Tag Archives: Fruita

North Fruita Desert, 18 Road Trail System, Fruita, CO

Fruita desert

North Fruita desert

On our way through Fruita, Colorado Sharon and I rode and camped in the North Fruita Desert right next to the 18 Road trail system.  This area is the smoothest and most flowing in the Grand Junction / Fruita region.  My top two favorites are Zippity Do Da and Chutes and Ladders to Edge Loop. Joe’s Ridge and Zippity Do Da both offer fast steep exposed trail that goes right down a ridge line.  It looks intimidating and sort of is because of the speed you can carry, but the trail tread is smooth and most of the turns are nice, wide, sweeping and a little banked.  This whole trail system could be easily ridden in two days or one super epic day.  One day for everything besides the Edge Loop and one day for the Edge Loop.  The area is not without a few tough climbs, Prime Cut to Chutes and Ladders offers up a tough climb with multiple short steep pitches and a switchback or two.  The speed and flow are what make the campground and parking areas fill up.  This is a very popular trail system, because of its fun for everyone factor.

Riding the whole Edge Loop is something I have in my sights, as I just have not got a chance to yet.

Sharon here, adding my two cents since I had the opportunity to ride this trail system as well.  Kessel Run is the only trail marked as beginner and it is a ton of fun.  You can ride it in both directions and it is just made for a fun rollercoaster ride.  Kids love this trail, which can be a bit hard on the ego, but also inspiring to watch a seven year old girl flying both up and down the trail (while guys with big heavy bikes get their friends to shuttle them up the road).  I am also really stoked about the new trail we helped work on, Down Uppity.  You can get to it from Vegetarian (an easy but pretty boring connector trail) and it is a smooth easy route.  It is only harder than Kessel Run in terms of being up on a rise with a bit of exposure at times, but it is every bit as flowing.

Got Trail? Learning from COPMOBA

Fruita desert

North Fruita desert

Five hours after we put the trail tools back in the truck we finally got back from our trail building volunteer project with COPMOBA.  When I was a volunteer manager, I would measure the success of our volunteer leadership team by how late the volunteers hung around afterwards swapping stories and brainstorming new ideas.  After fixing a new trail at 18 Road in Fruita we spent at least 1 hour hanging out in the parking lot and then headed into town to grab pizza and a free beer at the Hot Tomato Cafe (a local restaurant owned by mountain bikers).  This is a very successful club with a lot to teach us.

Bike trailer used to haul trail tools, photo by Giselle Smith

Bike trailer used to haul trail tools, photo by Giselle Smith

For one, this club knows what it is about and they walk their talk.  Sustainable singletrack.  In their mission statement they are specific, they are about building and maintaining sustainable singletrack.  When we got to the parking lot on Saturday they were loading a Bob trailer with trail tools so that we could ride out to the work site.  WOAH, I thought, these guys are hard core and resourceful.  It sent a great message, as we rode our bikes out to the work site we passed recreational riders who saw the trailer hauling tools and knew what we were about.  We got a lot of thank yous during the day and a few questions from riders about how they could get involved.  Awesome!

COPMOBA receives grant from REI for Fruita trails

COPMOBA recently received funding from REI to build an interpretive mountain bike trail in Fruita

The trail we worked on was a new trail they had built with approval from the BLM (who owns the land).  As part of the 18 Road trail system they are building trails with good flow.  IMBA refers to this style as flow country trails which are designed specifically to take mountain bikers on a “singletrack joyride”.  I love this development in trail building because the trails are not prohibitively technical for beginner riders, but are fun for all levels.  We had the opportunity to fix two of the turns which had originally been built with an increasing radius and therefore would force the rider to slow down and turn in too tightly instead of being able to flow from one turn to the next.

COPMOBA Crew working on Down Uppity Trail, Photo By Giselle Smith

COPMOBA Crew working on Down Uppity Trail, Photo By Giselle Smith

The video below shows some of the trails in the 18 Road system:

COPMOBA crew working on the Lower Uppity, photo by Giselle Smith

COPMOBA crew working on the Lower Uppity, photo by Giselle Smith

Being on the trail with COPMOBA, I was reminded of proper trail etiquette.  18 Road is a busy trail system and we encountered a lot of riders.  Depending on how much we had torn up the trail, sometimes riders would need to wait till it was all clear and other times they would need to dismount and walk their bike through the section.  The COPMOBA members instructed riders to actually pick up their bikes so that they wouldn’t leave tire tracks beside the trail.  They also talked about the importance of riders sticking to the center line and not going off trail to pass or for any other reason.  It’s about sustainable singletrack.  They are going to build a trail that can handle a lot of riders, but the environment can only afford it if you can stay on that trail.

Jacob and Jay working on Down Uppity, photo by Giselle Smith

Jacob and Jay working on Down Uppity, photo by Giselle Smith

Grand Junction and Fruita are mountain bike towns.  COPMOBA sees a lot of community support and we were thanked for our time and effort by free stuff from supportive businesses.  Free beer and clothing – what a great way to recognize and retain volunteers!  I hope we can do more with COPMOBA in the future.

Sharon sporting COPMOBA shirt and hat

showing off my new shirt and hat from COPMOBA

Photo Review: Colorado, Birds, Bugs, and Fall Colors

We have been in Colorado for a week and a half now and have gotten to see some of the beautiful geography it is known for.  Here are just a few photos from Fruita and Heil Ranch (near Lyons).

Fruita desert

North Fruita desert

spider in North Fruita desert

spider in North Fruita desert

Moth on flower in North Fruita desert

Moth on flower in North Fruita desert

Colorado River near Dotsero

Colorado River near Dotsero

Bird near the Colorado River near Dotsero

Bird near the Colorado River near Dotsero

View from Colorado River near Dotsero

View from Colorado River near Dotsero

Heil Ranch

Heil Ranch

bird at Heil Ranch

bird at Heil Ranch

autumn leaves at Heil Ranch

autumn leaves at Heil Ranch

neon green lichen

neon green lichen

fall colors

fall colors