Fruita, Colorado: The Perfect Fall (and Spring) Mountain Bike Vacation
Fruita has been an “up and comer” on the list of bucket-list mountain bike destinations for the last several years, and in our opinion, it’s reached the upper echelon right besides such classics as Moab and Crested Butte. What’s great about Fruita, is that for spring and fall riding, you aren’t going to find a more perfect climate to ride from sun-up to sun-down, on more trails than you can shake a stick at!
This past fall, we spent a few days riding the trail networks in and around Fruita (and Grand Junction). We like to think we maximize our fun time, you can use this as a guide of must-rides in the Fruita area. If you join us for one of our 2016 Fruita trips, you’ll surely ride one (or all) of these trails as part of your vacation itinerary.
Day One: Palisade Rim
Often overlooked due to its location, Palisade Rim is a must-ride at least once (or twice!) during a long weekend. It’s conveniently located east of Fruita in Palisade, about 30 miles away; perfect for a stop on your way to/from the Front Range. Once you’ve climbed a little bit, the views down onto the bookcliffs and Grand Junction are incredible.
It’s not all about the views, however- the riding itself is incredible. Fast, flowy singletrack followed by technical sections, and enough exposure to get you a little nervous too!
Later on Day One: 18 Road Trails
Since Palisade Rim only takes 2-3 hours- depending on how often you stop and admire the views- there’s plenty of time to get in an evening ride. We recommend the North Fruita Desert 18 Road trails. There’s a reason why this trail system is world-famous… from Zippity Do-Da to PBR, you can have fun out here for hours. Our plan of attack is to always ride a couple hours before sunset, so you can ride when it’s nice and quiet. Oh, and the sunsets are drop-dead gorgeous.
When the sun starts to dip below the horizon, the colors of the desert really come out.
It doesn’t get much better than chasing the last light of the day on Lower Kessel Run!
Day Two: Loma/Kokopelli Trails
Anyone who’s been to Fruita knows of Mary’s and Horsethief Bench, since they’re at the beginning of the Kokopelli trail and are some of the best trails around. Sure, but if you do a little exploring, you can find an entire network of awesomeness off the Loma Exit. A Horsethief loop is a must, but make sure you check out Steve’s Loop, Mack Ridge, and Troy Built too. Heck, come back a few times and do them all!
Dropping into Horsethief is a section that’s sure to make everyone pucker a little bit. No, we don’t recommend you try this at home.
Day Three: The Ribbon and Lunch Loops (Grand Junction)
Riding in Grand Junction always makes sense on “getaway day”, as it’s on the way back to Boulder so it makes leaving a little easier. There’s a vast system of trails in Grand Junction called the Lunch Loops, and we’ve only begun to explore them. This section is a little short on pictures because we were too busy riding, but here’s a departing shot from The Ribbon to leave you wanting more.