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Fact Table:

Location West Central
Lenght 186 miles
High point 10,867
Max Grade 16%
Arv Climb Grades 3.2% to 4.8% with steep grades up to 16% during climbs
Climb Class

See notes

Elev Gain 14,936 ft
Rating Difficult
Access City Cedaredge or Grand Junction

 

 

Ride Notes:

  • Cedaredge to top is Cat 1 climb. It's not overly steep, just relentless and long. Max grades 6% to 7%.
  • Co Natl Monument has a Cat 2 and Cat 5 climb.
  • All other climbs back to Cedaredge are Cat 5 climbs.
  • Steepest grade of approx 16% in the Co Nat Monument
  • Remote route. Civilization in Cedaredge, Palasade, Grand Junction, Delta. You might find water in Mesa.
  • No services on Trap Club Road from Delta to Cedaredge. Bring your own water and snacks.
  • A front and rear light is required for ride through the monument (because of the tunnels). A flashing red bicycle light is good for the back. A white flasing or solid is good for the front.

 

 

View above Cedaredge, CO
Grand Mesa in the fall
Road on north side of Grand Mesa
Canyon between Mesa and Palisade, CO
Colorado National Monument
Western leg of ride- HWY 50
Local resident
Near Cedaredge, CO

Color elevation map created using mapmyride.com

View full version for some points of interest.

Grand Mesa-Grand Junction

Here’s a ride that has a little of everything: One of Colorado’s top three epic rides (Grand Mesa), a ride through Colorado National Monument (you must have a front and rear light on your bike through the Monument tunnels), a ride along the Colorado River, a ride next to (but not in) the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, and a trip through a remote area of moonscape desolation.  The roads include county roads, paved bike trails, a short distance on Interstate 70 (cycling allowed at the short five mile stretch with very wide shoulders), an unavoidable stretch of Hwy 50 south of Grand Junction, the home of Colorado Palisade peaches (and apricots, cherrirs, pears, plums, etc). The route includes a Catagory 1 climb, cruising through a wide canyon, large western Colorado towns, ultra remote west slope ranchlands and desolation, and the beauty of the Grand Mesa and Colorado National Monument. 


This is a 3½ season route as it can be done mostly year round with the following caveats: Winter can be a challenge as the Grand Mesa and Colorado National Monument could be closed for a while in winter due to snow.  Einter snow and ice can impact the entire rest of the route, although it often does not stay around long.  If going in the winter, plan well and prepare for bad weather.  Also, the Summers on the western slope can be extremely hot, particularly between Palisade-Grand Junction-Delta.  Think over 100 degrees.  Sudden storms can spring up out of no where in the summer and spring cold snaps could be bone chilling into May. I’ve done this route, or portions of it, in late spring and early fall when temperatures are nearly perfect and, in September/October, the fall colors are spectacular. Always be prepared for changing weather and know, regardless of the above comments, the weather is seasonably great most of the year.

 
This ride can easily be modified based on your needs.  I like a three-day ride starting and ending in Cedaredge with two nights in Grand Junction.  Day one over the mesa, day two goes over the CO Nat Monument and day three gets you back to Cedaredge.  If you want to do this in two days, it does not matter if you start in Cedaredge or Grand Junction as those would be the start/end cities (starting in Delta would leave one day far too long, unless you like ultra marathons and like remote camping). 

A couple of route variations-

Finally, just be aware of large gaps for services in the route. Between Cedaredge and Palisade, there is not much in the way of anything. Mesa has a general store and there is a picnic area near the top. But on this leg, carry lots of snacks and water. My first time up this route, because of the relentless climb and heat of the day, I ran out of water about half way to the top. Don't let that happen to you. There is also nothing in the monument, between Grand Junction and Delta, and between Delta and Cedaredge... Just plan ahead. And,

Have fun!!!!