Fruita MiniFest day 3: Palisade Rim

On Day 3 we lost the Jenni and Emma crew, but gained Nate, Jim, and Jesse. I rode with Nate and Jim in Moab back in 2004, when Nate was just a kid; they’re old school. Jesse, on the other hand, was on his first-ever MUni ride, so it was a pretty big range.

We were riding at Palisade, on the other side of the valley from Fruita, in the Book Cliffs. It’s a beautiful area, with stark cliffs leading down to wineries in the river valley. The ride is a climb to the top of a mesa, a double lollipop with a short lower loop and a longer (4 mile) upper loop. The trail system is not as well developed as the ones on the other side of the valley; it’s very tight singletrack, with not many trail options, in contrast with the criss-crossing trails at Kokopelli and Lunch Loops.

The way out was a pretty consistent climb, mostly rideable but hard. It was about 8km of uphill, gaining almost 400m of elevation. The climb, which took about 3 hours, ends at the far point of the mesa, where there’s a rather dramatic turn-around above a cliff. The route back follows the cliff edge, and it’s almost all downhill back to the trailhead. We saw a lot of evidence of an unknown herd of unguents, probably elk, but didn’t see the animals.

I won Best Biff and First Blood with a facial bonus, on two stupid symmetrical pedal hit biffs (one left, one right, both sprawling headfirst down the trail) on the smooth, tight singletrack with the occasional rock on the side. Nathan had the same biff a few minutes later. Nate won the Cliffside Retrieval award for the weekend, sending his uni at least 100 feet down into the valley.

There were a few play areas on the way down, and Owen hit a 4-foot drop at the upper trail junction. We kept it flowing, and met our hikers (Nancy and Grace) on the way down. They’d brought beer and snacks, and we had a very pleasant picnic in the shade of the cottonwoods by the Colorado.

Chris and Dragon, who were supposed to be there (Chris had in fact suggested this ride) didn’t show up until the afternoon, and wound up doing their own ride over on Horsethief Bench.


Nathan and Nate


Jesse on Palisade Rim

Nate's cliffside retrieval

Owen trying the no-wheeler