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Level: Intermediate
Length: 8 mi (12.9 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Network
Elevation: +637/657 ft
Total: 393 riders

Mountain Biking Mary's Loop / Horsethief Bench

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#15 of 1,345 mountain bike trails in Colorado
#104 in the world

Suggested route: Start by climbing the jeep road along the rim for 2 miles till you come to a small gate on the left for horsethief. Suggested to hike-a-bike the first time down to the trail. At the bottom of the decent, turn left and ride the loop clockwise. Upon returning to Mary's Loop, ride left to continue on Mary's. At 8 miles, you can return to the parking area using the frontage road or continue left to ride Steve's Trail and a 12.5 mile return on the frontage road.

The network offers great fast singletrack, really technical sections and amazing views. A must ride in Fruita.

First added by R3 on Jan 12, 2006. Last updated May 8, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
Take I-70 to exit #15. The Kokopelli trailhead parking lot is just off the exit on Frontage road. From the parking lot, ride up the hill on the gravel road into the valley. Ride down the gravel road, the trail will be climbing jeep road on the right just before the rustlers loop parking area.
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Mary's Loop / Horsethief Bench Trail map

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Local Info

Trail checkins

Sam Tarling (on Oct 6, 2019)
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Trail conditions

Good (on Jun 15, 2019)
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Mary's Loop / Horsethief Bench videos

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Horsethief Bench Trail, Fruita
Horsethief Bench Trail
Horsethief Bench 2010
Horsethief Bench Trail - Fruita, Colorado
Shelley & the Dingo at Horsethief's…
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Fruita, Colorado

Beginner | 3 mi
| 1 mi
Intermediate | 40 mi
Advanced | 140 mi

Rider questions

Q: Which are intermediate

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  • TK34

    I try to save my 5-stars, but this is one of them because it fits my preferences: mostly flow with some intermediate tech, a full loop (rather than out-and-back), great scenery, and a local community that "gets" mountain biking. Some climbing, but not too crazy. If there is a small downside, not much for facilities on site.

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  • Jim Cummings

    These two trails make up a really good combined loop. They are both nicely technical, make for a great workout and have fine views. They do have trouble deciding what grade they are with some easy sections and some short unrideable sections.

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  • Gdb49

    I do love high desert riding, so I am bias. 5 stars on beauty and 5 stars on trail. Definitely in the argument for favorite trail. Monarch Crest beautiful and a better trail- don't hate me! Solid intermediate trail with a few hard spots. The initial "drop in" is scary as sh.., but fun, think I was still shaking ten minutes into the ride.

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  • Lee Harris

    Here's my full review of both Mary's Loop and Horsethief.

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  • Chris Daniels

    THis is a classic ride for me. Can't wait to get back.

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  • UtPreacher

    Awesome trail that has enough to keep most on their toes. Great views over the Colorado River and awesome trail that keeps you tuned in for the next surprise!

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  • kaseytea

    The western slope is so spoiled having a trail like this so close to home. Anyone can do the horse thief loop, but expect to walk some long sections. Still worth every minute of it though. Stop and enjoy watching the crazies attempt the massive technical section. Don't let that scare you though, because the rest of the loop is awesome and rideable.

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  • Cheyenne

    A must do if visiting Fruita! The drop in is insane, but don't let that scare you away. The rest of the trail is super fun with a few technical/hike-a-bike parts to keep you honest. Will definitely keep coming back to this trail when I'm in the area!

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  • blutzski

    Just wanted to add that this a great single speeding loop. I walked a few times on technical sections that I normally ride with my Specialized Enduro. But overall, I think I prefer this trail on my SS 29er. When I bring my Enduro I add on Steve's Loops and More Fun.

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  • JWanamaker

    Rode Horsethief Bench, will return to do Mary's. Amazing single track trail following the Colorado River, great ride nearing dusk/sunset. Mostly intermediate with a few exceptions of advanced and the expert stepped drop-in at the top - all walkable. A must do if you are in the area.

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  • tlongpine

    This is a beautiful trail nestled among the K'pelli system. The climb and loop itself it a little short but you can easily combine with the other trails in the K'pelli system.

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  • Michael Paul

    Arguably one of the best loops in the world, this trail has a little bit of everything, including techy bits, flow, and scenery. They 'bench' is evolving and so much harder than in years past!

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  • stumpyfsr   ✓ supporter

    Awesome ride! Horsethief Bench descent is not rideable for me yet, but the rest of the trail is well worth of travel there. Could be an all day ride if include other trails.

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  • Greg Heil   ✓ supporter

    While perhaps this entire trail network is worthy of 5 stars, I found myself a little underwhelmed by Horsethief Bench. Perhaps I'm being a little hard on it with a four-star rating, but after all of the hype that this trail has received in magazines and on websites for years, I really had high expectations. And while it was good, it just wasn't... great. But maybe it's just me. Maybe desert singletrack just isn't my thing.

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  • Michael Paul

    Rode this for the second time ever, this month and I have to say that it is hard to beat a loop that involves Marys, Horsetheif, and Moore Fun if you are looking for an epic legbusting trail with scenery and challenging singletrack. Kudos to COPMOBA. I finally rode all of Horsethief, except the last little section of the bench, but I'm working on it! This trail is what mountain biking in the west is all about.

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  • indianamagpie

    This is probably my favorite trail I've ever ridden! It's fast and flowy and just technical.enough to keep you on your toes. If you can ride this cleanly you're pretty rad! I plan to ride this everytime I'm in town! We came up wranglers and down Mary's

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  • wrestle203

    Marys to horsethief is a great ride. muscle up the 2 mile climb and get to the bench that only the mountain biking gods can decend. great views on horsethief. Careful of the loose soils on the edge of cliffs

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  • tcbroncs

    One of my all-time favorites. Great singletrack (and double track on Mary's Loop) fun riding on some exposed areas. Know your limitations and don't ride down into Horsethief to show off. Just hike it down if you don't have full padding. You must ride this if you go to Fruita.

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  • sugarfree135

    The wife and I rode this trail (horsethief) for the first time yesterday and I have to say it's an awesome ride. The climb up that's allegedly 2 miles only really feels like 1 and the technical parts of the trail are all doable yet challenging at the same time. The only negative i'd have to give this trail is on the last mile or so, It goes from fun to just climbing, hike a bike, and a dreary ride through some brush ending in more climbing lol Kind of like your typical action movie, great beginning and middle but a lacking ending :-P Overall though like I said this trail is very fun and challenging with some great views :-)

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  • grotegutj

    Very fun trail, one of the best on the western slope, can be challenging in spots. Gravel, sand, and mostly sweet single track with some rocky drops.

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