Friday, May 12, 2017

#WestSlopeBestSlope Trail Series: Kokopelli Trails

Second on my list of local trails to highlight are the Kokopelli Trails!

This is another trail system with a lot of smaller trails all encompassed into the "Kokopelli Trails" name. They run along the Colorado River's north side in the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area. You can actually take these over to Rabbit Valley (another popular trail system), and then even onto Moab if you want, although this would be extremely remote and long (I think it's around 100 miles to go to Moab) and you would definitely want to be prepared for that!

This is probably one of the most well known and popular mountain biking trails in the area. On any given weekend there will be a lot of people out (but not too crazy - this is the western slope after all). A lot of the sections are nice and wide, so passing people (or getting passed by mountain bikers) isn't typically much of an issue. These trails are my "go-to" trail system for longer weekend runs as I can get 20+ miles out here pretty easily.

Trail: Kokopelli Trails (Mary's Loop, Rustlers Loop, Horsetheif, Wranglers, Moore Fun, Steve's Loop, Mack Ridge, Troy Built +)
Location: Loma & Mack, Colorado
Trail Head Access: The main trailhead is located just off of I-70. Take Exit 15 for Loma (4 miles west of Fruita). From the exit, turn left, go across the interstate to the frontage road and turn right. Go about 1000 feet and turn left on the gravel road (before the weigh station). Once on the gravel road, it's just about 1/2 mile to the trail head which has lots of parking and a restroom. Note - there are also a few other small parking lots to access other sections of trails - see the COPMOBA map for specifics on those.
Distance: SO. MANY. OPTIONS - from 3.5 miles on Rustler's Loop to the 50K route at the Desert RATS Trail Running Festival, you can get a lot of distance here. Some of my favorite combinations are:
-Ruster's Loop: 5 Miles from the main parking lot, 3.5 if you park right at the Rustler's starting spot - this is a great short loop that is very runnable.
-Mary's to Wranglers: 6 Miles
-Mary's to Horsethief Bench (Lollipop Loop): 8 Miles
-Moore Fun Trail and Mary's Loop: 11 miles total
-Moore Fun, Steve's, Mary's, Horsethief, Rustlers: 21 Miles
There's also a lot more mileage you can get if you venture into the trails that are farther northwest - Troy Built, Mack Ridge, and Lion's. I, however, have not really done these too often (I think I need to change that soon!).
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Best Time of Day/Year: Spring and Fall is best, but you can run these year round. Summer is HOT and there is no shade. Winter is usually doable, but there is snow at times. Do note that this is a very popular mountain biking area, so be alert for bikers. The earlier you go, the less likely you'll have to be moving over for them too often.
Elevation: These trails range from 4400' to 5400'. The biggest climbs are on Moore Fun & Mack Ridge. Aside from those two, the trails are pretty runnable.
Notes: Again, this is a mountain bike trail, so be on the lookout. Also, make sure to bring a lot of water - it's dry and exposed!

View of the Colorado River from Rustler's Loop


Steve's Loop


Overlooking the Colorado River from Mary's

Coming down the climb up to Moore Fun

Rustler's Loop


View from the top of Moore Fun

The Colorado River from Mary's (in the fall - aren't the tree's gorgeous?)

Looking down at Mary's (and Rustler's even further down) from Wranglers

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