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Palisade Plunge: Complete Ride

Difficult
 3.6 (70) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Unbelievable trail through amazing scenery; meadows, mountain lakes, aspens, and wild flowers galore.


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Map Key

32.0

Miles

51.4

KM

95%

Singletrack

10,737' 3,273 m

High

4,748' 1,447 m

Low

839' 256 m

Up

6,814' 2,077 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

38%

Max Grade (21°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Not Allowed

Features Drops/Jumps · Views

Seasonal closures vary from year to year. Check copmoba.org/ for up to date access information.

Overview

The trail is very easy to follow and well marked. The first half of the trail goes through really nice scenery. But expect a bunch of loose trail until there is rain and more riders.

Need to Know

This trail is remote, bring everything you need, it is also not easy to be confident in your skills. Bring lots and lots of water and energy replacement. Even though this ride drops a ton of vert, it still has a good share of climbing.

Both Mesa Top and Shirttail TH's have vault toilets, but no running water. The road to Shirttail TH is the Lands End road and is maintained well enough for all cars to access. The road can be blocked by snow patches even in early summer do check if open ahead of time.
Let's all give thanks to the folks at COPMOBA that made this trail possible.

Description

The trail starts from the Mesa Top Trailhead (Palisade Plunge: Mesa Top TH - Shirttail Point TH Section) off the scenic byway with 10 miles of very flat cruising across the Grand Mesa. The trail is mostly mellow and non-technical with small patches of jagged basalt rocks that keep you on your toes. The land is an open range so cows and their hooves share the trail.

You then ride about 5 miles of rooty steep up and down singletrack until you reach the older section of the Plunge ("Phase 1") at the Shirttail Trailhead. Enjoy the amazing views at Shirttail Point before beginning the descent of the Mesa in the "Wild Rose" section of the trail (Palisade Plunge: Otto's Wall (Shirttail Point TH - Lands End Rd) Section).

You'll get to a trail marker with 13.3 miles to Palisade and the trail turns much more into a desert / mesa trail - slickrock, side-cut exposure and rocks (Palisade Plunge: Lands End Rd - Palisade Rim TH Section). There will be three or four areas with warning signs of difficult trail sections and definitely scout the obstacles first. They are all doable but it's just not a great place to crash.

After the Grand Mesa viewing point, the trail really kicks it up a notch and it's nothing but exposure to the finish. Really, really fun section but also makes you be on your guard.

Contacts

Shared By:

Scott Wickberg with improvements by Chip Loomis

Trail Ratings

  3.6 from 70 votes

#1

in Grand Mesa

#224

Overall
  3.6 from 70 votes
5 Star
39%
4 Star
23%
3 Star
10%
2 Star
13%
1 Star
16%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Grand Mesa

#74

in Colorado

#224

Overall
270 Views Last Month
12,455 Since Jun 1, 2021
Difficult

0%
0%
2%
13%
59%
26%

Photos

plunge
Jun 1, 2021 near Palisade, CO
Nate Hills and Botsy Philips having fun on Palisade Rim!
Jun 14, 2016 near Palisade, CO
Lower section
Sep 27, 2022 near Palisade, CO
Hole in the rock.
Jun 7, 2021 near Palisade, CO
All the Mesa Views
Jun 7, 2021 near Palisade, CO
Dropping in on "The Plunge".
Oct 12, 2022 near Palisade, CO

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 56 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Oct 15, 2022
Ryan Hickman
Very exposed. What a blast! 30.9mi — 5h 30m
Sep 26, 2022
Gian McShire
Epic Ride
Oct 4, 2021
Spencer Weiler
Awesome Trail! Too muddy first 10 miles. 32mi — 4h 30m
Aug 29, 2021
Drew Meyer
A great ride for later in the season (Sept-Dec), it too hot and exposed for August. I would recommend dropping in from Shirttail Point! 20.4mi — 4h 15m
Jun 7, 2021
Scott Wickberg
Got out early, still hot by finish. 16.7mi — 2h 20m
May 29, 2021
Jay Austin
sandy and exposed