Jamie and I were planning on going mountain biking in Fruita, CO over her spring break, but due to illness we had to postpone until school ended. We drove down Friday morning (about a 4.5 hour drive) and returned home Saturday afternoon. It turns out that Fruita was holding its annual Fat Tire Festival the same weekend, so the parking lots were very crowded.
Friday, Apr. 26: 18 Road
After a quick lunch, we began our ride by going up Prime Cut. Since we were somewhat familiar with the trail it seemed a little easier than last year. We only had to stop and rest a few times.
The fun downhill ride on Kessel Run was one of our favorites from last year, so we immediately headed over there. Prime Cut is a one-way trail going up, and Kessel Run is a one-way trail going back down. Kessel is really fun because the trail zigzags through the Juniper trees and crisscrosses a wash, much like a bobsled track.
After returning to the car, we studied the map and decided on our second ride. Rather than climb back up Prime Cut, we headed east through the desert on the Vegetarian trail. This trail was fairly smooth and not too steep, but it lacked excitement. It would have been more fun on a dirt bike.
For our return route we opted to try Down Uppity. This trail required you to pay attention since most of the trail was traversing steep side slopes. You had to be careful not to clip a pedal on a rock, which could easily through you off the trail. The trail was not overly technical, but you did have to pay attention. Beginning riders may find it overly intimidating.
Rather than return directly to the car, we rode part way back up Prime Cut and cut over on the lower Joes Ridge trail and rode again down the lower portion of Kessel Run. This was a fun ending to our first day of riding. Our total ride was just short of 11 miles.
The following trail map shows the main trails accessible from the 18 Road parking area. In summary, we rode up Prime Cut (red), down Kessel Run (green), over on Vegetarian (black), back on Down Uppity (not shown – but it cuts right through the text “Vegetarian Loop”), back up the first half of Prime Cut, and down the lower half of Kessel.
After loading the bikes on the car, we returned to Fruita, checked into our motel, and soaked in the hot tub prior to going to dinner. We then just chilled in the motel and watched a couple of movies on TV.
Saturday, Apr. 27: Kokopelli
We checked out of our motel at about 9:00 AM thinking we would beat some of the crowd to the Kokopelli trailhead. The parking lot was fairly full when we got there, but it was overflowing when we finished our ride at about 12:30 PM.
We took the dirt road over the hill to the south and did a warm up ride on Rustler’s Loop – which we thoroughly enjoyed last year.
After completing Rustler’s Loop, we started the grueling climb up Mary’s Trail. After we passed the turnoff for Horsethief Bench, the trail flattens out and becomes a fun cruise along the bench above the river. It eventually turns to single track, with a few rocky technical sections that caused me to get off and walk.
We stopped for a snack at the junction with Steve’s Loop, then worked our way down the descent to the lower bench. Steve’s Loop was really fun, but there were a few very technical sections where you had to carry your bike through large boulders.
The trail eventually climbs and cuts back towards the east, and you ride an upper bench directly above a section of trail we had just traversed.
This trail returns to Mary’s Loop just as it turns back to a double track. We climbed back over the ridge and cruised back to the car on the frontage road. Our ride totaled exactly 15 miles (according to both mine and Jamie’s bike computers).
Our route included the following trails shown on the following map; Mary’s Loop (red), Rustler’s Loop (blue), and Steve’s Loop (black).
We loaded up our bikes, changed, and headed for home at 1:00 PM. We were both tired but felt that both rides were excellent.