If the Kokopelli Trail hasn’t made your bucket list items, it should! Read about Melanie‘s experience over the 4 days on the legendary trail.
We considered ourselves prepared as we rolled out from the trailhead of the Kokopelli Trail in Loma, just a few miles west of Grand Junction. But really, we had no idea what lay in store for us. The Kokopelli is a 142-mile route from Loma to Moab, Utah, and it includes everything from singletrack, to jeep roads to pavement. You’ll see spectacular mesas, skirt the edge of the La Sal Mountains and camp alongside the Colorado River.
Our group did it in four days, one of the most common options. Even then, we rode 30 to 50 mile days, which took the strong group about five to eight hours each day. Our group of five was lucky enough to enlist an enthusiastic support driver, who met us at pre-arranged campsites each evening.
Day 1: Loma to Bitter Creek: Singletrack bliss and hike-a-bikes
I knew the first day was only 32 miles, so I mistakenly thought it would be a cinch. The first 12 miles is mostly singletrack on the well-ridden Mary’s Loop.
Next came arguably my least favorite part of the trip — the hike-a-bike portion, which the group would see a lot more of on Day 3.
No one warned me, probably because they knew I’d throw a fit, but be prepared to be carrying your bike for nearly a 1-mile stretch (it seemed like a million miles to me, but that’s what the odometer said.)
Next, we made up some time by cruising a big dirt road leading in to Rabbit Valley, which sits near the Colorado-Utah border.
The day ended with a short but treacherous climb to the top of a plateau, where we were rewarded with a spectacular sunset view from the campsite at Bitter Creek.
Day 2: Bitter Creek to Dewey Bridge: Leaving colorful Colorado
Some might call this 45-mile stretch boring, but I found it thoroughly enjoyable. You’ll cruise into what was once the bottom of an ocean eons ago. This section gets quite windy, and that element combined with copious amounts of sand slowed us down. My friend dubbed it “Sandopelli,” and we spent the first 20 miles with our heads down, pedaling hard, drafting in a single file line like a group of Tour de France riders on a breakaway.
We climbed into the beautiful and isolated Yellow Jacket Canyon, a route that starts with the desert mesa you’ll probably be accustomed to by that point and ends with a sandy descent and a hint of Utah’s famous red rocks.
Day 3: Dewey Bridge to Bull Draw: Into the forgotten valley
This day was 37 miles and not only treated our group to leg-breaking elevation gain but chilling cold. I forgot to bring my walkin’ cleats, because there was more hike-a-bike.
I know, you can’t wait to go, right? However, our group was also rewarded amazing views. You’ll ride through Fisher Valley, with the statuesque Fisher Towers in the distance, red cliffs to the side and a sea of yellow grass before you.
Day 4: Bull Draw to Milt’s Stop & Eat: A well-deserved meal
This day was a cinch compared to the epic Day 3. We descended and climbed the rolling La Sal Loop paved road that sits above Moab, and while most routes take you down a dirt road into Slickrock, our group decided they deserved a little singletrack. We took the famous Porcupine Rim and officially ended the day at Milt’s (a famous Moab eating establishment) for burgers, fries and shakes.