Kokopelli Trail

The legendary Kokopelli Trail, 140 miles of desert and mountain riding between Moab and Fruita. Bikepack it, chase the FKT, ride it with vehicle support - experience the singletrack and 4x4 roads however you like.

Moab, UT/ Loma, CO

Ute lands

14,000'

ELEVATION GAIN

late spring/
fall

riding season

1-4

days out

6-7

PHYSICAL challenge (1-10*)

13:07

women's FKT -
Kait Boyle (2020)

140

miles

5-6

TECHNICAL challenge (1-10*)

10:25 / 10:29

men's FKTs - north / south
Peter stetina / Timon Fish

Stewarded by the Colorado Plateau Mountain bike Association grand valley chapter

Managed by the manti-la sal National Forest and Uncompahgre and Grand Junction Bureau of Land Management Field offices

* Following the bikepacking Roots rating scale

route map and download

Disclaimer: This route and associated information is just a starting point for your preparation, and your safety is your own responsibility. Although this route, its GPS track and waypoints, route data, and the route guide were prepared after extensive research, their accuracy and reliability are not guaranteed. Check for current conditions, route updates, detours, use common sense, obey local laws and regulations, and travel with alternative means of navigation. The Backcountry Bike Challenge and its creators and contributors will in no way be responsible for personal injury or damage to personal property arising in conjunction with following this route or utilizing any of the route resources provided on this website or via RWGPS.

General route description

The Kokopelli Trail is one of the earliest multi-day mountain bike routes to be developed in the United States. Ridden from west to east, riders experience the landscape change climbing out of the slickrock sandstone country of Moab, up into the forested La Sal Mountains to 9,000’, down into sandstone canyons, and then across the badlands into western Colorado, ending riding along the rims and canyons of the Colorado River. The majority of the route is on 4×4 roads and thus can be accessed in most places with a high-clearance vehicle. The northeastern 15 miles are technical non-motorized singletrack in the Kokopelli Trail System. Although the route is predominantly motorized and consists of quite a few miles of dirt and gravel roads, the trail has significant elevation gain, and along the western portion of the route, there are very technical, rocky sections making it particularly challenging. The route is popular as a 2- to 3-night bikepacking trip, a 3- to 4-day vehicle-supported trip, and as a BIG single-day effort. There even was an underground single-day endurance challenge held on trail in the early 2000s.

The route can be ridden in either direction. Westbound riders have the option of ending their trip down UPS, LPS, and Porcupine Rim trails to Moab. It’s generally preferred by eastbound riders to start up Sand Flats Road to the La Sals, following the official Kokopelli Route.

Photos by Aaron Couch, Rugile Kaladyte, Cort Muller, and Kurt Refsnider

additional route information

  • This is the desert. Water is scarce, and many of the water sources are seasonal and vary in reliability from year to year. Most water sources included with the route information are generally reliable in early to mid spring, but that depends heavily on winter snowpack. Summer monsoons can rejuvenate the water sources for early autumn, but again, that depends on the strength of the monsoons.
  • Water can be found seasonally in the La Sals at Castleton Creek, Fisher Creek, Hideout Canyon and Cottonwood Creek. Water can be collected from the Colorado River at Dewey Bridge and at McGraw Bottom about halfway through, although the Colorado River is usually silty. Salt Creek, about 10 miles from the northern end of the trail is usually flowing, but at low flow, it’s very silty and salty. Water sources, aside from the Colorado River, should be confirmed flowing before counting on them. There is no potable water along the route. Treat all surface water.
  • There are no services along the route but Moab, Utah and Fruita, CO bookend the route and offer all services including lodging, groceries, dining, and a plethora of bike shops.

  • Guided tours are operated on the Kokopelli and shuttles may be able to be arranged with local tour/shuttle operators.

  • Water filters often clog up quickly due to high clay and silt contents of many Colorado Plateau water sources. Chemical water treatment is recommended.
  • If planning to pull water from the Colorado River, using alum powder to settle out the suspended silt and clay is recommended.
  • Virtually the entirety of this route is on public lands.
  • Scenic dispersed camping opportunities can be found frequently along the route.
  • In May, juniper gnats (AKA no-see-ums) can be quite pesky at the middle elevations along the route and anywhere that there are juniper woodlands nearby. Packing a headnet is strongly recommended.
  • None of note for this route
  • Be mindful of exposure to heat and have a sound hydration plan.
  • Much of the route northeast of the Colorado River crossing at Dewey Bridge is impassable when wet.
  • Don’t bust the crust! Be careful of cryptobiotic soil and avoid trampling it, camping on it, etc.
  • The traditional direction to race the Kokopelli is from the Slickrock Trailhead off Sand Flats Road, just east of Moab to the Kokopelli Trailhead near Loma, CO. The outhouse/Kokopelli statue is the finish line. 
  • FKT chasers are not allowed to cache any water along the route and must follow 100% of the route in accordance with FKT rules.

history and stewardship of the kokopelli trail

The Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Alliance’s (COPMOBA) Kokopelli Trail project began in 1988, and land managers from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service were supportive of the trail concept. The route would connect existing singletrack, 4×4 tracks, and gravel roads. Short sections of new trail required to bridge gaps between existing routes were quickly approved as environmental review and approval processes for trail construction by public lands managers were in their infancy. It didn’t take long to finish the project and pound countless Carsonite posts into the ground to mark the new route – by 1989, it was complete!

your rides on this route

Click here for the Ride with GPS northbound and southbound FKT Leaderboards