3 - 4
FATMAP difficulty grade
The Palisade Rim provides outstanding hiking on a classic example of the plateaus and rims that make up much of Colorado's western slope between the high peaks of the Rockies and Utah's deserts. The full route combining both loops is just over eight miles, but it will likely feel like more.
The ledgy climb requires solid, continuous effort to ascend.
The entire route is exposed with no shade or water.
But the route still provides excellent bang for your energy buck, especially once you reach the top of the plateau, where miles of entertaining singletrack await, alternating between flowy and ledgy. The loops hike well in either direction, but many hikers prefer taking both loops clockwise.
After reaching the southernmost part of the route, the loop turns back north and begins hugging the edge of the rim hundreds of feet above the valley floor below.
This section is hugely entertaining and serves up fantastic scenery around every corner, but those easily spooked by heights and cliffside exposure may enjoy it rather less. This rimside hiking is definitely camera-at-the-ready territory, providing plenty of photo ops. Although in Colorado at moderate elevation, this is still desert territory, and summer temps can soar, with the trail offering no relief from the blazing sun.
If hiking in the warmer months, be sure to get an early start and bring plenty of water. Along with the entertaining, varied singletrack and the stellar views, the Palisade Rim offers one other key benefit for this area.
It is a quick, easy drive from Fruita, almost all high-speed interstate, so it takes no longer to drive here than to the much busier 18 Road Trails.
Despite that, this trail sees very little traffic.
So when 18 Road, Kokopelli, and the Lunch Loops are mobbed with tourists, you can still cruise over here and have absolutely top-notch singletrack all to yourself.