It’s spring here on the Western Slope of Colorado and that means bikers. Lots and lots and lots of bikers. Bikers are great! There are festivals and campgrounds filled with tents; the Hot Tomato and other pizzarias and restaurants do a booming business and bike companies rent, guide, and shuttle happy mountain bikers day-after-day.
Still, lots of bikers means lots of crowds on the trails too. Now, if you’re social and feel like making friends, then by all means head out to Loma for Horsethief Bench or Mary’s loop, or over to 18 Road for a trip up Prime Cut. However, if you’re just looking for some solitude, you might check out one of the trails below. In my opinion these are all fun trails that are way less crowded – even in the spring.
Western Rim Trail
My first choice for biking, if I have all day to ride, is the Western Rim trail in Rabbit Valley. We drive out to the McDonald Creek trailhead instead of parking in the very first main lot and we ride our bikes up the Kokopelli road to start our trip. You don’t have to bike UP trail #2, but it is fun to come down it at the end! This is a super scenic ride with lots of swooping singletrack along a rim overlooking the Colorado River. It’s shared with dirt bikers but is still less-crowded than better known trails. Distances vary but it will take you about 3 hours (depending on speed and photo stops) to ride.
Western Rim alternates from patches of rock to singeltrack along the rim.
Views of the Colorado River all are yours from this trail.
If I don’t have quite as much time but still want to get in a good cross-country ride in, I head to Lunch Loop/Tabeguache. While the parking lot might give you the impression that this place is crowded, there are so many options that after the initial climb, everyone spreads out. For the climb up we usually take Pet-y-Kes or the main trail up. Some options I like that tend to shrink the crowds include High Noon to Coyote Ridge to the Miramonte area, which can be handled by intermediate riders (with some walking) or, for more advanced riders, Holy Cross. I may have to walk some sections, but it won’t be crowded!
If we’re just craving Loma trails, we’ll head out to Mack Ridge. We like to ride UP Mack Ridge and down Lion’s Loop, but you can do either. Some recent singletrack additions to Mack Ridge make it super appealing for me right now. It’s technical but the views are spectacular! From the same trailhead you could skip the masses on Mary’s and just ride down to Steve’s Loop for a nice (mostly) intermediate ride too.
After a portage on Mack Ridge, stop to check out the vistas and views of other Loma trails below you.
18 Road Trails
18 Road is always going to be crowded in the spring. Still, two new trails have been built, one by Prime Cut and one over off of Zippity Do Dah. Prime Cut, the main “up” trail, is going to be crowded, but just pull over and let the faster people by and continue on your way. If you head up Chutes and Ladders you’ll lose a lot of the crowd in a hurry!
The “ladders” at the beginning of Chutes and Ladders will definitely test your lung capacity!
The end of the Chutes and Ladders trail takes you through wide open meadows.
There’s nothing wrong with making new friends on the trails, but sometimes you just want a little peace and quiet. These trails will give you that this spring in Fruita.