Where: Colorado & Utah – real wild west
Best season: spring and autumn to avoid the searing heat
Best sights: Anasazi Indian red rock pictograph, or travelling ‘side saddle’ through Fisher Tower, the movie Western region known as ‘little Hollywood’
Remember to Bring: Rough terrain mountain bike, lightweight clothing and a drink bottle with a hose
If you are mainly an urban mountain biker, or even someone with a bit of single-track biking experience, the Kokopelli Trail is a real challenge. Holly Morris tackles a trek which is considered to be one of the most physically exacting and strenuous mountain biking treks in North America.
It traverses steep canyon climbs, mountainous alpine terrain and high arid deserts. On this trek, you go through everything – extreme climate changes, high altitudes and gruelling hill climbs.
– Seeing the red sandstone rock formations of Fisher Towers, made famous in the 1950s John Wayne western movies.
– The accomplishment of mountain-biking one of the most physically exacting mountain bike trails in the U.S.A.
– Waking up in the high alpine terrain of the Colorado-Utah border.
Attempting the Slickrock Trail near Moab, Utah.
Our Journey Path – As Featured in Treks in a Wild World
The trek runs 140 miles starting in the state of Colorado, near Grand Junction. From here, we follow the Colorado River, cross the state line into Utah and pass through the red rock landscapes of Fisher Towers. After that it’s a steep, 10, 000 foot climb into the La Sal Mountains, before we descend to the world-famous Slickrock Trail outside Moab. Moab is the acknowledged Mecca of mountain biking and an apt place to finish the trail. It was created ten years ago to test the skills of bikers in a relatively new sport and it’s still as challenging today.
Much of the Kokopelli Trail is single track over Navajo sandstone and it’s important that you have the correct type of bike on the trek. Most outfitters customise their mountain bikes to hold up in such rough conditions.
Clothing needs to be lightweight, warm and also cool. Padded shorts and a special padded bike seat will help with some of the bumpy rides! Don’t forget sunscreen, hat, repair equipment and a water bottle that can attach to your bike – you’ll need it in the heat of the midday sun! A camel-back pack is also good – that’s a smallish backpack with a bladder for water and a hose that hangs just over your shoulder for easy access to rehydration.
Did You Know?
The name ‘Kokopelli’ refers to a mythical, flute player who was considered by the Anasazi Indians to be the god of fertility. One of the best ways to see a real Kokopelli is to visit one of the pictographs that adorn the red-rock faces all throughout the area.
The Anasazi Indians were known to be in the area from the Roman times, first as basket weavers, and later as hunter-gatherers. For not apparent reason, they completely disappeared in the 13th century. You can still see evidence of their existence , in the cliff dwellings that are scattered throughout the southwest, and by the petroglyphs that you can see if you hike up into the hills about three miles from the Kokopelli Trail.
The majestic red rock landscape of Fisher Towers was the site of the original western movies. During the 1940s and 50s so many movies were made in the area, it was known as ‘Little Hollywood’. John Wayne, Glen Ford and Rock Hudson all spent time here on location along with directors such as John Ford way back in 1849. More recently, Stephen Spielberg was here in 1988 shooting a movie.
The Pilot Productions team worked with
Dave Nash of The World Outside on this trip.
The World Outside
2840 Wilderness Place, #F
Boulder, Colorado 80301
Tel: 1-800-488 8483 or (303) 413 0938
Fax: (303) 413 0926