The Coconino 250 is a unique bikepacking stage race.
I rode the Coconino 250 as a shake down ride for the Tour Divide. It was only my second multi-day bikepacking trip, the first being the Kokopelli Trail. I learned a lot during my tour of the Coconino. The planning and research I did before hand went a long way in ensuring I had a fun and a successful trip.

This Coconino 250 Guide was put together for bikepackers looking to experience this amazingly diverse loop. My hope is this Coconino 250 guide will remove most of the barriers found when planning for such a trip. But also get you from the couch to the trailhead faster. As a result, this Coconino 250 Guide is divide up in simple sections to supply you with the needed information in easily digestible bites.

Where do you start?  This Coconino 250 Guide will give you all the tools you need to plan your own adventure on the Coconino 250 Loop.  It’s a condensed version of my bigger bikepacking guides, which include the Arizona Trail, Tour Divide and Colorado Trail. Happy planning!

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Stats

DISTANCE

250 Miles (402km)

DIFFICULTY (1-10)

7-8

Elevation Gain

28,000 Feet (8534m)

HIGHEST POINT

8898 Feet (2412m)

TIME REQUIRED

2—5 Days

% SINGLETRACK

44%

% UNPAVED

90%

Time of Year

Spring or Fall

Race Date

Oct. 18, 2019

Closest Towns to Start/Finish

Flagstaff, AZ

Race Records

Kurt Refsnider (2013) 1:06:52

Kaitlyn Boyle (2017) 1:07:22

Overview

The Coconino 250 is a loop created by combining some of Northern Arizona’s best trails.  The loop is actually closer to 240 miles and it consists of portions of Passages 29, 30, 31, 33, and 34 of the Arizona Trail, the red rocks of Sedona, an insanely hard HAB (Hike-a-bike) up Mignus Mountain, the arid desert landscape of the Verde River Valley, Walnut Canyon, Mt, Humphrey, and amazing riding through ponderosa forests around Flagstaff.

The Coconino Loop was designed by Scott Morris and Chad Brown. They created a wonderful loop with varying landscapes and challenges, highlighting some of Northern Arizonas best single track, jeep track and dirt roads. You get to enjoy a route that is almost 50% single track, and also produces a whooping 28K of climbing.

If the idea of Mignus Mountain HAB is not your idea of fun there is a Coco Lite, which utilizes what’s call the Mignus Bypass. Using forest services roads the Bypass skips Mignus and saves you the HAB. See the Resources section below for info on a GPX track.

The best time to ride the Coconino Loop is in the Spring or Fall, due to extremely hot weather during the summer months. Resupply is pretty straight forward and water is only an issue in a few areas.

Kokopelli Trail Bikepacking - kokopelli trail guide bikepacking

Route

PLANNING / RESUPPLY

Checkout our Google Docs for the Coconino 250 Loop.  You’ll find Water Charts and Resupply Lists with mileage, Mileage charts for both clockwise and counter clockwise travel, Gear Lists, Planning Checklist, and an Itinerary Planner.

To use sheets, please follow these directions.

  1. Use tabs on bottom to find the correct tab.
  2. Go to “File” in the drop down menu, and select “Make a Copy” and save it.
  3. Then make all the changes you want to your personal spreadsheet.
  4. Have fun planning your adventure and happy trails!

*This will ensure the next person after you sees the master version and not the changes you have made, if I were to open sharing to the document.

Also checkout my update version of the Cue Sheet.

WATER

Water is not a big issue on the Coconino 250 loop. With that said not every source is high quality or reliable year round. Be safe and bring a filter or some sort of purification with you. Water is listed on my Cue Sheet in BLUE to make it easy to find when scanning ahead.

Sources

Mile 0 – FLAGSTAFF

Mile 10.4 – Marshall Lake (usually dry)

Mile 31 – Mormon Lake – *off route 2.5 miles downhill

Mile 31 – Knights of Columbus Camp – possible water

Mile 44.3 – Spigot – *off route .25 miles

Mile 57.6 – SEDONA – *off route +/- 2 miles

Mile 58 – Circle K

Mile 67.8 – Oak Creek (First crossing)

Mile 71.4 – Oak Creek (Second crossing)

Mile 71.6 – Oak Creek and Red Rock State Park Visitor Center

Mile 87 – Dead Horse State Park

Mile 90.3 – COTTONWOOD, AZ (gas station on left)

Mile – 110.6 – Coyote Spring

Mile – 130.8 Verde River

Mile 168.9 – WILLIAMS, AZ

Mile 187.6 – Sycamore Canyon (possible water in creek)

Mile 197.8 – PARKS Feed and Mercantile (Texaco)

518 North Parks Road, Parks, AZ 86018

Mile 205 – Pilot Travel Center – *off route .8 miles

Mile 212.1 – Water tank

Mile 220 – Alfa Fia Tank – *200 yds west of trail

Mile 240 – FLAGSTAFF

FOOD

As you can see below, there are many options for food along the Coconino 250 loop. Be sure to check hours of operation before leaving for your trip as they can change from time to time. Food stops are listed in PINK on my Cue Sheet to make them easier to find when scanning ahead.

