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  1. #1
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    Prescott, AZ to Flagstaff, AZ

    As mentioned in another thread, I am planning a West-East Coast ride in July. Has anybody done the ride from Prescott up to Flagstaff? It appears that there is about 25 miles of with some good climbing, 15 miles of good downhill and then 54 miles of climbing with 4000 feet of elevation gain. July temperatures don't look overly extreme from Prescott to Flagstaff. Looks like a very challenging stretch.

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    Training Wheel Graduate twodeadpoets's Avatar
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    Highway 89A is actually quite pleasant and not to difficult to bike. After going over Mingus Mt you drop down to Jerome with fast switchbacks most of the way down to Cottonwood into the Verde Valley where it warms up again. Stay on 89A to Sedona where it gets shady again as you begin to climb up Oak Creek Canyon. It's an absolutely beautiful route. For stops I recomend Jerome (www.jeromeaz.com) and Slide Rock State Park in Oak Creek (http://azstateparks.com/Parks/SLRO/index.html).

    When I lived in Prescott I used to take visiting family up to Jerome and Oak Creek Canyon as a highlight of their trip (though Prescott is also a nice place to visit and hang out at).
    Last edited by twodeadpoets; 01-22-09 at 11:35 AM.
    "Ride Like an Orca!" ~tdp
    "People who enjoy waving flags, don't deserve to have one" ~Banksy


  3. #3
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    I live in Flagstaff, and have been along the entire route from Prescott to Flagstaff several time on a motorcycle. I imagine it would be a blast to do on a bike, especially the switchbacks down the mountain through Jerome. It is a very beautiful route, and I'd like to do it on a bicycle at some point.

    However, Highway 89 is fairly narrow through most of the length, and north of Sedona, it gets extremely narrow (no shoulder, two narrow lanes) and very crowded in the summer months, even more so on weekends, and I would be very hesitant to ride up that without a chase vehicle. Summer time temps typically range from 80 to 100F along the route, with Cottonwood and Sedona being the hotspot. Bring plenty of water.

    I hope this helps!

  4. #4
    BWF
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    There are a few ways to get here from there 1) Go north thru Chino Valley to Ash Fork then east along Interstate 40 to Flag 2) Go east along 169 to Interstate 17 then north to Flag 3) Go over Mingus to Jerome, then north thru Cottonwood, Sedona, to Flag.

    #1 is the easiest with the least amount of elevation gain/loss. #2 is the loneliest with no towns enroute. #3 is the most scenic.

    Definitely do #3, it is the most difficult, but the towns and areas surrounding Jerome and Sedona are unique and unforgettable.

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    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BWF View Post
    There are a few ways to get here from there 1) Go north thru Chino Valley to Ash Fork then east along Interstate 40 to Flag 2) Go east along 169 to Interstate 17 then north to Flag 3) Go over Mingus to Jerome, then north thru Cottonwood, Sedona, to Flag.

    #1 is the easiest with the least amount of elevation gain/loss. #2 is the loneliest with no towns enroute. #3 is the most scenic.

    Definitely do #3, it is the most difficult, but the towns and areas surrounding Jerome and Sedona are unique and unforgettable.
    #3 do you go north bound or south bound to have the cliff on your right hand side?

    The reason I ask since it would be much better to be looking out to my right than left looking across traffic.
    My initial guess with out Google maps would be Sedona to Prescott.

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    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Have ridden it from Flag to Prescott via Oak Creek Canyon (Sedona) and through Jerome up-and- over Mingus Mountain on a tandem. A tough ride. In May it was already 85 degrees at 10 a.m. in Cottonwood area.
    A tough ride. Would NOT suggest riding from Sedona up to Flag via Oak Creek Canyon; way too many tourists and way too many steep curves and switchbacks on a very narrow 2-lane road and no shoulder.

  7. #7
    BWF
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    wheel, switchbacks will have you alternating from cliffside to trafficside. Prescott to Sedona will initially put you on the cliffside as you summit Mingus and get the big view of the Verde Valley below.

