Mesa County bike trails: 18 Road, Fruita
Getting there: As you cruise through miles of farmland on your way to the trailhead, you’ll be reminded that Fruita is a tale of two happily coinciding communities — farming and riding. There are several ways to get to 18 Road, depending on which way you’re coming from. If you’re in Fruita, get on Maple Road and head north out of town for about 4 miles. Hang a right on N 3/10 Road until you hit a “T” intersection. That’s 18 Road. Follow it north to the singletrack promised land.
Trail talk: We’re calling this the 18 Road area. But when you start talking to locals, you’ll find they also refer to it as the “North Fruita Desert” and “The Bookcliffs.” Who cares what it’s called! All you need to know is this area — created by a group of locals in the mid-1990s — is singletrack at its best. Take a day, two days or set up camp and stay awhile. Some folks never leave. The elevation varies from 5,300- to7,200 feet, and skill level ranges from easy to difficult. It’s miles of singletrack for your pleasure.
Distance: 28-mile loop
Difficulty: Intermediate to Difficult
The dirt: Thinking about biting off a multi-day trip like Kokopelli or Tabeguache? You might start by spending a day on “The Edge.” It gets you on top of the Bookcliffs and allows you to soak up the site of the mountain-biking heaven below. It’s long, it’s remote, it’s beautiful.
CHUTES & LADDERS
Distance: 7 miles
The dirt: If you want 7 miles of pure fun, this is the trail for you! After climbing up Prime Cut, you’ll see a steep, intimidating hill with a trail attached to it. That’s the start of Chutes & Ladders. The trail is considered expert for its tricky climbs, technical mini-sections and short up-hill jaunts. It eventually turns into fantastic downhill — sweet, smooth, swoopy riding for nearly 3 miles. Once you wipe the gigantic grin off your face, you’ll take a short trip across the desert and land back at the trailhead.
Distance: 10.5 miles
The dirt: Be prepared to climb, but you know what climbing means — killer downhill fun. Views at the top are incredible.
Distance: 4.5 miles
The dirt: Most people recommend this trail as a way to hop up to Zippity-Do-Da, but it’s a fun ride in itself. Western Zippity is fast, flowing and it’s sure to leave a smile on your face. If you take Frontside to Western Zippity from the top, it brings you to the west side of Zippity-Do-Da, which seems like “no man’s land” due to its peaceful solitude and proximity to the Bookcliffs.
Distance: 2 miles
The dirt: Ledges are the biggest challenge on this trail. Joe’s Ridge is caught by riding up either the road or Prime Cut and heading west. It leads to a small climb, which is where the fun begins. Experienced riders are known for letting go of the brakes in this section to enjoy the trail’s natural flow. Be cautious as you ride and gain speed — a wrong twist in the handlebars could send you flying. Don’t forget to stop and look around. Joe’s Ridge leads into MoJoe, which helps riders connect to the trailhead.
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