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Highline Lake

Easy/Intermediate
 4.3 (18) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A fun, family-friendly singletrack experience and home of the annual 18 Hours of Fruita bike race.


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Map Key

12.5

Miles

20.1

KM

85%

Singletrack

4,789' 1,460 m

High

4,627' 1,410 m

Low

613' 187 m

Up

614' 187 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

12%

Max Grade (7°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Family Friendly Simple and fun trails with challenges suitable for beginner/intermediate riders. The park has alternative water-based activities to complete the day.

Overview

These trails are best served for families or beginning to intermediate riders. But they are just plain fun, regardless, and the lake offers a post-ride dip opportunity for a complete day of fun. The best sections are the twists and turns and berms near Mack Mesa Lake and Coyote Wash.

This route was ridden mostly as an out-and-back to double up on the experience and mileage. These trails can be made into a loop by connecting back to the Bookcliff campground and parking lot via the East Bluffs Loop crossing over the bridge at the eastern lake inlet on the eastern side of the system.

Need to Know

Freshen up on your bird identification chops before heading out, as the trails also serve as a well-known birding location as sightings of bald eagles, white swans, geese, snow geese, and even sand hill cranes are common at certain times of the year. For this reason, please be respectful of other visitors who seek these adventures, too.

The famed 18 Hours of Fruita mountain bike race uses the main seven-mile course for their annual spring event so plan your trip accordingly. The campground is popular and often booked in advance, but they have walk-up sites as well, so go early to secure one. The area is open to day-use and has a fantastic grassy, shaded picnic area just off the beach for day-use visitors.

There is next to nothing in the way of food or beverage nearby other then a Conoco gas station closer to the highway, so plan to come prepared.

Rabbit Valley, Kokopelli and all the Fruita trails are very close by and easily accessible via bike or car.

Description

Whether you are here as a destination base camp for the area's famous Fruita and Kokopelli trails or passing through on your way west to UT or deeper east into CO, the Highline Lake State Park is a camping oasis in the Western Colorado desert just north of Loma, CO. The small RV and tent friendly campground, which offers bathrooms and showers, is chock-full of families loaded down with mountain bikes, fishing poles, and canoes.

This set of trails is mostly referred to as the 18 Hours of Fruita Course on the north and northwest portions and also utilizes the Blue Heron Marsh Trail and East Bluffs Loop trails to the east, south and southeast. It is not entirely clear where one ends and another begins but they all connect.

The trails here, while on lands mostly devoid of vegetation save for some sagebrush, prairie grasses, weeds and a few cottonwoods, are perfect as fun, non-technical, introductory-level, family singletrack riding. Yet the trails include enough twists and turns and berms that can add challenge to the seasoned rider that, when taken at higher speeds, offer ample opportunities to hone bike-handling skills on tight and alternating banked berms and loose corners.

There are over seven miles of trails here that ride well in both directions ranging from short steep climbs, twisting berms, gravel and dirt singletrack and doubletrack. There is more than enough to keep the young-ins challenged and happy and to scratch the parental itch to ride real trails.

The campground itself is full of big cottonwood trees that provide shade for the relentless CO sunshine, and the lake includes a swim beach that opens in May to wash the dust off your lil' dirt devils while you prep the bikes for a second lap in reverse direction!

History & Background

Highline Lake State Park
1800 11.8 Rd., Loma, CO 81524

Directions:
Take the Loma exit from I-70, turning onto Highway 139 North. Travel 6 miles to Q Road, then turn left onto Q Road. At 11.8 Road, turn right and follow 11.8 Road to the Highline Lake State Park East Campground/Day-Use entrance. There are signs posted along the way.

Contacts

Shared By:

A Clark

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 18 votes

#812

Overall
  4.3 from 18 votes
5 Star
44%
4 Star
39%
3 Star
17%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#166

in Colorado

#812

Overall
425 Views Last Month
11,590 Since Mar 28, 2016
Easy/Intermediate

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Photos

The start of the Blue Heron Trail near the southwest side of the campground
Mar 28, 2016 near Loma, CO
North of Highline Lake.
Mar 28, 2016 near Loma, CO
Sweeping turns on the western side of Highline Lake.
Mar 28, 2016 near Loma, CO
Near the Mack Mesa Lake sectioins
Mar 28, 2016 near Loma, CO
Riding the berms of Mack Mesa sections.
Mar 28, 2016 near Loma, CO
Rounding a corner on the east side of Highline Lake.
Mar 28, 2016 near Loma, CO

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Check-Ins

Dec 5, 2020
Brian Robert
Out n back w Gabbs n murph. Perfect weather
Nov 11, 2020
Brian Robert
8.5mi
Nov 6, 2020
Neil Hanson
Great flowy ride! Makes you feel like a rock star. The main lake trail mostly gravel but all the loops are bermed singletrack joyride!!!!
Oct 16, 2020
Cara Hubbell
With Kate. 9.8mi — 1h 37m
Jun 7, 2020
Adam R
Apr 5, 2020
Catherine Chismar
Nov 2, 2019
Danielle Teahon
Brought our 9 year old with us but it was very fun even for experienced riders. Great switchbacks. 12mi — 4h 00m
Oct 7, 2019
Betsy Simpson
7.1mi