Nestled among the undulating landscapes of Fruita, Colorado, the Mary's Loop and Horsethief Bench trails make up an enticing network that should be on every mountain biker's bucket list. Renowned for their technicality, flow, and jaw-dropping views, these trails offer a ride experience that's as diverse as it is fulfilling.
To commence this rollercoaster of a ride, take I-70 to exit #15. Right off the exit, you'll find the Kokopelli trailhead parking lot on Frontage Road. The gravel road leading into the valley starts uphill from the parking area. A jeep road that marks the trailhead is located just before the Rustlers Loop parking area.
For the best experience, the recommended route is to start by climbing the jeep road along the rim for about 2 miles until you reach a small gate on the left for Horsethief Bench. If you're tackling this trail for the first time, it might be wise to hike-a-bike down to the trailhead. From here, take a left and follow the loop clockwise. You'll eventually return to Mary's Loop, where you can either make a return trip to the parking lot or extend your adventure by hitting Steve's Trail and a 12.5-mile frontage road return.
Based on numerous reviews, these trails are adored for their balance of challenge and flow. The climb may feel taxing, but the reward lies in the thrilling descents and panoramic views. While most describe the trails as intermediate, there are portions that demand expert bike handling.Some riders particularly appreciate how these trails are ideal for single-speed loops. However, for riders who prefer high desert trails, this network is cited as among the best. The technical nature of the trails is widely acknowledged, with specific mention of the heart-stopping "drop-in" at Horsethief that's "scary as hell but exhilarating."
Whether you're an intermediate rider looking to challenge your skills or an expert aiming for an epic leg-buster, Mary's Loop and Horsethief Bench have something to offer. The trails exemplify the rugged beauty and thrill of mountain biking in the West, and they'll likely have you planning your next ride before you've even gotten back to your car.So, the next time you're in Fruita, Colorado, missing out on these trails would be nothing short of a mountain biking sin.