THE KOKOPELLI TRAIL Overview
Day 1-2: Meet in Moab. Shuttle to Grand Junction. Ride singletrack and jeep track for two days along the Colorado River corridor.
Day 3-4: Ride underneath Fisher Towers and up Onion Creek. Climb high into the La Sal Mountains to an alpine camp.
Day 5: Descend along the Porcupine Rim back to Moab via Sand Flats Road.
The legend of Kokopelli begins near present day Grand Junction, Colorado (195-miles west of Denver), at the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers. Known in Native American cultures as a trickster god and/or a fertility deity, Kokopelli could shape-shift into numerous forms: most often, a swaybacked or humped figure playing a flute. His appearance was made all the more conspicuous by twin antennae, or a feathered head.
Ranging westward on more than 142-miles of secluded trails and jeep roads, we follow and visually interpreting Kokopelli’s walkabout, a supernatural quest to spread prosperity and fertility. If you’ve heard or read about the superb mountain biking near Fruita, Colorado (12-miles northwest of Grand Junction), here’s your chance to live and breathe it. Home-range of the Ute Tribe, final resting spot for “Doc” Holliday, quirky Fruita (pop. 12,000) celebrates its rodeo as much as dinosaurs; not to mention a headless chicken—named Mike—who lived for 18-months. Mike lives on though, honored with a yearly festival.
Hard by the Utah border, this region is known as Western Colorado’s Best. Reflexively, the riding here reflects a sharp fusion of both states: Utah’s Mars-evoking rocky desert given big-time lift by the Colorado Rockies. After a refreshing stop along the banks of the Colorado River, we climb into Utah’s Canyon Country. Like a fast moving survey party, we put optics on large iron and copper cliffs which loom overhead on the amazing Onion Creek ride. Pressing on, we ride from the 5000-ft desert floor past great sweeps of buttes and sandstone reefs higher into the snow-capped Manti La Sal Mountains. The payoff: hugging a fast, flowy ridgeline at 8500-ft, looming over endless rolling red desert. Our campsite is set atop scenic Porcupine Rim. Phenomenal.
On this classic bikepacking route, you can expect 14,000 vertical feet of climbing, all told. Our out-of-this-world journey culminates in Moab, given 24-pica, boldface punctuation by an exhilarating descent down Sand Flats Road!
Mixing moderate, and some longer ascents, along with two days of moderately challenging singletrack, the Kokopelli Trail is perfect for mountain bike riders in need of a challenge!