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11 Awesome Sedona ATV Trails [Video]

Sedona ATV Trails

View from Schnebly Hill Road – Madjag | Flickr

Schnebly Hill Road OHV Route

  • Length: 11.8 miles total (one way)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Usage: Heavy
  • Permits required: No
  • Street Legal Required: None
  • Trail Surface: Rock, gravel, sand, hard pack
  • Drive Time: 1-2 hours  
  • Vehicles Allowed: ATV, SxS, motorcycles, full size
  • Forest Road: 153
Schnebly Hill Road Trail Map - Sedona ATV Trails
Schnebly Hill Road Trail Map

Most people run this route from east to west, but it can also be run in the opposite direction. Views are excellent either way.

Route starts just east of the busy center of Sedona off of Hwy 179. You can find the trail head almost directly across the road from the Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village.

Follow the 4×4 road though the mountains all the way to Hwy 17.

This is one of the more popular Sedona ATV Trails. It’s popular with tourists as well as the local Jeep tours.

Not only does it reward drivers with stunning red rock views, it’s higher elevation in the Coconino National Forest provides some escape from the hot summer weather.

Schnebly Hill isn’t technical, but it is bumpy with lots of ruts. You’ll drive over some exposed rock and will need to take your time to make sure you don’t bottom out, so overall it’s rated moderate.

Schnebly Hill Road OHV Route
Schnebly Hill Road OHV Route – Trevor Huxham | Flickr

It’s also popular for the free dispersed camping along the trail. The best camping is at the start of the trail before it becomes increasingly rocky. The first 3 miles is where you’ll find the most attractive camping areas.

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The first mile is easy enough for RVs and trailers. Plenty of big rigs camp nestled in the trees. The Forest Service allows for 14 day stays in free dispersed camping areas.

On weekends, this route gets plenty of visitors, but on weekdays it clears out.


Best Guidebook For Sedona ATV Trails

This is the book we use and recommend for Sedona.

It covers most of the trails here with detailed trail descriptions for Schnebly Hill Road, Broken Arrow Trail, Outlaw Trail, Vultee Arch, Powerline Trail, Soldier Pass, Cliffhanger and Diamondback Gulch.

Check Price


Broken Arrow Trail Sedona
4×4 on the Broken Arrow Trail

Broken Arrow Trail – Sedona AZ

  • Length: 13.4 miles total (6.7 miles out and back)
  • Difficulty: Advanced 
  • Usage: Heavy
  • Permits required: No
  • Street Legal Required: No
  • Trail Surface: Hard pack, gravel, rock, slick rock
  • Drive Time: 2-3 hours  
  • Vehicles Allowed: ATV, SxS, motorcycles, full sized
  • Forest Road: 179F & 179E
Broken Arrow OHV Trail
Broken Arrow Trail 4×4 OHV Trail

Broken Arrow is also one of the most popular Sedona ATV trails. This short but sweet trail gives you an excellent view of the mountains, mesas and red rock that makes Sedona famous.

This trail has some tight turns, slick rock, uneven surfaces and some steep declines and is rated as advanced.

Definitely not for the faint of heart or total newbies. A good fun ride with some challenges such as a steep rock stair descent for experienced drivers.

People drive this with full sized vehicles which is actually more difficult than an ATV / SxS, but can still be done.

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Because this is such a beautiful trail, you won’t have it to yourself, it’s popular with tourists and locals alike. The jeep tour companies take this route too, so expect company.

Broken Arrow OHV Route

Broken Arrow Trail at Sunset

Outlaw Trail

  • Length: 11.2 miles (lollipop loop)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Usage: Heavy
  • Permits required: None for driving, but required for visiting ruins
  • Street Legal Required: No 
  • Trail Surface: Packed dirt, gravel, exposed rock  
  • Drive Time: 1 hour (allow extra time to visit the ruins)
  • Vehicles Allowed: ATV, SxS, motorcycles, full size
  • Forest Road: FR 525 / Loy Butte Rd / Red Canyon Rd – FR 9549 – FR 9551
Outlaw Trail ATV Trail In Sedona
Outlaw Trail

Outlaw Trail starts off of Hwy 89A. You head out on FR 525 / Loy Butte Rd and circle back on FR 9549. Technically, FR 9549 is the Outlaw Trail, but it makes sense to do this as a loop.

