Fruita isn’t that big, but in terms of trails it has a lot to offer. I love the 18 Road trails. They are very smooth and easy – even for beginners – but they are a lot of fun. Zippity Do Da is simply outstanding. Riding down the ridge you sometimes feel like on a different planet. And the PBR-Trail (Pumps, Berms and Rollers) is even easier and faster.
The Kokopelli-Trails are located further west and on the other side of the interstate are little more technical with steps and drops and more rocks. The scenery overlooking the Colorado River is magnificent. My favorite trail is the Horsethief Bench Loop. The challenge is right at the beginning when you drop down from Mary’s. Well, and I didn’t dare the lower part. Instead I got a lesson from another biker, who showed me how to drop down a rock wall.
Elevated Biking would be my two-word-summary of the Monarch Crest Epic ride.
The trail starts at the Monarch Pass in an altitude of 11312 ft/3448 m and on the first miles of the ride you continue to gain elevation to an altitude of about 12000 ft/3646 m. The Monarch Crest Trail ascents and descents moderately, but ascents are in the beginning a little longer than descents and let you gasp for air unless you have slept for weeks in a hypobaric chamber. The elevated epic ride is made possible (or better enjoyable) by a shuttle service that carries bikes and riders from Poncha Springs to Monarch Pass for 20$.
The Monarch Crest Trail leads to the Continental Divide Trail, then to Silver Creek Trail that turns into Rainbow Trail. Including the fast slight downhill ride back to Poncha Springs on Hwy285 the total mileage of the ride is about 35 (55 km). Over the length of the ride you experience very different conditions: singletrack and doubletrack, surfaces from smooth packed dirt or sand to loose, bumpy rocks and finally to paved road.
The ride is most fun in the lower part of the Rainbow Trail as it winds alongside the hills and crosses numerous ravines with little creeks. Altogether, this epic ride is perhaps not distinctly spectacular, but it leaves you with a feeling of deep satisfaction for a while.
Crested Butte is a ski resort in fairly high altitude in the most beautiful alpine scenery. And this is basically what the mountain biking there is about.
My feeling was that Crested Butte is not as MTB-affine as e.g. Park City. Of the many different types of taxes and fees that were added to the room rate on our hotel bill not a lot could have gone into MTB-infrastructure. There is a downhill park, but there is not really a coherent trail system or purpose built trails.
The classic ride is the 401 trail. As a loop from Gothic Road, it starts with a climb in high altitude over 11000 ft/3400 m that makes it breathtaking before the views will cause the same again.
A favorite ride among locals is Doctor’s Park. Ideally done as shuttle, it wasn’t an option for us travelling in one car. A shuttle service did not exist, due to constraints of the local authorities (according to the website of a shuttle company that wasn’t in operation).
We finally did the Strand Hill Trail with moderate climbing and nice singletrack between birch trees and alpine meadows. A typical Crested Butte ride, yet moderate in length and altitude.
Phil’s World is a trail system that offers plenty of loop options for rides of different length. The trails are one directional to avoid oncoming traffic. What they all have in common is that they are zippy and fun, the famous Rib Cage Trail with berms and jumps in particular.
We did an evening ride of about 10 km and a ride the next morning of about 20 km. Without really knowing the history of the trail system, I just like to say: Thank you Phil for the pleasure!
Dinosaurs and mountain biking are the two things that make Fruita so special. In fact, there is a dinosaur-on-bike sculpture in downtown.
The two main mountain bike trail systems are the Kokopelli Trails above the Colorado River and the 18 Road Trails in the North Fruita Desert.
The Kokopelli Trails that consist of several loop trails (Mary’s, Horsethief’s, Wrangler’s) are mostly rocky or sandy and quite technical in some spots. The trail down to the Horsethief loop in particular, is where you better carry the bike (which can be still challenging and painful, as I can tell from own experience). The ride at the edge of cliffs is awesome due to the spectacular views. Either way you go, there are rock steps to go up or down. As I struggled to overcome some of the rock steps I couldn’t get into the flow in some sections. All in all, the Kokopelli Trails offer a great and challenging experience.
The 18 Road trails on the opposite side of town are quite different. The lunarlike landscape, but as well, the smooth and zippy trails are fantastic. The Prime Cut trail is the best uphill trail to access most other trails, e.g. Zippity, PBR, Chutes & Ladders, etc.
After going down the fast and smooth PBR Trail with some jumps and berms, we went up Prime Cut again to hit Zippity Do Da via Frontside Trail. What an outstanding ride! Zippy and fun on Frontside and then the smooth ride up and down the ridge in a peculiar landscape. Stunning and awesome. The double loop added up to 20 km and much more pictures that we took during the ride.