Wapity Whip

One-way Distance: 1.9 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
MTB Skill level: 
Elevation: 5938 - 6290 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 1 hr. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Jumbo Mountain
Fee: none
Attractions: Fun downhill

Wapity Whip is one of the Jumbo Mountain trail in Paonia, Colorado. The upper end of the trail begins off of the Jumbo Ridge trail. After dropping off the ridge the trail works its way through an upper basin where after a short climb to get over Desolation Ridge it begins descending down a long drainage and then works its way out to the Powerline Road where it comes to an end. Enroute it connects with the Jumbo Ridge trail (twice) Plumbers Crack (twice), Rock-N-Roll, Shitake Ridge and Desolation Ridge (twice) trails making it not only an important thoroughfare but also a much used connecting route.

To get to the trailhead head east on 3rd Street in Paonia and turn left onto Rio Grande Avenue. Follow Rio Grande as it crosses the creek and turns into Pan American Avenue and begins climbing the hill. The trailhead is at the end of Pan American Avenue. There is only room for a handful of vehicles to park at the trailhead but there is additional parking at the bottom of the hill at the Apple Valley Park where there is also a restroom.

There are 2 places, both within a couple hundred feet of each other, where the Wapity Whip trail leaves Jumbo Ridge. One is on the opposite side of the ridge from where the lower 7 Bridges trail connects and the other is a little further down the ridge. At the first spot the Wapity Whip trail makes a steep drop off of the ridge and at the second spot the transition is much more gradual.

After both trails reunite the route continues on around the hill which is like one big mass of adobe clay. This is the kind of stuff you will want to avoid when it gets saturated with water.

As the trail comes around the hill it enters a large drainage on the west side of Jumbo Mountain.

Just past the quarter mile point the trail is met by the upper end of Plumbers Crack.

From there the trail works its way around the basin and around the half mile point it meets up with the Rock-N-Roll trail and briefly shares routes with it. The spot where Wapity Whip branches off on the right can be easy to miss if you aren't watching closely for it. The upper end of Rock-N-Roll gets very little use and it can also be easy to miss. On the other hand the lower end of Rock-N-Roll is like a major artery.

After crossing Rock-N-Roll the Wapity Whip trail turns up a side valley where it starts gaining back a little elevation.

At the upper end of the valley the trail does a little more climbing to get on top of the ridge at the point where the Shitaki Ridge trail comes to an end and the Desolation Ridge trail begins. Wapity Whip goes to the left for a short distance before dropping off the other side of the ridge.

Once the trail drops off the other side of the ridge it courses around the hill and takes off heading down the valley. If you're on a mountain bike and you feel a need for speed be sure to watch out for a bridge that crosses one of the washes. You really won't want to miss it.

At the 1.4 mile point Wapity Whip crosses Plumbers Crack at the same spot where Desolation Ridge comes to an end.

Wapity Whip continues working its way along the drainage and at the 1.8 miles point it meets up the with Jumbo Ridge once more. We show Jumbo Ridge bending to the left at this point and heading over to the Herfendoodle trail but we have seen one map that has Jumbo Ridge ending at this point and they have the trail to the left labeled as the Wapity Whip Connector. There aren't any trail signs showing what is what so just have fun and try not to get too confused.

After another tenth of a mile Wapity Whip meets up with the Powerline Road and comes to an end. Herfendoodle comes in on the left at the same spot only it crosses the road and keeps going. There are a number of routes from here that will lead back to the trailhead. A map and good route finding skills will be indispensable until you become familiar with the area. While we were at Jumbo Mountain we noticed that the lower end of Wapity Whip seemed to get the most use. That might be because there are so many other trails to choose from. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.