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Moab to Grand Junction - the back way

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Ride Stats:

  • Distance: 178 miles / 286.5 km
  • Ride Time: 4-6 hours
  • Approximate Fuel Costs: $13.53
  • States Visited: Utah, Colorado
Submitted by:

Wow... where to begin? This is a route I mapped out almost 10 years ago. Finally got my chance to ride it in the summer of '09 and let me tell you, I thought it was well worth the wait. The scenery is absolutely astounding, and if you want a glimpse of what southeastern Utah looked like before it was turned into a tourist trap, observe southwestern Colorado. This is actually a very simple route, but I want to talk basics before we get into it. First of all, this route runs through some EXTREMELY remote areas. You will see the occasional local drive past, but you will have the road to yourself for the most part. Gas up all the way before you leave! PLEASE have your bike in top condition with tire plug kit and all needed supplies on board. You will need to drink a lot of water and protect yourself from the sun. Read up on the dangers of the area; to say your life may depend on it is not an understatement! OK, so from Moab, just take 191 south. You'll pass the Hole in the Rock Home on your way to La Sal Junction where you'll recognize a couple dilapidated gas stations. This is Highway 46, hang a left and just stay on this road. The sparsely populated town of La Sal is to your right, the La Sal Mountains to your left. Your elevation will rise significantly as you head for the Colorado border. Even when the temperature is over 100F back in Moab, it may only be in the 70s here. Isolated patches of weird weather are possible also, with rain and sleet not uncommon. Be wary of the weather's effect on the road surface. Also, open range cattle are common, so watch those corners! Once into Colorado, the road becomes highway 90. You'll hit a few switchbacks on the road down, so mind the loose gravel and hot, slimy road tar. You'll emerge near the top of the Paradox Valley. The great scenery just doesn't end! There are places to pull your machine off the road for a minute and look out over the desert, which is something you should do. Just watch your footing when you put the kickstand down. Head on down into the valley, and the first thing you'll come to is the Bedrock Store. It's a little grocery store right out of the old west, and they sell all the basics. They even have gas on good days. Cross the bridge over the Dolores River and continue to the junction at East Vancorum. You've gone about 80 miles so far, and if you don't have enough fuel to go 50 more, you need to hang a right and fuel up a couple miles down the road in Naturita. If you can do 150 miles on a tank, you should be OK. Either way, from this intersection, go left. Next stop, Gateway, CO. Once there, you should probably fuel up if you haven't by now. You've got approx 50 more miles to go. On the other side of the river, you'll find a little place called the Highway 141 Diner. The prices are affordable, the food is tasty, the swamp cooler works, and the service is friendly. Proceed up into the hills, and don't get so carried away by the landscape you're reeling in that you fall off the bike. All along 141, you'll see occasional historic markers. You should check them out. You really can't make a wrong turn, and in another hour, you'll hit US Rt. 50, which will take you into Grand Junction and all points west. Or follow 141 a little further north for a more direct route to I-70 if you're heading east. Of note, Grand Junction has dealerships for all major brands of bike, including H-D and BMW. The next closest are probably Salt Lake City or Denver.I REALLY enjoyed this ride, and look forward to doing it again. Maybe in the other direction next time! I've included a few pictures to wet your appetite.

This is a motorcycle ride in the states Utah, Colorado. This motorcycle route has 7 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by digitalsasquatch in February. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by digitalsasquatch

Rider Photos:

  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 1 for Moab to Grand Junction - the back way
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 2 for Moab to Grand Junction - the back way
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 3 for Moab to Grand Junction - the back way
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 4 for Moab to Grand Junction - the back way
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 5 for Moab to Grand Junction - the back way

Ride Scenery:

Historic SitesMountainsRuralRiverDesertFarm LandPlains

Best Time to Go

Spring, Summer, Fall

Road Characteristics:

Straight RoadSweeping Curves RoadTwisty RoadHillyNo TrafficSmoothRare Gas StationsRare

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Previous Comments from other Riders:

badluck says:

I have ridden this route a few times, and it is very enjoyable. Just an update the Bedrock store is no longer open. Which is a shame, I always liked stopping there when I passed through.
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:10 AM

felon says:

WOW!! Just reading this report makes me want to go!! I have ridden this area a couple times but never these roads. I WILL take this route on the next trip!! Thank you for sharing!!
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:10 AM

timothyburke27 says:

Great route! I did it Mid August and it can get HOT riding in between Naturita and Junction. Bring plenty of water. Thumbs up, recommend this route!
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:09 AM


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