The Trail One List: Hangover

The views, the terror, the total package

 

The Trail One List is our guide to the best mountain bike trails in the world. We know your riding time is precious and travel is expensive. We want you to finish these rides with a giant smile on your face and a heart full of stoke, knowing the juice was worth the squeeze.

Sedona, Arizona, has three really tough and fantastic rides that keep people coming back every year: Hiline, The Hogs and Hangover. Hangover is the toughest of the bunch, with high consequences around every turn. Sometimes it feels more like mountaineering than mountain biking.

The red rocks of Sedona are really something special, with some of the best "shoulder season" riding in the US. The photo on the left is on The White Line, which you can check out while riding The Hogs. When temperatures back home are frigid and miserable, Fall and Spring in Sedona can be quite perfect. But of course the weather can always turn wonky -- it snowed in March during the Sedona MTB festival a few years back. In that case we were able to escape to Phoenix for a great day of riding.

The tough, technical riding in Sedona can be quite the shock for the first timer. On the expert level trails you are constantly fighting the terrain and every mile feels like two. The Hangover route is not much more than an 8 mile loop, but I've never felt cheated by the end of a ride. 

There are plenty of intermediate trails available in Sedona, but they don't jump out as "must ride" options. You need to bring your A game if you want to survive the desert tech, so practice on every awkward trail back home before you take this challenge.

If you've got Hangover on your list, the best plan of attack is to spend three days in Sedona.

Day 1 - Hiline

On day one you'll want to ride Hiline, a great introduction to Sedona and some really beautiful jank. This ride takes you through some amazing scenery and a few really tough obstacles.

This 11.5 mile route felt like it was twice as long. Climbing Made in the Shade is a real test right out of the gate, climb Slim Shady if you want to go a bit easier.

If you make it through Hiline without walking, you're ready to move on to the next challenge.

Day 2 - The Hogs

The Hogs should be your target for day two. There are a few different ways to tackle this mishmash of trails, but I like the suggested route above. 

Even though this is a much shorter route, this ride is a step up from Hiline, with more exposure and more consistent awkward challenges. 

I've included a few fun detours that are worth checking out, keep an eye on the map so you don't add on extra miles. You don't need to ride The White Line but it's really worth checking out up close to see what all the fuss is about. I've also included the little techy section down into Little Horse. After you clear that section turn back around and take on an insane climbing challenge.

Day 3 - Hangover

If you can ride The Hogs confidently without walking any features, the next level up is Hangover on the third day.

And Hangover is definitely on another level. Tons of tough climbing and descending challenges. Mega steeps and terrifying exposure are common. It's very high consequence, but feels so good when you conquer it.

If you walked the tough stuff on Hiline and The Hogs you will be walking your bike for most of the day on Hangover -- and most of the challenges on Hangover are even dangerous to walk.

This ride is something you build up to after years of riding sketchy, tough tech. Anyone that can ride this trail without hopping off their bike deserves a medal.

Logistics

By car, Sedona is about 2 hours from Phoenix, 4.5 hours from Las Vegas and 7.5 hours from Los Angeles.

Thunder Mountain Bikes is your go-to bike shop for premium rentals, trail info, repairs and answering any random questions.

Almost every trailhead has limited parking and traffic jams are common on busy days.

Sedona is a big tourist town, so lodging and dining is readily available.

Highly recommended post ride food:

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