Adventuring as a family is what we live for right now. So when it came time to pack up the van with the kids and the bikes and hit the road for Sedona, we were all pumped for the trip. We are a family of 4, with two kids: Sloane (5) and Jack (2.5), plus one on the way. All of us were first-timers to the area, so we did a bit of research beforehand to decide which trails we wanted to ride and hike. After some long days in the car, we were awed by the towering red mountains covered in evergreens.
Riding was a top priority while we were there, especially family rides since I’m pregnant and not looking to hit any gnarly trails for a bit. We managed 3 rides all together in Sedona – using the shotgun seat with Jack (his favorite) and the tow rope on occasions with Sloane.
On our last day there, we started a hike up Long’s Canyon, when we noticed a few groups of mountain bikers passing us. Immediately we turned around- cause why hike when you can bike?! We set the kids up and headed out again.
Sloane managed her way uphill almost completely solo in the red dirt – loving it. Jack would get mad at us for any stop, yelling “Go! Go!” in standard toddler fashion. “Fast” was another word he frequently squawked at us. Both kids were in the zone. But naturally the downhill was the best part.
Sloane killed it going down, leaning back on the rocky sections and feeling so proud of herself.
Whoops and shrieks of joy were called out by all of us on the way down. All of the groups we passed just lit up seeing a few happy kids on bikes loving life. Jack was all smiles, getting the speed he craves but can’t quite accomplish yet on his balance bike. We ended the outing with ice cream, because it makes everything better.
After Sedona, we headed through Flagstaff on our way out towards home. We had a short window to stop at Fort Tuthill Bike Park (a high priority on our trip list), before making our way to the Grand Canyon. The park is blanketed in massive perfectly straight pines, with pump tracks, rock features, bridges, berms and jumps all peppered throughout. It was gorgeous. My husband Tyler and I could not believe there was almost no one there, in such an epic spot!
Jack wanted to be on his own bike this time, so we let him do his thing. He was hitting tree stump bridges and wood slat bridges, blowing our minds with his bravery at these brand-new-to-him obstacles. The little guy had perfect confidence and even wanted to do some really sketchy features while we spotted him. He thought all the wood planks were train tracks and was so thrilled, being a big train guy at the moment.
Sloane wanted to try one line with a small lip off a boulder onto another boulder. So, Ty helped her a couple times before she decided she was ready on her own. As parents, we were beaming to see her progress. I told her I’d do the line next, and when I got up to the top I couldn’t believe she was willing to try it! It was way scarier looking from the top, and being 4 months along I’m not quite as bold as normal. I made it down fine, but with more respect for my daredevil 5 year old and her unreal bike skills.
As Jack started melting down into a two year old tantrum, we made our way back to the van. We realized we had biked so long at this awesome park that we’d be making it to the Grand Canyon right after sunset. Even though we had been excited to see it, we had no regrets about missing it. We’ll definitely be going back that way eventually, and those memories made while biking are precious to us. It’s hard work at times but always worth it getting out on adventures with our kids.
Story and photography by Krystal Wares.