New and Improved Grand Junction MTB Trails

Making use of rollers on the PBR trail at 18 Road in Fruita, CO

The Colorado Plateau Mountain Biking Association and a local group called Fruita Singletracks has been working to build new trails at 18 Road. There are some riders who say 18 Road is “too easy” or “boring,” but I love the swooping, steep desert singletrack. I also like the fact that on days when I just don’t feel like tackling a super technical trail I can head to 18 Road and enjoy something different.

The first new trail recently completed is Pumps, Berms and Rollers (aka PBR!). It starts about 2/3 of the way up Prime Cut, where the Chutes and Ladders cut off is. On your way up Prime Cut you’ll see the end of the trail with a big sign that says “Downhill only! Do not Enter!” From the top you climb just briefly and very gently and then boom! No more pedaling for the next 3 miles or so. It is a seriously long section of crazy downhill. There are rollers, designed with all levels in mind, along the first half of the trail. They’re higher on one side than the other so you can jump if you want or just roll over the lower side.

Berms are sprinkled throughout the trail, creating beautiful banked turns. I’m pretty sure there isn’t a rock anywhere on the trail–it’s smooth desert dirt the whole way. Good or bad, it’s different from Kessel Run in that it doesn’t have the crazy swooping rolls or twisty tree sections. Still, this trail is fast and furious from beginning to end.

The PBR trail just keeps going and going and going!

We use PBR to extend a ride and give our legs a rest after climbing Prime Cut. Often we’ll ride up Prime Cut, bomb down PBR, and either climb the short-cut trail to the campground and Joe’s, or climb back up Prime Cut and ride across 18 Road to Joe’s. It helps to make longer loops at 18 Road because honestly, after driving all the way out there you certainly don’t want to be on the trail for just 45 minutes and go home!

There are other new trails coming soon including Eat at Joe’s which will, obviously, branch off the bottom of Joe’s Ridge.

Palisade Rim Trail

Much talk has been made about the Palisade Rim trail lately. It’s been there for years, with a crazy singletrack entry from Rapid Creek that probably led many people to dismiss it. Others probably thought, “biking in Palisade?” It’s true that I didn’t even think of biking in Palisade until I was just looking for something new to explore.

Articles have been written in the Denver Post, The Daily Sentinel, and in email blasts from COPMOBA about the improved trail and I’d been hearing things from co-workers as well. Finally “A” and I decided to go check it out one summer morning. Originally you had to bike from Rapid Creek either up the Ute Petroglyph trail or on some very narrow single track for about 4-5 miles to get to the trail. Then you had a steep hike-a-bike climb ahead of you. Now a trailhead has been created right along Hwy 6 just outside of Palisade. The lollipop trail now utilizes switchbacks to make climbing more manageable.

Dropping the middle of a long technical section on the Palisade Rim trail

Head down Hwy 6 toward I-70 East. Just before you reach the junction with the Interstate, on the right you’ll see a concrete wall where the canal runs. There is a chain link fence and a small facilities building. Across from this on the left is a gravel parking area with a sign on the chain link fence that says “Palisade Rim Trail”.

Looking East from the Palisade Rim Trail

The trail literally begins right in front of that chain link fence and curves back to the left above the canal. On your way to the loop portion of the trail you’ll encounter a number of technical features. The good thing about this trail is that it isn’t crowded so you can spend time picking a line and having some “do-overs.” At the junction bear left and enjoy some mostly smooth singletrack and petroglyphs! Located on the right just after the giant drop on the backside of the trail (you’ll know it when you get to it), these petroglyphs are truly a cool thing to see on the trail.

On your way down everything is rideable. Maybe it’s not all rideable without a second look, but it is all rideable. Don’t forget to enjoy the views–they’re amazing!

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