Famous Desert Pedaling: Best MTB Trails in Fruita, CO

Fruita, Colorado is home to some of the most famous desert mountain bike trails in the world! Get the scoop here.

Greg Heil

Images

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Catching air on the PBR Trail. Photo by Leslie Kehmeier, Mapping Manager, International Mountain Bicycling Association. Photo courtesy BLM via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Catching air on the PBR Trail. Photo by Leslie Kehmeier, Mapping Manager, International Mountain Bicycling Association. Photo courtesy BLM via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Catching air on the PBR Trail. Photo by Leslie Kehmeier, Mapping Manager, International Mountain Bicycling Association. Photo courtesy BLM via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Catching air on the PBR Trail. Photo by Leslie Kehmeier, Mapping Manager, International Mountain Bicycling Association. Photo courtesy BLM via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Catching air on the PBR Trail. Photo by Leslie Kehmeier, Mapping Manager, International Mountain Bicycling Association. Photo courtesy BLM via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Catching air on the PBR Trail. Photo by Leslie Kehmeier, Mapping Manager, International Mountain Bicycling Association. Photo courtesy BLM via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Catching air on the PBR Trail. Photo by Leslie Kehmeier, Mapping Manager, International Mountain Bicycling Association. Photo courtesy BLM via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Catching air on the PBR Trail. Photo by Leslie Kehmeier, Mapping Manager, International Mountain Bicycling Association. Photo courtesy BLM via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Catching air on the PBR Trail. Photo by Leslie Kehmeier, Mapping Manager, International Mountain Bicycling Association. Photo courtesy BLM via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Bombing down a ridgeline at 18 Road. Photo by Leslie Kehmeier, Mapping Manager, International Mountain Bicycling Association. Photo courtesy BLM via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Bombing down a ridgeline at 18 Road. Photo by Leslie Kehmeier, Mapping Manager, International Mountain Bicycling Association. Photo courtesy BLM via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Bombing down a ridgeline at 18 Road. Photo by Leslie Kehmeier, Mapping Manager, International Mountain Bicycling Association. Photo courtesy BLM via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Bombing down a ridgeline at 18 Road. Photo by Leslie Kehmeier, Mapping Manager, International Mountain Bicycling Association. Photo courtesy BLM via Flickr Creative Commons.

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by Greg Heil

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Finishing the climb

by Greg Heil

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by Greg Heil

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View from above. Photo: Greg Heil.

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Colorado River down below. Photo: Greg Heil

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Sweet singletrack on the Horsethief Bench Trail. Photo: Trailsource.com via Flickr Creative Commons

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Horsethief Bench singletrack with cliffs and the river in the background. Photo: Trailsource.com via Flickr Creative Commons

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The technical descent on Moore Fun

by Greg Heil

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Off camber Moore Fun traverse, on new singletrack

by Greg Heil

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by Greg Heil

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Greg Heil

by View of the Colorado River from Wrangler's.

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Climbing Troy Built

by Greg Heil

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View from Mack Ridge

by Greg Heil

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View from Mack Ridge

by Greg Heil

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Superb singletrack on the new Hawkeye Trail

by Greg Heil

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by Greg Heil

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Troy Built

by Greg Heil

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Hawkeye Trail

by Greg Heil

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by Greg Heil

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Delightfully-flowy singletrack

by Greg Heil

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View of the Colorado River

by Greg Heil

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Superb flow

by Greg Heil

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by Greg Heil

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Riding the technical trails at the Lunch Loops trail system. Photo by Leslie Kehmeier, Mapping Manager, International Mountain Bicycling Association. Photo courtesy BLM via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Riding the technical trails at the Lunch Loops trail system. Photo by Leslie Kehmeier, Mapping Manager, International Mountain Bicycling Association. Photo courtesy BLM via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Riding the technical trails at the Lunch Loops trail system. Photo by Leslie Kehmeier, Mapping Manager, International Mountain Bicycling Association. Photo courtesy BLM via Flickr Creative Commons.

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The terrain out at Lunch Loops can feel otherworldly. Photo by Leslie Kehmeier, Mapping Manager, International Mountain Bicycling Association. Photo courtesy BLM via Flickr Creative Commons.

