Flagstaff Sedona Area Ride

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by Gteamer, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. Gteamer

    Gteamer Adventurer

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    I am planning a trip in the next few weeks to go to the Flagstaff Area from NWA. I really just want to see a few things (Great Falls, Devil's Bridge, Interesting Sites) and came here for advice. I plan on being there 2-3 days and camping the whole time.

    I have been riding on the streets for a long time, but am looking to finally get off of the beaten path a little bit. While I am there, I would like to hit some dirt roads and explore on my own a little bit.

    So if you know the area and have any recommendations, they will be more than helpful. If anyone wants to meet up with me anywhere along the way, I am more than happy to have a companion too.

    Basically, I would like camping area advice, sites to see (I am really only interested in natural sites), best guess for what to wear (Is it t-shirt weather in AZ right now?), and anything else you might think is important information.



    I ride an 09 Versys with street tires and have camping gear and almost 10 years of riding experience but all street. Don't know if that makes a difference on where I should go.

    Thank you in advance.
    #1
  2. Gteamer

    Gteamer Adventurer

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    By the way, I always wear gear when I ride, I meant what to wear when I'm off the bike, as I like to hike a lot too. Much like Mntdawg.
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  3. DurtKlod

    DurtKlod Long timer

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    Gteamer,
    I think you are talking about Grand Falls out on the Navajo Indian Reservation. Neat but it's far neater when the water is flowing and that doesn't happen real often. Still, if you head out there after a rainstorm, you might get lucky seeing the falls but unlucky getting stuck in the mud.
    Definitely consider the Flagstaff lava river cave... 35.342402, -111.835922. There is a little bit of dirt to get to it but nothing a Versys couldn't handle. No dirt at all but Walnut Canyon is really neat if your into Indian dwellings in cliffsides... better bring some better shoes though as there is a lot of stairs. I've never heard of Devil's Bridge so I'm gonna have to go look that up NOW!
    #3
  4. Gteamer

    Gteamer Adventurer

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    Thanks for the advice. The Lava Flow Caves look really cool. I will definitely be looking into that and the cliff dwellings as well.

    Will the local campsites necessitate a tent or will my hammock be enough?
    #4
  5. DurtKlod

    DurtKlod Long timer

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    Someone else is going to have to chime in on that one as the only camping I do in Flagstaff and surrounding areas is in a 30' travel trailer!
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  6. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    What is at the cave?
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  7. DurtKlod

    DurtKlod Long timer

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    It's a dormant lava tube that you can hike through for 3/4 of a mile. It varies in size from gotta hunch over to being able to fit 2 Greyhound bus's side by side inside.
    #7
  8. surlywill

    surlywill Adventurer

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    A good run on some dirt would be a run from Jerome to Williams. I have done this on my vstrom and its a nice ride. Great views of the Verde Valley and skirts the Sykamore Canyon Wilderness. On many maps its listed as NF318-Perkinsville RD to 73 into Williams. Real backcountry Arizona with lots of Wildlife. There are some great Cliffdwellings along the way but a little to rough for the Verseys...
    #8
  9. ned37

    ned37 Been here awhile

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    devil's bridge is outside sedona, but the roads to it are iffy for street tires. rocks and ruts, and too many people. i agree on the williams to jerome run. and when (if) you get to jerome, go up the mountain on 89a to the top, and take fr104 to the left, then the first right to fr413 south, then fr132 south at a fork which goes to cherry. turn left at cherry and carefully go down into the verde valley. road is loose dg and slippy. the majority of the time you are in the national forest and can camp anywhere the prescott or coconino nf mvum says you can. if that wasn't enought dirt, then at sr260 east of cherry, turn right and go to camp verde. turn right on oasis rd, right on copper canyon at the bottom. go all the way up to the top of the canyon (closing the gates behind you) til you get to the main dirt road (68d). go left and follow the road to dugas. go right on dugas rd, under I-17, and north on orme rd til you get back to sr169 outside of cherry. you will be sick of it by then or before. we have more dirt roads here than paved.
    #9
  10. TrophyHunter

    TrophyHunter Long timer

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  11. Gteamer

    Gteamer Adventurer

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    Thank you for all of the ideas. The Jerome to Williams does look fun from what I can see.

    I will try and go to Devil's Bridge, but it sounds like I am going to have to take my time.

    The hardest part will be making my self pack up at the end of this trip and drive back across OK and TX.
    #11
  12. agavelvr

    agavelvr Banned

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    Weather here in AZ is highly variable this time of year. Layering is key, even when hiking. Daytime highs in your area of interest for this time could be anywhere from 30 to 80 degrees! Snow, rain, and mud are all possibilities, though up until this weekend, it had been bone dry for a month or so.

