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Six of us will be coming out to Colorado / Moab for 7-10 days this September. 3 of us will be out there from Thursday to Thursday the other 3 will remain till Sunday. We are from sea level in good old NJ. We are all 40-50 years old and have ridden MTB's for years. We all have 4-5 inch travel full suspension bikes and ride several times a week including 2-3 hour rides on weekends.

Our plan is to land in Denver ... rent 2 SUV's and a 5x8 u-haul trailer for the bikes and bike boxes. I am trying to account for the fact that the hauler won't be able to get up some of the access roads so we will pay for shuttles with local bike shops when it makes sense. Based on our research on this site and a previous trip this is our suggested tour. We are trying to work our way up to the higher altitudes over the course of the trip to acclimate a little. Please provide any feedback on trails etc. This is a once in a lifetime trip for most of the guys.

Day 1: Land in Denver and head towards Moab. Plan to stay a couple of hours outside of Moab to reduce the total travel time for the day. One suggestion is Fruita.

Day 2: Build up the bikes in the morning and depart the last couple of hours to Moab. Ride the Sovereign trail as an out and back to check out the bikes then rest of the way into town to hotel.

Day 3: Get shuttle from Poison Spider Bike shop and Ride Hazard County to Kokopelli to UPS to Porcupine Rim Trail and ride bikes back to hotel.

Day 4: Take the SUV's and Hauler ourselves to trail head to Ride Slickrock Trail. Then back to hotel for last night in Moab.

Day 5: Take the SUV's and Hauler ourselves to trail head and Ride Phils Worlds Trail in Cortez, Co. Then on to Durango to spend the night.

Day 6: Leverage local Shuttle service (Suggestions Please) to get bikes to trail head and Ride Hermosa Creek. Ride bikes back to cars and head for Crested Butte to spend the night.

Day 7: Last ride for the first group of 3 guys. Want to ride either Reno / Flag / Bear / Deadmans or the 401 Trail. I get to ride both but what is the suggestions for the guys that can only ride one? Other issue is I think we can take the hauler to the base of 401 and ride up the road. A lot longer ride on bike to ride up from the base of Reno....

Day 8: 3 remaining guys ride whichever ride we didn't do on Day 7.

Day 9: Last ride in Crested Butte. Last trip, we did Doctors Park. Maybe something different this year. Ride Suggestions in CB please. . At end of ride we will head to Salida.

Day 10: Use Shuttle Service to Ride Monarch Crest Trail.

We have done some research on this but would be interested to hear how we can fine tune this for a better trip. Thanks.....Don
 

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xtrpureguts said:
Day 1: Land in Denver and head towards Moab. Plan to stay a couple of hours outside of Moab to reduce the total travel time for the day. One suggestion is Fruita.

Day 2: Build up the bikes in the morning and depart the last couple of hours to Moab. Ride the Sovereign trail as an out and back to check out the bikes then rest of the way into town to hotel.
I haven't ridden many of the trails you list, so I'm not able to suggest much.

One thing to consider though. By stopping the night in Fruita instead of going through to Moab you are only taking 90 minutes off your drive day 1. If it was me I'd consider:

1. Just keep driving and go through to Moab.

2. Stay in Fruita as planned, build the bikes in the AM and hit up the riding at 18rd or the Kokopelli trails, then head into Moab. Hard to imagine doing this trip, staying in Fruita and not checking out some of the rides.

I haven't ridden sovereign trail, so I can't compare them, but you are passing up some great riding in the Fruita area. Then again maybe you've ridden them already? Sovereign does sound great from what I've read.

Food for thought. Good luck, sounds like a fun trip.
 

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Towlie for prez
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Your day 4 plans are too short,it only takes 2 hrs to ride slickrock.Ride slickrock in the am then drive to Phils and ride that in the afternoon.Phils is flat by colo standards.
Day 5-Ride horse gulch or something else in Durango.You will want to spend more time here,trust me! Apart from the riding you should explore the breweries,we have 4 in town.Also check out trimble hot springs after a day of riding,you will appreciate it.
Day 6-Hook up w/some locals like myself and shuttle to Molas pass.Leave a car at cascade and ride the Co trail .This is a must do ride!! I wouldnt bother w/hermosa creek trail personally,it really isnt that great scenery wise,and the trail is pretty wide,meh...
Some general advice-You will need some rest,maybe take a day in the middle of your trip to do some hiking,or just chilling out-the altitude is gonna wreck you.Coming from Jersey,ANYTHING you ride out here will be amazing(no offense meant) Allow youself some flexibility in your vacation-you may want to make changes to your trip as it evolves,dont force yourself to a strict schedule,etc....:)
 

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If the plane ticket price difference isn't significant and if the arrival/departure times are similar, you might want to fly into/out of Grand Junction. That way, you might be able to squeeze in a Grand Junction or Fruita ride.
 

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I would definitely try to squeeze in a Lunch Loops ride in Junction. Maybe spend a night there and hit up 18 Rd in the morning before going to Moab. Not much climbing there, so it'd be a good early trip ride. You should definitey try to ride Molas Pass to Engineer Mtn Trail even it means missing Hermosa Creek. If you can meet up with some locals to shuttle in Durango, you HAVE to do Kennebec Pass -> Durango. It's one of my top 3 rides in Colorado. I would choose Reno/Flag/Bear/Deadman's over 401. On the way to Salida you could ride Hartman Rocks in Gunnison.
 

