

    There is primitive camping on the mesas although Gooseberry has nice new toilets. This is the beginning of high season for the park so the cheapest lodging is St. George. We will be camping at Zion River RV Resort which has only 7 camp sites but located in Virgin of Rampage fame. Great location and beautiful! There is a campground in Springdale and the KOA north of St. George. Also in the park.

    The wind in the spring can be wild in the SW desert but you probably already know that. Even worse in Hurricane. Therefore the name. We take our chances.

    My wife rides everything including Porky, Portal Trail, Gooseberry, etc. She just walks more than I do.

    I just released a video explaining the trails of St. George and Hurricane on Intermediate Mountain Biking | Bike and Trails Analyses for Intermediate Riders. It is more for your wife than you. I'm trying to explain trails in a way that makes intermediates more comfortable trying them.

    OK, for California. I think our best destination rides are in the Sierras but they are buried in snow until May.

    In the L.A. area check YouTube for the Mt Wilson Shuttle and Mt Lowe trails. Maybe still snow at the top in March, maybe not. We haven't got around to riding them yet but they look exciting.

    Let's drive up 101.

    SLO, San Luis Obispo, has an expanding trail system. They haven't really been destination quality and variety yet but seem to be getting there. Check them out. There is nothing from SLO north to Santa Cruz worth stopping at.

    Santa Cruz has some amazing riding but is word of mouth. Local bike shops will help you. Check the trails on the UC Santa Cruz campus in Open Cycle Map. We also just built the 4 mile Demo Flow Trail high in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is a stunning ride for intermediates and advanced!

    Next up would be Annadel State Park in Santa Rosa, lots of dirt roads for your wife but some great gnar on the north end for you to drop fast. She'll have to walk more on those but she'll enjoy large sections of them.

    There are some trails in the King Mountain area of the redwoods farther north but I don't know much about them. Supposed to be beautiful. Another search term would be Lost Coast.

    Redding riders are excited about their trails and spring would be the best time to visit there.

    Bend is destination quality with a couple hundred miles of single track and 10 breweries in town. Plenty online about that area. Also checkout Oakridge OR.

    Washington had nothing decent when I lived there 20 years ago but I hear rumors that they are finally getting single track. Still, I haven't heard anything about a destination area.

    This is a lot of driving!

    My choices would be Hurricane, Mt Lowe, Santa Cruz, Bend. Catch the others if they happen to fit in. For instance, if you want to do wine tasting then SLO and Santa Rosa trails could be a good morning activities. I've tried riding Annadel after wine tasting but not such a good idea. There is also wine tasting in Santa Cruz.
    MTB blog for US West trails: Trail analysis videos, bike and component reviews, other stuff.

  3. #3
    Professional Slacker
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    PHX-Prescott-Sedona-Flagstaff-Las Vegas-Hurricane-Kanab (GC North Rim)-Moab-PHX

  4. #4
    Yeti SB95c
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    It is unlikely that the Thunder Mountain Trail on the west side of Bryce Canyon NP will be open, it tops at 8,000 feet, but if so then both of you can ride that one. 15 mile loop from the lower trailhead. You wife will love the paved path up Red Canyon. I have a video of that trail with my wife riding it. Maybe helps.

    MTB blog for US West trails: Trail analysis videos, bike and component reviews, other stuff.

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