Maybe this can help alleviate the numerous similar threads, followed by the standard responses. If you do a few minutes of reading and provide us some useful info your questions will likely be a lot more well received than 100 more threads that consist of "hey, I'm coming out.... where should I ride?"
The Grand Valley (Grand Junction/Fruita/Palisade)
1. Support a LBS! Plan to stop in one and at least buy a map or a couple gel packets or something. Maybe you wanna try out something you can't find back home, call and see what they rent. Any LBS will probably gladly point you to the same rides we would, heck some of them might offer to let you tag along on their weekly ride. I think pretty much all of the shops are now selling the maps that can easily go in your shorts or a jersey pocket for a couple bucks, they are handy and highly recommended for visitors! Our trails are well marked for the most part but some have lots of intersections and numerous trails to make up a route.
List of shops by town:
Grand Junction: Ruby Canyon Cycles, Bicycle Outfitters, Grassroots Cycles, Brown Cycles, The Bike Shop, LTR Sports, Board & Buckle
Fruita: Colorado Back Country Biker, Over The Edge Sports
Palisade: Rapid Creek Cycles
2. Try to look at some trail info. Or at least understand the differences in the systems & locales before posting. It will probably help narrow down your questions a bit. Here's a cheat sheet:
Lunch Loops - Could also be referred to as Tabeguache (Tab-a-watch). Located in Grand Junction, trailhead is rideable by bike in maybe 10 minutes from downtown! This area is more technical than the other areas overall. Lots of singletrack and tech goodness. Advanced ride highlights include Holy Cross, Free Lunch & Pucker Up, Butterknife, Ribbon, Eagles Wing & Tail, Gunny Loop, etc.... Looking for a more intermediate route at the Lunch Loops? Try Pete-e-kes, High Noon/Coyote Ridge/Ravens Ridge, Ali Ali Loop, Miramonte Rim, Kurts Lane and the Klunker/Holey Bucket Loop.
Kokopelli Loops - Also referred to as just Kokopelli or Loma. Just west of Fruita at the Loma exit. A little bit of everything out here from mellow XC on Mary's, Steve's or Rustlers Loops to super technical stuff like Moore Fun. Highlight for most people is probably some combination of Mary's, Horsethief Bench, Steve's Loop (combined with others). Want a challenge? Check out Mack Ridge, Lions Loop, Troy Built and Moore Fun (AKA "More Walking")!
North Fruita Desert - Also referred to as 18 Road or just Fruita. Camping onsite, paid and free overflow area. Lots of flowy singletrack, a few newer trails with jumps, etc but this is where you come to just have fun and ride. Overall the most mellow area. Best choice for newer riders, an acclimation day or to stretch the legs after a long drive. Great for a second ride of the day in the afternoon/evening especially if you make this your base camp. Or ride it all in 1 day! Highlights include Kessel's Run, Joe's Ridge, Zippity Do Da, PBR and MoJoes. Having now finally ridden Sarlacc Trail myself..... I'm adding it to the highlight list. It's above the 18rd area, you can do a long ride from the main trailhead to get up there or just drive up and park at the start (what we did).
Rabbit Valley - Located about 15-20 minutes west of Fruita, last exit before Utah border. Longer XC rides in general. Highlight is probably Western Rim. But if you're looking to churn out potentially a 40+ mile day somewhere, then just link up Zion Curtain, Overlook trail, Westwater Mesa, Arch Loop etc....
Palisade - A bit more technical and climby than average. Located on the east side of the valley. Highlight is Palisade Rim. Stagecoach and Kilowatt probably require a little more local info (stop in at Rapid Creek Cycles for info?). Not sure what is kosher to post in public due to issues with accessing the trail without trespassing.
High Country Rides (Elevations range from 8K - 10K) - There is some good high country riding around, these are great in the summer when it's 100 degrees in the valley. About 45 minutes south of GJ is Turkey Flats/Black Pine on Glade Park. About 1 hour east is the Grand Mesa which includes Mesa Top Trail, Flowing Park and West Bench. I believe in the summer of 2016 there will also be some lift accessible riding at Powderhorn Ski Resort. There is also a bunch of trails about an hour to the south up on the Uncompahgre Plateau like East Unaweep, Little Creek, Corral Fork, Big Creek Scout.
Here is a bit of a overview map (some locations are a bit off, but you get the idea).
Trailmaps: The best and most current trailmaps are located on the COPMOBA website. These are excellent for planning and you can print them out and put them in your pack. Or buy the shop versions mentioned above (I believe a portion of the sales goes to our local Mountain Bike Advocacy group COPMOBA?).
How about some virtual scouting? Grand Junction is one of the few areas that got a chance to put some of our trails into Google maps (story)!
Also, chances are there are numerous other websites with this information as well. Here are a few I found, although some of these haven't been updated in the last few years.
Grand Junction and Fruita Mountain Biking -- gjmountainbiking.com
Grand Junction, Colorado Mountain Bike Trails | Trailforks
Mountain Bike Fruita
3. Give us some info to work with. If you still want specific recommendations it helps if you tell us a bit about yourself and give us some info to work with.
What type of trails do you like to ride? Technical, flowy, jumps/drops & berms?
How long/far do you want to ride? Are you just looking to get 10 miles in or looking for an all day adventure?