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A few of the Lunch Loops trails are quite smooth. Photo by Leslie Kehmeier, Mapping Manager, International Mountain Bicycling Association. Photo courtesy BLM via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Be careful to make the turn off the Ribbon before you reach this point, because it’s a long way down! Photo: Greg Heil

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View from the top of Free Lunch. Photo: Greg Heil

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View from the rim of the upper rock slab. Photo: Greg Heil

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The rock slab at the top of the trail. Photo: Greg Heil

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Your choice is between really hard and insane on the Free Lunch Trail. Photo: Greg Heil

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Palisade Rim Ledge Climb John Fisch

by John Fisch

Licence Free

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Book Cliffs from Palisade Rim John Fisch

by John Fisch

Licence Free

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Palisade Rim start John Fisch

by John Fisch

Licence Free

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Palisade Overlook John Fisch

by John Fisch

Licence Free

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Overlook long view John Fisch

by John Fisch

Licence Free

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Palisade Rim Ledge drop John Fisch

by John Fisch

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Mary's Loop. Rider: Greg Heil

by Marcel Slootheer

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Mary's

by Greg Heil

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Steve's

by Greg Heil

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Mary's

by Greg Heil

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Steve's

by Greg Heil

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Rider: Greg Heil

by Greg Heil

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by Greg Heil

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by Greg Heil

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by Greg Heil

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by Marcel Slootheer

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by Marcel Slootheer

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by Marcel Slootheer

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Holy Cross. Rider: Greg Heil

by Joel Lipovetsky

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Holy Cross. Rider: Greg Heil

by Marcel Slootheer

Description

Fruita was once known (or rather, largely unknown) as a fruit producing town in Colorado's Grand Valley, but thanks to the construction of singletrack trails across the region Fruita is now renowned as one of the best places to ride a mountain bike in the world!

On an objective basis it's difficult to rank the trails in Fruita on par with destinations like Whistler, Crested Butte, or even Moab. But if you limit your scope to specifically desert mountain biking, there's no question that Fruita is one of the top mountain biking hot spots. This popularity is largely due to the 18 Road Trail System located in the North Fruita Desert, which offers fast, flowy beginner-friendly trails in wide-open terrain. Camping near the trailhead is extremely popular, making for a convenient spring mountain bike getaway for the throngs of riders that live on Colorado's Front Range.

Across the interstate, the Kokopelli Area Trails provide more technical terrain with challenging rocks and downhill gnar. That said, some of these trails offer excellent flow as well.

Included in this guidebook are key trails in nearby Grand Junction. While perhaps not technically in "Fruita," the Lunch Loops trails—and especially The Ribbon—are 100% worth riding when you're in the area. While they might look further away on the map, driving time to reach the Lunch Loops from downtown Fruita isn't much longer than driving to 18 Road.

Finally, unlike some towns that might objectively have higher quality trails, Fruita "gets it." The local business owners and elected officials know what it means to be a mountain biking destination. They've rebranded Fruita's official town logo and now depict it as an "F" in the center of a bicycle chain ring. Multiple bike shops in downtown support mountain bike tourists—most notably Over the Edge, whose owner and founder, Troy Rarick, is responsible for catalyzing much of the trail development in the region. And finally, the local restaurants and breweries—most notably the Hot Tomato—are all about their mountain biking patrons. While perhaps some of the trails leave something to be desired, in many ways Fruita sets the tone for every other mountain bike destination around the world.

Adventures

Zippety Do Da

Zippety Do Da provides the fast downhill bombs, swoop and flow, and visually-stunning ridgeline singletrack that put Fruita on the map.

Chutes and Ladders Loop

An aerobically-challenging but technically-moderate loop that will remove you from most of 18 Road's crowds.

Horsethief Bench

Horsethief Bench is the most famous trail in the Kokopelli Trail System, primarily because of its uber-gnarly drop down to the main trail. The views are spectacular as well!

Moore Fun Loop: Newer Version

Enjoy a well-built cross country trail on your way to access the technical centerpiece of the Kokopelli Loops: Moore Fun.

Rustler's Loop

Rustler's Loop is probably the best beginner mountain bike trail in the state of Colorado.

Lunch Loops

While easily accessible from the town of Grand Junction, the Lunch Loops provide rocky, technical singletrack to challenge even the best of mountain bikers.

The Ribbon -> Free Lunch -> Holy Cross

One of the fastest, rowdiest, point-to-point shuttles anywhere, with wide-open rock slab riding, uber-technical rock gardens, and big jump and drop options--experts only!

Palisade Rim

The Palisade Rim joins two great lollipop loops atop the rimrock overlooking the Grand Valley for a unique and entertaining Colorado Plateau ride.