High-fat (HF) diets can induce insulin resistance (IR) by altering skeletal muscle lipid metabolism. An imbalance between fatty acid (FA) uptake and oxidation results in intramuscular lipid accumulation, which can impair the insulin-signaling cascade. Adiponectin (Ad) is an insulin-sensitizing adipokine known to stimulate skeletal muscle FA oxidation and reduce lipid accumulation. Evidence of Ad resistance has been shown in obesity and following chronic HF feeding and may contribute to lipid accumulation observed in these conditions. Whether Ad resistance precedes and is associated with the development of IR is unknown. We conducted a time course HF feeding trial for 3 days, 2 wk, or 4 wk to determine the onset of Ad resistance and identify the ensuing changes in lipid metabolism and insulin signaling leading to IR in skeletal muscle. Ad stimulated FA oxidation (+28%, P ≤ 0.05) and acetyl-CoA carboxylase phosphorylation (+34%, P ≤ 0.05) in control animals but failed to do so in any HF-fed group (i.e., as early as 3 days). By 2 wk, plasma membrane FA transporters and intramuscular diacylglycerol (DAG) and ceramide were increased, and insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of both protein kinase B and protein kinase B substrate 160 was blunted compared with control animals. After 4 wk of HF feeding, maximal insulin-stimulated glucose transport was impaired compared with control. Taken together, our results demonstrate that an early loss of Ad's stimulatory effect on FA oxidation precedes an increase in plasmalemmal FA transporters and the accumulation of intramuscular DAG and ceramide, blunted insulin signaling, and ultimately impaired maximal insulin-stimulated glucose transport in skeletal muscle induced by HF diets.