Fruita has become
quite famous as a mountain bike Mecca. It is even said to surpass Moab
and to have more interesting trails and less motorized off-road
We did not go to Moab so we can not really compare. We found Fruita
excellent, though a bit too hot in late August. Compared to the other
places we biked in Fruita was low at only 1370 m.
|The hub of the mountainbike scene in Fruita is a bike
shop called Over the Edge.
All employees seemed to be elite level
cyclists: the kind of guys to whom bunny hops and wheelie drops are
second nature. Over the Edge arranges group rides on Thurdays; and on
days too, for children and women. People
congregate outside the shop and then hop into every one's cars
one of the mountainbike areas by car. Over the Edge also sells a
specially designed bike called the Edgecycles.
Essentially, they are Titus frames adapted to Fruita conditions.
We went on one of their rides and had great fun in the Kokopelli
the Edge ride
Information about where to ride is available at Over
they distribute a map, and give hints about where the best trails are.
We camped at a
camping place, close to the Interstate 70, it was almost
German, clean, efficient, not too exciting, but with a small pool and
hot showers. Most campers were on long journeys across the continent
and only stayed for a night. An abandoned cat, Mangy, took to us, not
so strange as we fed it, and soon moved into the front end of our tent.
|For neighbours we had Joe and Judith who were also cyclists.
Joe had set out to ride the Continental Divide but got bored. He
thought it was too much dusty fire roads, too little singletrack, and
not very much fun. So they reconsidered and opted to head for the
places renowned for good singletrack instead.
Kokopelli´s Trail Loops
The area with the
best trails is called
Trail Loops. There is some really excellent twisting technical
singletrack. It is all very well organized. To reach the area one has
to bike 10 kilometres from Fruita. It is next to a place called Loma.
At the trail
head are signs, a loo, etc. The area consists of a ridge between the
I-70 and the Horse Thief Canyon on the Colorado
River. A lot the
riding is on ledges that follow the canyon and on plateau's, or
prefer flat top mountains, above the canyon, with sharp drops. There
are also a couple of trails that follow high ridge lines: e.g., Mark
Handcuffs is a loop that takes off from
Mary's Loop. Most of Handcuffs is a tight singletrack that winds
along the edge of the perpendicular drops of the Colorado River gorge.
Elisabeth riding Handcuffs
Lions is a continuation of Mary's loop, it
traverses the scree of the hill sides that fall to the Colorado River.
It is also great fun.
The Mark Ridge climbs a ridge with fantastic views. Then, it
descends towards a saddle close to the frontage road. Some bits
are rather technical and fun.
Horsethief´s Loop is a loop on a flat plateau below Mary's
Loop. The descent down to it is extremely technical. All bikers we saw
carried their bikes. Though in one of Pete
Fagerlins videos a guy can be
seen riding it. It is just 10 meters or so that are next to impossible.
Down on the plateau is a most wonderful twisting trail that
goes along the edge of the Horsethief Canyon, with
the Colorado River flowing far underneath. There are a few meters in a
couple of places where one has to hike-a-bike.
Climb a bike back to Mary's Loop
The Kokopelli trail
is the name for yet an extension of Mary's
Loop and Lions. It also appears as Troy Built Loop on some signs and
maps. Its is a twisty singletrack winding its way to the Salt Creek
valley. The Kokopelli continues across it and all the way to Moab.
a twisty bit
traverse above Salt Creek
|Troy built is a continuation of the Kokopelli Trail, which
takes off west, that goes back to the frontage road. There are some
slabs and a technical bit. Great fun!
Salt Creek in the background
|The Kokopelli Trail,
named after a flute playing Indian mythological being, goes from Loma
to Moab. It begins at the frontage road and the first leg is
Mary's Loop, followed by Lions, Kokopelli and Troy Built. It
continues on the other side of the Salt Creek entering Utah. The first
2 kilometres on the other side is singletrack. Then, it follows dirt
roads, until it reaches the outskirts of Moab´s trail system. It
may be a great desert ride, highly enjoyable in some seasons, but not
Book Cliffs MTB Trails
Book Cliffs is a
completely different area. It consists of the southern slopes of the
Book Cliffs. The area is approximately 15 kilometres north of Fruita.
The trails in the area have largely been constructed for
mountainbiking. Some of them are great fun.
Zippety Loop climbs from the parking via Zippety Doda and
Western Zippety, traverses the slope on the Frontside Trail, and then
it is downhill along the crest of a scree ridge. Scenery is
exceptional, the riding outstanding, with some pretty technical rolls.
Chutes and Ladders
Chutes and Ladders is
another loop. It begins on
the slopes east of Zippety, goes through some technical and fun
sections, and then makes a fast descent on a narrow path. The
surrounding dessert vegetation is very beautiful.
This part of the trail one is careful to stick to the trail. By a
corral one turns right on to Edges and Chutes, also marked as the
Vegetarian Loop on some maps, and follows an easy, fast singletrack
back to the parking.
Chutes and Ladders
Fast downhill Chutes and Ladders
A third mountain bike area is in the Little Park Reserve, two
kilometres south of Grand Junction. As the other areas it is pretty
desert like, all rocks, scree, and boulders, with sparse vegetation. We
only rode one trail, the Gunny Loop, which was a fine singletrack.
Colorado National monument is an area with amazing rock formations.
It has been declared a national wilderness area. To ride a bike through
it costs five dollars. One can only ride on the road. The place is
exceptionally beautiful. So, although it certainly is not
singletrack, I include a few pictures. Riding there we could not
help finding the restrictions on cycling absurd: If they really cared
the motor road should be shut and replaced with a singletrack.