Mile 0 & 240 FLAGSTAFF – Full Resupply

Mile 31 – Mormon Lake – *off route 2.5 miles downhill

Mile 57.6 – SEDONA* – Full Resupply – * off route +/- 2 miles

Mile 58 – Circle K

Mile 71.6 – Oak Creek and Red Rock State Park Visitor Center

Mile 90.3 – COTTONWOOD, AZ – Full Resupply

Mile 168.9 – WILLIAMS, AZ – Full Resupply

Mile 197.8 – PARKS Feed and Mercantile (Texaco)

518 North Parks Road, Parks, AZ 86018

Mile 205 – Pilot Travel Center – *off route .8 miles

Transportation Services

Flagstaff is a city of about 72,000 people. As a result you have quite a few options when it comes to getting there. There is an airport, train station, and major bus lines. Below is a list of the services available.

List of Car Rental Companies at airport.

Parking

FLAGSTAFF

Parking in Flagstaff is tough. All of down town is metered and space is a premium. After a long and in depth search the best advice for parking is to park in a residential neighborhood or you could try Walmart or Target.

SEDONA

Personally I parked in the Bashas grocery store in Sedona, which I was told by an employee was okay to do. My truck was there for four days without an issue.

COCONINO 250 RACE

RACE

The Coconino 250 is actually a stage race. Consisting of 4 stages and 3 rest stops. The clock doesn’t run while racers are in a rest stop. In essence its 4 individual time trails (ITT) back to back. The idea behind this layout was to encourage friendships, lessen the physical demands on the riders, and try a new format.

Racers are encouraged to track their entering and exiting times to rest stop. You can find the start and stop locations for each stage by downloading the waypoints and GPX track.

Start Date:

Friday, October 18, 2019 at 7:00 am

Location:

The Place” 21 S Milton Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001.

Stage 1

Flagstaff to Sedona – 51.3 miles

Rest Stop #1 – Schnebly Hill Overlook

Stage 2

Sedona to Mingus Mountain – 49.5 miles (+1 mile to camp), 100.8 total miles

Rest Stop #2 – Mignus View

Stage 3

Mingus Mountain to Williams – 68.1 miles, 169.8 total miles

Rest Stop #3 – Williams, AZ

Stage 4

Williams to Flagstaff – 63.9 miles, 232.8 total miles (+/- 7 miles back to start from actually finish)

RULES 

Bikepack racing is usually not organized, is without entry fees or prizes (in this case the winner gets donuts), but there are a set of rules all bikepacking races follow.  The rules are put into place to create a level playing field for all those who participate.

*Note these rules are the general rules for bikepack racing and each event may have their own specific rules and they also change from time to time.  With that said it’s important you read and understand the official rules which can be found at the link below.

1. One must complete the entire route under their own power.

2. Outside support is not allowed.

3. No caching of food/supplies ahead of time.

4. No use of motorized transportation or hitch-hiking, EXCEPT for travel to hospital/medical care.

The following are allowed, but not encouraged. Please use sparingly.

5. Unplanned assistance from other racers is ACCEPTABLE.

6. Trail magic OK – but please, no begging or fishing (hinting).

7. Mailing resupplies ahead to Post Offices is ACCEPTABLE.

For full rules visit the Arizona Endurance Series.

No entry fee, absolutely no outside support 

SPOT TRACKING 

Though not required, riders and racers are encouraged to carry a Spot tracker. Due to the potential dangers of bikepacking in such conditions, one would be ill advice not to. Racers can sign up at Trackleaders.com one month before the race if they choose to.

SPOT HIRE 

Spot Gen3’s are available for rental from Trackleaders.com around one month before the start. Check Trackleaders or Bikepacking.net forums for information at that time.

MUST KNOW

  • Fantastically flowing Flagstaff trail system.
  • Sedona slick rock.
  • Mignus Mountain offers amazing views.
  • Walnut Canyon is a little gem.
  • Lack of clean water during Stage 1.
  • Only two on trail water source during Stage 2.
  • Potential mud if it rains in certain areas.
  • Mingus Mountain HAB
  • The Coconino 250 has ample water through the entire loop, with only a couple dry areas.
  • Food resources are well placed along the loop.
  • Fill up on food and water in Flagstaff, Sedona, Cottonwood, and Williams.
  • You can find a few more resources in between those listed above, just look at the “Planning/Resupply” section on this page.
  • Rest Stop 1 and 2 are both at campsites.
  • The rest of the the loop has plenty of camping opportunities.

DANGERS & PITFALLS 

  • Heat
  • Poisonous animals
  • Plants
  • Lack of water and resupply options
  • Strenuous terrain
  • Exposure
  • Remoteness of trail

PHOTOS OF THE COCONINO ROUTE

MORE RESOURCES

Read these next or checkout the main resource page.

Gear lists from the AZT, TD and CTR; Pros & Cons; Things I’d do different; and Tips.

Stony Pass - Colorado Trail - Bikepacking - Hiking - Colorado Trail Dispatches
Cold-Weather-Bikepacking-Craig Fowler-Colorado Trail-How to

CHECKOUT ALL OUR GUIDES

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