Get Out! The end of a season

Julie Norman rides a portion of the Sidney Peaks Trail, which leads to the Bunker Creek Trail near Brian Head, Utah.

Julie Norman climbs a section of the Thunder Mountain Trail near Bryce Canyon National Park.

The end of mountain biking season is upon us. Sure, there might be days in December when we can ride, but soon the snow will fall and the temperatures will drop, and only those crazy few (or those with fat bikes), will still be out biking.

Winter will bring a much-needed rest to our valley’s trail systems.

It’s always bittersweet, this changing of the seasons. I’m excited for ski season, but still sad at the thought it will be at least three months before I can get on my mountain bike again.

So, to ease the pain, I’m taking a look back at some adventures and observations from my 2014 biking season.

Steamboat Springs: Instead of our usual Crested Butte trip, we took a trip to Steamboat Springs this year and explored several trails in that area. Our favorite was the Bealle/Ridge loop.

Located a little way out from town, the loop offered a long ride, 13 to 14 miles, with plenty of fun, swooping singletrack.  The six-mile climb was worth every painful moment.

Utah: We took multiple trips to Utah this year for biking. In September, we spent several days biking trails in Southwestern Utah on trails such as the Bunker Creek Trail and the Thunder Mountain Trail near Bryce Canyon National Park.

Then, we drove up to Park City to spend a few more days riding trails at Park City Resort. Over Halloween weekend we spent some time exploring Moab’s Mag 7 trails and riding some of our favorites at the Brand trails system, too.

Getting a chance to experience such a wide variety of terrain, from Bunker Creek’s roots and gravel to the Mag 7 system’s endless amount of rock, isn’t something to be taken for granted. Each time we leave home to bike I’m reminded of how vast and different trails just within a few hours of each other can be. You know what they say about variety and the spice of life.

Some of our exploring was closer to home. We took time this year to check out the eastern side of the 18 Road trail system, finding our way up Vegetarian to portions of the Edge Loop and lesser-known trails, such as Down Uppity.

If you’re looking for a way to escape the crowds of tourists climbing up Prime Cut and coasting down Kessel Run, these trails offer a great bit of variety and are almost always devoid of people.

We even braved truly unknown territory to us to go ride part of the Zion Curtain trail in Rabbit Valley. Though many use Zion Curtain to create an epic ride by linking it with the Western Rim Trail, we just had an exploratory out-and-back scenic ride.

Finding and testing out new trails in our own backyard is one of the many reasons why Grand Junction is such a great place for bikers.

That wide variety of trails also is why we get so many tourists traveling here to bike each year. We aren’t the only ones exploring. Just in the past few months of biking locally, I’ve heard several foreign languages spoken on the trails. I’ve seen dozens of people on the Horsethief Bench portage and watched groups of up to 10 riders at a time enjoy the scenery of the Kokopelli area trails.

The word is out, and bikers are flocking here in the spring and summer, and I don’t think that’s going to stop anytime soon. 

It’s a good thing we’ve got a trail group like COPMOBA. Its members work with the BLM to get new trails approved, build those trails and then maintain them.

COPMOBA can’t do it alone, though. They need volunteers to help with building and with maintenance when monsoonal rains hit.

If you enjoy our area trails and want more, then make plans to volunteer for a trail day in 2015.

You don’t have to be a biker to help build trails. When I’ve volunteered to help, it’s been beside trail runners, hikers, bikers and even equestrian riders.

You also don’t have to have any experience. All you need is a willingness to work hard to help create and build more trails for those in our valley and beyond to enjoy and explore.

Daily Sentinel online advertising coordinator Julie Norman can’t get enough outdoors recreation during her days off. Email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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