Great eMTB riding in Colorado/Utah

honkinunit

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I spent a few days at McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area recently. https://www.blm.gov/programs/nationa...cinnis-canyons Most people from Colorado know the area as "Rabbit Valley" because that is the name of the exit off of I-70, west of Fruita.

Holy smokes, the best eBike riding I've seen. There is a network of motorized trails out there that are absolutely awesome on an eBike. The best is Western Rim, which is about a foot wide and has awesome views (and some dangerous exposure), even though it is open to motorcycles. There was another great technical trail called Trail 8 that was a hoot. There are also some easier trails suitable for less experienced riders.

The area is right on the border of Colorado and Utah, and what I found was that many moto riders were from Colroado and didn't want to buy a Utah OHV sticker, so the trails on the Utah side were pretty empty. Even on the CO side they weren't overly crowded. Every single person I encountered out there, whether they were hiking, riding MTBs, riding motorcycles or ATVs or UTVs, was totally cool. None of the bullcrap you deal with on the Front Range.

I rode with some friends who were on enduro motorcycles, and like many MC riders who ride in a group, they ride for 15-20 minutes and then stop to let everyone regroup. The longest they waited for me was five minutes, which was totally OK with them. On Western Rim I pretty much kept up with them. Some sections of a couple of trails had deep sand, but an eBike shines in that, as long as you have the proper tires.

There is great camping right on the trails, and it is free. You can even get large RVs into some of the camp areas. No water anywhere though, and the closest supplies are 15 miles away in Fruita.

The Kokopelli Trail runs right through there, so you could ride all the way to Moab if you wanted to. Some parts of the Kokopelli Trail are non-motorized, so you would have to take different routes from your MTB friends in some sections. We also did some fun hikes down to the river.

Highly recommended, no matter what you ride or even if you want to hike.
 

Walt

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Rabbit Valley is the bomb for e-bikes (or motos).

I used to race an enduro (well, really just a race - all the key times were ridiculous) way back in the day that went from Grand Junction to Green River along the Bookcliffs. Lots of singletrack, lots of amazing views, great riding.

There is absolutely a TON of moto trail in that area and if I lived there I'd have an e-bike to ride it for sure (and a moto too). It will be interesting to see how much of the moto (and hence e-bike) access survives as Grand Junction grows.

 

honkinunit

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4500 to 5000 feet. I know it gets hot, hot, hot there in summer, similar to Moab, so riding June->early September would require starting at daybreak and finishing by noon at the latest. Winter is cold and can be snowy, so March-May and mid-September->early November are probably the windows.

I have to say that the trails they rate as "blue" definitely had some pucker factor.
 

Giant Warp

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Great report! I was wondering if the paved bike trail (18 miles?) that follows the Colorado River by the interstate is open to ebikes. Can't remember the trail name. My wife would like to ride that.

I've done some rides at Fruita where we used a shuttle. Sure would be nice to use the ebikes to do some loops there if they open it to ebikes some day.
 

MSU Alum

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Thanks for this post! I have neighbors who have bought a couple of Ebikes to tool around Park City. I'll encourage them to look into this for the easy routes.
 

honkinunit

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That is a great question, it looked like the paved path along the interstate was open for several miles west of Fruita now.

It looks like it is hit or miss, some of the Riverfront Trail is open to ebikes and some of it isn't. Sheesh.

 

Walt

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What rides in Fruita did you shuttle? I'm curious (because I take my kids there and would love some shuttle options) and was unaware that anything at 18 road or Kokopelli (or, hah, Highline) was shuttle-able.

 

Giant Warp

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So I had to pull the info off of an old thread on Utah Mountain Biking and I haven't been there in a few years so double check with a map. My memory is not so good tonight.

Sample post 1:
You can grab a cheap shuttle for the Ribbon at the Lunch Loops parking lot and turn it into practically as long a day as you want. Gunny Loop over to Miramonte etc. You could head back up Pet-e-Kes then make your way back over to Holy Cross again.
Ribbon isn't very long, but it's worth checking out. Like a Slickrock highway. The only place I have legitimately broken 35 mph on MTB.

Sample post 2: Butterknife, then down to dump into prenup into holy cross and down to Tagagauche TH. Butterknife was a lot of fun.

Sample post 3: Ribbon into holy cross is a sweet/unique ride. Grand Jct is only 2.5 hrs from Crested butte which is awesome

Sample post 4: Ribbon--Lunch Line--Free Lunch--Holy Cross--then whatever--they're all good.

The climb out of The Ribbon to get to Lunch line is actually quite entertaining and mostly doable. This is a much better line than finishing on Andy's loop IMO.
 

Giant Warp

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Here is a nice slideshow of one weekend I did in Fruita and Moab. Thanks for viewing.
 
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levity

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Beautiful photos, Giant!

Thanks for sharing them.

(y) (y)



... and THANKS to honkinunit for the heads up on the MC NCA!
Added to the bucket list
 

fos'l

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Thanks for the fantastic pictures. Reminded me of a trip to AZ & UT several years ago. Need to go again soon.
 
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Walt

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Yeah, those are GJ rides, not Fruita. But definitely good shuttles (or good loops).

 

watermonkey

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A bike shop in Fruita actually shuttles people to the top of the 18 road complex, so able bodied adults don't have to ride uphill 1.2 miles from the parking lot - its ridiculous.

+1 on Rabbit valley. You can ride for days out there.
 

Walt

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Really?!? Holy cow, that's hilarious. It's like 3% grade or something, too! Even if you're astoundingly lazy and not trying hard at all, I have to imagine it takes longer to load up the shuttle vehicle, drive up, and unload again than to ride.

I mean, I'd consider it with my 3 year old. But an adult?

 

Giant Warp

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Is rabbit valley a moon dust extravaganza with the OHVs? I was thinking early spring like you did would be the best riding.
 

Walt

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It's spring/fall just like all of that area. The dust doesn't get horrible ever but it's pretty hot in summer and cold in the winter (and if it's wet there's a ton of clay in that dirt... watch out).

The trails there are really not generally too trashed by OHVs, it's fun on a normal mountain bike though it wouldn't be my first choice of riding in that area. With an e-bike it's probably the best legal riding I can think of assuming you like singletrack.

 

honkinunit

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I'm sure it gets dusty but it is a huge area, not a 100 acre playpen like so many OHV areas. I'm already planning to return in late May, which is probably about as late as you want to be out there until mid-September or so.
 
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