Monday, October 21, 2013

Fruita, Colorado - Mountain Biking

Roger and I joined a group of people from Salt Lake City Mountain Biking Meetup for a weekend of riding in Fruita, Colorado.  While the slickrock trails of Moab receive most of the mountain biking attention, nearby Fruita in western Colorado has become another must-ride location with a variety of different trail types.  The popularity of Fruita was evident with full campgrounds and crowded trailhead parking lots.

North Fruita Desert trailheads at the end of 18 Road

We camped at the North Fruita Desert Campground on Friday and Saturday night.  Although we arrived late on Friday night to a full campground, some other riders in the group arrived earlier in the day and saved a spot for our tent.  Had the campground been totally full, there was a free overflow camping area on the right side of the road that did not looked crowded and not nearly as nice.

Camping at North Fruita Desert Campground

We decided to ride the trail network near the campground on Saturday.  The area, called 18 Road, or the Bookcliffs, is located several miles north of town at the end 18 Road.  There were plenty of single track trails starting from the main parking lot and winding through the open desert and rolling hills.  We generally ascended using the Prime Cut Trail and did several descents on Kessel Run, Zippity Doo Daa, and Chutes and Ladders.  The majority of the trails were rolling and fun with little in the way of technical features.  Chutes and Ladders offered some challenging spots near the top but the majority of the trail was smooth riding.

Near the top of Prime Cut at 18 Road

Edge Loop at 18 Road

 Great views on Western Zippity at 18 Road

Ascending Prime Cut at 18 Road

The town of Fruita is great and offers plenty of options for eating and drinking after a good day of riding.  We had a great dinner at the Hot Tomato Cafe and finished up with some beer at the Tap Room.

Hot Tomato Cafe in Fruita - yum!

 Bike art

Fun art in town

We spent Sunday riding at the nearby Kokopelli Trail network.  We did the easy and scenic Rustlers Loop, followed by a portion of Mary's Loop to the Horse Thief Bench Trail.  Although there were some technically difficult spots on Horse Thief, the trail was my favorite of the trip.  There were fantastic views of the Colorado River and a few patches of scenic red rock to give the place a southern Utah feel.  There were fewer people on this trail as well, making for a more relaxed and peaceful ride.

 View along Rustlers Loop at Kokopelli

 Rustlers Loop at Kokopelli

View of the Colorado River on Rustlers Loop at Kokopelli

Roger on Horse Thief Bench at Kokopelli

 Horse Thief Bench at Kokopelli

Lunch break above the Colorado River on Horse Thief Bench at Kokopelli

Some great information about the Fruita area can be found at Over The Edge Sports, along with important information about protecting this beautiful place.