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World-class desert trails in the Grand Valley

Diana Grodnick

World-class desert trails in the Grand Valley

Mountain Biking Collection by Diana Grodnick

17

Tours

25:10 h

171 mi

13,650 ft

Are you in the mood for world-class, dry and dusty desert trails? Then the Grand Valley in the west of the US state of Colorado is the place for you. Fruita, Grand Junction and Palisade have a dense network of great singletrack.

When the first mountain bike trails were built in the Grand Valley – in Fruita to be precise – in the 90s, there were just a handful of people who wanted to ride them. Today it's different: the trails are known worldwide and are visited by over 100,000 mountain bikers every year.

In this Collection of Tours, I show you the most beautiful trails in this area. The routes are suitable for mountain bike newbies and experts alike. They're a colourful mix: From easy and family-friendly to technical and extremely challenging, everything is included.

The 17 Tours in this Collection are spread across the following trail areas, each of which has its own unique charm:

1️⃣ Kokopelli's
2️⃣ Bookcliffs (18 Road)
3️⃣ Lunch Loops
4️⃣ Palisade
5️⃣ Rabbit Valley

The best seasons to visit the Grand Valley are spring and fall, when temperatures are most pleasant. It’s also possible to bike here in the other months, but it’s extremely hot in summer and very cold in winter. Be aware that the trails are not passable when wet.

If you like to spend the night outdoors, you have plenty of options: There are free campsites in the Rabbit Valley, as well as low-cost camping options in the Bookcliffs and Colorado National Monument.

Mountain biking in the Grand Valley is incredibly diverse, so you'll never get bored, even if you've been here a few times like me. In addition, new trails are constantly being built, such as the 50-kilometre (30 mi) long ‘Palisade Plunge’, which was only opened in 2021. So, get on your saddle and ride the dusty trails of the Grand Valley. You won't regret it, because this mountain bike area is simply world class!

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Mack Ridge & Lion's – MTB Trails in the Grand Valley

    Easy
    01:49
    12.0 mi
    6.6 mph
    975 ft
    975 ft
    Easy mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Do you fancy great single trails in the Kokopelli trail system? Then take a closer look at this tour. In addition to a first-class panorama of the Colorado River, you can expect high-quality single tracks that are among the best far and wide.

    

    It starts at the Kokopelli Trailhead. For the first four kilometers

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  • Easy
    01:43
    11.4 mi
    6.7 mph
    875 ft
    875 ft
    Easy mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This round is perfect for everyone who is taking the Kokopelli Trail system under their studded tires for the first time. You will explore the classics Mary's and Steve's, both of which are not particularly difficult and offer magnificent views of the Colorado River.

    

    It starts at the Kokopelli Trailhead

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  • Easy
    01:16
    8.01 mi
    6.3 mph
    775 ft
    775 ft
    Easy mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This loop is known for its hard entrance, the so-called Horsethief Drop-In. The choice of line over the huge, blocked steps is crisp and not obvious at first glance. Only the best of the best make this job. Everyone else prefers to push a bit.

    

    Once at the bottom, a beautiful single trail loop begins

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  • Difficult
    01:13
    7.71 mi
    6.3 mph
    750 ft
    750 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    If you are looking for technical trails with that certain something, then take a closer look at this round. One of the most difficult trails in the area, Moore Fun is particularly popular with mountain bikers who like to break their teeth on tricky obstacles.

    

    It starts at the Kokopelli Trailhead. Trail

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  • Easy
    01:02
    6.63 mi
    6.5 mph
    625 ft
    625 ft
    Easy mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Enjoy a fantastic and incredibly enjoyable ridge trail nicknamed Zippety Do Da. Plus, the view is spectacular - if you can take your eyes off the trail while riding.

    

    It starts at the North Fruita Desert Trailhead. After a leisurely climb on Prime Cut, you cross 18 Road and branch off to Frontside. A little

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  • Easy
    01:00
    6.54 mi
    6.6 mph
    575 ft
    575 ft
    Easy mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This round is pure flow! With a single track share of 100 percent, it is a must in the 18 road trail system. It is also ideal as a beginner's tour for those who are here for the first time.

