Grand Junction Area Road Rides

Important!

Starting January 1, 2019, Colorado State Parks instituted a new fee for their northwest region parks that affect those of us who cycle or walk into Colorado State Parks. Previously, it was free to enter a state park on foot or on a bike. No longer. Now in order to enter a Colorado State Park in the northwest region of Colorado, a cyclist or walker must either purchase a day use pass for $4.00 PER CYCLIST OR WALKER or have a Colorado State Parks annual pass. This fee applies even if you want to just fill your water bottles or use the restroom!

The fee applies to all five units of the James M. Robb State Park along the Colorado River as well as to Highline Lake State Park north of Loma. Probably the most significant impact on road cyclists will be that we can no longer stop at Highline Lake State Park to get water or use the restroom without paying their hefty fee (see the new Fruita Farms Grand Tour map for the alternative water and restroom stop in Loma).

If you're planning on riding the Riverfront Trail, these new fees may drastically affect you on those rides too. See my Colorado Riverfront Trail page for more information.

Second Note: Colorado National Monument (a federal, not state, park, so this is totally separate thing) has increased the price of a seven day pass for a cyclist to $15, which is pricey, and the cost of an annual pass has also increased $45. However, the annual pass admits up to four bicyclists at one time and it's good for a whole year, so if there's three or four of you in your group the annual pass is the better way to go.

Grand Junction Area Route Maps

Colorado National Monument Loop - Option 1: Start/Finish in Fruita at the Fruita Welcome Center, going counter-clockwise*

  • Distance: 38 miles / 61 kilometers

  • Climbing: 2,350 feet / 715 meters

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Front and rear 'get you seen' type lights are required while riding in the tunnels.

  • A national parks pass or $15 is required to get into the park.

  • Tip: An annual pass costs $45 and admits up to four bicyclists at a time and it's good for a whole year. So if there's three or more in your group, this would be the way to go.


Colorado National Monument Loop - Option 2: Start/Finish in Grand Junction at the Lunch Loops Trailhead, going clockwise

  • Distance: 35 miles / 56 kilometers

  • Climbing: about 2,350 feet / 715 meters

  • Difficulty: Moderate. The four mile climb up the east side is fairly steep, though, at 6-8%

  • Front and rear 'get you seen' type lights are required while riding in the tunnels.

  • A national parks pass or $15 is required to get into the park.

  • Tip: An annual pass costs $45 and admits up to four bicyclists at a time and it's good for a whole year. So if there's three or more in your group, this would be the way to go.


Palisade Wine and Fruita Tour*

  • Distance: 23 miles / 37 kilometers

  • Difficulty: Easy and scenic


Orchard Mesa - Palisade - East Orchard Mesa Loop*

  • Distance: 41 miles / 66 kilometers

  • Climbing: 731 feet / 223 meters

  • Difficulty: Easy for the most part, but one really good hill


Fruita Farms Alphabet Ride*

  • Distance: 37 miles / 60 kilometers

  • Climbing: 742 feet / 226 meters

  • Difficulty: Easy....except on a windy day


Rose Hill Rally 100K Ride

  • Distance: 64 miles / 103 kilometers

  • Climbing: 1,330 feet / 405 meters

  • Difficulty: Easy


Fruita Farms Grand Tour*

  • Distance: 55 miles / 86 kilometers

  • Difficulty: Easy, but with a couple hills that'll get your attention


Reeder Mesa - Purdy Mesa - Kannah Creek Route*

  • Distance: 33 miles / 53 kilometers

  • Climbing: 1,810 feet / 552 meters

  • Difficulty: Moderate, but with about half a mile at 9%. Ooof.

  • Ride starts in Whitewater. To ride from Grand Junction to the start of this ride, see "Grand Junction to Whitewater" route below.


Little Park Road - Monument Loop

  • Distance: 29 miles / 47 kilometers

  • Climbing: 2,840 feet / 866 meters

  • Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

  • You must have a Colorado National Monument pass, a National Parks Service pass, or be willing to pay the $15 entrance fee in order to complete the loop.


Little Park Road - DS Road*

  • Distance: 71.0 miles / 114.3 kilometers; Alternate Start/Finish (DS Road only): 40.5 miles / 65.2 kilometers

  • Climbing: 4,760 feet / 1,451 meters; Alternate Start/Finish (DS Road only): 1,749 feet / 533 meters

  • Difficulty: Moderate to difficult. Difficult climb at the beginning, delightfully mellow after that. With the use of one of those gasoline burning things you can start from the Alternate Start/Finish, skip the difficult climb and just do the delightful part.

  • Can be a good winter ride when the valley is socked in with a wretched inversion.


Unaweep Canyon

  • Distance: 86 miles / 138 kilometers

  • Climbing: 4,900 feet / 1,494 meters

  • Difficulty: Moderate to difficult. Route map includes a shorter, easier alternative.


Grand Junction to Whitewater

  • This route enables you to ride from Grand Junction to Whitewater to connect to the start of either the Reeder Mesa route or the Unaweep Canyon route.

  • Distance: 18 miles / 29 kilometers round trip

  • Difficulty: Easy, but tack this onto those other rides and you'll get a good workout.


Douglas Pass

  • Distance: 66 miles / 106 kilometers

  • Climbing: 4,600 feet / 1,400 meters

  • Difficulty: Kicks up at the end, so 'difficult' if you head to the top, 'moderate' if you turn back at the base. Narrow, busy road, not for the faint of heart.


Grand Mesa Hill Climb

  • Distance: 63 miles / 101 kilometers

  • Climbing: 6,049 feet / 1,844 meters. All of it in the first half.

  • Difficulty: Difficult. "Bright light and dead relatives beckoning" sort of difficult.

*Starred maps are also available as a free download in the Avenza PDF Maps app; search under "Recreation" map type and then the map name. Let me know if you have any trouble finding them: velocartographer@gmail.com

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