Round Trip Distance: 8.4 miles
Elevation: 4999 - 5514 feet
Cellphone: 2-5 bars
Usage: Hiking - Biking - Equestrian - Dogs
Time: 3 hrs. 30 mins.
Facilities: Vault toilet
Trailhead: North Fruita Desert
Attractions: wildflowers, wildlife, nice trails
View Western Zippity in a larger map
The Western Zippity trail is located in the North Fruita Desert Area, at the end of 18 Road, about 8 miles northwest of Grand Junction. The area is popularly referred to as simply '18 Road'. Working with various groups in the area the BLM has set aside various sections of the land for ATV use and mountain biking. The trail area at the end of 18 road is open exclusively to hiking, mountain biking and some equestrian. There is a campground with vault toilets and about 35 camping spots equipped with picnic tables and fire pits. The camping is currently free of charge but there has been talk in the past of introducing a fee of $10/night.
There are several options for getting to the Western Zippity trail from the trailhead. Which route you take would depend upon whether you want to go up Western Zippity or down. For this hike I decided I would go up the Zippity Do Da trail and take the Frontside trail over to Western Zippity and get back to the trailhead from there. For that I departed from the southwest corner of the parking area at the North Fruita Desert trailhead.
The Zippity Do Da trail begins about a quarter mile from the trailhead where the Kessel Run trail turns north up the wash. The Kessel Run trail would have been another option for getting to the top of Western Zippity. Actually it would be much easier than going up the Zippity Do Da trail. Going up Zippity is probably one of the most strenuous routes you'll find in this area of 18 Road.
The next junction is at 7 tenths of a mile from the trailhead where the lower end of the Western Zippity trail connects to the Zippity Do Da. This is the route I will be returning on. All the mountain bikes that I saw were turning here and going up Western Zippity and all the mountain bikes that I saw on the Zippity trail were going in the downhill direction.
The Zippity trail follows a broken ridge for about 2.2 miles. The total elevation variance is around 1000 feet (ugh). The trail crosses V.7 Road at 1.85 miles.
The Zippity Do Da trail comes to an end near the Little Book Cliffs where it meets the Frontside trail. The trail continues along the ridge and then drops down a fairly steep hill into a wash. Once you climb back out of the wash the hiking gets pretty easy as you traverse around the foot of the cliffs.
These trails are worn enough from use that they are all pretty easy to follow. The 18 Road area serves as spring pasture for a lot of cows. Sometimes when there are a lot of cow paths intersecting the trail it can become confusing but that isn't the case, for the most part, in the 18 Road area.
It is right at one mile along the Frontside trail from Zippity to Western Zippity. At this point I was 3.9 miles into the hike.
It's all pretty much downhill from this point with the exception of a few minor rises. As I was going down Western Zippity I could see elk tracks and scat that were left as the herd was migrating up from lower elevations to spend their summer higher up on the Little Book Cliffs.
The Western Zippity trail crosses V.7 Road at 4.26 miles and comes to a gate at 5.13 miles. The trail meets up with a pipeline at 5.67 miles and follows the pipeline road for the next 1.63 miles.
I resisted the urge to take any short cuts back over to the Zippity trail. There is an old trail that cuts up a wash that would have cut almost a mile off the hike. If I would have been dying of thirst, or something, then maybe I would have done that.
The trail leaves the road at 7.3 miles and heads back towards the north. The trail followed the road quite a ways past the latitude of the trailhead so it could follow an easy ridge route back to Zippity.
I was back at the Zippity Do Da junction at 7.95 miles which left just under 3/4 of a mile to get back to the trailhead.
When I set out on the hike I was the only one at the trailhead but now it was teaming with activity. I went through 100 ounces of water on this trip. I would probably have wanted twice that much on a real hot day. This hike was done the last day of winter and there were already a few plants that were blooming. I could see spring parsley, wild onions, wild radish, sego lilies, primrose and death camas among the many plants that were sprouting up. The spring parsley was already blooming and the rest should be in a few weeks. This is a good hike if you are looking for a nice workout or perhaps to do a little trail running. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.