    

    You start at the trailhead and climb up Prime Cut. This narrow path is so entertaining that the 130 meters in altitude

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  • Easy
    01:42
    11.6 mi
    6.9 mph
    775 ft
    775 ft
    Easy mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Are you looking for a longer loop with a few uphill challenges? No problem, you'll work up a sweat in a few places on this loop. Promised!

    

    It starts at the North Fruita Desert Trailhead. On the Western Zippety you gently gain altitude until you branch off to Frontside. A couple of really crisp hairpin

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  • Easy
    00:48
    5.22 mi
    6.5 mph
    500 ft
    475 ft
    Easy mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Don't miss Joe's Ridge when you're in the 18 Road Trail area. This fine ridge path was built in the 90's and is still a real gem today!

    

    You start this round at the North Fruita Desert Trailhead and crank yourself and your bike up the entertaining uphill trail Prime Cut. Once at the top, cross 18 Road

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  • Easy
    00:40
    4.25 mi
    6.4 mph
    425 ft
    425 ft
    Easy mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Wow, what an awesome roller coaster ride! PBR meanders through the bushes like a finely crafted pump track.

    

    You start this fun loop at the North Fruita Desert Trailhead and crank up the uphill trail Prime Cut. After a little more than three kilometers and 130 meters in altitude, the time has come.

    

    The

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  • Difficult
    01:01
    6.34 mi
    6.3 mph
    700 ft
    700 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Hallelujah, the Lunch Loop trail system in Grand Junction is just awesome. The area consists almost entirely of rocks and is simply world class. Anyone who loves technical trails will have fun here.

    

    On this round you take the Holy Cross Trail under your studs. It starts at the Tabeguache Trailhead. Then

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  • Difficult
    01:24
    8.20 mi
    5.9 mph
    1,125 ft
    1,125 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    This round isn't very long, but it's still tough. Get ready for a technically demanding tour on which you maneuver your bike over countless unique rock formations. Eagle's Wing is one of the most difficult trails in the entire Lunch Loops trail system, which also offers a magnificent viewpoint.

    

    It starts

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  • Difficult
    00:49
    7.13 mi
    8.8 mph
    250 ft
    2,175 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    This tour is a must for all mountain bikers who have a soft spot for technical trails and spectacular landscapes. Look forward to high-speed passages, a few extremely tricky obstacles and a stunning panorama.

    

    Just let one of the local shuttle companies take you to the entrance of The Ribbon. Saddle up

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  • Intermediate
    01:58
    12.3 mi
    6.2 mph
    1,375 ft
    1,375 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This single track is just sweet. For the most part, it leads along a canyon edge and is usually very smooth to ride, but in between it is also peppered with technical refinements.

    

    It starts on Little Park Road, where there is a small parking lot. Ahead of you are 13 kilometers of the finest single trail

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  • Difficult
    01:35
    9.11 mi
    5.7 mph
    1,375 ft
    1,375 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    You can drive this loop from downtown Palisade or - like in this variant - from a small gravel parking lot right on the Colorado River.

    

    There you cross the street and turn onto a single trail. Ahead is a long, winding climb with a few tricky spots. The higher you get, the more beautiful the views become

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  • Difficult
    03:33
    30.6 mi
    8.6 mph
    775 ft
    6,700 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Wow, what an epic singletrack! The Palisade Plunge starts on the Grand Mesa plateau and, after almost 50 kilometers and more than 2,000 meters of descent, spits you out again on the Colorado River near Palisade.

    

    Opened in summer 2021, the trail is a mountain bike highlight in the Grand Valley that you

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  • Intermediate
    02:43
    17.6 mi
    6.5 mph
    1,600 ft
    1,600 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    Located in the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, Rabbit Valley is popular with motorcycle and ATV riders. But there are also some great opportunities for mountain biking.

    

    The trails in Rabbit Valley are primarily motorcycle trails and therefore have their very own charm. But don't worry: the

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  • Easy
    00:55
    6.87 mi
    7.6 mph
    225 ft
    225 ft
    Easy mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Highline Lake State Park is a great place for the whole family. Here you can swim, do a lap with the stand-up paddle board across the lake, explore the enchanting single trails or just chill in the shade.

    

    The Highline Lake Trail hosts the popular 18 Hours of Fruita endurance event, which draws hundreds

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    17
  • Distance
    171 mi
  • Duration
    25:10 h
  • Elevation
    13,650 ft

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