Palisade Rim

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↑ 1,300 ft
↓ 800 ft
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3.93 out of 5
About This Trail
added by William_Monroe Gramcounter on November 4, 2009
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This became my favorite trail this summer, as it's a fun technical challenge with some great views, and is uncrowded but easy to get to. When I ride this solo or carpool, I ride up Rapid Creek Road, but if I'm riding with someone else who drove there, we shuttle up Rapid Creek Road to the Rapid Creek Trailhead.
From Rapid Creek Trailhead, proceed up the two-track for a bit less than a mile. As soon as the two-track crosses Rapid Creek, watch for a red gate accessing the start of the singletrack. Follow the singletrack across two more private dirt roads, and cross Cottonwood Creek. Here is where the fun begins!
From here, the trail will switch back and forth as it climbs toward the ridgetop and bobs part way back down the other side. Eventually, after winding along the mountainside for a exciting few miles, the trail descends to an abandoned coal mine at the top of a box canyon.
From here, follow another two-track south for a few miles till you drop into a steep box canyon with a washed out culvert. You'll have to carry your bike out of the bottom of the canyon and across a ruined fence to resume riding. After two short, steep grinds out of narrow canyons, you'll pop back out on the top of the rim and come to an intersection with another trail. Check out the rock formations ahead of you here, and you'll find numerous animal pictographs adorning the sandstone walls. Don't mess with them!
At this point, if you're still feeling spunky, take the south fork. It's an out-and-backup to the next rim up, and south a few miles to a great overlook on the valley. The rock formations here are a blast for rock hopping, with tons of overhang caves and lemon squeezers to play in.
If you're not feeling spunky or are short on time, take the west fork, and the downhill fun begins! For a mile or two, enjoy the winding, rock hopping descent, and get ready for the steep at the end. The trail ends after winding around a very dangerous aquaduct at a parking area about half a mile south of the start.
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kuala_tahan on June 2, 2014
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: Tough initial climb up the switchbacky stuff to the rim trail. Technical enough to keep you on your toes, with a decent amount of exposure going up and down. Once you get up to the lower rim trail, we went left on the loop. I'd probably recommend going right, as it seems like you get more downhill that way. Still a bit techy with a few stretches of smooth singletrack. Didn't ride the upper loop. Fun trail to keep your brain thinking, especially after mindlessly pedaling the 18 Road.

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John Fisch on October 27, 2013
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Review: For me, this is a slam-dunk five star trail. The full route will give you nine and a half miles of almost continuous technical challenge. The initial climb is heinous, but entertaining thanks to the many technical goodies along the way. It is not for the ill-conditioned or unskilled rider. Once on top, the trail alternates between the techy bits and some fast, buff, narrow singletrack, again all quite entertaining. And then, the return back down is fantastic. Along the way, there are fantastic views, and most of this tech fest is also loaded with exposure, which can add a mental toll to the physical toll. The best technical goodies and views are available on the lower palisade rim loop, so once you complete the initial climb, if you're not sure you're up to the full meal deal, simply do the lower loop and forgo the upper. If you've got the legs, lungs and skills, by all means add the upper loop as well as is also quite worthy, even if not as spectacular as the lower loop. This trail is an excellent addition to the already superb quantity and quality of trails in the Fruita region--highly recommended for strong, adventurous riders!

Similar Trail: Holy Cross, Eagle's Wing, Moore Fun

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rzicc on October 20, 2013
0 out of 1 readers found this useful
Review: Just rode this last week on my way to Moab. It was about 1500 feet of vert and 9 miles. Hard climb to start with a few good obstacles. My problem with this trail is that there was no final fast run. It was slow and kind of boring. The only real aspect that I enjoyed is that it was just off the highway. If you have 20 more mins, head to GJ and ride Holy Cross. A little harder but more gratifying. That being said. The single track is tight and keeps you going and there is a ton of potential to make this another Kopapelli like area! Just wish they would build it for us!

