Kokopelli Trail For Mountain Biking
The 7th most popular mountain bike trail in Utah.
Friday 1 July 2016 01:48 GMT
Northeast of Moab, the Kokopelli's Trail is an arduous 142 mile trail running from Loma, Colorado, southwest towards Moab, Utah, that is mainly used by mountain bikers. Kokopelli's Trail winds through remote desert sandstone canyons and forested highlands from 4,500 feet at Loma up to 8,100 feet at Beaver Mesa while generally parallelling the Colorado River. The route varies from technical singletrack up to pavement, but the majority of the route is on old jeep roads that were originally used for stagecoaches. It is marked by brown fiberglass posts every half mile. Most of the trail is motor vehicle accessible for high clearance four-wheel drive vehiles, but no motorized vehicles are allowed on the singletrack stretches of trail. Keep in mind that when the trail is wet, it can be impassible to all modes of transportation, and the highland sections can also be impassible during the winter due to deep snow. The best time of year to attempt the entire trail is the last few weeks of September and the first few weeks of October -- this allows avoiding some of the desert heat while hopefully missing the snow at the higher elevations.
The Kokopelli's Trail is typically ridden westward from the Loma trailhead to the Moab trailhead. The eastern Loma trailhead is located west of Fruita, Colorado, at the Loma Boat Launch off Exit #15 of US70. The western Moab trailhead is located east of Moab, Utah, at the Slickrock Trail parking area off Sand Flats Road. Along the route, the elevation gain ranges from 14,000 feet to 18,000 feet, depending upon the precise route you take. While a few hardcore mountain bikers have attempted to ride the trail in one day, it is generally a multi-day adventure that requires extensive planning. There is no water available anywhere along the route, so you will need to carefully plan your water stashes and/or support vehicle. Along the length of the Kokopelli's Trail, there are eight small designated camping areas with a couple campsites each. These designated camping areas have a pit toilet and a few picnic tables. Again, there is no water provided. Luckily, there are numerous guided tour companies based out of both Fruita and Moab that can provide everything you need and shuttle your gear between campsites.
The Kokopelli's Trail is typically divided into six sections, which can be combined as needed to form a multi-day trip:
Section 1: From the Loma Boat Launch to Rabbit Valley is a 21 mile stretch with good single track along Mary's Loop and along the river rim. It is followed by rolling jeep roads to Rabbit Valley.
Section 2: From Rabbit Valley to Cisco Landing is a rolling 34 mile stretch following old jeep roads along with a short section of pavement near the end.
Section 3: From Cisco Landing to Dewey Bridge is a 20 mile stretch following pavement and then singletrack. Before descending down to Dewey Bridge on the Colorado River, you'll need to climb 1,000 feet on sandy jeep roads.
Section 4: From Dewey Bridge to Fisher Valley is an 18 mile stretch climbing over 2,500 feet on rough gravel roads, some of which have degraded into just singletrack. From the section summit, the route follows a 4WD road descenting down into the Fisher Valley and ending on Onion Creek Road. This is not a very good section for support vehicles to follow mountain bikers. Even support vehicles coming in from Onion Creek Road may find the numerous creek crossing too deep to pass at times.
Section 5: From Fisher Valley to Castle Valley Road is a 25 mile section with a 3,500 foot ascent on old jeep roads leading up Fisher Mesa in the La Sal Mountains. This section then descends 2,000 feet to finish.
Seciton 6: From Castle Valley Road to Moab is a 27 mile section that climbs roughly 2,000 feet on pavement up to Mason Draw, and then descents 4,000 feet on singletrack and 4WD roads to the Moab trailhead. The road is paved from Porcupine Rim trailhead down to the Slickrock trailhead.
Overall, Kokopelli Trail is the 7th most popular mountain bike trail of all 74 mountain biking rides in Utah. Several of the better mountain bike trails are nearby Kokopelli Trail including White Rim Trail, Klondike Bluffs Trail, Slickrock Bike Trail, Poison Spider Trail, Whole Enchilada and Magnificent 7 Trail System.