New MTB Mesa Top Trail completed on Grand Mesa outside of Grand Junction
Grand Junction Free Press
Mesa Top Trail
Season: Early June to October
Distance: 8 miles, with the option for a 30-mile loop
Time: 1-2 hours
For more info on the trail and others in the Grand Junction area, see www.copmoba.org
After three years of hard work, rock removal and dedication, Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association has completed the Mesa Top Trail, its latest High-Country mountain biking trail.
The trail is now a complete 8-mile stretch of smooth to rocky terrain that connects riders who park on Highway 65 (Grand Mesa Byway) to other Grand Mesa mountain biking trails, like Flowing Park and Indian Point.
“It took a lot of people and a lot of hard work to get it done,” said Dan Antonelli, head organizer for Mesa Top Trail project. “It was a big community volunteer effort. People don’t realize the time, passion, blood, sweat and tears that are put into these trails. It was pretty wild when everyone was gone and I was putting up the last few things; this trail won’t be the center of my universe every summer. It was emotional.”
More than 30 volunteers arrived to help complete the trail on July 18. The section required the removal of dozens of rocks and trees. The work is similar to volunteer trail projects in Summit County, including a recent trail weekend in Breckenridge attended by more than 100 folks with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado.
“Thanks to Dan Antonelli, COPMOBA board members and project coordinators, and the efforts of so many volunteers from all of our chapters,” said Kristina Kittelson, COPMOBA coordinator. “Particularly the Grand Valley Canyons and Delta Area Mountain Bikers Chapters, mountain bikers have another great singletrack mountain bike trail on the Grand Mesa.”
Mesa Top Trail totals around 8 miles one-way.
This trail ranges from beginner to advanced, depending on how much trail is ridden. If riders start at Mesa Top Trail, the complete lollipop ride (including Flowing Park and Indian point) totals around 30 miles. The terrain varies from rocky to flat, with little elevation gain.
“This trail is a great addition to the already existing High Country trails in this area,” Kittelson said.
COPMOBA stated that the trail “skirts natural ponds, sneaks along a narrow hidden bench and bursts out onto the very edge of the Grand Mesa with unparalleled views of the Elk and San Juan mountain ranges.” It eliminates the need to travel by car to Flowing Park’s trailhead, adding a few miles on the bike to enjoy versus in a car.
“It’s a big deal to mountain bikers especially looking for a big, long ride and a lot of singletrack,” Antonelli said.
With the recent rains, the trail may be muddy at times, but it will be the perfect get-away when the temperatures rise again throughout the summer.
To get to the trail from Grand Junction, take Interstate 70 to State Highway 65/Grand Mesa exit. Travel almost 30 miles, and look for a sign near the parking lot entrance on the right that says “Mesa Top.” Restrooms are available but no water.
“It’s a great ride for change and seeing different views,” Antonelli said.
With limited close-by, High-Country mountain biking, this trail opens up many possibilities for new trails to come, including at County Line and Skyway cross-country skiing areas.
For more information, visit http://www.copmoba.org.
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