Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mountain Biking in Fruita, Colorado

Highline Lake Campground

Just off Interstate 70, near the dusty Colorado-Utah border, Highline Lake State Park sits as an oasis for campers and mountain bikers.    With Airstream Bambi in tow, I joined a Denver mountain biking club for a long weekend of great single-track riding in this area.

Lunch with a view
The weather was perfect for riding with bright blue, sunny skies, and moderate temperatures throughout the weekend, except for a torrential downpour that blew violently through the campground one evening.  The Bambi remained dry and cozy during the storm, that is except for the wet bath that really lived up to its name, since I forgetfully left open the bathroom roof vent.  No harm done except for a soggy roll of toilet paper.   Seems like there is always a lesson learned on these camping trips. 

At the top with a long way to go
Our group of about 10 cyclists rode a couple trails that were very challenging (for me).   They snaked over slickrock, along the edge of shear cliffs, above deep canyons, and even through a rocky cave.    The landscape was dry and desert-like, but peppered with many shrubs, sharp rocks, and a few small cactus scattered about.   I managed to get another flat tire - for some reason, I have very bad tire karma when it comes to mountain biking.

My favorite ride was the Ribbon Trail, which starts high on the plateau overlooking Grand Junction, CO,  with a large open area of slickrock that slopes steeply into the valley and a network of single track.  There were many stretches where we had to walk or even carry our bikes to get to more rideable terrain, but it was well worth it for the views alone, not to mention the rush of adrenaline as we zipped down steep inclines strewn with rocky debris.

After a day of fun in the sun and hard riding, it was so nice to retire comfortably into the Airstream back at Highline Lake.  The campground is well irrigated with a lush lawn and many shade trees.      It was a perfect setting to relax, watch the sun set, and rest up for the next day's adventure.

Cave biking
If you go:

The campground at Highline Lake State Park has paved access and many pull through sites.  There are water spigots throughout the campground but no individual water hookups nor electricity at the campsites.    There are hot showers, flush toilets, a laundry facility, and a dump station at the campground.  Reservations are recommended and can be made through reserveamerica.com.