Northwest of Grand Junction in western Colorado, the 18 Road North Fruita Desert trail system is the hot spot for mountain biking with smooth, hard-packed rolling trails with some technical drops and descents. The trails roll through desert meadows and across ridges with scenic desert canyon vistas. Many of the trails can be ridden all year round, however, the best season is spring or fall due to summer heat and snow on high trails. Avoid riding when wet since the mud is like cement and riding will damage the trails permanently.
The Fruita area trails are divided into two districts. The Bookcliffs area off 18 Road, about 10 miles due north of Fruita, has rides with more climbing, but the high spots tend to be snowed in during winter months. The Kokopelli area, about 5 miles northwest of town, has all-season rides along the Colorado River.
In the Bookcliffs area are the following trails: Edge Loop, Chutes & Ladders, Prime Cut, Zippity Doo Daa, and Frontside Loop.
The popular epic Edge Loop is a 28 mile ride combining singletrack with dirt roads. The route passes over Ross Ridge and offers great views of the Uncompahgre Plateau and San Juans. The upper sections of this route can be snowed in during winter months.
The Chutes & Ladders trail is an 8 mile single track loop.
The Prime Cut / Joes Ridge trail is a 6 mile singletrack loop with easy climbs and fun descents.
The Zippity Doo Daa trail is a 10 mile singletrack loop with gnarly downhills (note this is a one-way trail).
The Frontside Loop is a 17 mile singletrack offering amazing vistas. While this can be a loop, most people do it as an out and back ride. Note, there can be snow during the winter months.
To reach Fruita from Denver, head west on US70 for 255 miles (about 4 hours) to Exit 19.
To reach the trailhead from Fruita, head east on Aspen St. Turn left heading north on Maple Street (aka N17 1/2) for 3.3 miles. Turn right heading east on N 3/10 Road for 0.5 miles. Turn left heading north on 18 Road. Continue for 2.7 miles to end of paved road. Continue on winding, washboard dirt road through the desert for 4.2 miles to trailhead parking area.
Overall, 18 Road Trail System is the 17th most popular mountain bike trail of all 175 mountain biking rides in Colorado.