Forest Service greenlights Palisade Plunge Trail

Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018 5:19 PM

The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests’ Grand Valley Ranger District approved the Palisade Plunge Trail early last week, according to public affairs officer Kimberlee Phillips.

When constructed, the Palisade Plunge Trail will be a 32-mile single-track trail that will feature a unique 6,000-foot descent for mountain bikes and other nonmotorized recreation from the top of the Grand Mesa to the town of Palisade, Phillips said in a press release. Access to the trail begins at the Mesa Top Trailhead along Highway 65 or from other approved access points along the trail such as Lands End Road or the Palisade Rim Trail. The trail ends in downtown Palisade.

This joint project with the Bureau of Land Management, who approved their portion earlier this summer, has received continual local community support as an economic development opportunity, which would infuse an estimated $2.5 million annually into the local economy.

“It’s been a long time coming, there’s been a good deal of planning work from staff to get to the point we are at now,” said Bill Edwards, Grand Valley District ranger. “We’re pleased with the decision and look forward to working with all of the partners who have helped bring this to fruition.”

Partners include Palisade, Mesa County, Grand Junction, the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District and the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association.