On my first trip to Fruita, I managed to put tire to trail on most of the Book Cliffs area and a good portion of the trails down by Mary's Loop. By far, Zippety was my favorite because it offered a scenic ride along with some fun, technical, and frankly some scary sections that I just didnít find anywhere else I had ridden. If you get to do just one ride in the Book Cliffs area, I donít see how you could go wrong picking this one. Some may opt to do a shorter loop and not do the western leg of the ìformalî Zippety Loop by taking the road due north from the parking lot, then heading due west to catch the top of the roller coaster part of this trail. If you are pressed for time, this might not be a bad decisionÖalthough we chose to do the whole thing as described below.
The trail starts out from the lower parking lot and heads due west. After some fun ups and downs (1/4 mile or so), you will come to a T intersection which meets up with the main loop of this trail. If you look to your right you may seem some screaming bikers heading your way as they come off the downhill portion of Zippety. That will be you in an hour or so! Instead, take a left and begin a nice level portion of singletrack which dumps you onto the double track road. This service road is an easy, dusty, prelude to the rest of the singletrack.
You will eventually see the trail peel off to the right (north) from the road, as you begin a gentle uphill climb for a couple miles towards the cliffs. This portion is very scenic, and despite the upward trend, the trail is not technical or difficult at all. If you look to your right, you can see the hills which you will soon be exploring. Once you are near the cliffs, you will see the singletrack turn to the east, going downhill. This is a fast, fun section of trail which dumps you into a wash of sorts, and eventually leads to one of the steepest climbs you will probably ever experience! Once you walk your bike to the top, your ride will take a turn from fun to incredible.
You will soon find a sign for this trail, with an Experts Only sign to go along with it. Beginner riders would be advised to avoid this trail. While an intermediate rider could probably do this trail with no problem, there will definitely be points where walking will be necessary either to avoid falling off one side or the other, or to navigate super steep climbs, or perilous downhill sections. This is especially true for your first ride through here, as you will often be amazed at how the trail sticks to the side of the hills, or sits atop a narrow land bridge with steep banks on either side. While I wouldnít classify these cliffs as strictly life threatening (a la Portal Trail in Moab), you will get seriously hurt if you fall off in certain places. For at least your first loop, take your time and know your limits.
The best way to describe this trail is that it reminds you of a roller coaster. The only thing it is missing is the upside down loop! You will often approach a drop off and wonder where the trail goesÖbecause you have to literally get to the edge before you can see it drop down below you. As you watch you will see people bob up and down in the distance as they ride this coaster. There are about 2 miles of ups, downs, sideways trails, insane climbs, even crazier descents, and some super fast (perhaps dangerously fast) singletrack as you go from hill to hill. As you proceed to the south, the trail becomes more ìtypicalî and turns into a fast, gradual downhillÖwhich eventually meets back up at that T junction. This time you will take a left to head back to the carsÖor you can go straight to do another loop. The fun part of Zippety flows much better than similar ups and downs over at Chutes and Ladders, which is why I preferred this trail over that one.