One-way Distance: 2.5 miles
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 4690 - 5379 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Tabeguache/Lunch Loop
Attractions: Aerobic challenge
Tabeguache (TAB-a-watch) is a 150 mile long trail that has one end in Grand Junction, Colorado and the other end in Montrose. This post covers the Lunch Loop section of the trail that begins in Grand Junction. Most of the Tabeguache trail is open to OHV's. The Lunch Loop section is the exception being open only to hiking, mountain biking and horseback. There is one other point right where the Bangs Canyon section of the Tabeguache trail meets Highway 141 where the only other singletrack section is currently being rerouted to allow for OHV traffic.
The trailhead is located on Monument Road about 1.6 miles south of Broadway. This is the northernmost point of the 142 mile long trail.
From the parking area the trail heads due south along the west side of the Lunch Loop Bike Park.
After less than a quarter mile the trail crosses the wash that drains No Thoroughfare Canyon. After crossing the wash the Kids Meal trail connects on the left.
The next leg of the trail passes through a scenic wash with colorful red and white bentonite hills. As the trail comes out of the wash at the 0.44 mile point the Eagle's Tail trail branches off on the right and the Moto and Bentonite Hill trails take off on the left.
After the trail climbs out of the wash it can be seen climbing over the hills in the distance. The Lunch Loop section of the Tabeguache trail is one of the main connecting routes for many of the other trails in the Lunch Loop Trails System. There are plenty of Tabeguache trail markers that designate the route that it takes through the area.
The Lunch Loop section of the Tabeguache trail has 865 feet of elevation gain. The average grade is 8% but that figure is thrown off a bit because the grade on Widow Maker Hill gets up to 38%.
The grade on other sections of the trail average around 15% grade. Anyway you look at it the trail is quite the aerobic workout.
At the 0.85 mile point the Pet-e-Kes trail joins in on the right and just past the 1 mile point a spur off of the Moto trail connects on the left.
The next half mile or so of the trail has some pretty tough spots if you are headed in the uphill direction.
At the 1.3 mile point High Noon intersects the Tabeguache trail. They share the same route for about 100 feet.
The Lemon Squeezer branches off on the left at the 1.5 mile point. Another 20 feet or so past that and the Pucker Up trail begins also on the left.
The Holy Cross trail takes off on the left at the 1.6 mile point. Looking straight ahead is the infamous Widow Maker Hill.
The steepest part of the hill is near the bottom. The toughest part might be the first ledge that comes up during the steep climb. (Gets me out of the saddle every time.)
The lower end of the one-way, downhill only, Free Lunch trail connects on the right at the 1.8 mile point.
The trail continues along a broken path with lots of loose rocks where there are a few downhill sections thrown into the mix.
There are also a few more ledges that come up on both uphill and downhill sections.
The Eagle's Wing trail begins on the right at the 2.3 mile point and at the 2.4 mile point Prenup starts off on the left. From there it is a short climb up one last hill to Little Park Road. The next leg of the Tabeguache trail follows Little Park Road for for 3 miles to the BLM Bangs Canyon Staging Area where the Bangs Canyon section begins. The Lunch Loop segment of the Tabeguache trail is heavily used by everyone from hikers to mountain bikers to trail runners. There is such a big mix of all 3 that it is hard to say which group is the biggest. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.