In early November, the Grand Valley Trails Alliance worked with the Bookcliff Rattlers, Motorcycle Trail Riders Association, the Grand Junction Field Office of the BLM and COPMOBA on the latest motorized singletrack trail in the Grand Valley. This eight mile trail rolls across the top of the Bookcliffs through majestic cedar trees, over ridges and along unforgettable overlooks.
With funding from the State OHV Grant Committee, the BLM has laid out this 30” singletrack trail as an important segment of a 65 mile loop that includes some classic desert riding in the North Fruita Desert. Starting with a climb up a two track road off Coal Gulch Road, Sarlacc is an intermediate trail that will keep most riders in second or third gear, nimbly rolling through the twists and features of the latest purpose-built motorized singletrack trail in the Grand Valley.
The most striking features of the Sarlacc Trail is its position atop the Bookcliffs and the incredible views it offers the trail user. With stunning views of the back of the Bookcliffs as well as enormous views of the Grand Valley, this trail rewards those that stop occasionally to revel in the scenery.
The trail itself is a full bench cut trail, 30″ in width with some tight corners, rock moves, and a generally twisty, rolling nature. For dirt bikers, they will find it a trail they cruise along in 2nd gear with some spots they can kick it up to 3rd and many spots where they will need to drop into 1st to negotiate a technical section. Mountain bikers will find some stinger climbs and some fun descents, but overall, the trail rolls very comfortably and will allow faster riders to really enjoy the turns and rolls. Hikers will be comfortable and captivated by the views, the amazing trees and the beauty of the location. Currently the canopy is still tight in some sections so equestrian users should be prepared for low branches.
The trail gets its name from Episode 6 of Star Wars because of the large holes that are found in the area where the Bookcliffs have fractured. When riding by a prominent hole at the start of the singletrack at the Western End, it is easy to imagine the Sarlacc monster and its tentacles at the bottom.
The Sarlacc was the site of a Volunteers Outdoor Colorado work project that saw more than 60 volunteers come out and camp and build for two days in the spring of 2013. This trail building effort by the VOC was the first motorized trail project the organization has lead on the western slope and is another example of how this trail has been the source of innovative efforts.
The Sarlacc can be enjoyed from West to East or from East to West. The Western end of the Sarlacc Trail involves a steep, doubletrack road that will be a 30-45 minute climb for fit mountain bikers, a fun climb on a moto and a significant hike. The Eastern start of the trail begins near a well pad. Please do not park on the well pad!
There are several sections of the trail that involve a little bit of fall exposure. Please use caution on these sections.
Part of Larger Loops
The Sarlacc is a great addition to the existing singletrack trail systems it connects to. In the works is a 65 mile motorized loop that connects some existing and new sections of trails in the North Fruita Desert West of 18 Road, the Sarlacc, the Edge Loop, and the Orange Loop in the North Fruita Desert East of 18 Road. This unique motorized trail system will offer an exceptional spectrum of trail experiences from fast desert riding, tight gully riding, ridges and the slower, exciting Sarlacc. Mountain bikers can also make the Sarlacc part of the 18 Road Bicycle Emphasis Area in the North Fruita Desert and the Edge Loop for a big, fun and incredibly varied day on the bike.
With further support from the community and the partners, the Sarlacc is envisioned as a framework for a new set of trails on top of the Bookcliffs. If you would like to see this type of development, please get involved!
The Sarlacc Trail will be managed with a seasonal closure from December 1st to May 1st of every year to protect the trail and the wildlife on the Bookcliffs. Please respect this closure and do not jeopardize access to the trail or the trail itself.
The Sarlacc Trail exists because of the hard work and support of the following partners:
- State of Colorado OHV Grants
- Grand Junction Field Office of the BLM
- Bookcliff Rattlers
- Desert Rat Tours
- Aspen Street Coffee
Here is a map showing how the Sarlacc Trail fits into the larger 65 mile motorized singletrack trail:
NFD Proposed Single Track OHV Loop (4.0 MiB)