The four of us left our bike shop with equal amounts of excitement and curiosity. Our plan was to spend Labor Day weekend riding as many trails as possible between Fruita, CO, and Moab, UT. We knew this trip had potential to be one of the best riding adventures we had done, but we didn’t know much else to expect.
Only one of us had ever ridden Moab and none of us had ever ridden Fruita. We spent 14 hours driving from Carson City to Fruita. Highway 50 is called The Loneliest Road in America. We understood why as the sun set behind us and we saw more deer than passing vehicles. When I woke up, we were somewhere on Interstate 70 in Utah. Jimmy, the one in our group who had ridden Moab, was excited to pull over at a particular rest stop with stunning views. The rest stop delivered as we were able to watch the sun rise over an endless valley dense with incredible rock formations and 1000ft cliffs.
We settled back into the RV for the final push into Fruita. The route to get to the 18 Road Trails was interesting. We exited the interstate to drive through a network cozy Colorado homes, many of which positioned on a small chunk of farmland. 18 Road’s pavement eventually turned into a three-mile stretch of gravel that pushed the limits of the RV’s suspension. The trailhead was clearly marked and provided ample parking.
Our plan was to ride three trails: Kessel Run, Joe’s Ridge, and Zippity Doo Dah.
We decided our first ride would be Joe’s Ridge as we were collectively more excited to ride that trail than the others. We left the trailhead and climbed a dirt road that got us to an intersection of trails. One of my many favorite aspects of 18 Road Trails is that the trails have signs posted that encourage riders to only descend or ascend certain trails. Joe’s Ridge happens to be a trail where riders should only descend, and for good reason.
The trail starts off pretty mellow. Not long after, however, the classic ridge riding is exposed and the trail represents the uniqueness of 18 Road Trails. To be honest, the ridge riding was a bit intimidating the first time I saw it on Joe’s Ridge. It was like nothing I had ever ridden in the past. But I set aside my nerves, for the time being, and continued on.
We gathered up around the halfway point down Joe’s Ridge. One of our riders, Adam, noticed a free-ride line he wanted to attempt. He hiked his bike up a ridge consisting of soft dirt and scouted his line. He committed to it and descended down the steep line and into a rolling valley floor. The rest of us continued on the main trail which now presented more jumping features. We made our way to the end of the trail which emptied into an intersection between the other two trails we planned on riding. We ascended a short, punchy climb back to the parking lot and fueled up on food and hydration.
For our second ride, we chose Kessel Run. Kissel Run is considered the easiest of the three. It took less climbing to get to than Joe’s Ridge and was certainly less technical. Kessel Run is a great trail to practice turning on as it is winding and full of sharp burms and turns. One of our riders suffered a scary crash and rightfully wanted to rest around the RV while taking inventory of his bike and body.
The other three of us decided not to ride Zippity Doo Dah without the entire group so we checked out the trail map for other options.
We decide to ride PB&R (Pumps, Bumps, and Rollers). The ride is classified as a black diamond trail. I feel that this trail is better classified as an intermediate trail. Never mind the classification though, PB&R was an absolute blast! Of all the trails we rode, PB&R was my favorite in regard to trail quality.
By the time we got back to the trailhead, Jimmy was feeling better after his crash and was ready for another ride.
We had time for one more ride and decided to do Zippity Doo Dah. Getting to Zippity Doo Dah required more climbing than any of the other trails. The climb was fairly mild with the exception of a couple spots. Zippity Doo Dah offers the best views from 18 Road Trails.
This trail had the notorious ridge lines that I was so excited to ride. The trail is classified as a black diamond. It’s not that Zippity Doo Dah is overly technical, it’s that some of the ridges are carved through some high-risk areas that I found a little intimidating.
I even ended up walking one specific section as it really played with my fear of heights. That said, Zippity Doo Dah was a well-designed trail with really fun sections and stunning views.
It was the perfect ride to finish up our afternoon. I am so glad I went and rode 18 Road Trails.
We did four different trails and still have more to do. I am looking forward to the next time I ride Fruita, CO.