The Outlaw Trail rewards visitors with all the best that makes Sedona famous: serene open desert, red rock formations, mountain views and preserved Native American ruins.

Overall this is an easy ATV trail on a packed dirt/gravel surface, but there are a few more difficult sections that kick the rating up to moderate. The more challenging sections include exposed rocks, steep climbs and descents with some short shelves to navigate.

Stock vehicles travel this route regularly, but you’ll want to be sure you have high clearance to traverse the rocky sections. It’s possible to bottom out.

This is a popular route with the Pink Jeep Tours, so you definitely won’t have the place to yourself. But despite the potential crowds, this is coincided a “must drive” when in Sedona.

There are a couple very old Indian Ruins off this trail that you should make time to visit. Driving the Outlaw Trail is free, but a visit to the ruins requires a Red Rock Pass or America the Beautiful Pass (National Park Pass).

The Honaki Heritage Site is located right on the trail, while the Palatki Heritage Site is a short jaunt off the main route. These two cliff dwellings were the home to the Sinagua people between AD 1150 – 1350. They’re the largest cliff dwelling in the region, home to a once thriving community.

These two cliff dwelling are open 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. seven days a week. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Located in the Coconino National Forest, there are some opportunities for dispersed camping.


Ranch Loop

  • Length: 6.5 miles (loop) 
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Usage: Moderate
  • Permits required: None
  • Street Legal Required: No
  • Trail Surface: Hard pack, gravel
  • Drive Time: < 30 minutes
  • Vehicles Allowed: ATV, SxS, motorcycles, full size 
  • Forest Road: FR 525C/525A & FR 761/761B
Ranch Loop ATV Trail Sedona
Ranch Loop

Trailhead is FR 525, the same starting point as the Outlaw OHV route. It starts off of 89A, about 10 miles southwest of the center of town.

If you’re looking for a fun short outing without a big skill or time commitment, this is it. You can run this route in 15 – 20 minutes and still have time for lunch.

This short but sweet route takes you through the desert on an excellent hard packed surface with some gravel.

As far as Sedona scenery goes, this trail won’t knock your socks off, but it’s beautiful in it’s own way. The views are primarily open desert with a lot of scrub brush, low rolling hills and distant views of the mountains and mesas.

You’ll drive through a few sandy washes, but that’s about as challenging as it gets. High clearance is recommended.


Smasher Canyon

  • Length: 3.5 miles total (one way)
  • Difficulty: Expert
  • Usage: Moderate
  • Permits required: None
  • Street Legal Required: No
  • Trail Surface: Bouldering, steep shelves
  • Drive Time: 5-7 hours
  • Vehicles Allowed: Highly modified 4×4 rock crawlers required (NO stock vehicles) Minimum requirements: 33″ tires and locking differentials
  • Motorized Trail: #88
Smasher Canyon ATV Trail
Smasher Canyon

The fact that this trail is only 3.5 miles long and takes 5-7 hours to complete gives you some idea of the difficulty involved.

One way traffic only.

33″ tires are a minimum requirement, but larger tires would definitely make the going easier.

This trail is rated as very advanced. It’s a bit deceiving as it starts out fairly easy. Things start getting serious at about the half way mark.

A skilled spotter is required.

You’ll need the equipment and nerves to tackle endless large boulders. The most difficult section of the trail is a steep climb up a waterfall shelf. (The trail is essentially boulders and shelves)

Most obstacles have a couple lines you can choose from, so you can choose between difficult and CRAZY difficult, but there are no go arounds.

Smasher Canyon. Excellent write up from a guy that did it in a Jeep with 32” tires (smaller than recommended). The write up is from 2015, but it’s very detailed with lots of pictures.


