Kessel Run

One-way Distance: 2.1 miles
Difficulty: Easy
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 5037 - 5525 feet
Cellphone: 2-5 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: North Fruita Desert
Fee: none (camping $10)
Attractions: Fun downhill

The Kessel Run trail is located in the North Fruita Desert Area, at the north end of 18 Road, about 8 miles northwest of Grand Junction, Colorado. The area provides access to several nicely designed trails that are used for hiking, mountain biking and some equestrian. 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 or rides of about any length. A campground at the upper end of 18 Road has several restrooms and roughly 35 camping sites that currently go for $10/night. Primitive camping is available for free in the valley across from the North Fruita Desert trailhead.

While Kessel Run can be hiked in either direction it is a downhill only trail for mountain biking. The trail begins at the top of 18 Road near the campground. Parking is available at the campground trailhead or the North Fruita Desert trailhead. Kessel Run is commonly combined with the Prime Cut trail to form a loop when parking at the North Fruita Desert trailhead.

An intersection comes up shortly after the trail begins. The right fork leads over to the campground and the Frontside trail.

As the trail heads south between 18 Road and the campground it follows a very shallow wash that is lined with a few juniper trees.

The wash is a little rocky but there are only one or two spots that will slow you down much.

As the trail heads down the wash it doesn't take long before discovering why this is one of the most popular downhill trails in the area.

Kessel Run crosses V.7 Road at the 1.17 mile point and continues on the other side.

After crossing V.7 Road the trail travels out in the open. From here the trail snakes on down the wash sashaying from one side to the other as it crosses back and forth riding up and down the sides of the wash.

At the 1.36 mile point the Kessel Run trail is intersected by Joe's Cutoff which runs between the Prime Cut trail and the lower end of Joe's Ridge.

The trail continues blasting down the wash from the intersection with the wash getting deeper as the trail progresses south.

Kessel Run has an 'easy' skill level rating but that goes out the window if you are riding at high speed. We have only seen one wipeout on this trail and that person admitted to riding out of control.

Anytime that we have hiked Kessel Run or gone trail running we have always done so in the uphill direction so that we were meeting any mountain bikes head on.

The trail comes to an end at a junction with the Zippity trail. Mojoe, which is a more advanced downhill trail, also ends at this intersection.

It is only about a quarter mile from the end of the Kessel Run trail to the trailhead. The trailhead sits on top of the hill so you will have to pay for all of your downhill frollocking to get to it. It is a good idea to print out a map and take with you or save it on your smartphone. With all the different trails and intersections it can get a little confusing once you get away from the trailhead. Out of the all the downhill only trails in the 18 Road area Kessel Run is the easiest and that is probably why it is also one of the most popular. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.