Analysing terrain data
The exposure grade describes the potential consequences of falling or slipping off the path.
Low Exposure: The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.
Medium Exposure: The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.
High Exposure: Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.
Extreme Exposure: Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.
The Kokopelli Trail is quickly gaining renown as one of the premiere long distance point-to-point mountain bike routes in the USA, if not the world.
The 142-mile trail stretching between Fruita, Colorado (more technically, Loma, but most people simply say “Fruita”) and Moab, Utah is quickly becoming known as a worthy but approachable bikepacking route.
Not nearly as intimidating as the Colorado Trail or Arizona Trail, 143 miles is a distance that many neophyte bikepackers view as achievable. Indeed, the amount of time that you take to complete this route is entirely up to you, and your level of badassity.
Some guiding companies like Hermosa Tours and Rim Tours break the trail down into 4 or 5-day trips.
And yet, the speed record is a blistering 13 hours and 32 minutes, set by Rebecca Rusch in 2013.
How you choose to break up and dissect this trail is up to you. Most riders choose to pedal from Loma to Moab, finishing with an epic descent out of the La Sal mountains into Moab.
On the Loma end, the route begins by winding its way through the technical and scenic Kokopelli Trail System, before venturing out into the wilds of the Utah Desert as it works its way toward Moab. Much of the Kokopelli Trail consists of singletrack, ranging from flowy to quite technical.
And much of the route actually consists of doubletrack, gravel roads, and a little pavement.
Chris Callahan characterizes the Kokopelli Trail as "wild jeep roads and singletrack, winding along valleys and high desert ridges” in an article on Singletracks.com. In some places, options exist for either faster/easier pedaling on roads, or more difficult/slower pedaling on nearby trails.
While the primary Kokopelli Trail route is relatively well-defined, the creative mountain biker can always track down more singletrack fun. If you do choose to tackle the Kokopelli, be aware that the weather can be extreme.
"Much of the ride will be exposed to hot sun at around 5000 feet elevation, but the route goes over the La Sal Mountains at 8500 feet, where severe storms can erupt suddenly,” according to UtahMountainBiking.com.
"Plan for extreme temperatures and weather.
Riding season is mid-June through September, depending on snowmelt in the higher elevations,” the author continues. While there are indeed towns on either end of this epic, once out on the Kokopelli there is essentially no opportunity for resupply, aside from a couple of key access points to the Colorado River to pump and treat water.
Instead, riders must either book a tour company for support, such as Hermosa Tours’ self-supported trip, or prepare to be entirely self-sufficient. Sources: http://www.utahmountainbiking.com/trails/kokopelli.htm http://hermosatours.net/portfolio/kokopelli-mountain-bike-tours.html https://rimtours.com/tours/kokopelli-trail/ https://www.velonews.com/2013/04/news/rebecca-rusch-smashes-kokpelli-trail-record_284147 https://www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-trails/the-ride-of-a-lifetime-a-60-year-old-mountain-bikes-kokopellis-trail/