Vultee Arch Route on the way out to Devil’s Bridge

Vultee Arch

  • Length: 4 miles total (2 miles out and back)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Usage: Heavy
  • Permits required: No
  • Street Legal Required: No
  • Trail Surface: Hard pack, sand exposed rock, shelves, ledges, slick rock
  • Drive Time: 3-4 hours   
  • Vehicles Allowed: ATV, SxS, motorcycles, high clearance full size
  • Forest Road: 152
Vultee Arch off road route - Sedona AZ
Vultee Arch

This is an out and back route with a small turn around area at the very end.

The road is rutted and rough in places, but not technical. Most drivers with a 4×4, high clearance vehicle would feel comfortable tackling this drive.

There are a couple rocky bits, but overall the trail is mostly easy with a touch of moderate 4×4 adventure thrown in.

Along the way are a few trailheads for some well known hikes including the very popular Devil’s Bridge – one of the more popular hikes in Sedona.

Due to the popularity of the Devil’s Bridge hike, there are a lot of hikers on Dry Creek Road (FR 152) at the start. The Forest Service road tries to discourage hikers on the OHV route, but to no avail. They’re everywhere!

After the parking area to Devil’s Bridge, the hikers clear out and are no longer an issue.

Excellent Hikes Along Vultee OHV Road

A side trip out to Van Deren Cabin is worth the trip if you have the time. The last section of the road on the way to the cabin has a bit of 4×4 action – it’s pretty tame and very short, but fun.

This trail is not recommended during wet weather. You drive through washes and some natural drainage areas that can become dangerous when the water is flowing.


Casner Mountain Sedona ATV Trails
Casner Mountain Trail – Coconino National Forest, Ariz. | Flickr

Casner Mountain Trail No. 8

  • Length: 7 miles one way (14 miles if done as out and back)
  • Difficulty: Advanced (steep grades, rocky terrain, one way traffic in places)
  • Usage: Light
  • Permits required: No permit required for ATVs under 62 inches wide. OHVs wider than 62 inches will need to apply for a free permit in order to get the gate code.
  • Street Legal Required: No
  • Trail Surface: Old lightly maintained Jeep trail
  • Drive Time:  4-5 hours
  • Vehicles Allowed: ATV, SxS, motorcycles, full sized (stock vehicles not recommended)
  • Motorized Trail: #8
  • Open: Mid-May – Mid-October (with permit)
Casner Mountain map Sedona ATV Trails
Casner Mountain OHV Route

GPS:

  • South Trailhead (via Sedona) (Map): 34°55’07.8″N 111°58’44.5″W
  • North Trailhead (via Woody Mountain Road) (Map): 34°59’09.8″N 111°56’46.1″W

Not a lot of people find their way to this short but sweet trail located 17 miles west of Sedona. This old Jeep trail takes you through the beautiful red rocks of the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness, Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness and Verde Valley.

The trail is 7 miles long with gates at both ends. In good weather, it can be done as a one way from the north or the south. However, during the winter, FS538B above the northern gate is closed. So, during winter this route has to be done as an out and back.

Originally built to maintain the power lines, this old road now provides multi-use opportunities for hikers, bikers and off roading motorized use.

With a steep ascent and narrow switchbacks, you eventually make your way to the top of the mesa where you will be rewarded with sweeping views in all directions.

This route is rated very difficult with steep grades, narrow sections and steep drop offs.

Definitely not for beginners with a fear of heights as the drop offs are very scary.

The road is lightly maintained with some hard packed surface and some rough rocky patches.

ATVs (and motorbikes) less than 62 inches wide:

  • No permit required
  • Year round access to lower portion of ride
  • Top portions of ride are closed in winter
  • Road is always blocked with a locked barrier
  • Smaller ATVs are legally allowed to enter this trail by going under or around the barrier
  • There is year round access between the FR 525C/9529 intersection at the bottom of the mountain and FR 538B at the top. During the winter, do not pass the gate at FR 538B as it is closed for winter and dangerous conditions may be present. Upper trails are closed during the winter.

