Western Slope Bike Trips
Planning a Visit
Q. Where are all the camping areas?
A. 18 rd/Bookcliff BLM camp sites in the North Fruita desert are the closest to riding but Highline Lake camping is pleasant with a loop trail around the lake. The BLM has info on undeveloped camping near Kokopelli trails in McInnis Canyons. Riders also camp near the river at the Colorado River State Park or up in the Colorado Monument near the visitor’s center. Few RV and tent sites are also in Fruita. Camping in Rabbit Valley can be full of moto’s year round. Bitter creek camp is near the Overlook trail head at Westwater exit. An alternative is camping at West Water ranger station boat launch area 6 miles south.
Q. Where can I stay in hotels and have access to restaurants nearby?
A. Downtown Grand Junction has the Hawthorn Suites and Hapton Inn which are within walking distance of many quality restaurants on Main Street. It’s also next door to Ruby Canyon Cycles and our favorite brew pub The Rockslide. We like Boomers too for beer and live music. Most people will love the “Lunch Loops” for technical riding a few miles away but the Colorado River trail or Colorado Monument Rim Rock road rides are unique for our area. Fruita has hotels and fast food just off I-70.
Q. How do I ship my bike to Grand Junction and where can I get rentals?
A. There are many shops in Grand Junction and Fruita but we recommend Ruby Canyon Cycles for shipping and handling. They have extensive expertise in cross country and freeride mountain bikes but also specialize in road and racing. They have qualified mechanics that are very helpful. They can help arrange tours, guides and rentals.
Q. Is there water at any of the three major ride area parking lots?
A. NO. Fill up in Grand Junction at Ruby Canyon Cycles, Albertson’s or any Fruita location.
Q. Where can I get evaluated for an injury?
A. Most areas have avg. cell coverage if you need 911 or search and rescue. If you can make it out Fruita’s Acute Care Center has a doctors until 10pm and x-ray available. Grand Junction has the St. Mary’s Hospital for more severe injuries. St Mary's is the regions only high level trauma center.
Q. How far away is Moab and are the trails better there?
Moab is 1 1⁄2 hours away and quite spectacular. There is plenty of riding and of course unbelievable slickrock but very little single track riding. Our site does contain Moab maps and links because we like variety but frankly single track riding in Western Colorado is more extensive and exciting. We definitely have less sand and more trails dedicated to pure mountain biking.
FAQ Riding Recommendations
Q. What are the three best rides if I only have a weekend?
1. Horsethief Bench.
2. Primecut to Zippidy-do-da.
3.Pet-e-Kes to Holy Cross.
Q. Where do I ride in the hot summer months?
A. Late June and July can be very hot mid day but early riding can be comfortable at the Kokopelli, Tabeguche “lunch loops” and 18 Road bookcliff areas. Many people ride the alpine and sub alpine trails on the Grand Mesa (West Bench or powderhorn loops) or the Uncompaghre plateau (Turkey flats, Corral forks and flowing park). August often has enough cloud cover in the afternoon to ride almost anything.
Q. Where are the freeriding sections and technical trails?
A. Tabeguache “lunch loops” is the most challenging area. The only trail up-worthy is Pet-e-Kes. Holy cross and the Lemon squeezer have plenty to offer. There is a dedicated freeride trail called Free Lunch with drops and features that will impress. If you’re too weak to ride it then Eagle’s wing is a good bail out. This area makes for great shuttling off of little park road. .
Q. What do you recommend riding in the winter?
A. Well, it depends on if it’s rained or snowed recently. November riding can be great. December and January can have several clear warm spells where trails stay dry and packed. Avoid February but March is usually spectacular. Most locals will ride Mary’s, Rustlers, Horsethief Bench and Steve’s which get enough sun to stay dry. 18 rd can but good too. Zippidy is best in the winter because there aren’t too many tourists walking the trail in reverse making it powdery on the steeps. I like Joe’s Ridge, Prime cut and Kessel’s any time of the year.
Q. What about family rides or rides with a novice?
A. The highline lake loop is better than expected single track. Try the northwest berms if you can find them. 18 road/Bookcliffs overall is the easiest riding. Veggie loop is a simple out and back. Kids can usually make it up the road and ride down Kessel’s or Primecut back to the parking lot. Rustler’s is a 3 mile loop that’s a bit tougher but has skill sign rest stops. There is a yet to be named short figure-of-eight trail at lunch loops base area beginners might try too.
Q. What are the Paradox, Kokopelli and Tabeguache trails? How long do they take?
A. These are huge multi-day rides best ridden with guided tour groups or mountain bike associations. See COPMOBA for details. The Kokopelli and Tabeguache have multiple loops at the beginnings of these historic trails.
Q. What is the best road rides in the area.
A. Rim Rock ride through the Colorado National Monument. The Tour of the Valley, Rose Hill Rally and Gateway Canyons Road Race are held annually.
Q. Where do we find camping near ride areas?
North Fruita desert (18 Rd) Book Cliffs
BLM camping on site.
No water but Pit toilets- recommended by gjmountainbiking.com
Highline lake state park
Colorado River State Park recommended by GJmountainbiking.com.
Colorado National Monument
Fruita monument RV park
Undeveloped BLM sites in McInnis canyons area.
Rabbit Valley or WestWater
Few BLM RV and tent sites but may need 4x4 to get to the camping sites.
Bitter Creek primitive camp or West water ranger station near Colorado River.
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