The Trail House is a swanky destination for hikers, mountain bikers, trail runners, and even bird watchers.
I’m straddling a rental mountain bike and perched at the edge of a massive drop over boulders in Sedona’s Boynton Canyon. Mountain biking isn’t really my thing, so my heart is thumping.
What if I crash and knock out all my front teeth? I force a shallow breath and look across the little valley where my guide is waiting patiently on the other side. He waves and his advice rings in my ears: Point your front wheel like an arrow and you’ll never go wrong. I grip the handlebars, point my tire, and float to the other side of the cliff back to him. Just like an arrow.
It was the culmination of an adventure that had started hours earlier on the front steps of Enchantment Resort’s Trail House. A new addition to the Sedona, Arizona, resort, this 4,100-square-foot building houses gear retail and rental space, interactive maps of the area, and a menu of guided experiences on 300 miles of nearby trails.
Enchantment Resort is one of Sedona’s most luxurious hotels, where guests go to unwind and heal at the spa and in private Southwest-style casitas and suites (starting at $349 per night). But the resort also leverages its stunning red-rock backdrop and is known as an adventure epicenter.
Trail House at Enchantment Resort
Flooded with natural light, the Trail House’s centerpiece is a topographic model of the area in front of a screen playing adventure footage, shot by Chris Burkard. Wall-size maps show the various hikes and rides, plus their difficulties based on incline and distance.
The 5.4-mile Cockscomb Loop Trail is rated as easy, whereas the 11.5-mile Wilson Mountain Trail is ranked as strenuous. Other placards on the walls teach me about the flora and fauna, landmarks and vistas, and history of the resort’s surroundings and Native American traditions.
In another room is a candy shop for gear-lovers. Hydration packs, hiking boots, trail shoes, and resort-exclusive bike jerseys adorn displays. The retail space offers equipment and gear from brands like Mammut, Patagonia, Cotopaxi, SCARPA, CamelBak, and more. There’s also a station for bike rentals, fitting, assembly, and consultations.
Outside on one patio is a selection of mountain bikes from Pivot Cycles and e-bikes from Trek. On the other patio is a gathering space for non-pandemic times. During the cooler months, it’ll transform into a hot spot for post-ride drinks and chatter.
My guide, George “Bike Chief” Miraval, is part of a team of 28 expert guides who cater tours for hikers, mountain bikers, and trail runners. Miraval helped establish the mountain bike trails in Sedona and is the resort’s only Native guide.
He’s mindful of the best spots for photos, he points to landmarks and tells me a little bit about each, and he reminds me to drink water. He’s also a really great teacher for an amateur rider like me. I’m told that each guide has years of experience and incorporates education into their trips, helping guests acquire new skills and knowledge during their epic excursions.
Some of the special hikes you can select include the Boynton Canyon Yoga Hike, Native American Teachings Hike, Bird Watching Hiking, and The Hangover Experience — a half-day hike with up to 2,500 feet of elevation change.
Some of the rides you can choose are Biking Under the Stars, E-Bike Road Sunset and Photo Tour, and Family Adventure Mountain Biking. You can also book private mountain bike lessons.
Enchantment Resort: Thrill & Chill
If you’re looking to splurge big on a vacation that fosters tranquility as well as an immersion into extreme sports, put Enchantment Resort and its Trail House on your list. Someday soon, I’ll be back to test my newly honed mountain biking skills. And maybe then I’ll also indulge my sore muscles at the spa.
At $349 a night, it’s not for everyone. The resort is definitely less dirtbag than Gucci bag. But for those who can afford a luxury getaway — even for a night or two — the Trail House offers the opportunity to get some scratches on shins and dirt under nails (before a cleansing spa session).