ATVs (OHV/Jeeps/Trucks) more than 62 inches wide:

  • A permit is always required
  • Permits are free
  • Apply well in advance, as permits may take 2- 6 week to process
  • Must have between 3 -10 vehicles to qualify for a permit
  • No more than 25 people per group
  • Only 22 permits are issued per year
  • Permit holder will be given the combination for the road barrier
  • Only one permit is issued per week
  • Permit season runs mid-May to mid-October
  • For spots May 11-July 26 (Weeks 1-11), reservations begin March 2, 8:30 a.m. by calling 928-203-2912.                        
  • For spots July 27-Oct. 11 (Weeks 12-22), reservations begin May 18, 8:30 a.m. by calling 928-203-2912.       

US Forest Service: Casner Mountain Trail

Here’s a write up of the Casner Mountain Trail done by a group of Jeeps: Casner Mountain Trail: A Changing View. It’s an older article, but worth a read. Lots of pictures.


  • Forest Service Website: West Sedona OHV Routes
  • All OHVs (residents & non residents) must have OHV decal View Rules
  • Nonresident OHV Decal: $25 + processing fee
  • Sedona has a fairly mild winter but they do get snow
  • December – January temperatures are in the low 60s
  • June – September temperatures are 90 -100s (not ideal for riding)
  • Best time for riding the Sedona ATV Trails is Spring and Fall

Red Rock Pass

  • Daily: $5
  • Weekly: $15
  • Annual: $20
  • Most of the parking areas in and around Sedona require a Red Rock Pass (or America The Beautiful Interagency Pass, Golden Age or Golden Access), this includes National Forests and Oak Creek Canyon.
  • The Red Rock Pass also gives you access to the heritage sites.
  • The pass must be displayed in the windshield of the vehicle or you could get a ticket.
  • If you have a National Park Pass, you can get a free Red Rock hang tag from a Visitor Center or at the Red Rock Ranger District.
  • You don’t need a Red Rock Pass for riding the Sedona ATV Trails, but you do need one for parking at a lot of trailheads and heritage sites.

Powerline Trail

  • Length: 6.5 miles total (one way)
  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Usage: Light
  • Permits required: No  
  • Street Legal Required: No
  • Trail Surface: Hard pack, gravel, exposed rock, shelves
  • Drive Time: 2-3 hours
  • Vehicles Allowed: ATV, SxS, motorcycles, full sized
  • Forest Road: 9524
Powerline ATV trail in Sedona AZ
Powerline Trail

Powerline and Casner Mountain are connected, but actually considered 2 separate trails. Powerline is rated difficult, but it’s easier than the Casner Mountain Trail.

On Casner Mt., a highly modified vehicle is required, but Powerline Trail can be done by most stock high clearance 4×4. Experience is still required!

In September 2020 a big fire ripped through this region which resulted in a temporary closure.

Powerline OHV trail is a bit further from Sedona, off the beaten path, so it doesn’t get nearly the volume of traffic as some other routes. Plus, it’s a more challenging route, so that also helps keep the traffic down.

Most of the trail is on hard pack with gravel, but there are some exposed rocks and shelves to navigate which gives it an advanced overall rating. You’ll want a high clearance 4×4 to navigate the more difficult sections.

As the name would suggest, you’re traveling a powerline road, established for building and maintaining the overhead powerlines.

Doesn’t sound too sexy, but it’s actually a lovely OHV route. Remote, rugged and beautiful, drivers will be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding red rock canyons.


View from Soldier Pass

Soldier Pass Trail

  • Length: 2.5 miles total (out and back)
  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Usage: Light (only 12 motorized permits issued per day)
  • Permits required: Yes, Soldier Pass Motorized Use Permit – $6.00 non-refundable permit
  • Street Legal Required: No
  • Trail Surface: Hard pack, gravel, exposed rock, slick rock
  • Drive Time: 1- 1.5 hours
  • Vehicles Allowed: ATV, SxS, motorcycles, full sized high clearance 
  • Forest Road: FR9904 
Soldier Pass off road route in Sedona
Soldier Pass ATV Trail

Short on mileage – big on scenery.

Technically the pass is free, but it costs $6.00 to make a reservation. In government world that’s free. In my world that’s $6.00.

