By now you must have heard of it. The famous Fruita trails including the rip roaring loops above the Colorado River, Rabbit Valley, and 18 Road. These trails were created through the teamwork of local cyclists, the Bureau of Land Management and Over The Edge Sports.
They include some great climbs and zippy descents on some of the newer trails such as the Zion Curtain and the Overlook Trail. Both are big epic rides where you will truly appreciate the support vehicle. What could be better after a major backcountry ride than a chair with a view, a cold one, and somebody else whipping up dinner? That’s right, nothing!
Day by Day Itinerary
TRIP DAY 1
After meeting in Grand Junction we will head thirteen miles west to Fruita and stop in at the famous Over the Edge Sports shop. We may as well begin at the place that started it all, get our coffee on, ogle some pretty bikes, soak up some atmosphere and get in the mood for some world class singletrack. Before heading out we'll pack a tasty lunch and then shuttle west another seventeen miles to Rabbit Valley, the start of our ride and home of an extensive dinosaur dig. A short climb brings us to our first singletrack which will take us back under the highway to the Zion Curtain Trail. We'll climb steadily on singletrack to our lunch spot which has spectacular views of the Colorado River Valley. After lunch, we'll stay on the Zion Curtain skirting the border between Colorado and Utah which will set us up for a big descent! We'll descend on a mixture of slickrock and sinewy singletrack complete with steep pitches and some good technical moves. The Zion Curtain Trail ends here and we pick up the Kokopelli Trail for a short, steep climb up to our camp. TOTAL MILEAGE - 18 miles
TRIP DAY 2
A BIG breakfast is in order as today is large! We'll ride singletrack directly from camp on the Overlook Trail which was part of the 1999 IMBA Epic Ride. This trail runs the ridge in a roller coaster of fun all the while offering a panoramic view of the valley below, all the way to the La Sal Mountains, which are near Moab, Utah. After eight miles, we reach Arches Junction, where we have the option to ride the Mesa Trail, a fantastic, technically challenging nine mile loop before having lunch. After a good feedin' we're off to descend a steep jeep road to the short "sawblade" Connector Trail. The Connector links us to the highly admired Western Rim Trail (marvelled for its flowing ribbon of trail as seen from the classic Kokopelli Trail above). The Western Rim is composed of smooth twisty sections, slickrock and sandstone ledge, making for a frolic of a desert afternoon. We finish the day on the Kokopelli Trail which leads us up to camp at the stunning Castle Rock camp. Yippee! TOTAL MILEAGE - 19 large miles
TRIP DAY 3
Today we'll ride the famous Kokopelli Trail. This morning's ride offers us a break from the technical side of the trip and the chance to spin our legs out on rolling jeep road through Rabbit Valley to our lunch location high above the Colorado River. After lunch....BREAK'S OVER! We have a gnarly, techy descent down to the Salt Wash Bridge where we cross over Salt Creek. "What goes down, must go up!" This starts our grind up to meet Troy Built Trail, a true Fruita classic! Lots of swoopy singletrack, more stout climbing and some hike-a-biking connect us to the Lion's and Mary's loops. The riding here is so good that the locals from Moab travel to Grand Junction to ride these very trails! When we hit the Loma Trailhead we'll hop in the van and shuttle through Fruita to our camp out on 18 Road, located at the base of the Bookcliffs. TOTAL MILEAGE - 21 miles
TRIP DAY 4
Good morning - it's playtime! Welcome to the Bookcliff Trail System, the true original creation of Fruita mountain bikers. These trails are what changed Fruita from a local secret to a national destination. Fast, twisting and full of surprises; built entirely by and for mountain bikers, all of these trails are special! Zippy, smooth and significantly less technical than the previous days of riding, it's too awesome to limit to just one day. So we will be spending two days riding in Fruita's favorite mountain bike playground. We'll hit Joe's Ridge, Kessel, Prime Cut, Zippity, Chutes...and whatever else we can squeeze into our fun filled days. TOTAL MILEAGE - 20-35 miles
About The Operator:
Western Spirit Cycling
The History of Western Spirit
"Back in the day", as our oldest guides say, Western Spirit Cycling was founded by a charismatic mad bike rider named Lu Warner. It was 1989; Lu couldn't get enough of riding his bike and decided he should impart some of his joy on the masses. He acquired a Suburban, dubbed "the burb” and a couple of guides and started taking people around the White Rim. Now Lu can be found in some semi-state of retirement in Crested Butte, CO, but his vision was just the beginning.