    Hammock camping in the wooded areas around Flag, Williams, and Sedona would be great, so long as you have insulation under you like a hammock quilt or insulated sleeping pad. If you took the Perkinsville route and forced to camp...your hammock better be suitable as an emergency ground tent because there are places without any trees there.

    Get the latest MVUM from the forest to stay on legal tracks. Coconino has a digital version you can load to your phone or ipad and will show your location on the map, assuming your device is gps enabled. Some roads may be seasonally closed due to "snow", so it is best to check before heading from Flagstaff to Sedona via backroads.

    [​IMG]
    But even when you check with the rangers...sometimes you get bad intel :huh

    Have a great visit!
    #12
  13. Gteamer

    Gteamer Adventurer

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    Thank you very much! Exactly the type of information I was looking for.

    I plan on bringing plenty of layers and a backup tent. I have an airpad I use in my tent and hammock. Hopefully I can make this trip without an indecent like this, but then where would the adventure be?! :evil
    #13
  14. Gteamer

    Gteamer Adventurer

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    I will be sure to post pictures here, and on the AZ Ride Hike Ride forum after my trip as well. Really appreciate all of the advice, and anything that you may think I would find helpful, let me know. :ear
    #14
  15. Gteamer

    Gteamer Adventurer

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    I have another question that I just thought of. In the case that I am camping out in the middle of nowhere, what are the rules on fires in AZ? I am guessing that you can't just build one anywhere.

    For instance, in Arkansas, as long as there isn't a burn ban you can build a fire for cooking or warmth most places. It has to be in a contained place like a fire ring, but it is perfectly fine. Like on the Ozark Trail, you can build a fire anywhere. Yet in Missouri, you have to be in a designated fire pit or container.

    Obviously I know to be very cautious with fire, put it out and keep it small and contained. However, I just like having a small fire to sit next to after a day of adventure. Any thoughts?
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  16. surlywill

    surlywill Adventurer

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  17. Gteamer

    Gteamer Adventurer

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    So without the ban, fires are fine within reason?

    I am sure I can look up the law, but I really want to know the local attitude about them.

    Thanks again.
    #17
  18. stevewillis

    stevewillis Just some guy

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    I just saw your post, and hope I'm replying in time to be useful. I live in the forest near the lava river cave someone else suggested, sort of at the hub of the other spots you discussed. Fires are fine anywhere in the National Forest in my area. Yes, we have had an extremely dry winter, and there is always the possibility of fire restriction. However, in the nine years I've lived here, I've never seen fire restrictions imposed outside of the summer months (to the best of my recollection). The local attitude about campfires in general is mixed, as we've had some high profile disasters in recent years, but fires are very much the norm on the National Forest and you won't get any dirty looks.

    I believe you can build a fire anywhere you wish, but etiquette is to re-use an existing fire ring to minimize impact in the forest. Trust me, that won't be a problem. Any clearing off of any forest road you find here will have at least one fire ring already built. You can certainly camp anywhere you wish, but there are new, very restrictive rules about how far off the forest roads you may take a motorized vehicle.

    The more likely obstacles to your trip have to do with road closures. Check the Coconino National Forest website for information about the seasonal forest road closures. Most of the forest is unavailable in the winter, and the access roads are gated and locked. You can also get a map of permitted forest roads to drive on at that site. Again, a very recent policy change means a great deal of the roads you might see are illegal to drive on now, and they are not marked in any way.

    Only some of your trip (the Flagstaff region) is on the Coconino National Forest. For areas south, you need to check the websites of neighboring forests, but I believe their road closure and campfire policies are nearly identical.

    One final thought: I would also recommend the Perkinsville road between Jerome and Williams, which I discovered on this site last season, my first season riding. However, having gone both directions, I would highly recommend you take the road south from Williams to Jerome if your trip allows for it. The scenery approaching the historic mining town of Jerome is fascinating. As others have mentioned, this whole region is desert without tall trees, and somewhat dense and rocky, which limits camping opportunities. The road itself is easy to moderate, though.
    #18
  19. sandwash

    sandwash Long timer

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    Not real sure but I was told that the gates open up April 1st.
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  20. Gteamer

    Gteamer Adventurer

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    I will be leaving a week from Friday. I plan on spending the night at Palo Duro Canyon outside of Amarillo and then staying somewhere around Flagstaff the next night.

    I planned on staying somewhere in the Coconino National Forest, but haven't planned that part out too much yet. Any recommendations?

    The one thing I would like to have at, or near, any campsite I stay at is a water source. I usually carry a gallon of water and my 3L bladder with me, but having extra just in case is nice. So let me know what to expect. Also, feel free to let me know and we can ride together if you want to get out that weekend. :nod
    #20