Bikepacking on the Kokopelli Trail – Joel Caldwell

Bikepacking on the Kokopelli Trail
Photos and words by Joel Caldwell

The Kokopelli Trail is a beautiful route winding from Fruita, Colorado to Moab, Utah. It combines a variety of primitive roads with surprisingly technical single track that kept us guessing around each bend. Scrubby and open in the east, the route becomes richer and the landscapes more Mars-like as we approached the canyon lands of the high Utah desert. Sand, dirt, gravel, slick rock, creek crossings, you name it. Two long climbs topping out at 8400′ tested our fitness and the final descent along Porcupine Rim blew our minds. This is the way to enter Moab!

Bikepacking on the Kokopelli Trail - Joel Caldwell

A bit about our bikes. Borealis in Colorado Springs set us up with two carbon fatbikes for the trip: A Yampa for me and an Echo with a Rockshox Bluto for my travel companion, expedition cyclist Joe Cruz. Just as I had underestimated the ripping descents and technical singletrack of the Kokopelli Trail, I was equally blown away by the rideability, handling, and general awesomeness of a fully loaded Yampa. Three days of food, 4.5 litres of water, shelter, bag, and pad all loaded on a FATBIKE means you’re in for a slog, right? Wrong. The Yampa climbed as if unencumbered and on the downhills the 3.8” tires had me forgetting I was on a rigid frame.

Bikepacking on the Kokopelli Trail - Joel Caldwell

As for the Echo:

“Intuitive race bike handling even with a full bikepacking load, coupled with the limitelss traction and comfort of a proper fatbike. The light weight and front suspension heaped a dollop of flat out fun onto backcountry adventuring” -Joe Cruz

In short, bikepacking on a Borealis is where it’s at; an extended, multi-day mountain bike ride, with the perks of camping.

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