Back in September I blogged about the Great Circle Tour we did down in the Southwest. Due to time constraints we bypassed Flagstaff and Sedona, an omission I want to correct one day soon. However, in the meantime, my friends over at Motorcycle House and Viking Bags have offered up this review of State Route 89. I’m sorry we missed it but it’s now definitely on my must-ride list.
Flagstaff to Sedona – State Route 89A
Although Arizona's State Route 89A stretches an impressive 89 miles from Prescott north into Flagstaff, motorcycle riders will find the most fun along the 28-mile corridor that connects Sedona with Flagstaff. No doubt, the entire State Route 89A is easily ride-able in just over an hour (if you're obeying state speed limits, that is), but riders will find the most enjoyable section to be the latter, northern half of this journey. Motorcyclists from all over swear by this particular stretch of 89A, and some will even claim that it's the best ride in the West.
So what makes the 28 mile stretch between Flagstaff and Sedona that memorable? While you should really ride this section to find out for yourself, it should be known that Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon both lie along this path. The road through Oak Creek Canyon continues for about 13 miles until it empties into the town of Sedona, but not before a thrilling ride offering riders amazing scenery and many adrenaline-packed corners. The two make for some unforgettable riding experiences but it's what lies ahead that matters most. Of course, riders can opt to take it easy and enjoy the natural surroundings, as Slide Rock State Park is on the route as well. However, a series of hairpin turns encourages riders to push the envelope with their motorcycles and their bodies.
Just like any other public road, though, motorists, RVs and even bicycles find their way climbing the twisting roads of the Sedona-to-Flagstaff portion of SR-89A. During the summer months, the area is heavily trafficked with plenty of visitors, many of whom will be stopping along the way to soak in the natural surroundings. With that in mind, riders whipping through the turns should be aware that others like to play in this area, too.
For sport riders wishing to seek the ultimate thrills this is a true knee-dragging mountain road. As such you'll want full ATGATT for protection and a good appreciation of your, and your motorcycle's, capabilities. You don't want to come unprepared. Travelers who wish to relax and simply soak in the beautiful scenery can pack a bit lighter for comfortable riding in Arizona temperatures. You'll also want to carry some non-riding gear for when you're off the bike because the area boasts many great activities to enjoy on foot.
State Route 89A is a true paradise for Western motorcyclists, but really, it's a rider's dream no matter where in the world you live. If you can get your bike out there it's certainly worth a ride or three. Sport riders may wish to make the ride from Sedona to Flagstaff several times in one day as each time provides a new understanding of the pavement and the scenery. Likewise, casual motorcycle enthusiasts will enjoy exploring new opportunities with every mile they pass. State Route 89A is one of those must-rides in every motorcyclist's lifetime, and I don't mean just once. With one ride along the Sedona-to-Flagstaff section of 89A, you'll be hooked for life.