Colorado boasts some truly spectacular nature, and that combined with its varied mountainous terrain makes it the perfect place to jump on a mountain bike and get up close and personal with nature.
While you’re gliding along the trails of the Grand Valley or the Colorado National Monument on two wheels, you’ll be able to experience the natural landscape of the area and cover much more mileage than on a hike.
Colorado and the Grand Junction area in particular have a wide range of mountain biking trails for all skill levels. Let’s take a look at some of the best trails and what you can expect.
Easy Mountain Biking Trails
For newcomers to the world of mountain biking or those who simply want a more leisurely trip through nature, Colorado has a fine selection of easy trails that still offer spectacular views.
Vista Grande Loop
Located in Western Colorado near the town of Gateway, the Vista Grande Loop is a nice low-intensity mountain biking trail with incredible views of rock formations and open skies. The trail itself is about one and a half miles long, with a gentle average incline of 3%.
The Zip Off mountain bike trail is located near Fruita, Colorado, and offers two miles of beginner singletrack riding. The average gradient on this trail is just 1%, and even at the highest points, it doesn’t exceed 5%, making it a great option for those who like to avoid technical trails.
The Old Spanish Trail
For those who want a little more of a challenge, The Old Spanish Trail sits on the more difficult side of mountain biking trails for beginners. This route is located by the Gunnison River Bluffs in Grand Junction and offers about 4.5 miles of riding with an average gradient of 3% that rises to a tricky 11% in some sections.
Colorado River Trail: Blue Heron Section
The flattest mountain biking trail on our list, the Blue Heron Section of the Colorado River Trail is 3.5 long and has an average gradient of 0%. On the Blue Heron Section, you can coast along the riverside and enjoy the scenery at a leisurely pace.
Intermediate Mountain Biking Trails
For mountain bikers who want something more demanding than these beginner trails, but also aren’t in the mood for a truly strenuous day out, Colorado also has a host of intermediate biking trails to choose from.
Close to Bangs Canyon Recreation Area in Grand Junction, the Windmill Trail lasts for 8 miles and has an average gradient of 5% which climbs to 20% in the toughest sections. It’s challenging but offers beautiful views of the surrounding desert landscape and canyon.
The aptly named Good Vibes trail is also found near Bangs Canyon and offers a pleasant and short ride through juniper and pine trees while still offering some fun challenges. The trail is just 0.7 miles long and even at its toughest points only reaches a gentle climb of 8%.
In the Redlands area of Grand Junction, you’ll find the Miramonte Rim biking trail. It’s almost 2 miles long and not too technical of a ride, making it a great introduction to rocky trails without being overly taxing.
For those who like to keep their biking trails short and sweet, the Curt’s Lane trail is a great way to experience the Lunch Loops trail network on a tight schedule. This trail is just 0.4 miles long and conveniently connects to the rest of the Lunch Loops if you’re seeking a longer ride.
Difficult Mountain Bike Trails
If you’re a seasoned mountain biker seeking a tough but thrilling challenge, Colorado has plenty to offer. Here are some of the more difficult mountain biking trails you can find in the region.
Lunch Loop Trails - Gunny Loop
The Gunny Loop in Lunch Loops is a challenging but rewarding ride that can also be extended by following the loops. Gunny Loop runs 4.5 miles one way and although the average gradient is only 4%, this trail reaches up to 19% at its steepest points.
Near Grand Junction you’ll find the Ribbon Trail, offering fast descending rides over smooth slab rocks. The trail stretches for 3 miles and in its toughest sections reaches downhill gradients of up to 27%. Make sure your brakes are in proper order before taking on Ribbon Trail!
Ute Creek Trail #608
In the Uncompahgre National Forest, you’ll find the Uncompahgre Plateau Trails. Here, Ute Creek Trail #608 offers a fast and technical bike ride through diverse nature, starting with a descent into a dried creek bed. This trail is 6.5 miles long and reaches a maximum gradient of 31%, making it the steepest trail on our list and not recommended for the faint-hearted.
Located near the town of Palisade, Colorado, the Palisade Rim trail rewards intrepid bikers with good exposure and spectacular views after an 800-foot climb. The whole route is 8.7 miles long and features technical challenges like switchbacks, cliff exposure, rocky terrain, and more.
The most extreme trail available for a radical downhill ride is the brand new Palisade Plunge, which is already receiving national attention. The Plunge runs from the top of the Grand Mesa National Forest for 32 miles of downhill single-track adrenaline-pumping action. The trail connects the top of the Grand Mesa to the valley with a 6,000-foot descent through pristine public lands. The single-track trail winds through alpine forests and high desert, some of which has long been unused for hundreds of years, except by fourth-generation ranchers and their cattle.
Experience Mountain Biking in Colorado
Colorado, especially the Grand Junction region, is a paradise for mountain bikers of all levels thanks to its diverse mountainous and desert terrain, breathtaking views, and gorgeous weather. There is something here for everyone and endless possibilities for adventurous days out.
Discover more mountain biking trails near Grand Junction, as well as insider tips for preparation and riding.
Order the visitor’s guide and plan your trip to Grand Junction today!