How many days are you planning to ride? (That way we can recommend multiple areas, specific dates could also help us steer you away from hot/cold/wet conditions in particular areas)
Tell us about the bike will you be bringing or planning to rent. A rigid SS versus a 6" travel bike makes a bit of a difference.
Where are you staying and how far are you willing to drive for your ride?
4. What if it rains?
First of all, we're in the desert so rain is not a common occurrence at least not enough to rain us out. Grand Junction only averages about 9" of rain PER YEAR. However, our trails are not good when wet, BE PATIENT. Not only will you damage our trails but if you hit our famous bentonite mud, your bike will be completely un-rideable in about 10 feet and you can plan to spend at least an hour getting it clean and working again after you carry it out. Our mud has been known to trash rear derailleurs. Kokopelli & Rabbit Valley are usually rideable the quickest after rain, sometimes within an hour or two. 18rd and Lunch Loops generally need more time to dry out, maybe a day! Please don't rush it, I don't want to be riding & fixing your ruts all summer. Be patient and check with the shops, or see sections #5 or #8 below for alternatives to riding. If we happen to get rained out check Moab, it's 90 minutes away but it might be completely dry.
If you use Facebook, a great source of trail conditions is the Western Slope Trail Conditions page
5. Post Ride hangouts - Where to have an adult beverage after your ride (and maybe something to eat)
Fruita - Hot Tomato, Suds Brothers, Copper Club
Grand Junction - Edgewater Brewery, Kannah Creek Brewery, Rockslide Brewery
Palisade - Palisade Brewery, Peach Street Distillery
6. Camping info:
James M. Robb State Park - Fruita Section - Located right in Fruita (but doesn't feel that way)
James M. Robb State Park - Island Acres Section - Located just East of Palisade (20-30 minutes from most riding.... other than Palisade)
Colorado National Monument - Located on top of the Monument (Fruita side), Might be your most scenic camping spot ever.
KOA Grand Junction - Located southeast of Grand Junction on Orchard Mesa, just past the fairgrounds
North Fruita Desert - Located literally in the MIDDLE of the mountain bike trails north of Fruita!
Highline Lake State Park - Northwest of Fruita, has a trail in the park where they do the 18 hours of Fruita Race
Mud Springs Campground - On Glade park, probably a good 45 minutes from town. Perfect if you are riding Turkey Flats/Black Pine trails.
Uncompahgre Plateau - There is a few pay campgrounds up there, but it's a long ways from town. Only consider if you plan to ride up there or want something more remote/mountainy.
Grand Mesa - Numerous pay campgrounds. Probably more than an hour from town. Bring your bug spray.
North Fruita Desert - Located southeast of the pay area, look for it on the right as you drive in. NO SHADE. Have to walk to the pit toilets at the trailhead.
Rabbit Valley - 20 Minutes west of Fruita, has great XC trails near camp! A few pit toilet facilities around.
Uncompahgre Plateau - Lots of great free camping up there, but about an hour outside of town. Good if you plan to ride up there.
Glade Park - Some good free camping up there, but a good 45 minutes from town.
Grand Mesa - At least an hour from town. Bring your bug spray.
RV Only - Most of the above accept RV's and trailers but also allow tent camping. These are RV Only!
Junction West RV Park
RV Ranch - Located in Clifton
Moon Dance RV Park
7. Looking for a guide or mutli-day tour?
Desert Rat Tours
Colorado Back Country Biker
8. Other non-biking stuff to do:
Colorado National Monument - Don't miss. It's like a miniature grand canyon. Make a quick drive through, you won't be disappointed.
Hiking - Amazing hiking can be found in and around the Colorado National Monument and around the valley
Downtown Grand Junction - Great downtown with lots of shopping, food, etc..
Dinosaur Museum in Fruita - Great for kids.
Children's Nature Center - Right across the street from the dinosaur museum
Museum of Western CO - Decent way to kill an hour or two
Get Air at the Silo - New indoor trampoline facility that's fun for adults and kids (a new favorite for our family)
Bananas Fun Park - Something fun for the kids. Bouncy houses, go carts, arcade games, laser tag, mini golf
Spin City - Another fun place for kids. Roller skating, laser tag, kids jungle gym.
Glacier Ice Arena - Public skating, broomball, hockey, etc... Might be closed for a month or two during summer (they did for the first time in 2015)
Grand Junction Motor Speedway - Race some go carts. FAST go carts! It's a bit pricey, but a blast.
Allen Unique Autos - Something to consider if you like cars
Visit the wineries - Visit and do a tour of multiple wineries!
Visit Gateway - Visit the auto museum (which is top notch), race a trophy truck or rent a luxury car, even some mountain biking there. Approx. 3 hour round trip?
Please respect our trails. Read this link, it's a good reminder for everyone.
It's hot here in the summer months. Drink LOTS of water, bring more than you think you need on your ride. Use and reapply sunscreen throughout the day. A good strategy is an early morning ride, rest up through the afternoon and find some AC, then do an evening ride if you want more miles.
Our elevation is about 4,600ft. Take it easy your first day and let your body acclimate a bit if you're coming up from sea-level. DRINK LOTS OF WATER.
Directional trails - We do have some directional trails now (mostly just at 18rd..... Kessel's, Prime Cut, PBR, Joe's/MoJoes, Zippity). Pay attention to signs.
Try out different trail systems and see what they have to offer. We have a big variety and they all have different views.
Don't forget to HAVE FUN!
Edit: Updated 7/29/2015
Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups
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