Classic Trip: Mountain Bike the Kokopelli Trail, Colorado and Utah

Ultimate Adventure Bucket List 2014: Humanitarian Shannon Galpin recommends mountain biking the Kokopelli Trail in Colorado and Utah. Plus: her must-have gear pick.

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Mountain bikers on the Kokopelli Trail view the Colorado River and Rocky Mountains, Colorado

Moab, Utah, and Fruita, Colorado, are some of the West’s great mountain bike meccas, so it’s no surprise that the backcountry route that connects them—the Kokopelli Trail—is a stunner, too.

“It’s one of those epic historical trails,” Galpin says. “It’s incredibly beautiful. You can ride 142 miles on singletrack [and remote dirt roads], then you’re in Moab and you’re spit up right above my favorite trail, which is the Whole Enchilada.”

Though some bikers tick it off in one giant day—Rebecca Rusch snagged a new speed record on the trail in 2013—most choose to take their time. And with good reason. Eight BLM-maintained campsites dot the way, and there’s plenty to see between campfires. The trail winds by some of the Southwest’s classic landscapes, from red-rock desert dotted with sage and juniper to the alpine meadows and ponderosa stands of the La Sal Mountains.

For those with a little extra leg juice, finish off the ride with Moab’s Whole Enchilada, a humdinger of a finale: about 27 miles of linked-up trails that lead from the aspen groves of the La Sals more than 7,000 brake-pumping, grin-making vertical feet to the Colorado River.

No permits are necessary to ride the Kokopelli Trail. Contact the Moab office of the Bureau of Land Management for more information. Hermosa Tours offers gear-shuttle services for four-day self-guided trips.

Shannon Galpin
Humanitarian and Mountain Biker
In 2006, Shannon Galpin, a Colorado-based humanitarian, mountain biker, and former Pilates instructor, founded Mountain2Mountain, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating opportunities for women and girls in conflict regions. Since then, she became the first woman to mountain bike in Afghanistan; she worked in Afghan prisons to give a voice to incarcerated women; she organized community bike rides; and she orchestrated “Streets of Afghanistan,” an exhibition of Afghan streetscape photos that exhibited in that country and Colorado. Galpin's most recent project: coordinating a documentary film project on Afghanistan’s women’s national bicycling team.
Shannon Galpin's Gear Pick: Pantagonia Ilianna Halter Dress
“I’ve ridden all throughout Afghanistan in this dress,” Galpin says. “I’d ride in it with pants and a tunic over the top because I was really cognizant that I didn’t want my clothes to be offensive. Also, because women aren’t supposed to ride bikes there, I needed to be able to step off the bike and look like a girl immediately. I can wear this dress for days on end and it doesn’t get dirty. Here in the U.S., it’s the thing I’d shove in the back of my hydration pack to have when I want to get out of my cycling clothes.”

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