Riding the Ribbon

In my quest to tackle all of our local trails, I convinced the BF to ride The Ribbon trail with me this past weekend.  This trail is one of the few in our area that requires a shuttle and begins high up Little Park road, ending at the main Lunch Loop/Tabeguache parking area. I’m sure this trail could be ridden by some people in well under two hours.  For us that’s about how long it took.

Trailhead for "The Ribbon" on Little Park Road

The Ribbon is so named for the “ribbon” of rock it follows down into a drainage far below Little Park Road.  The trail starts from a gravel parking area on the right, just after passing the “Bangs Canyon” recreation area on your left.  You’ll park in a small gravel lot and take the trail starting beside the bathroom.  After rolling along through a dirt section you’ll climb up onto the rock.  The views from here are amazing!  You can see our entire little valley.

Then you just… well, you head down.  Start coasting along and keep an eye out for trail markers.  At one point you’ll see the trail far below you, but figuring out how to get down there is a little tricky.  Look for a small metal trail marker with an arrow.  Follow the arrow and look down a patch of rock.  This is the entrance to the “Toilet Bowl” portion of The Ribbon.  It is easily the most technical feature on the trail.  It was probably harder, physically, to walk down it than it would be to ride it; mentally, riding that will be a feat for another day!

Looking back up at the "toilet bowl"

From here the trail meanders through some scrubby trees, back onto rock, and down into a drainage.  I enjoyed this portion of the trail the most because I was able to actually stay on the bike and enjoy some nice riding within my comfort zone of technical skill.  After one more hike-a-bike section we started the long climb out of the drainage back to Little Park road.

Looking back at our starting point: the flat slabs of rock high up on the left hand side

We cruised down the road for maybe 2/10 of a mile and then turned left at a gated Lunch Loop trailhead to pick up Pre-Nup.  There is a map here as well so if you aren’t familiar with the area, you might want to check it out.  Pre-Nup is a fairly entertaining section of trail that is all singletrack and varies between ups and downs.  It’s a lot of fun!  After a gnarly set of switchbacks that, unless you’re Danny McAskill, will require you to get off your bike, you’ll cruise to the end of this one and will find yourself at an intersection with Holy Cross.

Looking up Pre-Nup

From here you have 2 choices; turn right and extend your ride by riding Holy Cross.  It’s one of the most technical trails we have at the Lunch Loop area and it’s almost all downhill.  If you’re looking for an epic day, by all means turn right!

For an easier route, turn left and go back to the main Tabeguache trail.  Turn right onto it and start down the doubletrack.  High Noon will appear shortly on your right; this piece of singletrack is worth taking!

Flattening out to make it under a boulder on High Noon

After this you can pretty much just follow the signs to the trailhead.  There are so many possibilities and loops that it would take me a week to describe them all.

The Ribbon is unique for Grand Junction because it’s the longest “rock ride” we have.  It’s great if you’re looking for something different or if you want to create a long downhill ride for you and your friends.

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