Imagine riding your ATV through rugged and scenic canyons to a remote rim overlooking the Colorado Plateau, or returning from a heart-pounding mountain bike ride along slickrock canyon walls, then settling into your campsite overlooking the Colorado River. Rabbit Valley is part of the McInnis Canyons Conservation Area, and a favorite destination for locals and visitors alike, because of the views and myriad recreation opportunities. The public land playground is located just west of Fruita, off I-70. There you’ll find gorgeous desert plants, pre-historic petroglyphs, and outstanding paleontology. Here are some ways to experience Rabbit Valley:
MOTORIZED TRAIL RIDING
Kids Training Track
There’s a fun and unique beginner track for both motorcyclists and ATV-riders in Rabbit Valley that offers riders an opportunity – not far from the parking lot – to practice in a safe area with turns and jumps. This is a good place for young beginner riders to do wheelies and develop other skills.
Big Fun & Big Views! – Trail 6 is 1.5 miles of fun for mountain bikers. The roller coaster terrain goes up and down hills and crosses small sandy drainages. Take this trail to the popular Knowles Overlook for spectacular views of the Colorado River and the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness.
Hero Dirt & Sandstone! – After a high desert rainstorm, there is no better trail to be on than Trail 8 due to its sandy soil. Riding Trail 8 in a clockwise direction is recommended for safety as this is the most common direction traveled among motorcyclists. Weaving along the base of sandstone walls, Trail 8 starts out with fast flowing sections of sand mixed with fun elevation changes. At about the halfway mark the trail changes character, becoming more technical, offering sandstone ledges with tight turns weaving in and out of the drainages and the pinon/juniper landscape. Get through the technical rock sections without putting a foot down and you’ll be considered a hero among your friends.
ADVENTURE BY BIKE, HORSE OR FOOT
Biking the Western Rim Trail
Don’t tell anyone but this is one of my favorite rides in the area. Enjoy the winding sandstone single track along the edge of the Colorado River into Utah. The Western Rim Trail is a local favorite for a scenic and adventurous day on the bike.
Biking Trail 2
Fast winding swoops on single track through the hilly valley, Trail 2 weaves it’s way through some very fun single track in Rabbit Valley. Once you get past the McDonald Creek Trailhead – a great hike worth doing by the way – there are amazing views of sandstone canyon walls, open valleys and beautiful desert vegetation. This trail is suitable for all skill levels.
Jouflas Horse Trail
For a wonderful 9.1-mile day trip by horse be sure and check out the Jouflas Horse Trail. This historic ranching trail used by the Jouflas Family to move livestock takes you to beautiful views of the Colorado River, with some moderate climbing involved.
Trail Through Time
See dinosaur bones buried in the ground from 140 million years ago on this fun and family friendly interpretive hike just north of I-70. Enjoy stunning views and learn about the rich paleontology of the region and be sure to check out the active dinosaur quarry at the start of the hike.
The Bureau of Land Management manages these public lands for many uses, whether you enjoy motorizing, horseback riding, hiking, or mountain biking. Don’t be surprised to see gorgeous collared lizards and other unique and important plants and animals while recreating in Rabbit Valley. Please note, due to increasing impacts changes are in the works regarding where camping is allowed. The BLM is considering building more campgrounds and charging camping fees to help improve management of the area.
Grab a map, pick your adventure and explore Rabbit Valley. For more maps and information about the NCA’s please visit www.coloradocanyonsassociation.org