Round Trip Distance: 6.4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate - Strenuous
Elevation: 5020 - 5553 feet
Cellphone: 2-5 bars
Usage: Hiking - Biking - Equestrian - Dogs
Time: 2 hrs.
Facilities: Vault toilet
Trailhead: North Fruita Desert
Attractions: High desert ecosystem, camping
View Zippity in a larger map
The Zippity Do Da trail is located in the North Fruita Desert Area, at the end of 18 Road, about 8 miles northwest of Grand Junction. The 18 Road area has around 73 miles of trails counting the 28 mile long Edge Loop that goes up and around the Little Book Cliffs. The various trails can be combined to form hikes of about any length. A campground at the upper end of 18 Road has several restrooms and roughly 35 free camping sites.
Approach: Since 18 Road doesn't run in a continuous section from north to south you have to make use of either 19 Road or 17 1/2 Road to get to the Fruita Desert Area. If you are coming from Fruita then follow Maple St., which is also 17 1/2 Road, north to N 3/10 Road. Turn right on N 3/10 Road and follow it to 18 Road. Turn left on 18 Road and follow it for about 7.5 miles to the trailhead. If you are coming from Grand Junction you can turn north on 19 Road and follow it to O Road. Turn left on O Road and follow it to 18 Road. Turn right on 18 Road and follow it for about 7.5 miles to the trailhead.
This hike makes use of the Kessel Run trail to get to the upper end of Zippity. The stretch of Kessel Run from the trailhead to the Frontside trail is about 2.5 miles. It is a little over a mile along the Frontside trail to the top of Zippity.
The Kessel Run trail begins about a 1/4 mile from the trailhead. The trail follows a wash, that is normally dry, as it heads north towards the book cliffs. Mountain bikers love zipping down the Kessel Run trail so most of the traffic will be going downhill.
Kessel Run crosses V.7 Road and continues north through the juniper trees as it passes by the east side of the campground. The trail makes numerous little 'S' turns as it winds its way through the trees.
Each camping spot in the campground has a table, fire pit and enough parking for at least 2 vehicles. The camping spots are generally secluded from each other with some spots nestled along a deep wash on the west side of the campground. The camping spots are currently free on a first come first served bases but there is talk to begin charging a $10/night fee.
The Kessel Run trail intersects the Frontside trail at the north end of the campground. The trail descends into a deep wash before climbing again to the highest point of the hike. The trail gives up some of its elevation on several occasions only to regain it once again as it works its way westward along the front of the Book Cliffs.
After following the Frontside trail for a little over a mile there is a marker where the Zippity trail begins. The view of the Book Cliffs looking west is rather breathtaking from this spot.
The Zippity trail follows the ridge crest of a broken string of hills heading southward.
The top of Zippity is 500 feet higher than the trailhead so the trail does trends downwardly. Since the chain of hills don't form one solid ridge there are plenty of places where you have to descend one hill only to climb the next. The BLM website shows the overall elevation gain at 1000 feet. It's all in a days worth of fun.
One nice aspect of the trail following the ridge is that it is the first place for the water to drain from. Ridges don't tend to be holding spots for water so they usually dry up first in the spring or after a rain storm.
After almost 3 miles of ridges the Zippity meets up with the Western Zippity where it turns eastward and heads back over to the trailhead.
I was back at the trailhead after only about 2 hours. I couldn't help running a good portion of the downhill section. The 18 Road area is a pretty sweet place to go if you happen to like trail running. The 18 Road area is already well known among mountain bikers but it is also another great place to hike. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.