Fruita

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 vehicles. 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 other days too, for children and women. People congregate outside the shop and then hop into every one's cars and go to 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 Trail's area.

Over the Edge ride

Information about where to ride is available at Over the Edge, 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 Kokopelli´s 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 if you 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 Ridge.


Mary's Loop

The most cycled trail in the area is Mary's Loop. It is a twisting, rocky, singletrack that roughly follows a contour line along the Horsethief Canyon.

There are plenty of slabs (‘slickrock’) and couple of sections that are rather technical.
It is a splendid ride.


Handcuffs

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. Great fun.

Elisabeth riding Handcuffs

 

Lions

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.
 

Mark Ridge

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

The 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. 

 Fixing a flat
 

 Bit of ‘slickrock’
 

 Undulating singletrack
 

 Along the rim of Horsethief Canyon
 

 ‘Slickrock’ and sand
 

 
Typical Fruita semi-desert
 
 
 
 
Climb a bike back to Mary's Loop
Kokopelli Trail
 
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.

 
Enjoying a twisty bit
 
 

 
High traverse above Salt Creek
 
 
 
 Troy Built
 
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 much singletrack.
 
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

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.

 

 Zippetydoda
 

 Frontside
 

 Zippety
 

 Zippety
 

 Zippety
 
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
 
 Little Park Reserve 

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.
 

Gunny Loop

Gunny Loop

Colorado National Monument

The 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.




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