Access to the pass is through a trailhead parking area. This is a popular hiking area with lots of traffic and cars.

Sometimes cars are backed up waiting for a space to open up. This can make getting to the gate a hassle.

An early start will help you avoid this mess.

Soldier Pass is a short rough road through a cypress forest with spectacular red rock views. This road provides access to some popular Sedona landmarks including Devil’s Kitchen Sinkhole and Seven Sacred Pools.

The park service only issues 12 motorized use passes a day for Soldier Pass. You can apply up to 90 days in advance for a permit. Each vehicle will need it’s own permit. Permits are available year round.

There’s a gate which requires a combination to unlock. When you print out a copy of your reservation, it will have the gate lock combination on it.

Forest Service Website: Soldier Pass

Excellent Forest Service Maps

Sedona OHV Routes

Travel Map Coconino National Forest

Cliffhanger

  • Length: 6.5 miles total (one way)
  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Usage: Moderate
  • Permits required: No 
  • Street Legal Required: No
  • Trail Surface: Rocks, sand, slick rock, gravel, technical rock crawling
  • Drive Time: 3-4 hours (depending on if you tackle the full “T”  
  • Vehicles Allowed: ATV, SxS, motorcycles, full sized
  • Forest Road: 9845 – 9845A – 9845H – 9845N
Cliffhanger offroad route Sedona
Cliffhanger Route

Cliffhanger is sometimes called the Oak Creek Homestead Trail.

This is a T shaped trail. You go in on 89A and exit on Red Rock Loop Road.

True to it’s name, this difficult trail travels along some very narrow dodgy cliffs with some technical rock crawling.

If technical rock climbing on the edge of a cliff doesn’t sound like a good time then this isn’t the drive for you. If you’re not experienced or are afraid of heights, then this isn’t the drive for you.

You’ll have to navigate rocky ledges, sections of exposed rocks, steep climbs/descents and some bouldering.

Hike to Oak Creek for a quick dunk if the weather is hot. There is a gate to stop vehicles from driving right to the creek.

You used to be able to drive to the water and actually ride through the creek, but it seems like the park service has put an end to this.

Don’t have an ATV, but still want to experience the Sedona backcountry, check out Sedona Offroad Adventures. They offer an open air Hummer ride of Cliffhanger.


Diamondback Gulch

  • Length: 6.1 miles total (loop)
  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Usage: Heavy
  • Permits required: No  
  • Street Legal Required: No
  • Trail Surface: hard pack, gravel, exposed rock
  • Drive Time: 1 hour
  • Vehicles Allowed: ATV, SxS, motorcycles, full sized
  • Forest Road: 152A – 9513 
Diamondback Gulch ATV route
Diamondback Gulch Trail

Short but sweet OHV trail. Can easily be combined with the Outlaw Trail and/or Ranch Loop for a full day of riding. These trails are within a mile or so of Diamondback Gulch.

With a bit more driving you can also easily make it to Powerline and Casner Mountain.

It’s not the sexiest Sedona ATV trail, but it’s popular enough for a Pink Jeep Tour.

One of the big draws is that it’s an advanced trail without too much of a time commitment.

This route travels primarily through the open desert hills over steep rocky hills with distant views of the mountains. It’s quite beautiful in it’s own way, but not the “best of the best” when compared to other Sedona ATV trails.

Most of the route is pretty easy travel on a hard packed surface. What kicks the rating up to advanced are a few steep hill climbs and descents on loose gravel with some drop offs.

Four wheel drive, high clearance and some previous driving experience are needed to tackle these more difficult sections.

FS 152 shouldn’t be attempted during the wet weather – portions of it can become slick and dangerous.

If you’re accessing this trail from Highway 89A, there are some nice dispersed camping areas that can accommodate big rigs. (Don’t camp here during the rain. It’s all dirt, so muddy as heck!) This is an excellent camping area for off roading with a lot of roads and trails in the region.


Motorcycle / Dual Sport Routes

Endurance / Dual Sport Routes In Coconino Forest


For more great ATVing in Arizona, check out Tonto National Forest ATV Trails Including Bulldog Canyon

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