Colorado and Utah Canyons September 10-17, 2019

Overview

Damsels and Gents, pack your best camera for this unique bike tour through the mountains and red rock canyonlands of Colorado and Utah. Known for spectacular vistas and other-worldly geology, this region is best experienced from the seat of a bicycle, with ample opportunities to wander and wonder.

We’ll ride 300 miles over seven days, exploring the serpentine canyons of the Colorado and Dolores rivers, Arches National park and the equally winding La Sal mountains loop. You will have the option of riding to Dead Horse Point. We will discover the paradox of Paradox Valley. Of course, no ride here is complete without time in the cycling hub of Moab Utah! Join us for the most stunning week of biking under the sun.

Day 1    

Day 1

Grand Junction, Colorado. Today we’ll convene in the afternoon in Grand Junction on Colorado’s Western Slope where we’ll meet our fellow riders and talk about the adventure ahead. If you can arrive a couple of days early, you’ll have a chance to explore the areas awe-inspiring natural beauty. A day spent riding Colorado national Monument before our tour will help you acclimate.

Day 2    

Day 2

Grand Junction to Red Cliffs Lodge, Shuttle and 20 miles. We’ll start the morning with a shuttle to Dewey, Utah. We will saddle up at the site of the historic Dewey Bridge (once Utah’s longest suspension bridge, which burned in 2008) and ride to our overnight stay at Red Cliffs Lodge. Today's spectacular route, both by shuttle and by bike, follows the Colorado River Gorge, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding red sandstone cliffs. Today we will pass a viewpoint for one of the grandest views in the west, the red rock spires of the Fisher Towers set against the often snow-covered peaks of the La Sal Mountains. As the gorge widens, our route proceeds past Castle and Professor valleys, which have been the shooting locations for many classic westerns including Wagon Master and Rio Grande.

Day 3  

Day 3

Red Cliffs Lodge to Moab, 46 miles. The La Sal Loop offers the greatest challenge and views in the Moab area for road cyclists! From Highway 128 the road climbs almost 2,000 feet in 13 miles to the intersection with the La Sal Mountain Loop Road. We will pass beautiful aspens, cottonwoods, mountain maples and scrub oak lighting up the hillsides with their fall colors. This section of road was freshly paved last summer to the summit.  The ascent gets challenging with some steep switchbacks, climbing seven miles to 8,300 feet at the amazing Castle Valley Overlook. The next six miles are a rolling descent to the final one-mile climb to the Geyser Pass turn off. From here it’s 22 miles downhill to Moab. Throughout the day, we’ll pass through beautiful Castle and Spanish Valleys, ready for our comfortable bed at day’s end.

Day 4

Today is an optional day.    

Day 4

Moab to Arches National Park 58 miles, out and back. Moab to Dead Horse Point State Park, out and back, 66 miles.

Today it will be your choice, and it will be difficult one. To  journey to Dead Horse Point State Park, partly following a new bike path that connects the community of Moab with the entrance to Arches National Park and the Dead Horse Mesa Scenic Byway. Our route takes us through miles of incredible red rock canyon country. After a series of curves, we’ll begin to ascend the plateau while the road mellows out allowing you to appreciate the amazing scenery. The view from Dead Horse Point is one of the most photographed vistas in the world. Towering 2,000 feet above the Colorado River, the overlook provides a breathtaking panorama of Canyonlands National Park’s sculpted pinnacles and buttes. Or, to ride into and around the famous Arches National Park. Or, maybe you want to take a day off, go for a hike or ride an ATV.

Day 5    

Day 5

Moab to La Sal, 37 miles. Today we’ll ride south, back through the Spanish Valley and past Hole N” The Rock, a unique 5,000 square foot home and attraction. Continuing on, we’ll be able to look up and see a different side of the gorgeous La Sal Mountains. After we turn off of 191 onto Rt. 46 we will see very few cars. As we continue up rt 46 we will be greeted again by beautiful fall colors.

Day 6    

Day 6

La Sal to Naturita, CO, 44 miles. After leaving La Sal, we pedal away from the town’s namesake mountains. Our first stop will be in Paradox Valley, named after the apparently paradoxical course of the Dolores River — instead of flowing down the length of the valley, the river cuts across the middle. Paradox Valley, which is 25 miles long and five miles wide, is located on Colorado’s western edge abutting the Utah border. The valley is lined with 1,000-foot red cliffs and home to rangelands and sage, while the town of Paradox offers a more lush environment. Their are so few cars that you could sit in the middle of the road to eat your lunch if you wanted to. Another 27 miles east lies our destination for the night, Naturita.

Day 7    

Day 7

Naturita to Gateway, 51 miles. Another day with very little traffic takes us cycling through world famous Dolores River Canyon will leave riders breathless (thanks to the scenery, not the grade). The fall colors along the river will be beautiful. We’ll enjoy vast views of the San Juan Mountains as we follow the Unaweep Tabeguache Scenic Byway. Ancient rock outcroppings and red sandstone formations with fossils from Precambrian times will surround us. This beautiful winding road delivers us to Gateway, wishing we could ride it again. While in Gateway we’ll have the opportunity to explore a world-class collection of American automobiles at a local museum. While at the Gateway Lodge and Spa you can schedule a massage, swim in the beautiful pool and enjoy ice cream, beer and snacks from the Paradox Cafe a short walk away.

Day 8     

day 8

Gateway to Grand Junction, 53 miles. On our last day of riding we continue along the Unaweep Tabeguache Scenic Byway with little traffic through an array of plateaus and mesas. We will wind our way through Unaweep Canyon and the Uncompahgre Plateau. The indigenous Ute people called the Uncompahgre Plateau “Tabeguache,” which means “where the snow melts first.” We’ll enjoy the wondrous beauty of 2 billion years of history embedded in the rock layers on our ride back to Grand Junction. While we may head our separate ways from here, we’ll have a great new memories and friends with whom we shared them.

 

Prices include all meals, maps, hotels, shuttles, National Park entrace fees and Tour Leader.

Double occupancy: $1,779

Private room: $2,099.

Email ruth@damseltours.com to signup.