The more Fruita continues to gain in popularity, the more we need to take care of the resources we love.
The town of Fruita, Colorado, is known for many one-of-a-kind attractions, including the Colorado National Monument, a bunch of dinosaur bones, and the Hot Tomato restaurant. The town also happens to be a gateway to more than 250 miles of beautiful singletrack mountain bike trails in the high desert.
Sometime in the past two decades, Fruita firmly established itself as a mecca for mountain bikers of every skill level. From the counterclockwise-running flow trails of 18 Road to the view-friendly Kokepelli Trail to the rocky technical sections of the Lunch Loops, this is four-season mountain biking central. Because of the growing popularity of the sport, and the proximity of these trails to I-70, the number of visitors continues to increase every season. More users means more impact, and riders need to realize that if we want to maintain these trails, we also need to take extra care of them.
You already know how important it is to ride dry trails and respect seasonal closures (right?). Here are a few more ways to ensure sustainable recreation.
Camp with a Plan
A lot of the dispersed BLM camping areas around Fruita have been fully “discovered” in recent years. This means that rolling in on Friday night will not guarantee an open spot, so it’s a good idea to have a back-up location (or two) in mind. Primitive camping requires adhering to Leave No Trace (LNT) principles and always bringing your own water, as well as a waste-disposal system.
Respect Other Riders
Fruita trails offer options for beginner riders and are close to great campgrounds and other family-friendly venues. This means that your chances of interacting with brand new riders (ages 2-92) is very high. Certain runs are well known for beginners, like the Kessel Run, for example, and should always be ridden in control with respect to the speed and ability of those around you. No tailgating. Welcome new riders cheerfully, but always feel confident when speaking up, kindly, to educate them about how to preserve and protect this beautiful area.
Mountain bikers yield to every other trail user. Downhill yields to uphill.
But did you know that on a trail surrounded by sensitive soils, the manner in which you yield matters, too? While it may seem extra polite to move far out of the way by stepping a few feet off the trail, this behavior causes significant damage to soils and colonies of crypto-biotic organisms. When yielding, move your tire to the edge of the trail and lean the bike away, putting only one foot down on a durable surface.
Build Positive Community
The reality is that as ridership increases across the state, we all need to become intentional ambassadors for good trail etiquette and an inclusive supportive sports community. Look for ways to give back through organized volunteer work days, or if you live far away, consider donating to groups like Mountain Bike Project, the boots-on-the-ground group for sustaining healthy growth in the industry.