The Chasing Epic spring destination lineup reads like a bucket list of every mountain biker’s must-visit locations; honestly, that’s because it is. With Fruita (and Grand Junction), Moab, Sedona and St. George, we’ve got all the spring and fall riding you need for the rest of your life. That said, it can be overwhelming to look at these options and figure out which is the best for your personal riding style, when you don’t know anything about them other than what you can glean from pictures and trail info on MTB Project.
So we’ve made it easy on you; we’ve taken our four guided trip locations and broken them down into three main categories: Technical Difficulty, Stamina Level, and Intangibles. What are “intangibles”, you’re probably asking? Things like scenery, local bike shop support, mountain bike culture, etc.: all things that matter to an overall trip experience, but are tough to measure unless you’ve been there before. We’ve also given you each area’s “Signature Trails”, rides that are an absolute must-do at some point during each visit!
Remember though, these rankings are all relative: that’s to say we recommend our riders are at least intermediate-level or above, as you’ll get more out of the experience and have a much better time overall. Additionally, make sure you put in a whole lot of miles on your bike before your trip, as we’ll usually log 20-25 miles a day in each of these locations (sometimes more in St. George and Fruita), and you don’t want to bonk part-way through the ride!
Overall Technical Ranking (Difficult to Easy)
- St. George
- Fruita & Grand Junction
Overall Recommended Stamina Level (Difficult to Easy)
- St. George
- Fruita and Grand Junction
Intangibles (Highest to Lowest)
- Fruita & Grand Junction
- Sedona / St. George (tie)
Fruita and Grand Junction
On the whole, Fruita lacks the large climbs (and therefore descents) that you’ll endure in our mountain locations. That said, we’ll typically make up for a lack of vertical by putting in more miles, so be sure you can ride for a few hours before your Fruita trip. Some of our favorite rides in Grand Junction- mainly at the Lunch Loops- have a couple of legit climbs to get to the top, so it’s not all fun and games.
That being said, the technical riding in Fruita and GJ can best be described as “fun”. Sure, there are some challenging sections- but most of them are the type you’ll want to session over and over because they’re so cool. A true intermediate will have a blast in Fruita, with Grand Junction posing a little more of a technical challenge. Depending on your group, we can tailor your rides to include all-day 30 mile epics, or multiple fast, fun, technical blitzes.
In terms of intangibles, Fruita has two things going for it- the town and the scenery. While not big in stature, the town of Fruita supports mountain biking like no other. You’ll likely see twice as many bikes as cars on the main drag, and the TH’s are full of riders sharing stories and beer. The Grand Valley itself is beautiful, with views of the Bookcliff formations and sitting high above the Colorado River, offering a very unique riding environment. It’s a great combination!
Moab gets its top “technical” billing for a reason- the riding here can be beyond technical, but for the most part it’s challenging in a fun sense. There are rock drops, rolls, exposed ledges, and just about anything else you can think of; when the majority of the trail surface is rock and crushed rock, the possibilities for challenging trails are near endless. That’s not to say that an intermediate-level rider won’t enjoy themselves: nearly all of the technical sections have walk-arounds if you’re not feeling up to it, and if you want to get better, we can stop and session a feature until you get it right!
Moab also scores high for intangibles for two main reasons: scenery and the mountain bike culture. Sitting between Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, Moab is almost other-worldly. There are rock formations like you’ve never seen before, and the views will blow your mind. In town, the bike culture is strong. Despite typically being crowded, town has adventure-seekers from all over the world, coming for different recreational opportunities. That doesn’t take away from the bike scene, since mountain bikers tend to congregate in the same spots, at the same great bike shops. We’re super stoked to add trips to Moab for 2017, as it’s something everyone should experience multiple times in your life.
You’ll encounter everything mountain biking can throw at you in Sedona, so be sure to bring your A-game. That said, don’t be afraid to test yourself because the riding is super fun, and even the most technical obstacles can be ridden eventually. The trail surface tends to be a lot of squared-off rocks and ledges, crushed rock, and loose dirt; it’s the type of riding that will beat you down over four days!
There aren’t a lot of big climbs involved with the riding in Sedona, which is nice because it means you can save your strength for the punchy climbs and technical riding here. Sedona is best enjoyed by intermediate to advanced riders, although there’s something for everyone within the hundreds of miles of trails in the area.
Sedona’s intangibles include some of the most amazing scenery you’ll ever lay eyes on, with red rock towers surrounding town. Some of the trails were built with the views in mind, and it pays off as your jaw will drop to your handlebar when you see some of the viewpoints. The town itself is interesting, but can be overrun with day-trippers and folks visiting the Grand Canyon, so it’s tough to enjoy the qualities that make Sedona one of the more popular areas in the southwest.
St. George (and Hurricane)
The word that best describes the riding in St. George is “fun”. Technically, there aren’t too many impossible lines or challenges, and everything here is just plain fun to attempt. From the slickrock riding of Gooseberry and Little Creek Mesa to the rocky ledges on the Zen Trail, you’ll be in heaven. It’s safe to say that you won’t find mountain biking like this anywhere else in the country, if not the world.
Accompanying that is the fact that there aren’t a ton of steep, long climbs… which means we can put in more miles before you’re worn down and begging for the hot tub. Don’t be fooled into sitting around on the couch before your trip- you’ll still want to train hard to enjoy all the area has to offer. There are some decent climbs on trails like Sidewinder and the Zen Trail, but most of them don’t extend more than 15-20 minutes and 750 vertical feet.
The intangibles in St. George combine the beautiful scenery (it sits right next to Zion National Park) due to it’s location in a huge valley of amazing rock formations, and the fact that the trails are virtually empty. Sometimes it feels like we’re the only ones riding that day, and it’s a great feeling to have when you’re enjoying some of the best trails around.