Go Play: Grand Valley singletrack not to be missed | PostIndependent.com

Go Play: Grand Valley singletrack not to be missed

Brittany Markert
A group of riders rest after a climb up Clunker in the Lunch Loop Trails system in Grand Junction, Colo.
Submitted Photo / Duane Lofton |



Palisade Rim — 8-12 miles, depending on if upper loop is done or not

Palisade Rim is not for the faint of heart as the initial climb features technical switchbacks and steep climbs. The climb — whether you attempted it on or off your bike — is worth it because once you reach the edge, the views are breathtaking. Continue on after a short break and turn left, which is recommended for better flow. It continues on for another mile and will come up to another intersection. Take a left for the upper section, which adds four miles of rocky terrain and exposure to the valley below. Take a right if you wish to stay on the lower loop and head back down. There are also petroglyphs on the right after the lower-loop connector, which you can enjoy with your eyes, but please don’t touch. Bring lots of water as it does get hot during the summer. There is no option for a bail out except to turn around.

Grand Mesa

Flowing Park — 14.5 miles

This trail is a great way to escape the summer heat or to enjoy the changing aspen trees in the fall. The trail meanders through open meadows and has sections of aspen and pine forests. There will be a split in the trail to head either left to Indian Point or right to Flowing Park loop. There are several rock sections, which will most likely slow you down. The trail is also nice because it is relatively flat with no major climbs. Flowing Park has nice views of Mount Sneffles, the La Sal Mountains and the Grand Valley. Be sure to pack water and snacks for a high-elevation picnic.

The Grand Valley features some of the best mountain biking in the country. It’s one of the only sports that provides great views, tests your mental and physical strength, and it can be a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

It’s also a sport that’s not very forgiving if done wrong. Many people shy away from mountain biking because of fear or the belief that they cannot do it. It’s quite the opposite actually, and it’s easy to find ways to start out slowly — with local bike shops and easy trails.

Yes, mountain biking is hard, but with enough determination and acceptance that you will fall, it becomes easier.


Easy: Western Zippity — 4.5 miles

Most people recommend this trail as a way to hop up to Zippity-Do-Da, but recently I rode this trail down and it was so much fun it is no wonder why they call it “zippity.” It is fast, flowy, and is 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” because it is so quiet and peaceful. Traffic is light on that side of the trail and leaves you to just enjoy the scene up close to the Bookcliffs.

Moderate: Joe’s Ridge — 2 miles

The only thing hard about this trail is if you are scared of ledges; it could be a challenge for you. This trail 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. Once you start going down, experienced riders are known for letting go of the brakes because the flow is so great. Be cautious as you ride and gain speed — a wrong twist in the handlebars could send you flying. It may be difficult, but stop and take a look around. The trail then leads into MoJoe, a recent addition to help connect down to the trailhead.

Hard: Zippity-Doo-Da — 2.5 miles

This trail is sure to make you scream Zippity-Doo-Da! It’s host to big climbs and big descents. These rolling hills provide you with a grin that will be hard to wipe from your face after getting to the bottom. The trail is not necessarily technically difficult, but it is steep and has a lot of exposure. It is just like a roller coaster and whips you down the trail. To finish, ride Kessel Run down for more fun.


Easy: Rustler’s — 3.5 miles

This ride was designed to help beginners fall in love with mountain biking. It starts with a steep climb, which even if you are experienced leaves you breathless. It then continues on to fun, swoopy singletrack. There are signs along the way to educate anyone on the tricks of the trade. The trail features great overlooks of the Colorado River. The finish is worth the climb as the downhill also features fast, flowy singletrack. It’s a good ride for those who need a warm-up lap before heading to longer trails. This trail is one that pleases and makes veterans of mountain biking fall in love all over again.

Moderate: Mary’s Loop — 8.5 miles

Don’t let the beginning climb scare you off. This trail is a great way to get some miles in and connect to other trails like Horsethief Bench and Wrangler. Mary’s is a must ride for the views and technical sections. The trail starts out with the long climb, which features some technical areas and double track. This is wide enough for people coming and going. The ride also has great views of the river and canyons. You can either turn around and ride Mary’s back to the trailhead or continue on the dirt road back as a cool down.

Hard: Moore Fun — 4.5 miles

Sure the name sounds like it will be a good time, but beginners and even intermediate/advanced riders beware — it may have you screaming other words. Depending on how much you want to punish yourself, you can ride either from east to west or west to east. Still curious? The downhill section is just as rocky, technical, and difficult. Frustrated? Don’t forget to stop and take a look around at the views of the Grand Valley. In the end, it is all worth it.


Easy: Ali-Alley Loop — .75 miles

Sure it may be short, but getting to this fantastic little loop helps add the miles. The trail features a drop-in that advanced riders should be able to accomplish. The short loop also features some easily done, technical sections and good views of other trails below, like Clunker (another easy, fun loop). You finish the loop a little lower than where you started, and you can continue onto Miramonte or Miramonte Rim.

Moderate: Holy Cross — 1.7 miles

Holy Cross gets its name from the wooden cross featured along the trail. It seems that cross was put there to bless area riders. It features fun drop ledges and steep, short climbs you will be praying to make it through. Be sure to continue your momentum going through the sections. It’s tight and twisty and has you venturing all around giant rocks. It will leave you with great satisfaction once you get to the bottom.

Expert: Butterknife — 6 miles

To get to this long downhill section, it begins from Twist-N-Shout. The trail is a local favorite and is a great way to test your skills going down. It is mentioned that if you don’t keep pedaling it could hurt you. The trail does descend, but it also isn’t enough to provide you with enough push to get through some of the technical sections. Keep in mind you are heading down, and what goes down must come up. The climb out is on a double jeep track so it is not technical, but it’s a grunt to get up (especially if you drink too much water). Remember to pack water, a snack and enjoy the views — and remember to have fun.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User