One-way Distance: 1.8 miles
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 5318 - 5687 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Lunch Loop
Attractions: Advance MTB only trail.
Free Lunch is part of the Lunch Loop Trail in Grand Junction, Colorado. The technically difficult trail is rated for advanced mountain bikers only and is closed to hikers and all other means of travel other than mountain bikes. The trail was designed around the landscapes natural features of ledges, boulders and drop offs and was augmented with a few manmade structures in the way of ramps and bumps.
Free Lunch is open to downhill traffic only. The upper end of the trail begins near Eagle's Nest Rock at about the 3/4 mile point of the Eagle's Wing trail. Before starting down the trail riders need to take time to read all of the rules and warnings that were implemented for everyones safety.
As the trail begins there is a sign that says 'You must be able to ride this feature in order to qualify for Free Lunch'. The feature is a flat top boulder with a 2 to 5 foot drop depending on the line that you take.
After the featured jump at the beginning of the trail the route continues harmlessly encountering few difficulties as it heads downhill.
Broken rocks and bumpy ground are the warmup for a man made feature that is actually a little easier if you can catch a some air as you go over it.
Next up is the first of two playground areas where riders can get off the trail as long as they stay inbounds between the markers.
At this point the path on the right makes a jump off a cliff while the route on the left provides a less technical alternative.
This is a picture looking back at the cliff from below. There is a landing ramp of dirt that you can hit as long as you aren't going to slow to reach it. This is like jumping off the diving board in the swimming pool in that you need to get out of the way afterwards in case another rider comes along behind you. It is easy now to see why the trial is closed to hikers.
From the first playground the trail continues down the drainage where there are a few minor jumps and bumps along the way. The next playground makes use of a wash on one side and a ledgy area on the other. We blew through too fast to notice much else about it.
At the next main attraction you have your choice between a drop or another less technical route. Riders will want to stop and inspect all of the drops and some of the other features before attempting to ride them. It is kind of like stopping and inspecting the rapids when rafting down the river to see what the current conditions are like.
If you have been waiting for a good excuse to trade in your hard tail then try some of these jumps.
The trail gets into some gravelly scree from decomposing conglomerates of the Morrison Formation after the next drop.
The lower part of the trial gets narrower but it still provides alternate routes to the drops. Even though the alternate routes aren't double black diamond they can still be pretty technical.
Free Lunch rolls to an end at the Tabeguache trail a little above Widowmaker Hill. After all of that nobody was waiting at the bottom with our free lunch. There are ID markers as you come down the trail with numbers that you can refer search and rescue to so they can get to you quicker if you happen to have a mishap or come across someone else in need of help. Free Lunch has plenty of features that can be dangerous under certain conditions and should only be attempted by more advanced riders. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Grab your bike' because you can't hike it.