Bike-Shattering Gnar: Best Tech Trails in the Grand Valley

Brave the most technical mountain bike trails in Fruita / Grand Junction.

Greg Heil

Images

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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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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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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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Thunderhead off in the distance.

by Greg Heil

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View of the Rim

by Greg Heil

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by Greg Heil

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Serpentine singletrack before the gnarly descent.

by Greg Heil

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by Greg Heil

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by Greg Heil

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Holy Cross. Rider: Greg Heil

by Joel Lipovetsky

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Holy Cross. Rider: Greg Heil

by Marcel Slootheer

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Moore Fun trail. Rider: Greg Heil

by Marcel Slootheer

Creative Commons: Attribution
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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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by Marcel Slootheer

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by Marcel Slootheer

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by Marcel Slootheer

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Moore Fun Trail. Rider: Greg Heil

by Marcel Slootheer

Creative Commons: Attribution
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by Greg Heil

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Rider: Marcel Slootheer

by Greg Heil

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Rider: Greg Heil

by Marcel Slootheer

Description

Fruita's 18 Road mountain bike trails are the stuff of legends—mountain bikers travel literally from around the world to fly down the flowing, exposed ridges of dirt in the North Fruita Desert. Overall, 18 Road's trails are quite flowy and mellow, and that's how most riders think of the mountain biking in Fruita. But if you actually take a step back and look at the greater riding scene in the Grand Valley, you'll find that 18 Road's flow is the exception rather than the rule.

Instead, the mountain biking in the Grand Valley is, on average, brutally gnarly! The Lunch Loops Trail System alone is home to some of the burliest double black diamond tech lines in the state of Colorado. As local mountain bike mechanic Joel Lipovetsky put it, the locals "break bikes here like it's going out of style!" These brutal, demanding trails have lead to the Lunch Loops to become the testing grounds for local brands such as MRP, and professional racers and product developers from all corners of the state.

Beyond the Lunch Loops, the Kokopelli Area Trails in Loma are also home to an expansive array of chunky, challenging singletrack trails. Horsethief Bench is still famous for its absurd blocky, drop-filled descent off the rim, and Moore Fun draws an avid crowd of enduro riders eager to test their chops.

Add in the classic Palisade Rim and venture out into the wilderness on Zion Curtain, and suddenly you'll realize that the Grand Valley is actually the home of much more bike-shattering gnar than it is flowing intermediate trails. And that, my friends, is not a bad thing!

Adventures

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!

Eagle's Wing Loop

A steep, exposed double black diamond descent from Lunch Loops' high point.

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!

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.

Zion Curtain

A demanding ride that will reward the all-around mountain biker.