Mountain Bike the Book Cliffs

Added by Whitney James

Distance: Anywhere from 2 to 28 miles. Elevation gain: Anywhere from 0 to 3,000 feet. Warm spring and fall riding in the desert. Excellent variety of trails for all levels of rider. Fun vibes around town and in camp. Expect to party with people you don't know.

Fruita is Colorado's mountain biking paradise. Right across the border from world-famous Moab, it's only slightly lesser known. People on the Front Range make monthly pilgrimages to this epic spot for desert camping and mountain biking. The area is especially popular in the spring and fall, when mountain trails are still covered in snow and the desert isn't too hot.

You'll want to camp with the cool kids on 18 Road, also known as the Book Cliffs. Directions courtesy BLM: "Exit Interstate 70 at Fruita (Exit 19). Head north on Cherry Street and take the first right onto Aspen Avenue. Go through the roundabout and continue on Aspen to Maple Street. Take a left on Maple Street and travel north for approximately 3.6 miles (Maple turns into 17.5 Road.) Take a right on N.3 road and then a left on 18 Road. Travel approximately seven and a half miles north on 18 Road until you reach the North Fruita Desert Campground."

From here, hit the trails! The loops are designed to be connected in any way you like, and are fit for beginners and advanced riders. Make sure you check a trail map before heading out so that you don't wind up on something too technical or on a steep ridge-line that is way too intimidating. While all the trails are listed online, I recommend The Mountain Biker's Guide to Colorado by Dan Hickstein. You can also ask any rider around and they'll be totally stoked to give you a suggestion or 12.

For those with an extra day, be sure to check out nearby Colorado National Monument, where you can camp and hike and look back towards the Book Cliffs for excellent views. Other mountain bike trails in the area are Kokopelli Loops and Tabeguache (pronounced "tabby-wash" and known as the Lunch Loops by people who can't pronounce it). Whatever you do, don't forget to stop for pizza at the Hot Tomato in downtown Fruita.

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ūü•áTop Contributor

about 5 years ago

This was one of our favorite places to mountain bike! My husband and I talked some of the more advanced routes, while our two oldest kids had fun bombing down Kessell Run. Absolutely awesome!

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