This is another guest post from Ogden, Utah-based copywriter and outdoor enthusiast Rob Tidwell. Credit for the feature photo above goes to Zach Dischner Photography, via PXhere
The West is famous for its phenomenal mountain biking. But some of the trails can seem more like commuting in bumper-to-bumper traffic than a leisurely bike ride. Anyone that’s visited Moab in peak season knows what I’m talking about.
Look, Moab is a truly magical place and one of the few destinations that lives up to the billing. But seriously. Where did all these people come from?!
If you find Moab is a bit too crowded, don’t fret. A mere 18 miles from the Utah border lies a relatively unknown mountain biking mecca – a quiet little town with none of the touristy hoopla going down. No hordes of souped-up side-by-sides roaming the streets. No indefinite hotel construction or corny tourist trap restaurants. Just a cozy little desert town that’s serious about its MTB trails (and dinosaurs!). I’ve even dubbed it “Moab East”.
Fruita, CO is right off I-70, just a short drive east of the Utah border. Right on the Colorado River, the area was historically a fruit-producing region (shocker I know), but now it’s fast-gaining a reputation as a mountain biking and all-around-outdoors destination.
Depending on your needs and personal night-spending preferences,, we recommend either staying at an AIRBNB or at one of the campgrounds in the area. We like camping at James M. Robb State Park, which sits right next to the Colorado River as well as a nice pond for relaxing next too. There are clean bathrooms with full showers available to wash that dusty grin off your face.
If you want to camp closer to the trailheads, the 18 Road BLM Campground is a grand place to stay – for just $10 a night. ake up with the sun and hit the trails right outside your tent flap!
If you didn’t bring a bike,, Over the Edge Sports should be your first stop, to snag a rental. This local mainstay is one of places where you might even end up grabbing a beer with one of the employees after your ride. It’s a friendly place that’s happy to help you with any of your MTB or trail needs.
Hopefully, you can get into town early enough to set up camp and get some laps in before dark. We like to start off at 18 Road, whereseveral challenging blue trails and even some green trails to warm up with await.
A few favorites include Joes Ridge, Zippity Do Da, and PBR (that’s short for Pumps, Brakes, and Rollers, not the beer). But friendly warning: the smooth, lengthy flow and sheer fun you’ll find these trails may cause a case of Perma-Grin.
After you’ve squeezed out every last drop of daylight you’ll want to refuel at the hip, buzzing Hot Tomato Cafe. The beer is cold, the ingredients are fresh and local, and they make the pizza NY style (meaning they make it properly and it’s downright delicious).
Day One in the Books. After a full day of traveling, mountain biking, and stuffing yourself with carbs, you’ll want to get some rest so you’re ready to go for tomorrow’s adventures.
First things first: Coffee and breakfast at Camillas Kaffe.
The portions are borderline ridiculous (but we’re not complaining). Camillas is one of those rare finds where the big portions aren’t a cover for the subpar food. The food is incredible, the portions are borderline ridiculous (but we’re not complaining). and you’ll have more than enough to fuel a morning spent tearing up single track.
After you’re done “calorie loading,” head to the Kokopelli trails area. The scenery is breathtaking and the rocky technical sections will provide your daily dose of adrenaline.
Rustler’s Loop, Mary’s Loop and Horsethief Bench are our favorites. All provide stunning views. Horsethief Bench has a few technical rock sections that may cause some intermediate riders to walk part of the trail. Know your limits and proceed with caution.
After a full day on the Kokopelli trails, head back to town for some well-deserved nourishment. Start off with a brew at Copper Club Brewing Company before heading down a block to the Suds Bros Brewery for hearty burgers and some more beers.
Dawn patrol! Time to choose where to head for a morning ride before heading back home. If you’re camping at the 18 Road compound the choice is obvious; you’re just feet from some of the most fun trails in all of Fruita! If you’re heading back east on I-70, you can also check out the Lunch Loops near Grand Junction.
Whichever trails you choose, it will be an unforgettable weekend in Fruita, CO.
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