If you didn’t make it out to the North Fruita Desert 18 Road Trails last year, changes have been made that you should be aware of. Several trails have been made one-way, and signs have been installed to help riders navigate.
First, Prime Cut, from the bottom to the intersection with Chutes and Ladders and PBR is one-way. You can only ride up this portion of the trail now. From the upper parking lot down to the intersection with Chutes and Ladders and PBR, you can still ride both ways. As a result, if you’re doing a large Frontside/Chutes and Ladders loop, or just shuttling PBR, you still have easy access from the top of Prime Cut.
Now, at the bottom, is this sign:
The intention behind making this part of the trail one-way is mostly an issue of traffic flow and safety. The trail is twisty and views are limited in parts, making it difficult to see if someone is coming right at you. The stopping and starting for everyone riding during high-traffic times was also getting ridiculous. This way, you can easily pull over to let someone behind you go by, but you don’t have to worry about people coming down the trail towards you.
In an effort to give people more “freeride” downhill options, PBR, Mojoe and Kessel have all been designated as downhill only routes. PBR and Mojoe have been this way since the beginning, but this is new for Kessel. At the ends of the trails are these signs:
Now, granted the sign at the bottom of PBR is much more obvious than the one at the bottom of Mojoe, but the ends of Kessel and Mojoe merge, and this sign exists there:
Similar to the one at Prime Cut, it reminds users that these trails are one-way, and to use Prime Cut as a means of climbing to the top.
These aren’t meant to be punishments; in fact, they’re meant to help everyone have a much more enjoyable experience in the area. When you’re in the zone and just flying down Kessel at warp speed, the last thing you want is to have to stop to allow someone riding up the trail to go by.
With PBR and Mojoe, the issue is even more important. These trails were built to allow riders to jump and be a little playful. They are fast and have features like tabletops, rollers, etc. People on these trails are not expecting to see someone riding towards them. In fact, it could be very dangerous on PBR if a rider was in the middle of a jump and suddenly saw another rider heading right towards them up the trail.
In the center you can barely make out a guy riding up Mojoe. The sign may be small, but it’s quite clear, and I honestly don’t think he could have missed it. At first I thought he was riding back up to the final jump, to try it again. I’ve seen people do that. When this photo was taken, however, he’s past that point. I don’t know why he chose to ignore warnings and ride up the trail, but I hope he didn’t run into anyone right in the middle of a feature.
Finally, there are other trails here that aren’t marked as directional, but might as well be. I’m not sure why anyone would ride up Joe’s Ridge, but I did see someone doing it one time. All I can say is that if I encountered someone climbing right in the middle of that ridge of super steep hills, there’s no way I could stop to allow them to go by. The hills are just too steep for that and that rider would be forced to stop and probably push the rest of the way up the hills.
Also, I’d really advise everyone to not try and ride up Zippity Do Dah. That would be almost a Sisyphean effort. Honestly. If you need to get up to the top, ride either Prime Cut, or take Western Zippity to Zip Off, from which you can access Frontside and easily reach Joe’s Ridge and Zippity Do Dah, or drop down a little further to reach Kessel Run.
In any case, please make sure to pay attention to the signs when biking at 18 Road. This is a popular bike spot for tourists, and especially families with small children. The directionality of trails will help with safety and traffic flow, but in the end it’s always best to be aware of your surroundings.