Grand Junction and Fruita, Colorado - Just a jaunt east from Moab - Part 3

Jul 6, 2012 at 0:01
Jul 6, 2012
by Sharon Bader  
 
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The American South West is HUGE. If offers many great places to ride and camp that is different from our wet coast. Maybe that's what keeps us going back. While Moab is awesome there are many different areas worth checking out. One of those is the Fruita /Grand Junction area. These are two towns further east along the I-70, about an hour and a half drive from Moab, that offer a different style of technical desert riding. Just before the Bookcliffs and Grand Mesa's heading towards Denver is an area with many different styles of trails.

Fruita is home to the now 17 year old Fruita Fat Tire Festival. Grand Junction, a 20 min drive East, has a network of great trails in its own right. You can easily spend a few days riding in this area, but we're just giving you a sample of what they have and just featuring some new additions to the trail network.

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Fruita has three main riding areas all described here: Rabbit Valley; 18 Road and the Kokopelli loops. Grand Junction has one main area - the Lunch Loops.

It's worth noting that even though these trails are well signed and marked, sometimes it can be hard to figure out the best way to link the trails. If you're short on time or you want to maximize the fun factor consider hiring local knowledgable guides like Sarah and Dave of Desert Rat Tours.

The Fruita and Grand Junction trails are maintained by Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association ( COPMOBA). If you want to show your appreciation for Fruita trails and want to make a donation visit this website

Kokopelli Area - Fruita

Characterized by technical ups and downs the Kokopelli area has a new addition to the Mack Ridge trail. With this new section you can create an epic, technical climbing loop with the other uber technical trail Moore Fun. Remember what goes up technically also goes down, technically... This area offers some of the best technical riding in the American South West.

For a story on Pinkbike about riding in Fruita and Grand Junction CO in the Western Slope area of CO

Sight lines are great here and you can see the trail twisting before you.


For a story on Pinkbike about riding in Fruita and Grand Junction CO in the Western Slope area of CO

The views of the Colorado River along this ride are spectacular. Here Sarah and Dave starting the Ridge part of Mack Ridge.


For a story on Pinkbike about riding in Fruita and Grand Junction CO in the Western Slope area of CO

This area does a great job of marking trail intersections so you can always figure out where you are going. Lions Loop that way!


For a story on Pinkbike about riding in Fruita and Grand Junction CO in the Western Slope area of CO

One issue for this ridge trail was getting off it again and creating a loop. Some creative trail design and construction was used.. Luckily Dave helped build this crux move, so he can show you the line


For a story on Pinkbike about riding in Fruita and Grand Junction CO in the Western Slope area of CO

Back at Desert Rat HQ in Grand Junction we enjoyed the sun and warmth


18 Road

We didn't get a chance to ride in the 18 Road area mainly due to sheer laziness. Greg Mazu of Singletrack Trails is a professional trailbuilder based in Fort Collins, CO who's done a significant amount of work in the Fruita/GJ area. PBR is his new creation. The Pumps Berms and Rollers add another dimension to the flow of 18 Road:



Lunch Loops - Grand Junction

Not to be outdone, the Lunch Loops in Grand Junction have their own style of technical trails. Holy Cross will make you work both up and down, fortunately punctuated by fast flowy sections. This area is always getting new work and new variations to older trails. The local Grand Junction trails are so good that we've spoken to more than a few people who've specifically moved to the area and taken jobs here just for the riding.

In 2007 the BLM made a huge step towards accepting mountain biking by allowing the construction of a DH specific mountain bike trail - Free Lunch. Local freeriders (of course) want more, but this will hopefully be something on which more trails and more challenge can be built.

For a Pinkbike story about riding in Fruita and Grand Junction CO in the Western Slope region of CO

Lunch Loops Parking Lot. This area is becoming so popular they had to enlarge the parking lot! Despite that riders spread out pretty quick.


For a Pinkbike story about riding in Fruita and Grand Junction CO in the Western Slope region of CO

Desert Single Track


For a Pinkbike story about riding in Fruita and Grand Junction CO in the Western Slope region of CO

There are even technical climbing options as well as tight, rocky twisties!


For a Pinkbike story about riding in Fruita and Grand Junction CO in the Western Slope region of CO

Lee getting technical


For a Pinkbike story about riding in Fruita and Grand Junction CO in the Western Slope region of CO

Sarah picks lines


For a Pinkbike story about riding in Fruita and Grand Junction CO in the Western Slope region of CO

Chillin' back at the van


More pictures, videos, maps and information can be found here.

Thanks for following us on this 3 part tour of the American South West, we will be back.

-Lee and Sharon
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15 Comments

  • + 6
 If you live in BC and regularly wonder why/how anyone would ride a rigid singlespeed 29er, take a visit to Fruita. Trails are wide open and super buff. My monster AM bike was absolutely overkill for everything I rode in Fruita a few years back. It's a whole other world down there that's for sure!
  • + 2
 4 years back when a buddy said he was moving to Junction, I said I'd never heard of it. He then said it was next to Fruita. Super excited I told him I was going to be his new roomie because I had heard soooo much about Fruita. It must be MTB mecca!? In the last 4 years I've been there 5-6 times at MOST because Junction trails are that much more technical and fun. Fruita is for Roadies and weasel-squeezing, leg-shaving, XC pussies... That said, I can't wait to move out of this oven to somewhere with trees. It's been over 100 degrees for the past month here. Hasn't rained in almost 3 months. F that...
  • + 1
 Fruita is fun as a change of pace. It's pretty buffed out so you need to ride it more aggressively to really enjoy it. Horsethief Bench can be challenging to get down and Moore Fun has to be one of my most favorite technical trails out there. That being said GJ is way better than Fruita. So much more technical riding and way more fun.
  • + 3
 I LOVE moab... but from a riding perspective, i think this beats it. Just my opinion though
  • + 1
 yes and no.. Moab isn't my favorite, GJ beats it as far as trails go in my opinion.. its just so different from anywhere else, hard to compare.. I just spent a week riding the wet, rainy, muddy NW and Canada and love the trails, but couldn't handle the weather..
  • + 2
 As far as weather goes, I feel Europe suffers from the same problem, but when the sun is out... It's amazing. I would choose Swiss alpine singletrail over desert any day. And this coming from an American that lives in Switzerland whose ridden both...
  • + 2
 Next head to Eagle Co and get up hardscrabble, world's greatest etc.. Then on to Vail pass. So much riding out Co and Utah. It's like my happy place.
  • + 1
 I live in Eagle. I ride right out my back door onto singletrack. Life is good here!
  • + 2
 No Ribbons; no Horsthief Bench? I hope you got to ride them just didn't get them on film!
  • + 1
 Was in grand junction, fruita, and Moab just a few short months ago. Enjoyed every minute there. Next I would like to something about the kanab area, gooseberry Mesa, maybe?
  • + 1
 Here you go - www.pinkbike.com/news/south-west-utah-trip-2010.html - frontpage from 2 years ago
  • + 0
 I lived in Fruita and Grand Junction for nine months... Soooo happy they're getting more recognition, because this is where I truly became addicted to mountain biking!
  • + 0
 GJ has some of the best desert riding in the country.
  • + 0
 Grand Valley=Best trails in Colorado.
  • + 0
 See*

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