A fantastic Sedona loop close to a busy road | Native
Two Fence is a single trail that runs – wait – between two fences. The fence on the east side keeps the hoi polloi out of the gated community, with elegant multi-story ranch house spreads that you can see through juniper and cypress.
The Arizona Cypress Trail, as the name suggests, is a beautiful stretch lined with shaggy cypress trees. Displaced Californians like yours will not initially recognize these trees as cypresses. As in Point Reyes, the stately cypress trees form with branches that connect and blend into a canopy. Arizona cypress trees are fuller and have no tendency to flex and connect branches, but are still beautiful to look at.
The Girdner Trail, which you cover just under a mile early and a mile towards the end, is named after an old cattle family. There isn’t much else to say.
But then there’s the Anaconda Trail, a classic Sedona mountain bike trail. It twists and turns and snakes like – you guessed it – that particular type of amphibious boa. This is also the trail that allows runners and hikers to reach the highest altitude and get the best views of the nearby rock formations, but it’s not strenuous at all. That’s because at 1.7 miles the Anaconda Trail takes its time to gain altitude and is a distraction with its numerous sharp turns between manzanita, juniper, and cypress.
Attacking Anaconda from the southeast from its intersection with the Arizona Cypress Trail, as I did, means doing most of the climbing in less than a mile. It adds up to about 300 feet of elevation gain, enough to get your heart pumping but not put undue strain on your fitness. And the descent on the back of Anaconda isn’t too steep or rocky either, so your eyes can wander to the formations (Chimney Rock, Capitol Butte) without worrying about planting faces.