Standing on top of the Book Cliffs, more than 2,000 vertical feet above the Grand Valley basin, one begins to realize why The Edge Loop in Fruita, Colorado, is indeed epic. A steady one-hour climb delivers you to this fascinating viewpoint. East and south loom the mighty snowcapped Rockies. The canyons, arroyos and red rocks that mark the beginning of the great American desert unfold to the west. There is nothing to do but stand in awe, and then head DOWN. Tight, slalom-like singletrack defines The Edge Loop and guarantees ear-to-ear grins. Just make sure to stay on the trail and off the sensitive desert cryptobiotic soil. The ride includes an optional 50-foot rappel down a waterfall - check the condition of the rope before making the plunge. A few hours later, as you circle back to the trailhead in the face of a fiery western sunset, you remember what stoked you about mountain biking in the first place. After the ride, take a quick dip in the Colorado River and head to Over the Edge bike shop to learn about other outstanding rides in the area.
Location: The Edge Loop is located north of Fruita on Colorado's western slope. Fruita is just off Interstate 70 about 10 miles west of Grand Junction and 100 miles east of Moab, Utah.
Season: Year round; extreme heat in summer. Rain creates unrideable sticky mud.
Details: Over the Edge Sports, Book Cliffs Mountain Bike Trails map.
Club: Mesa County Cycling Association, 970-858-7220, Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Association, 970-243-0663, http://www.copmoba.org
Lodging: Fruita Chamber of Commerce, 970-858-3894, http://www.chambermaster.com/
Brew: The Copper Club and Suds Brothers are in Fruita. There's also the Rock Slide Brewery in nearby Grand Junction.
Coffee: Aspen Street Coffee
Events: Fruita Fat Tire Festival, http://www.fruitamountainbike.com/
Must do: Hike in the Colorado National Monument.