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The Chutes and Ladders trail is another great loop option in the popular 18 Road Trail System.
Thankfully, while Chutes and Ladders does get a respectable amount of traffic, Zippety, PBR, and Joe’s Ridge will draw most of the traffic away, allowing you to (somewhat) escape the springtime crowds. After the climb up Prime Cut, Chutes and Ladders continues climbing, quickly going anaerobic.
The ascent, while non-technical, is incredibly steep, and is almost guaranteed to put you in your lowest gear or force you to hike.
The challenging ascent will help turn away even more of the crowds—those who got a wild hair to try something new, and then decide that the effort isn’t worth it. Once over the top of the hill, the trail drops into a series of steep descents and climbs (the “Chutes and Ladders,” if you will) as it winds through an intriguing gully at the base of the Book Cliffs.
After repeated runs on the more exposed trails, following Chutes and Ladders as it winds through a dry wash provides a welcome change of scenery. Eventually, the route breaks back out of the hills and into the exposed terrain you know and love as the North Fruita Desert.
Here, you’ll encounter a few route options, with the ability to extend your ride by heading further to the east on Vegetarian to Lower Chutes and Ladders.
For the fastest and most direct route down, follow the route mapped here and bomb down the flowy, smooth singletrack on Down Uppity back to where you began.