Come Ride Colorado’s Grand Valley
Bookcliffs / 18rd Trails / North Fruita Desert
When asked what to ride first we always ask this question, “Do you want flow, or do you want scenery?” Bookcliffs-18rd Trails have the flow! Perfect ribbons of single track with banked corners and poppy, playful little jumps abound.
Generally, 18rd is snow free by the first of March most years. Summer riding is very hot, but the mornings and evenings are often nice and cool off quickly. The season at 18rd often ends sometime in late November or early December. Please understand that when 18rd is wet, its soil is a bentonite clay that is similar to peanut butter and concrete mixed together.
A roughly 40% expansion of trails in the North Fruita Desert! We targeted all ability levels, noting especially the need for more trails at the beginner level and for children. We've also tackled the massive camping and parking issue. AND the big news for many! eBikes are now legal at 18rd!
Kokopelli Loop Trails/Loma/Mack
The Kokopelli Trail System, also known as "Loma" and or "Mack" is where beautiful scenery meets amazing riding. This system of stacked, single-track loops is also the start of the 142-mile trail that goes from Loma, CO to Moab, UT. However, the trail system is packed with many days’ worth of single track riding, just a few miles from the town of Fruita. Beginner to advanced single-track is literally stacked on top of each cliff band overlooking the Colorado River.
The Koko trail system is similar to the North Desert, but it has more sand and rocks. This allows certain trails to be ridden sooner after rain than other trail systems. Rustlers Loop, Mary's Loop to the Pizza Point Overlook, and Horse Thief Bench all dry rapidly after a rain event. The general season for the Kokopelli Trail system is March through early December. Hawkeye Trail dries out the slowest of all the other trails in this system.
You should do a lot of internet research or hire a tour operator to help you accomplish this very large goal. We sell three specific maps for this route which you should buy even if you have the trail apps on your phone. These tour providers are well regarded and are set up to handle this type of trip.
Some notable changes in the Koko system over the last few years are the addition of Hawkeye Trail, Extending Wranglers, and decommissioning of some of its old roads. Steve's Loop was extended and the road section was also closed. Moore Fun has a "Lower Moore Fun'' section which cuts out a chunk of suffering. In bigger news, this trail system is in the early stages of expansion planning! Ebikes are not currently legal at Kokopelli.
Lunch Loop/Tabeguache/Third Flats/Bangs Canyon
A spider web of steep, gnarly, rocky single track that will keep the most advanced riders on their toes. We love helping people plan rides in this trail system so they don't climb the routes that are meant to be descended.
Generally the lower trail system is rideable from early March to late November each year. The higher elevations of Third Flats and Bangs Canyon can retain snow or get snow much earlier depending on the year. This trail system has a lot of the Bentonite Clay mud that we described in the 18rd section. Don't ride Lunch Loops when wet!
Within the classic trail system there aren't a ton of new trails in the last 5 years, but the area above Lunch Loop, up Little Park Rd, are a lot of new trails. The Butterknife Trail is at least a decade old at this point, but many of the 50" wide ATV trails around it are new. Especially for eBikes, this area is a gold mine of new rides. Second Thoughts, Twist and Shout, Quad Rocker, Art Cooks View, and many others are all super fun rides that can be linked with Butterknife. Windmill Singletrack is a new trail best accessed by climbing the Tabeguache Jeep trail from Bangs Canyon Parking Lot and descending all the way to the Gunnison River. 22 miles long and roughly 3000ft of elevation gain - it is hard for many even on an ebike!
EBikes, as of Summer 2022, are not allowed within the main Lunch Loop trail system.
When asked for a third day of riding we always ask. “Do you want something really technical, or something easier with amazing scenery?” Rabbit Valley is a moto-legal, multi-use area that straddles the Colorado and Utah border. The system's premier trail, the Western Rim, winds along the bands of red cliffs above the Colorado River. It's one of the most visually striking trails on the planet. The area isn't overly technical in whole, but has "technical moments" that will keep you on your toes.
Most years, RV is riding great in late February and will shut down due to snow in early December.
Have you ridden the Zion Curtain? If not, you should! Have you ridden all the trails off of the West Water exit? If not, try the Westwater Mesa Loop to Arch Loop. It's fantastic and the natural bridge (ARCH!) is really cool. And... eBikes are legal on all the trails in the Rabbit Valley and Westwater systems.
Palisade Rim and The Palisade Plunge
The Palisade Rim and the newly built Palisade Plunge is, in two words, STEEP and SCARY! If you start at the bottom and climb up the Palisade Rim Trail you will not get a warm up on this technical, mind melting section of trail. Is it all worth it? Of course, because you get to come back down what you climbed up. But if you suffer from vertigo, be warned, this trail is not for you.