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Why start at Hazard County? Do the Whole Enchilada by starting at Burro Pass. The elevation of the initial climb will get to you, but it's worth it. After the first mile or so, it's almost all downhill anyway. Acme Shuttle is a good alternative to Poison Spider. You'll have to pull it out of him, but the owner/driver Kyle owns the record time for riding the Whole Enchilada. Try to add Amassa Back in Moab (not a long ride). Agree with the suggestions of alternatives to Hermosa in Durango. Both the Molas Pass and Kennebec Pass rides are good. Use Hermosa Tours for a shuttle. Agree with more Fruita/GJ.
 

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A lot of good advice has already been posted. I've ridden all over Colorado/Idaho/Montana and Durango and Crested Butte have always topped my favorites list. Molas to Engineer and Kenebec to Junction Creek are not to be missed. Hermosa Creek can be missed; a very mediocre ride IMO. Bolam pass/Blackhawk Pass is also an exceptional ride that takes you over a 12,000 foot pass. In regards to Crested Butte: I'd say Reno/Flag/Bear/Deadmans is funner riding, but 401 is more scenic. Also, Doctor's Park is a really fun ride South of Crested Butte. Early September is the perfect time for this trip (I always go in July or August and get hammered by thunderstorms).
 

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CoolArrow
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Pretty good plans - and advice so far.

If you're going to stay in Fruita, you're doing yourselves a disservice by not riding there - at least do the 18 road stuff, Kessel to warm up, then Zippity - a great intro/first day ride, then move on to Moab.

The Whole Enchilada is great ride. Slickrock Trail is not. Try Amassa Back instead - it's an out and back climb, but not too strenuous, plus the views are killer too. sorry, can't comment on Sovereign.

Durango - as noted, skip Hermosa altogether. Get ahold of Hermosa Tours and get a shuttle to ride Kennebec --> Durango. Sick ride, killer views, and super long decent (be warned, there is a significant climb in there too - but, you're in Colorado, so no escaping significant climbs ;)). Any of the other high country rides mentioned are killer too. My favorite is the Blackhawk pass route, has one of the better descents coming back. But none of those mentioned will disappoint.

If you have time, don't miss the Horse Gulch/Telegraph trails in town...
 

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I will fourth, fifth & sixth all the advice so far. Good advice.

Rock one of the big high country rides in Durango. You can't go wrong with any of the rides already listed. Definitely do not pass up Phil's. That place is SO awesome!

If you can juggle your schedule spend more time in Durango...like shouldefu & jhazard said ride the town trails and enjoy some local brew.

Labor day weekend in Durango/Ignacio is Bike Week (Motorcycle). Sounds like you will be here after that but if you change your schedule be aware that the hotels fill up fast.

Daydreaming about High Country rides!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Wow....spend the day at work and get a lot of great ideas on how to fine tune the trip. Thanks for all the feedback. I have sent this post to all the guys on the ride. Fruita was part of my original plan. I'll try to get that back in for the first riding day. Let me digest these suggestions and I'll post up a revised schedule in a couple of days.
 

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Considering the recommendation to exclude Moab in the interest of reducing driving time, I think it is a non-issue. Driving Fruita to Durango via hwy 550 = 3 1/2 hours. Stunning drive that includes 3 major mountain passes. With weather or just very cautious driving, this route could take substantially longer. Driving Fruita to Durango via Moab = 4 1/2 hours. I've done it in 4 and I'm no speed demon.

If you really want to reduce the drive time, skip CB, fly in to Grand Junction and just ride the Fruita, Moab, Durango triangle.

Drive times:
GJ airport to Fruita about 15 mins.
Fruita to Moab about 1 1/2 hours.
Moab to Phil's about 2 hours.
Phil's to Durango about 45 minutes.
Durango to GJ airport about 3 1/2 hours.
Total drive time = 8 hours.
 

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I have done lots of riding in Fruita and Moab but not in the other places listed. I would say the riding in Fruita is every bit as good as the riding in Moab but Moab is such a visually stunning place that I would not tell anyone who has never been there to skip it. You really can't go wrong with the options available to you. Enjoy.
 

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Why DIA over SLC

I would recommend you fly into Salt Lake City rather than Denver. SLC is closer to Fruita and you can avoid some of the big passes on I-70 pulling a trailer. You should be able to fly non-stop into SLC on Delta.

The drive from SLC is also pretty cool. Not as cool as the westen part of Colorado, but total, having done both, I prefer the drive from SLC to Fruita.

Enjoy the trip. I will be doing a similar trip in one month later. (Flying into SLC of course).
 

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akt42 said:
I have done lots of riding in Fruita and Moab but not in the other places listed. I would say the riding in Fruita is every bit as good as the riding in Moab but Moab is such a visually stunning place that I would not tell anyone who has never been there to skip it. You really can't go wrong with the options available to you. Enjoy.
My thought exactly. Besides the Whole Enchilada, the riding isn't that amazing, but the area is freakin cool.
 

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I agree with the Durango/Moab/Fruita triangle. CB is sweet, but Reno/Flag/Deadman's has just gotten ravaged over the last few years. That ride was the $hit....I hope that CB can get it back to what it once was. Monarch is a must, but the Durango Shuttle for the CO trail is everybit as good.

GJ Lunch Loops ARE NOT TO BE MISSED!! Route 18 and the rest are fantastic as well. I agree with the others, if you have folks that have never been to Moab, it is a must. As far as the riding, Fruita/GJ is just that good. The Whole Enchilada is a must in Moab. If I were you, I'd fly into and out of GJ.

The ONLY reason I see to fly in/out of Denver is if you plan to do a lot of high mtn riding. Which is everybit as good as the triangle I already proposed, but I would not go to Moab and Durango if flying in/out of Denver. Fruita is as far west as I would go.
 
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