Fruita vs. Moab

Hi Lee,

What’s your opinion on the pros and cons of Fruita vs. Moab at the end of February? I am a trail rider from Minnesota, and am looking for rock, scenery and a change from home.


Hey Tjaard,

Porcupine Rim in Moab is a favorite.

Great question. You can’t go wrong. I’m no expert on these places, but that won’t stop me from saying this:

Rock: Moab wins. There are tons of rocky/slabby trails and, of course, there’s the Slickrock Trail. Every mountain biker should ride Slickrock at least once. It’s better on a moto though. Heck, I think Moab as a whole is best on a moto.

Scenery: I’d give it to Moab again. The canyons are just ridiculous.

Change: Both Fruita and Moab are different from Minnesota, but I’d say Moab is more different. Many areas in Moab feel like a different planet.

Kestle Run off Fruita’s Road 18 trailhead, one of my favorite trails anywhere. Fruita/Grand Junction adventure of 2007

But I prefer Fruita. Here’s why:

– Most of Moab’s trails were created by 4x4s and motos. There are lots of fun sections, but there are also lots of sand washes. You cannot ride a bicycle through prolonged, deep sand. Fruita’s trail network was created by and for mountain bikers. Overall, Fruita’s trails have better flow.

– Fruita is a smaller area, and tons of fun trails are concentrated close together. Whenever I go to Moab, I end up doing a fair amount of driving. Bah hooey.

– Fruita has variety. Basically, the south side of I-70 is rocky, and the north side is flowy. Take your pick. And don’t forget neighboring Grand Junction, which has its share of ripping trails.

If I were you: I’d ride both places. Moab is a must-do, kind of like visiting Mecca, and Fruita is super fun. The cities are only an hour and a half apart by car.

Ryan Cranston rocks Holy Cross in Grand Junction. The GJ crew just built a DH-specific trail that sounds awesome.

I’m sure there are other opinions out there. What say you all?

16 replies
  1. Daniel says:

    Moab will still be covered in snow in February. I’m not sure about Fruita. Moab is best to do in the Spring or Fall. I’m not sure when the snow melts in Moab, but I think March & April is about at early as I would go.

    Have Fun.

  2. leelikesbikes says:

    Good call on the weather. I think Fruita is better that way; its microclimate is pretty dry.

    Other places that rip and don’t get snow:

    NorCal – Santa Cruz!

    Phoenix – South Mountain!

    Las Vegas – Bootleg Canyon!

  3. Curtis says:

    I live in Norcal so Santa Cruz is a weekday regular and nothing special to me, but South Mountain in Phoenix is sweeeeet. Especially if you’re into fast rocky downhills. It’s definitely worth riding if you’re anywhere near the area.

  4. Chris says:

    NorCal can be quite rainy in Feb, like the year before last. Santa Cruz drains quickly as it is all on the side of the mountains. I’d hate to see you come all the way only to have it rain for two weeks straight.

    You could spend a week in the North Bay Area at Rockville at Fairfeild (rock gardens), Skyline Regional Park in Napa (rock gardens), Los Posadas forest at Anguin (rock drops), Oat Hill at Calistoga (riding on pure rock, the hardest technical ascent I’ve done and is my favourite I’ve done in USA) and Annandel at Santa Rosa (rock gardens and sweet singletrack). All have rocky bits and all are excellent. And you can check out the riding in Marin while you are in the area: Boyscout, China Camp (go with a local), and the Open Spaces (though most of the good stuff is illegal), but you can go down Repack, the site of the world’s first DH race.

    There’s also Lake Tahoe. You won’t forget the ascent and descent of Mr Toad’s Wild Ride, plus other rides in the area (good ‘threads’ on this site).

    If you’re looking for a MTBing holiday, is all…

  5. Olen says:

    I rode Moab and Fruita last March and both were fantastic. Moab was 85 degrees and perfect, fruita was a bit cooler but I stil got fried from a days worth of riding. I dig Fruita for the flow. The soil pack is perfect for cruising, and while still popular, it’s not quite as over-run. Like Lee said, the trails in Fruita were built by bikers and you can feel it. Moab is just Moab. You will never find stone and terrain like it anywhere else: killer tech climbs, burning decents, slick rock, hard pack, sandstone, sand washes, everything. An extra note: two things you will find in both places are sun and wind; two things you will NOT find are water and shelter.