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Foster_Buchanan on May 14, 2013
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: This trail was very scenic, HOWEVER: having just ridden this for the first time on the way to Moab, just a warning that this trail is downright scary in parts. The trail follows the edge (hence the name) of the cliff fairly closely at times. It is a nice trail and pretty much all rideable with a couple of technical sections. Good length (took us just over 2 hrs). But man, I was not expecting it to be so sketchy and difficult at times. We normally stop at Mary's Loop in Fruita and were expecting a similar trail but this one is much much more difficult and risky. I would rate it as advanced and I have been riding for over 25 years. The scenery is spectacular and again, the trail is cool, but be very very careful.

Similar Trail: Any trail that is close to a ledge

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Michael Paul on May 6, 2013
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: I followed the description above and got lost. Looking back and reading it again, it makes sense, but I would NOT recommend riding up Rapid Creek road to access this trail. That is a waste of energy and time (unless you get dropped off or get shuttled). Instead, park at the bottom at the actual trailhead and ride the singletrack up. Nice views.

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Knobby-Pal on November 12, 2012
1 out of 1 readers found this useful
Review: The upper loop is complete, which finishes all of the singletrack from the initial design of this trail. The description of this trail written above is not accurate - it describes an alternate trail that crosses private land.

The true Palisade Rim trail begins with a great climb starting right at the trailhead on Hwy 6, just south of the I-70 exit. The trail is rocking - give it a try.

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tmoney149 on September 24, 2012
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Review: tough initial climb right from the get go, but once you get up to the split in the trail on the lower loop the trail gets pretty sweet. coming down was awesome the whole time.

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bjshay10 on May 29, 2012
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: We followed the main description and it was pretty rough. I would start at the lower section ride up and do the loop and come back down

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sugarfree135 on May 15, 2012
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: This trail was a very fun trail coming down although going up it from the river was quite a marathon. While riding it the trail appeared to be like many others but I can tell you it is setup to be ridden slow, I almost went over the handlebars 4 times with the 5th time putting me on the ground lol Just take the downhill section cautiously :-P It was a very fun tail overall just go into it knowing that if you park at the river and go up that you're not going to make it all the way to the lower loop without stopping a few times ;-)

Similar Trail: moore fun

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William_Monroe on November 23, 2011
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: The rebuild of the lower parts of the Palisade Rim Trail are complete, allowing skilled riders to climb the trail on the bike from the trailhead on the banks of the Colorado River. This makes the ride up Rapid Creek Road unnecessary, and allows for a lollipop loop or out and back on 100% singletrack. The lower loop to the pictographs takes about an hour, and is best enjoyed as a clockwise lollipop, with the descent in the techy stuff along the rim. The upper bench is still accessible with a bit of hike-a-bike, but this, too, is scheduled for a rebuild to make it sustainable and rideable in both directions. Still my favorite ride in the valley.

Similar Trail: Holy Cross

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Knobby-Pal on September 27, 2010
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Review: Techy in spots and flowy in spots, with a good couple of climbing sections. Starting from Rapid Creek, bridging to Cottonwood Creek, then heading South is a nice way to loop this. Make sure you head up to the higher bench - an out and back to the Rim that provides a panorama to the West. The descent back down to the Colo. River from this general high-point is great. In the central meadow area, there are several inner loop options to catch. Trail information is available at Rapid Creek Cycles in Palisade ( ) COPMOBA and BLM are in the process of rerouting some of this trail, and a large expansion that will add several miles of trail on the upper bench. Keep your eyes on this trail for upcoming new singletrack in Palisade

Similar Trail: Stagecoach Butterknife, Gunny Loop, Eagles/HolyCross in Lunch Loop area

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drlg on September 25, 2010
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: Great trail to mix things up if you're burnt out on Tabegauche, Kokopelli, and 18 Road. Very different scenery than the other trails in the Valley. Tight singletrack with several pretty technical spots. A bit of doubletrack, poor trail marking, and a couple of hike-a-bike gulley sections keep it from being rated a 5.

Similar Trail: Zion Curtain (Rabbit Valley)

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michaelg81504 on March 8, 2010
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: Great trail that I have ridden to get away from it all

Similar Trail: Holy cross

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William_Monroe on November 6, 2009
0 out of 0 readers found this useful
Review: Love It!

Similar Trail: Moore Fun, Holy Cross, Stagecoach

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Palisade Rim MTB Trail 3.93 out of 5 based on 14 ratings. 14 user reviews.
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