Guidebook

Run Down Endless Desert Singletrack in the Grand Valley

From backcountry routes deep in the canyons to epic-length adventure races, the Grand Valley has it all!

Description

When most non-residents hear the name "Colorado," their minds instantly envision soaring snowcapped mountain peaks, endless ski slopes, and alpine fields of wildflowers. But what most non-residents might not realize is just how incredibly diverse the state of Colorado is! In addition to an endless variety of mountains, this state is also home to endless expanses of rolling prairie, lush orchards, high elevation valleys, verdant meadows, and dry, sandy, hot deserts.

Colorado's Grand Valley dominates the desert-based recreation and tourism in the state. Every spring and fall, thousands upon thousands of visitors flock to Fruita and Grand Junction to camp in the warmth of the desert and recreate on the fabulous trails spread across the region. While most of the visitors may just drive over I-70 from Denver, the trails have gained such a reputation that tourists now fly from around the world to experience them.

Trail runners visiting the Grand Valley have a veritable smorgasbord of routes to choose from! While the multi-use trail systems around the valley all offer superb trail running opportunities, the creme de la creme can be found in Colorado National Monument.

"Colorado National Monument is an absolutely gorgeous place that very few hikers know about," writes Nancy Anderson. "It is Colorado's version of the Grand Canyon... without all the people!" For an in-depth look at Colorado National Monument, check out the dedicated guidebook, here.

Just outside of the Monument, McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area is home to trails that are even further under the radar. For instance, did you know that Rattlesnake Canyon Arches is home to the second-largest concentration of arches in the world, after Arches National Park? Bet not!

Finally, the race scene in the Grand Valley continues to grow with the Desert Rats races of multiple lengths, the Desert Rats Trail Running Festival, and so much more! Check out this guidebook for a deep dive on the Desert Rats Kokopelli 150 Adventure Race.

Explore these hidden wonders and so much more on your next trip to Fruita and Grand Junction!

Desert RATS: Stage 1
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Desert RATS: Stage 1

Fruita
30.7 km
615 m
597 m
The "Salt Creek" stage, connecting Loma to Rabbit Valley.
Moderate
Private
Rattlesnake Canyon Arches
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Rattlesnake Canyon Arches

Fruita
23.1 km
857 m
857 m
Run to the second-largest concentration of natural stone arches in the world!
Extreme
Private
Palisade Rim
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Palisade Rim

14.6 km
438 m
438 m
The Palisade Rim joins two great lollipop loops atop the rimrock overlooking the Grand Valley for a unique and entertaining Colorado Plateau hike.
Difficult
Private
Mary's -> Wrangler's Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mary's -> Wrangler's Loop

Fruita
17.0 km
307 m
307 m
A gorgeous trail running loop above the Colorado River with relatively little climbing.
Moderate
Private
Troy Built -> Mack Ridge -> Hawkeye Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Troy Built -> Mack Ridge -> Hawkeye Loop

Fruita
16.2 km
387 m
387 m
A lesser-travelled loop that's ideal for trail running.
Difficult
Private
Black Ridge Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Black Ridge Trail

Fruita
11.0 km
263 m
263 m
A beautiful backcountry trail with plenty of solitude.
Difficult
Private
Monument Canyon Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Monument Canyon Trail

10.6 km
360 m
360 m
A stunning sampler of the canyon's best rock sculptures.
Difficult
Private
Holy Cross -> Eagle's Wing Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Holy Cross -> Eagle's Wing Loop

Grand Junction
14.8 km
446 m
446 m
A stunning, easily-accessible run to the Lunch Loops high point.
Difficult
Private
Mount Garfield
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mount Garfield

5.4 km
621 m
621 m
Run to the prominent overlook above the Grand Valley.
Difficult
Private
Sarlacc Loop

Sarlacc Loop

Fruita
23.4 km
569 m
569 m
A beautiful trail running high above the rest of the 18 Road Trail System.
Moderate
Private
The Edge Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

The Edge Loop

Fruita
45.2 km
1,208 m
1,208 m
A masochistic loop through the North Fruita Desert and the Book Cliffs.
Extreme
Private