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black Palisade Rim

  4.2 ( 73 )

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8.5 mile 13.7 kilometer loop


Ascent: 1,476' 450 m
Descent: -1,479' -451 m
High: 6,043' 1,842 m
Low: 4,747' 1,447 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 18% (10°)


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Trail shared by Andrew Judkins

Techy singletrack with amazing exposure and phenomenal views.

Andrew Judkins

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-


Exposure on-par with Moab's Porcupine Rim, but with fewer people and more singletrack.

Need to Know

Bring plenty of water. Avoid the upper loop after rain. Watch where you are going, falling in some spots could be fatal. Stop by the Palisade Brewing Company for a pint after your ride. Visit Rapid Creek Cycles in Palisade for current trail conditions.


Park at the river launch site approx 200 yards north of the trailhead. The trail begins next to a large gate, start the climb up and around the irrigation ditch.

The initial 800 foot climb has just enough switchbacks to keep you on the bike, with plenty of short technical challenges to keep your attention.

At the top of the first climb, catch your breath and enjoy the view of Colorado's Wine Country. If you plan on doing both loops you have another 700 feet of climbing ahead of you, but it comes over more miles than the first climb.

Back on the bike, keep heading uphill and take a left at the intersection (trail is great in both directions, but flows better this way). Crank another mile over varied terrain to the upper loop connector trail. Take a left here to access the challenging upper loop, or stay right if you only want the lower action. Look off to the right and admire the petroglyphs on the sandstone (look, don't touch please).

Charge up the connector trail for 0.8 miles to reach the upper loop, and again go left at the intersection. This 4 mile loop has it all: rocks, dirt, shale, berms, twists, short climbs and plenty of cliff exposure. The highlight for most riders will probably be hammering down the west side of the upper loop, don't let the exposure rattle your nerves.

Head down the connector trail and rejoin the lower loop near the petroglyphs. The second half of the lower loop offers more rocky challenges, but with less exposure than the upper loop.

Now lower your seat a few inches and prepare to drop 800 feet back down to the parking lot (control your speed and watch out for hikers and shear cliffs).

History & Background

The history of this gem can be found at Rapid Creek Cycles


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Nov 25, 2018
Mason R
Scariest ride of my life. Insane amount of exposure, 90% of this ride is a no-fall zone. Rating double black because of exposure.
Oct 20, 2018
Laraine Martin
epic 8mi
Sep 20, 2018
Bob DeAngelis
Aug 19, 2018
Chas Semon
Jul 22, 2018
Eric Hall
Jun 8, 2018
Jamie Scoular
Scenic and challenging. Exposure on the top loop is the real deal. Lots of lizards. I highly recommend. 8.5mi — 2h 00m
Jun 1, 2018
Drew R
May 26, 2018
Jordan Eason
Excellent trail.. pretty windy today. 8.5mi

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 73 votes


in Palisade


  4.2 from 73 votes
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in Palisade


in Colorado


572 Views Last Month
28,866 Since Oct 9, 2013
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Ben Aylsworth
Toronto, ON
Ben Aylsworth   Toronto, ON
Last trail on my month long road trip before heading back east. Great way to finish. Nice fun up with great views. Then point it downhill and be back to the car before you know it! May 4, 2014
We did this the opposite way the arrows are pointing (we went counter clockwise) and I can't think that it would be better any other way. May 31, 2016
Mason R  
The exposure on this ride is no joke! 90% of it is on the edge of either a sheer cliff or significant drop-off, falling in most spots on this trail will either result in severe injury or death. The views are amazing, but this was downright scary in a lot of spots. Makes Porcupine Rim looks like childs play. Nothing too crazy technically except for a few spots, but be very careful Nov 26, 2018

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