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Upper Colorado River Scenic Byway

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Ride Stats:

  • Distance: 41.52 miles / 66.8 km
  • Ride Time: 2-4 hours
  • Approximate Fuel Costs: $3.16
  • State: Utah
Submitted by:
Oldhippie

State Route 128 begins just north of Moab, where it is commonly known as "the river road". The highway follows the southern bank of the Colorado River through a narrow, steep gorge, described as spectacular by National Geographic. The sheer sandstone walls of the gorge along Route 128 are recommended for their beauty on vacation guides from as far away as France and Germany.
As parts of the road are very narrow, with blind corners and no shoulders, the Utah Department of Transportation has prohibited trucks and vehicles over 55,000 pounds from the entire highway. In addition, a restriction at the junction with U.S. Route 191 requires vehicles over 15 feet wide to have two police escorts.
Between Moab and Castle Valley, the Colorado River, and indirectly, Route 128, form the southern boundary of Arches National Park. Arches National Park is so named because of over 2000 natural arches inside park boundaries. While the highway does offer views of several features in the park, there is no park access along the highway.Popular attractions along this portion include Negro Bill Canyon, with hiking trails to Morning Glory Arch, campgrounds and boat docks at a curve in the river called Big Bend. The gorge widens where the highway passes by Castle Valley and Professor Valley, which have been the shooting locations for many western films (including Wagon Master and Rio Grande) and television commercials. Near the east end of the valley the highway crosses Onion Creek, a steam sourced by springs that contain naturally occurring minerals that produce a strong odor in the water. At the east end of the valley the highway has a view of the Fisher Towers, a set of dark red spires. After leaving the valley, the road winds farther up the river gorge until arriving at the Dewey Bridge, named for Dewey, a nearby ghost town.
After the bridge, the road follows the northern bank of the river for a few miles then exits the Colorado River gorge. At this point the highway proceeds across desert towards the Book Cliffs to terminate at Interstate 70 near Cisco. Cisco is a ghost town along the main line of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, founded as a water re-filling station for steam locomotives. The last 3 miles of the road parallel the railroad and is an old routing of U.S. Route 6/U.S. Route 50, in use before the construction of I-70.

This is a motorcycle ride in the state of Utah. This motorcycle route has 5 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by Oldhippie in February. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by Oldhippie

Rider Photos:

  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 1 for Upper Colorado River Scenic Byway

Ride Scenery:

Historic SitesMountainsRuralRiverDesert

Best Time to Go

Spring, Summer

Road Characteristics:

Sweeping Curves RoadTwisty RoadRolling HillsNo TrafficAverageRare Gas StationsAdequate

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