Starting at over 11,000ft in elevation on Grand Mesa this trail takes you from the chill of the mountains to the heat of the desert. It's long, arduous, technical, and full of exposure. It's a trail put where a trail was never meant to be! It's a mountain bike trail, built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. It's not easy, nor is it all downhill. It's a trail that you will never....ever....forget!
The Palisade Plunge Trail is only open from mid June through September most years. It also has virtually no bailouts once you cross Lands End Road. After that you are fully committed and it just gets more challenging from that point on! Bring gallons of water and a personal rescue beacon. You were warned! The Palisade Rim Trail is similar to the other trails in the valley, being rideable most years from March-October. This end of the Valley gets a bit more snow than others.
Turkey Flats/Pinion Mesa
Oops, I came to Fruita when it's 100 degrees outside! You need to beat the heat by riding our closest high elevation trails. Turkey Flats, Haypress, Reservoir and Black Pine will all give you a ride above 9000ft in elevation. You'll be cruising through Aspen trees and crossing babbling streams. You can even take a swim in the many lakes if you can handle cold water!
Most years these trails are mostly snow free the first week of June. They'll be open until the first big storm of the Fall shuts them down. Normally this happens in late September or early October.
Sooo, tell me more about these other places I should ride that are a bit further from Fruita. I want to expand out from the Center of the Universe...
Monarch Crest is a bucket list ride. Late June-September. Other rides in the area are world class as well.
Trail 401, Doctor Park, Dyke Trail, Lupine, Reno-Flag-Bear-Deadman, Teocalli, Deer Creek...The list can go on and on....
Free lift access from town! Yea, seriously. From the top of the lift, ride any number of DH trails, or keep climbing into the wild mountain wilderness. Too many trails to list.
Phil's World is a must ride bucket list trail system, as well Sand Canyon, which is the only trail in the world that is like riding through Mesa Verde National Park.
This town is home to many pro cyclists and multiple trail systems full of world class riding. This was also home to the very first World Championship race in the 90's and has also hosted the Single Speed World Champs race which our store owner Ross Schnell won in 2009!
Be sure and ride Vitamin B, if you like technical riding. If not, the Colorado Trail runs near town and it has flow for endless miles.
Lift accessed downhill riding is available at many Colorado Ski resorts. Our favorites are Winter Park, Steamboat Springs, Snowmass/Aspen, Keystone near Breckinridge and Powderhorn near Grand Junction.
Hartman Rocks! This is one of the first higher elevation trail systems to melt out in the spring and is ebike legal!
Check out the Whole Uncolotta, a massive shuttle ride off of the top of the Uncompahgre Plateau
The RAT Trails are super fun and open a bit sooner in the Spring then other high elevation mountain towns.
This is basically the corridor from Glenwood Springs to Aspen Colorado. Prince Creek, Red Hill, Government Trail. Just to scratch the surface…
Check out the ebike legal and super fun Grand Hogback trails…
What's to say?! Most Moab trailheads are around 2 hours or less from our shop. Easy day trip!
BIKE Magazine once called this town the next Moab. Sadly, or thankfully it has not become the next Moab, but the trails are totally worth a trip. McCoy Flats is similar to our 18Rd trail system and Red Fleet Trails are similar to our Kokopelli Trail system. Rojo on Red Hill is a rippin DH run and in the Summer The Flume Trail will get you out of the heat.
Where? What? Yea, Richfield! Who knew? Lots of people are discovering this hidden gem.
Uhhh, could this be any more obscure than Richfield? Well, yes! This town is as rural Utah as you can get. A group of High School NICA racers established their own trail building company a few years ago and they have been busy building trails all over the surrounding hills and mountains near town. While not bucket list worthy yet, things are happening!
When it's too hot in St George, head for Cedar City. Two newer trail systems have popped up in the last few years around this small Utah town. Shurtz Canyon/South View and the crazy granite wonderland of Three Peaks.
When it's too hot in Cedar City to ride, head up the mountain to Brian Head. They have a lift-accessed bike park as well as days of riding on their mountain single-track trails. Check out the Virgin River Rim Trail, Blowhard, Bunker Creek, Dark Hollow and others.
While not really near any town, the Thunder Mountain Trail is as close as you can possibly get to riding your mountain bike through Bryce Canyon National Park. This visually stunning alien landscape will blow...your...mind!
This is Utah's version of Crested Butte. It's a mountain town with a bike park and endless miles of Wasatch Mountain riding!
Where? Yea, not a town you've heard of, but check out Goodwater Rim. The "Little Grand Canyon" of Utah.
Saving the best for last, if you haven't checked out the riding in southern Utah you are missing out on yet another bucket list location. It's no coincidence that we also have an Over The Edge store in Hurricane. Check in with our brothers and sisters down there and they'll steer you towards the best they have to offer.
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