This event course connects some excellent trails within the Lunch Loops and neighboring systems. The course is designed to challenge riders and racers in some of the most unique and scenic terrain in Western Colorado.
The event course includes some demanding doubletrack trails that feel more like singletrack when you ride them. With step-ups and step-downs, the course will test your technical skills as well as your endurance and fitness. The singletrack sections of the course are some of the best singletrack in the West including the Gunny Loop
, Andy's Trail
, and Eagle's Tail
Make sure to pack lots of water, a favorite nutrition, and a camera. All three will be needed.
Upon completion of the course, there are lots of restaurants and bars to quench a thirst and feed the hunger.
There are some technical challenges that are significant. Please ride with caution. And make sure to pack lots of fluids.
The course starts on Main Ave downtown, proceeds out to the Lunch Loops and the first dirt section is on the historic Tabeguache trail. This demanding doubletrack trail winds through a short, multicolored gully and starts a climb with a stinger up a short red face of loose dirt. Upon leveling out, the climb continues across an elevated flat and then the more serious climbing begins. Eventually riders gain a distinct flat with a fin rock protruding from the center that affords an exceptional view of the hazard ahead, Widowmaker Hill.
After the brief hike-a-bike challenge of Widowmaker, the trail flattens out a little, but some technical step-ups and step-downs will keep riders engaged and challenged. This continues to the point where the Tabeguache Trail comes to Little Park Road. Riders cross Little Park Road and head downhill 10 yards to the singletrack trailhead of Gunny Loop
The first drop on the Gunny Loop
is a narrow, technical drop that requires some caution. This singletrack trail contours around the terrain gradually climbing with numerous rocks and interesting technical challenges. Riders exit the trail onto the gravel doubletrack road that intersection the trail and leads to the Little Park Parking Lot.
Riders exit the parking lot onto Little Park Road and climb 2 miles on the paved road. A left turn will take riders into the Third Flats trailhead and then another quick left off Windmill Road onto Twist-n-shout. This twisty, grinny, doubletrack offers amazing views for those that can peel their eyes off the trail. After rolling and twisting, riders come to a left onto Butterknife
Tight singletrack, filled with rocks and challenges, laid out across terrain of dreams,Butterknife is one of the marquee trails on the course. There are a few technical challenges that will require skills and will make good use of rear suspension.
, there is some relief to be found on an extended dirt road climb back to Little Park Trailhead. Once at the top, descend Little Park Rd. to the start of Andys making a left turn onto the singletrack trail. The beginning of Andys is steep and has some technical moments with a little bit of exposure. Enjoy the fun challenges it offers while traversing multi-colored rock and soil, and the twisty nature of the trail. The trail descends to the bottom of No Thoroughfare Canyon then ascends a rerouted climb. Caution should be used as the trail is a bench cut and there is some exposure. Upon cresting the top, riders will navigate several miles of whoop-inspiring descent.
Andys climbs up a series of switchbacks to join Eagles Tail for the final exclamation point on the course. The descent down the lower portion of Eagles Tail is rocky singletrack with some keynote pieces and some fun challenges including two hairpin switchbacks built for sustainability utilizing a rock armoring technique (exploits of the local trail builder prowess). The final turns of the trail bring riders back to the Pet-e-kes trail for a few hundred yards of fun. Then the course rejoins the original section of the Tabeguache Trail through the gully and out to the trailhead.
A right turn onto Monument Road gives riders a fast, paved return to town. At the intersection with Broadway, riders should turn right and cross over the Colorado and the railroad tracks and follow the coned lane (re-trace egress route in reverse) onto Main Ave.
The inaugural Grand Junction Off-Road was Labor Day weekend 2013. The trails the course utilizes are some of the newest and some of the oldest in the region including the Tabeguache trail that dates back to the turn of the 20th century or older.