The Edge Loop - IMBA Epic

Consensus:    (details)
  3.1 from 18 votes
blueBlack  Intermediate/Difficult from 9 votes
Rank: #3 in the 18 Road Trails area
#161 in CO, #1,165 Overall
Views: 7,680. Last 30 days: 162
Condition Details | Update
Featured Ride in the area near Fruita,
“An epic loop combining the best of Fruita singletrack and 360 degree views from the Book Cliffs.”
Leslie Kehmeier on Jun 8, 2013
Getting There     GPX File     Print
28.045.1 milesKilometers 3,331’1,015 m Ascent 7,309’2,228 m High 5% Avg Grade (3°)
35% Singletrack -3,342’-1,019 m Descent 5,074’1,546 m Low 37% Max Grade (20°)
6:48 average time for 31.2 miles. Details

Standing on top of the Book Cliffs, more than 2,000 vertical feet above the Grand Valley basin, one begins to realize why The Edge Loop in Fruita, Colorado, is indeed epic. East and south loom the mighty snow-capped Rockies. Canyons and arroyos dominated by red rocks unfold to the west. There is nothing to do but stand in awe.

Tight, slalom-like singletrack bookends The Edge Loop, guaranteeing ear-to-ear grins. The ride also features a 50-foot rappel down a slickrock waterfall (theres also an option to hike-a-bike around).

By the time you circle back to the trailhead, you'll remember what stoked you about mountain biking in the first place.
Need To Know
The Edge Loop comes with a whole lotta adventure, including a rappel.

Approximately two-thirds into the ride youll come to a slickrock waterfall in Lipan Canyon. The two-pitch rappel set up with bolts and anchors. There is an option to hike around this section.

Also keep in mind that the North Fruita desert can be very hot from late spring into late fall. Adequate water and food is essential. Much of the route is backcountry so plan to be self-sufficient.

It's a great idea to check in with Over the Edge Sports regarding conditions for the route before starting out. In spring, the trails in the 18 Road system may be dry while the upper reaches of the route could be buried under snow.
The Edge starts by pedaling the length of Prime Cut towards the Book Cliffs. At the intersection with Chutes & Ladders, turn left on Frontside.

Pedal Frontside from east to west, first passing through the very upper end of 18 road and then continuing through intersections with Joe's Ridge, Zippity Do Da and Western Zippity.

Beyond Western Zippity theres another bit of Frontside singletrack. It climbs slightly at first before diving into a steep descent that shoots you across the bottom of the mesa. From there, theres one, kick-in-the-pants climb before rolling out to the road.

It may be hard to get psyched for the next part of the Edge, a 15 mile section of dirt. Fortunately youll be riding in a beautiful canyon that eventually takes you up to 360 degree views. The grade is mellow at first and then gradually gets steeper. Bear right at the junction in the road. From here the route is a grinding 1,000 foot climb with no rest. The effort is rewarded with big views across blue skies as you ascend.

The road levels out briefly, passes the Hunters Canyon Compressor Plant and then descends quickly to a three-way intersection. Stay straight here. Prepare for steep punchy climbs and steep descents on chundery surface through the next part of the route. This will take you out to the furthest extent of the Book Cliffs rim. You are literally going to the edge.

With the precipice in sight youll have two wicked, steep and loose descents to the intersection with the Edge singletrack. Take a break here to enjoy the views before tackling the next part of this epic.

The Edge Loop - Lipan Canyon Section starts with a fun, twisty descent through pinion and juniper into classic desert canyon. Its somewhat rocky in loose soil so its good to be ready and balanced on your bike. The descent exits into a sandy wash. There are clusters of rocks and dense vegetation corralling this part of the route. Be ready to duck, dive and wiggle your way through this part of the route.

Now for the crux of The Edge Loopto rappel or not?

The rappel section of the Edge Loop is obvious as the wash comes to the top of a small slot canyon. You'll have two options to descend here.

The rappel is a two pitch challenge. The first section is at the head of the slot, about 10-12 feet tall and tight. There are ropes at the top of each pitch anchored by a bolt and carabiner. Use at your own risk.

The non-rappel descent is found by following the track to the right along the slot rim. Theres a short slog up and then around to a hikeable descent down to the wash. This option is steep, kinda loose and rocky, but very hikeable.

The route then continues in the wash with steep walls on your left. There are fewer rock clusters to contend with and the route is more open.

Lipan Canyon ends at an intersection with the Edge Cutoff East. Go straight here, climbing and descending multiple mesas and washes. Left takes you through another sandy wash, eventually rejoining the Edge Loop.

At the intersection with 18 6/10 Road, turn left off the Edge Cutoff East and roll downhill to the next junction. Following the signs for Edge Loop, turn right. Continue straight through the next intersection and then bear left at the one after.

From here, you'll follow Edge Loop - Lower 18 Road Section and signs for Edge Loop and/or Vegetarian Loop all the way back to the main parking area and the start of the Epic route.
View in 3D
4.5 (76)
The big tour of the very best of Fruita.
near Loma, CO
4.4 (16)
A spectacular off-road journey from Fruita to Moab.
near Loma, CO
4.3 (63)
A moderate climb on smooth singletrack leads to swooping hills and big grins.
near Fruita, CO

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PHOTOS of The Edge Loop - IMBA Epic
  4.4 from 5 votes
Descending to the rim overlook on the Book Cliffs. (Fruita, CO)
  4.3 from 4 votes
Stunning Views and Desert Colors (Fruita, CO)
  4.0 from 4 votes
Shooting down the last bit of Edge Cutoff (Fruita, CO)
  4.0 from 4 votes
Beautiful riding once up on the ridge (Fruita, CO)
  4.0 from 4 votes
The lower section of Lipan Canyon has some big walls and a wide sandy bo... (Fruita, CO)
  3.8 from 4 votes
Peering over the 'edge' across the Grand Valley. (Fruita, CO)
  3.8 from 4 votes
Frontside eventually climbs to a ridge, providing epic scenery for the r... (Fruita, CO)
  3.7 from 3 votes
Heading back to the top after PBR. Two mile trek uphill every time, thin... (Fruita, CO)
  3.7 from 3 votes
Brutal climb. Few people have the lungs and legs for this one! (Fruita, CO)
  3.4 from 5 votes
A fun fast section to finish out the Edge Loop. (Fruita, CO)
  3.3 from 3 votes
Sunset ride on Frontside (Fruita, CO)
  3.3 from 3 votes
Riding through this sandy wash is beautiful and kinda fun. (Fruita, CO)
  3.3 from 3 votes
Top of the Kessel Run (Fruita, CO)
  3.3 from 4 votes
One last punchy climb on Frontside before hitting V8 road on the Edge Loop. (Fruita, CO)
  3.3 from 4 votes
Frontside is interesting as it climbs towards the ridge. (Fruita, CO)
  3.3 from 4 votes
The upper reaches of Lipan Canyon are characterized by tight, scrubby ve... (Fruita, CO)
  3.0 from 4 votes
Starting the climb up Prime Cut (Fruita, CO)
  3.0 from 4 votes
Frontside headed back down into a small canyon before climbing back out ... (Fruita, CO)
  3.0 from 4 votes
Assessing the rappel on the Edge Loop (Fruita, CO)
  3.0 from 3 votes
Some ups and downs along the Frontside trail (Fruita, CO)
  3.0 from 3 votes
The one long-ish climb on the Edge Loop (Fruita, CO)
  2.8 from 4 votes
Cruising along the top part of PBR before the real fun begins! (Fruita, CO)
  2.8 from 4 votes
Cruising up the mellow, twisty, desert climb. (Fruita, CO)
  2.7 from 3 votes
Easy hills and smooth trail make this an easy climb. (Fruita, CO)
  2.7 from 3 votes
Climbing the relatively mellow Prime Cut trail. (Fruita, CO)
  2.7 from 3 votes
Prime Cut twists its way up, climbing gently alongside 18 Rd. (Fruita, CO)
  2.3 from 3 votes
Some of the hills are a little steeper at the top of Prime Cut, but it's... (Fruita, CO)