The Red Rock Ranger District of the Coconino National Forest has extended the current Forest Order for mountain bikers in specific areas near Sedona while it undergoes a comprehensive review and implementation of the trails system in that area.
Under the order, mountain bikes must remain on National Forest system trails and are prohibited from cross-country travel in the following areas: Schnebly Hill; Airport Mesa; Carroll Canyon; Schuerman Mountain; and Cathedral Rock.
Impacts from unauthorized routes used by mountain bikers initially prompted the restriction, as unplanned trails can increase erosion and damage to fragile soils, and archaeological and watershed resources near Oak Creek.
The order, first implemented in 2013, restricts mountain bikes from being used off of official National Forest system trails, and more than 220 miles of official trail remain open to mountain biking. The Forest Service has added more than 50 miles of new trail to the official system over the past five years, most of which is open to mountain biking.
Biking makes up approximately 20 percent of National Forest trail use around Sedona and is growing rapidly as the areas trails are marketed by local Chambers of Commerce and other businesses. Total area trail use is estimated at over 1 million trail users annually. Recent Forest Service counts showed over 100,000 trail users on the Bell Rock Pathway and 80,000 users on Cathedral Trail in the last 12 months.
The Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition, the International Mountain Bike Association, and the Friends of the Forest continue to help to educate bike users, encourage responsible trail use, monitor off-trail impacts, and assist Forest Service with volunteer trail maintenance and construction activities.