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FATMAP difficulty grade
Grand Junction’s Lunch Loops Trail System is renowned as one of the most technical trail networks on the Western Slope.
As local mountain bike mechanic Joel Lipovetsky put it, the locals “break bikes here like it’s going out of style!” However, if you’re creative and willing to walk over the occasional small rock garden, even a beginner mountain biker can find trails to enjoy in the Lunch Loops network! For a short and achievable singletrack pedal, check out this recommended route. The ride begins by descending ever so slightly from the main trailhead on flowy, benchcut singletrack.
After connecting through a few short trails, you’ll reach the Noreaster trail, which anchors this loop.
Follow Noreaster down to the end of the network, and then loop up the hill on a rolling, mellow climb with gorgeous views of the valley and the Monument in the distance. The final push to the top of the climb traverses some moderately technical rock gardens, which can, of course, be walked.
These small rock gardens and the moderately rocky, exposed final descent earn this ride at least a “moderate” difficult rating overall, although many sections of trail are much easier, and some sections could be more difficult than the rating belies. Once on top of the ridge, pause and take in the view.
As you look around, you’ll spot singletrack running in all directions! The loop and connection options in the Lunch Loops Trail System are never-ending and can sometimes feel overwhelmingly complex.
If you’re looking for more mileage, head deeper into the trail system.
If you stick to the northern close-to-town end, you can form endless loops on intermediate-friendly singletrack.
Most of the expert-level tech trails are found on the southern/higher end of the network. To keep the technicality of this ride close to the moderate rating, swoop down the hill on Big Sister to Yes N Dee Dee, and then Hop Skip and Jump.
For a more direct (but more technical) finish, descend Curt's Lane straight back to the trailhead. Sources: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWCLQBkk404