When brainstorming what to do for the weekend we scratched a number of ideas off the list, including celebrating closing weekend at Crested Butte Mountain Resort and going to Moab. We ended up deciding on heading to Rabbit Valley, a not-so-popular Grand Junction mountain biking destination. Our goal was to do a few new trails and focus day one of our overnighter on singletrack. We have two full suspension bikes, so it was a no brainer anyways. The route was relatively up in the air, but we had a general idea of where we were going. We started with the amazing Western Rim trail and then climbed up Westwater Mesa. After that we headed down to the Westwater Ranger Station to grab water, and went back up the top of the mesa to camp. The next day we headed back to the car on the Kokopelli Trail. See the route below – we went in a clockwise direction. You can also check out this map for some good detailed route info. We started the trip after camping the evening at a designated campground right off I-70 in Rabbit Valley. The next morning, we drove to the McDonald Creek Trailhead where we knew we could park our car overnight. After a quick ascent to the plateau on the Kokopelli Trail, we made it to the Western Rim junction where we would hop on a sweet little piece of singletrack that contours the canyons beautifully.rabbitvalley-01090 rabbitvalley-01106 rabbitvalley-01114 rabbitvalley-01111 rabbitvalley-01119 After riding on the Western Rim, which is moderately technical, we connected a few dirt roads/two track that brought us to a solid hike-a-bike before reaching the top of the plateau. The area saw a bunch of rain/snow a few days prior, but high pressure took over after the storm making for some awesome riding conditions in the mid to upper 60’s. rabbitvalley-01122 rabbitvalley-01125 rabbitvalley-01131 We took a quick lunch break at the top before continuing onto Westwater Mesa, a trail unknown to us. The dirt was fresh and we were the first tracks on the trail since the storm. The views were stunning. The La Sal Range and the canyons were carved out by the mighty Colorado River leaving behind an unforgettable landscape. Westwater Mesa was really stunning and the singletrack was pretty technical. rabbitvalley-01135 rabbitvalley-01149 rabbitvalley-01154 rabbitvalley-01162 After finishing on Westwater Mesa we made our way down to the Westwater Ranger Station to re-up on some water via paved road. The pavement was a nice change but descending to the Colorado River meant we had to climb back up. The water re-fill would not have been necessary if we had carried a lot of water, but we opted on having lighter rigs and riding a bit out of our way to re-supply. While we were down at the ranger station we ran into Wade Greene, a prospective 2016 Tour Divide participant. He was training by doing an out and back on the Kokopelli trail starting from Dewey Bridge. After leaving Westwater backtracked up the pavement, and eventually to the Kokopelli Trail where we would climb up to Bitter Creek to find camp for the evening. rabbitvalley-01185 rabbitvalley-01192 After quickly hopping on the Overlook Trail, we found a perfect spot with stunning views to make camp for the night. The warmth of the sun still graced us with it’s presence and we knew we were also in a good spot for morning sun as temperatures were slated for a chilly mid to low 30’s. We decided to bring our MSR Huba Huba tent fly because of the chilly night and it proved to be a nice alternative to a bivy. rabbitvalley-01206 rabbitvalley-01218 rabbitvalley-01239 rabbitvalley-01255 After a few beers, some good food, and star gazing it was time for bed. The morning came with quickly warming temperatures, beautiful views, and some morning coffee to get the day started. We decided to take the Kokopelli Trail down. There is an option to connect with the Zion Curtain trail from the bottom of Bitter Creek. This would eventually take you back to your original trailhead via a mixture of singletrack and doubletrack. By adding the Zion Curtain you complete what is known as the “Rabbit Valley Holy Grail.” rabbitvalley-01278 If you are not familiar with the Kokopelli Trail, it’s is a route the travels from Moab, Utah to Loma, Colorado. In between are some beautiful canyon and mountain landscapes as well as the often forgotten and un-appealing desolate dirt roads. We continued along the trail back to the parking lot where we left our car roughly a day earlier. rabbitvalley-01322 rabbitvalley-01331 rabbitvalley-01328 rabbitvalley-01334 rabbitvalley-01349 rabbitvalley-01355 Rabbit Valley is a great place to ride if you are on the Kokopelli Trail, and the above mentioned trails are fantastic detour if you want a singletrack option with stunning views. The area is also great for a leisurely 24 hour overnighter like we did, and there are some other great options in the area. If you are interested in exploring other route options in the area, be sure to pick up a map, such as the Latitude 40 – Fruita, Grand Junction Trails.

3 Comments

  1. Nice photo essay. Rabbit Valley is one of my favorites. I’ve only done day rides out there, but it would be a wonderful S24O

  2. Doug Nielsen

    Great post. Doing Kok next week but we heard the westwater ranger spigot was off. At the time of this article was it on?

    • Neil Beltchenko
      Neil Beltchenko

      Doug, Should be find for water. There is a huge tank of water at the ranger station. It says non-potable, so just bring some Aquamira or a filtration system. Wade Greene said they were updating the water line to the ranger station, that’s why it is off.

      Cheers,

      Neil

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