    My week long trip was perfect, but you can’t guess the weather much more than a day ahead. On our way back to Denver, we hit heavy snow 30 minutes outside of Grand Junction, and I was still nursing my sunburn! My advice is to plan for both and let the weather decide where and how much riding you get in.

  6. Ibelieveinsasquatch says:

    Moab is definitely more fun with more options, I went last spring and ended up riding motos more than my bike. Bring or rent one if you can. Fruita is quite dull save for maybe a few trails south of I-70.

    Definitely check out the Ribbon / Holy Cross area in Grand Junction on your way out, you will not be dissappointed.

  7. robyn@ProExotics says:

    Holy Cross in Fruita is an amazing trail. 40 minute climb, then a terrific casual descent with lots of technical fun for about an hour. one of my favorite trails ever. a must ride.

    the other super blast in Fruita is Prime Cut at 18 mile road. it is a short 3 mile ride that parallels the road, sort of. you can ride or shuttle from the bottom parking lot to the top (2 mile dirt road), then take Prime Cut on a slight descent back to lot 1. fast, super flowy, swoopy, pumpy, TONS of fun. i can ride that 5 times in an afternoon and it is the best time.

    on the next trip, it is going to be lots of Prime Cut shuttles again, but with a quiver of different bikes, including BMX cruisers. Sweet!

  8. leelikesbikes says:

    Western Slope BMX Cruiser Super D Worlds!

    Dude — Kestle Run would be *so* doable on a cruiser …

  9. robyn@ProExotics says:

    yep, Kestle is also great. it runs on the opposite side of the road from Prime Cut, same quick, slighty downhill, swoopy, pumpy, run back to the parking lot.

    sounds friggin awesome on a cruiser, don’t it? : )

  10. brent says:

    Eh, Fruita/Grand Junction is great and all and I have sampled all of the trails mentioned so far but in my opinion riding from Hazard County to UPS to LPS to Porcupine Rim is one of the best coolest most bad ass trails I have ever had the opportunity to ride. So my vote would be Moab.

    I agree with the wise Jedi master Lee, you should ride both!

  11. Sean says:

    Ride them both!

    If it has been snowy or wet then Moab will be a better bet as it is much less affected by moisture than Fruita is.

    Also don’t be deceived by the history of Moab – most of of the “classic” trails were 4×4 or moto in origin but there is a lot of single track at Moab as well.

    -LPS & UPS into Porcupine are just insane fun
    -Gold Bar Single Track (with the Blue Dot option) is one of the great rides in the area.
    -Sovereign and Baby Steps are moderate trails that will have you repeating them regularly if you live in Colorado.
    -Rock Stacker and Jacksons are advanced single track out the back of Amasa Back (which also happens to be a decent ride 🙂 )

    I vote for Moab but they are both incredible destinations.

  12. Walt says:

    If you go to Moab at the end of February, you are going to freeze your ass off at night and won’t get started riding until late morning and this is if the weather is dry and good. Plan on temperatures being between 25 and 55. Yes, the trails could be dry, but it could snow the next day. the snow will melt fast after the sun comes out that time of year, but you won’t riding much. It’s called slickrock because that’s what it is when it’s WET.

  13. Bob from NorcaL says:

    Fruita is on my to do list. A couple of comments about Moab. I have been there 3 times, once in spring and twice in the fall. There is some cool riding on the LaSalle Mountains. Sean is right about the UPS, LPS, Porcupine Rim. One advantage of riding in the fall is that there should be no snow allowing you start really high. The really big epic is Burro Pass, Hazard County (this has been rerouted, Kokopelli, UPS, LPS, Porcupine Rim. 40ish miles if you ride back to town. Starting elevation is 10,000 feet up to 11,300 and all the way to 4000.

    Another SW option for winter riding is Sedona. I have been there 3 times. Very nice scenery. No big ups or downs. One of my friends calls it techncial x-country. I have other friends who absolutely love Sedona. My preference is Moab, but it sounds like Febraury may be iffy.

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