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    BWF
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    Once in Sedona, the ride thru Oak Creek Canyon can be avoided by instead heading east via Schnebly Hill Road to Interstate 17, then up to Flag. Schenbly is scenic in its own right and historic as the founding passage into Sedona. However, it is dirt, rough in sections, and steep. A first timer to the area needs to see Oak Creek Canyon in my opinion. Although, I agree it is dangerous with no shoulder and motorists looking out everywhere at the scenery and not at the cylcist in front of them. Also, bike lanes have now been added to 179 with the ongoing improvement project, if you felt the need to head all the way south to link onto the Interstate. But that adds a lot of mileage.

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    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    I have been wanting to do Flag to Prescott or the reverse which every is more scenic, for a long time.

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    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    looks like google maps has both sides look awesome. I might need to do a round trip.

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    bike touring northern arizona april 6th-23rd

    Hello,
    I have some time in April and would like to take bike tour from Flagstaff north toward the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. Also then into Utah. Since you live in the area wondering about weather conditions that time of the year. Would like info from someone actually living in the area. Thanks. Phil

  12. #12
    dia por dia El Pelon's Avatar
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    I've done both ways. Very doable, and absolutely stunning vistas. Have a great trip!
    Dia por dia.

  13. #13
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    +1 to 89a being a narrow and conceivably dangerous route between Sedona and Flagstaff. Beautiful, yes... take whatever breath you have left from climbing at altitude away beautiful.

    Narrow 2 lane, blind turns, 6" shoulders, and steep after Slide Rock SP.

    NOT recommended during daytime in the summer unless you want to experience the gravity assisted express route to the bottom of the canyon or wind up decorating the side of someone's RV. Best bet on this one is plan to do this 15 or so miles just around dawn before there's traffic. As long as you have good lights, it _might_ actually be safer in the pre-dawn dark.

    Oh, and when you can see the San Francisco Peaks looming up to the North, you are in Flagstaff. Do stop and enjoy one of the best places in AZ. Plenty of places to get great food after your climb, and an extremely bike friendly town.

    Enjoy!

  14. #14
    BWF
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    Phil, In Flagstaff, April is usually windy with cool temps. People say March brings the heaviest snowfall, but it just isn't true. Temps are on the rise in March, so it's rare to get cold enough to snow. We haven't had a significant snow with accumulation since early February. The local ski resort is set to close April 5th due to lack of snow. But last year, the last snow came on May 23rd, so it's very unpredictable. Riding north from Flagstaff, you only have about 30 miles to get through the mountains and forest before the landscape opens up to full desert exposure. Check with the Grand Canyon to get their conditions. They do occasionally get some snow up there but not usually enough to be a problem. It should be a nice trip to make in April.

  15. #15
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    A quick Google search shows that March in Flagstaff is indeed the winter month with the most precip. This March has been abnormally dry but March is usually a very snowy month. I've lived here since the mid 80s and Feb-Apr seem to usually be the snowiest periods. I've seen it snow in late May so we can certainly still get some nasty weather for the next 1.5 months or so. As already mentioned, this time of year is typically pretty breezy, and sometimes downright windy, but there will be many unbelievably nice days from now until late fall. Heck, I've even ridden comfortably until late December before. As with most places, the weather here can be very unpredictible. Enjoy your time here. It is is trully a beautiful place to ride!

  16. #16
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    I visited my grandpa in AZ some years ago. We took the trip up to Jerome (in his truck, ofc). It was absolutely beautiful but if I recall correctly the terrain was absolutely brutal. Very steep climbs. Those who live in AZ can probably give you better info, but I don't think I would want to make the trip to Jerome on a loaded bike.
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  17. #17
    Training Wheel Graduate twodeadpoets's Avatar
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    From what I remember from living in Prescott, riding over Mingus Mt from the north is indeed steep with loads of switchbacks while coming from the south/Prescott isn't as bad, that said it's still a bit of climbing, just not as bad. This is usually typical terrain though (north route vs south route). Headed back up from Sedona to Flag though, there's a bit more steep climbing.
    "Ride Like an Orca!" ~tdp
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  18. #18
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    April would be the cusp of anything north of Flagstaff,

    I did it in the end of may and it was broiling in the desert.
    Not saying you can't do it but dam hot with not a lot of water options. No shade either so bring a hat and sunscreen.

    I remember vividly sitting on top of the Mountain looking down the into the desert cringing at the thought of that.

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