County explores trail to Montrose

Trail would connect Cortez, Junction

Courtesy of Over The Edge Sports

Mountain bikers can find thrills on the rim of high canyon walls of a trail system near Fruita that eventually connect with Moab. Montezuma County has dreams of connecting a trail to Montrose and the Rimrocker Trail, which connects with Moab. When combined with the Kokopelli Trail, riders could ride backcountry roads and trails from Grand Junction to Cortez. Enlargephoto

Courtesy of Over The Edge Sports Mountain bikers can find thrills on the rim of high canyon walls of a trail system near Fruita that eventually connect with Moab. Montezuma County has dreams of connecting a trail to Montrose and the Rimrocker Trail, which connects with Moab. When combined with the Kokopelli Trail, riders could ride backcountry roads and trails from Grand Junction to Cortez.

Montezuma County commissioners have requested that the Bureau of Land Management work with them on an idea to create a backcountry recreation route from Cortez to Montrose.

Commissioner Larry Don Suckla, an avid cyclist, is keen on the idea of linking the county to the multiuse Rimrocker Trail, a 160-mile route that connects Montrose with Moab, Utah, on back roads, ATV routes and trails.

“There is a lot of BLM land in between here and Montrose, so I see that as an opportunity to connect us with Moab,” he said.

Suckla pointed out that from Moab, riders could continue on the popular Kokopelli Trail, a 140-mile mountain bike route to Loma, near Grand Junction.

“I want to work with the various counties to figure out a trail alignment. We could have a trail system that connects Cortez with Grand Junction,” he said.

Connie Clementson, field manager for the BLM’s Tres Rios office, said the agency is open to proposals.

Suckla envisions a combination of single-track, public land roads, and side by side ATV trails to allow for multiple use recreation. County staff was directed to begin looking into possible routes.

The county is advocating for an expanded local outdoor recreation economy, including a proposed 17-mile trail from Cortez to Mancos and for additional trails at Phil’s World, east of Cortez.

Mountain biking is a key component of a surging recreation industry that contributes an estimated $641 billion per year to the U.S. economy, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.

The Rimrocker Trail provides four-wheel drive, OHV, and mountain biking access through a landscape of remote redrock canyons, winding rivers, desert vistas and alpine forests. Large portions of the trail are rough, narrow, and steep, especially the section from Nucla to Moab.

For more information go to rimrockertrail.org