Hailed as one of the best rides in the country, The Edge Loop in Fruita, Colorado, is the location of the very first International Mountain Bicycling Association "Epic" Ride. And what a ride it is!
What Goes Up:
Start at the 18 Road Book Cliffs Recreation Area and hop on the “Frontside Trail” to start the lengthy ride...and climb. The Edge Loop proudly offers 35 miles of trail—3,800 feet of which will have your front tire pointed up. For the first hour or so, a steady ascent will ultimately deliver you to the top of the Book Cliffs. If you brought along your camera, now is the time to take it out. From 2,000 vertical feet above the Grand Valley basin you’ll soak in a wide-open panorama of canyons, red rocks and the mighty Rocky Mountains.
Must Come Down:
Once your camera is safely tucked away, take one last glance at the vast desert and snow-capped mountains, then point your bike down! Tight, technical singletrack awaits. True to its name, The Edge Loop puts you pretty close to the edge. Stay alert and on the trail. Other spots put you near Cryptobiotic soil—living soil crust that plays a vital role in desert health. Stay within established tracks to minimize any type of harm to this sensitive soil.
Long climbs, steep descents and middle-of-nowhere amenities put this trail in the “advanced” category. Oh, right, there’s also a mandatory waterfall rappel. Yes, you read that correctly. You’ll come across it deep into your descent. Before you rappel, check the condition of the rope put there to help guide you. And use teamwork to get everyone in your group down safely. Be prepared for extreme weather conditions on this trail too. There’s a lot of climbing. It could easily be warm at the trailhead and snowing at the highest point. Remember, you’re in the desert, so come summertime the heat will be intense. If you can, plan to ride this trail in the spring or fall for optimal weather conditions. And don’t forget to pack enough food and water for a long day in the saddle.
Extend Your Stay:
Fruita’s small-town feel and friendly locals welcome mountain bikers into town. While it’s definitely well-known in the mountain bike scene, most people still think Moab before they think Fruita—and being a bit lower on the radar is a good thing. While the nightlife isn’t exactly hopping, you’ll find plenty of places to rest your tired muscles and a variety of restaurants to grab some grub along the main drag. Aspen Avenue is also home to Over the Edge Sports, a full-service bike shop.
The Edge Loop is located about 10 miles west of Grand Junction, Colorado. If you’re coming from a distance, the quickest way to hit the trail is to fly into Grand Junction Regional Airport. Take Interstate 70 west for 15 to 10 minutes until you hit the town of Fruita. If you choose to fly into Denver, take Interstate 70 west for four and a half hours to reach Fruita.