Situated in Fruita, Colorado, Chutes and Ladders offers an intermediate level loop trail spanning approximately 7 miles. It's a well-maintained patchwork of technical and flowing terrains that climbs the Bookcliffs, giving riders a bit of a roller coaster experience. This is one of the many trails that form the 18 Road system, each with its own unique set of features.
To reach the starting point of Chutes and Ladders:
Note: The road turns into a dirt road after 3 miles. The trail starts across the road from the parking lot and heads down to a dried-up lake.
From the steep initial climbs near the Bookcliffs to the more mellow and flowing sections, this trail offers variety. The climbs, termed "Ladders," can be short but intense, ideal for those looking to challenge their uphill cycling skills. Once you reach the top, the "Chutes" section provides a smooth, fast descent back to the parking lot, making the trail feel like a natural roller coaster.
While some cyclists argue that there are better options within the 18 Road system, such as Joe's Ridge or Zippity Do Dah, others appreciate the unique challenges that Chutes and Ladders offer. Many enjoy the steep uphill battles followed by speedy downhill rewards. The trail also allows for great combination rides with other tracks like PBR and Kessel Run, so you can craft your ride according to your skill and stamina.
Whether it's the steep "Ladders" or the flowing "Chutes," this trail offers a well-rounded experience for those who are up for some variety. Even though it may not be everyone's cup of tea, Chutes and Ladders is a must-try for those visiting Fruita, especially if you're already exploring the 18 Road trails. With a proper bike setup and favorable weather conditions, this trail promises a fun, if challenging, ride.