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Colorado’s New ‘Palisade Plunge’: A 32-Mile Biking And Hiking Trail With A 6,000-Foot Descent

Colorado’s new “Palisade Plunge” hiking and mountain biking trail gets its name from the trail’s 6,000 foot descent over 32 miles, but in reality, it could also be named after for what might happen if you make a wrong turn near the edge – especially while crossing Dead Bear Cliff.

The terrain on the new Palisade Plunge rages from gentle beginner terrain to two-foot-wide … [+] singletrack on a mesa cliff.

Credit: Writer

Technically passable now but officially planning to open in late spring of 2021, the Plunge was developed by area recreation and bike groups, including the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association (COPMOBA,) the Forest Service, Colorado’s Mesa County, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM,) the Bureau of Reclamation and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, among others. The trail was almost 10 years in the making with the total cost to build expected to come in around $3.4 million. Much of that came from community and state grants that recognized the potential economic boost the Plunge could bring to area communities via bike rentals, shuttle fees, hotel stays, and overall increased visits from the mountain bike community.

Currently covering 23 miles but eventually expanding into 32 miles, the Palisade Plunge in the country’s newest long-distance downhill mixed-use trail – and it’s not for the faint of heart. Though most of the single-track trail curves gently through the woods, across rock gardens, through stunning washes and dry river beds, and around impressive rock features, the last six miles will test a rider’s mettle, built very literally on the edge of Colorado’s several thousand-foot-tall mesa cliffs.

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