Just for the record, yes, we still have the burb. It's retired. And those "couple of guides" are our finest Rachel & Johnny - no sign of retirement there!
Then the Mid-90s
Ashley Korenblat bought Western Spirit in 1997 and since then has spent many days riding unknown trails (with a headlamp in her backpack, just in case) creating the plethora of trips that Western Spirit now offers. Ashley is a graduate of Dartmouth and Tuck Business School, a former bike racer, former Wall Street captive and possessor of entrepreneurial spirit. She was president of Merlin during the Titanium mountain bike heyday and served as the IMBA President working to sustain trail availability to everyone. Combine all that with the desire for a Moab lifestyle and an alternative view of a fulfilling career path, and you have the perfect recipe for the owner of a cycling tour company. Enter Mark. Mark is our charming, wicked-fit, voice of reason, miraculously lured from his ski town tradition to live in the desert. Ashley and Mark got married in 1999 in Moab and now run the company together.
Well, actually Kip runs the place. Kip is Ashley and Mark's young boy and he has his own bike helmet and chariot. He is also beginning to tear it up on the dirt with his training wheels.
Our office staff is comprised of mostly gals...and Mark. Thank goodness for Mark! Mark is our bike junkie and can be seen pedaling on a daily basis. Ashley makes the best backcountry bacon you will ever have, but definitely burns off those calories towing the little Kipster around town in his trailer. Anne Clare loves riding her road bike and hiking in the mountains. Sheri and Tonya both love the water and do their best to kayak 365 days a year. Emily is pretty "green". She is the founder of a non-profit organization, Community Rebuilds that promotes affordable and eco-friendly housing.
All of us have worked outdoors and are familiar with what you will experience on a Western Spirit trip. At any given time when you call you can talk to someone who has been on any trip that interests you. That's because we love to be out there too!
In our busy world, we often don't get to be outside enough. Even if you do, there's some phenomenon that just makes you want more. Nothing like going somewhere to make you realize all the other places you still need to go! Traveling outside makes you see Mars when it's the closest to earth it'll ever be, makes you smell the fragrant lupine covering the mountain slope, makes you feel the wind, see the perfect sunset, catch an eclipse of the moon, experience the herd of elk in the alpine meadow, and start to tell time by the location of the moon in the night sky.
What's that all worth in our busy world? Well, it is our world.
On all of our tours, we strive to protect our fragile mountain and desert environments. Many of our campsites are remote and unimproved, and we seek to leave them better than we found them.
Food is one thing we take pretty seriously. Our guides are great backcountry chefs and your trip includes all meals from lunch on first day to lunch on last day.
Our customized trucks and vans carry all of your gear as well as many camper comforts! We have the coolest custom F-450's in the industry. Our guides have incredible backcountry experience, but the best part is that they are all super friendly and look forward to a week of riding with you.
We camp primarily in pristine locations where it's quiet, dark and peaceful. The finest morning view comes with a hot cup of cowboy coffee. All shuttles are included from our meeting place to the start of your ride. At the end of the trip we shuttle back to our meeting place.
Western Spirit Cycling, Inc. operates under special use permits from the USDA Forest Service in the Boise, Coronado, Dixie, Grand Mesa, Gunnison, Kaibab, Manti La Sal (Moab and Monticello Ranger Districts), San Juan, Sawtooth, Sierra Vista, Uncompahgre, Challis, Clearwater, Beaverhead-Deerlodge, Caribou-Targhee, Black Hills, Mount Hood, Umpqua, Nantahala, White Mountain, Monongahela, and Pisgah National Forests and by Dakota Prairie Grasslands. As well as under permits issued by the Bureau of Land Management in the San Juan Resource Area; Henry Mountain Field Station; Moab, Arizona Strip and Grand Junction Field Offices; Grand Staircase National Monument; and by Bryce, Zion, Capitol Reef, Grand Canyon, Crater Lake and Blue Ridge Parkway National Parks. Western Spirit is a concessionaire in Canyonlands National Park.