Moab & The Back of Beyond
The Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour delves into the heart of redrock canyon country of Southeastern Utah and Southwestern Colorado. Ride through the supernatural landscapes of Arches & Canyonlands National Parks, climb the scenic La Sal Mountain Loop and pedal beneath 800-ft redrock sandstone walls along the Colorado River.
Thanks for a great week of cycling! Leslie and Emily were terrific and the group was a lot of fun. It was great to see very different people come together to form a tight group by the end of the week. – Leslie
New For 2017!
Looking for a shorter cycling adventure in Moab? Then join us on a 4-day version of our Moab & The Back of Beyond tour. See tour dates below for potential departures.
Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour: Highlights
The Best of the West in Our Backyard!
“The Best of the West” The Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour is located in Lizard Head Cycling Guides’ backyard. We know and love this area! Ride with Lizard Head Cycling to enjoy local’s knowledge of the best rides, lodges and dining in red rock canyon country.
VIEW PHOTOS of the Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour.
Enjoy the views minus the bustle… Minimal vehicular traffic makes these routes are a true pleasure.
Super-Natural-Geology The pure geography on this region leaves one awe-struck. Although located in a desert region, the Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour meanders along two of the great rivers of the southwest: the Colorado and Dolores rivers. Additionally the Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour boasts views of multiple mountain ranges including: the La Sals, Abajos, Henry and San Juan Mountains.
It is difficult to mention just a few because the Redrock desert and canyon country of Southeastern Utah and Southwestern Colorado are full of highlights…
- Arches National Park is home to more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches including awe-inspiring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balancing rocks. Author Edward Abbey captured its beauty working as a seasonal park ranger in the 1950s in his 1968 memoir Desert Solitaire, a true classic read for Utah’s red rock desert and canyon country.
- The Devils Garden Trail in the furthest reach of Arches National Park boasts some of the park’s largest arches, or more scientifically speaking, largest series of rock fins broken from the earth through erosion. Strong red rock formations they are, but they are not immortal. The Wall Arch recently collapsed in 2008.
- Dead Horse Point State Park (Day 2) is named so for its history as corral grounds for wild mustangs roaming the high mesas where the mesa edges which drop to deep canyons made it feasible for cowboys to pen the animals. Dead Horse Point is one of the world’s most photographed panoramas.
- The Manti-La Sal National Forest (Day 3 & 4) is home to the La Sal Mountains and is part of the southern most Rocky Mountains. En route across the Colorado Plateau from Santa Fe, N.M. to Los Angeles, Calif., the Spaniards named this cluster of 11,000 and 12,000-foot peaks the Sierra La Sal or “Salt Mountains”. Mount Peale is the highest point in the range reaching 12,721 feet.
- The Paradox Valley (Day 5) reaches 25 miles long and five miles wide; vast is a more than apt adjective to describe this valley located on Colorado’s western edge abutting the Utah border. The Paradox Valley is lined with 1,000-foot high red cliffs and home to range lands and sage with the exception of the more lush environs in the town of Paradox. The paradox: the Dolores River runs across the valley, not through it as nature would intend.
- “Most Beautiful miles ever Ridden”: Dropping out of the San Juan Mountains, the Dolores River runs to the confluence of the Colorado River near the Colorado-Utah border. The 35-mile Dolores River Canyon section of Day 5’s ride is considered by previous guests of Lizard Head Cycling as one of the “most beautiful” rides they have ever done.
Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour: Dates
Potential tour dates are listed below and not all tour dates will run. Lock in your preferred tour date early as unopened tour dates will be closed. Please see the Spring/Autumn Tour Calendar and the Summer Tour Calendar for confirmed departures. Any unopened date can be a Custom Week (9 riders required). Please contact us via email or call 970.728.5891.
2018 Early Spring Tour Dates:
- March 25 to 30, 2018 (Book Now!)
2017 Spring Tour Dates:
- April 2 to 7, 2017
- April 12 to 15, 2017
- May 1 to 6, 2017 (Book Now!) – TOUR A GO!
- May 14 to 19, 2017 (Book Now!)
- May 21 to 26, 2017 (Book Now!)
2017 Autumn Tour Dates:
- September 10 to 15, 2017 (Book Now!) – TOUR A GO!
- October 1 to 6, 2017 (Book Now!)
- October 8 to 13, 2017 (Book Now!)
Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour: Overview
PLEASE NOTE: This tour is offered with a 4-DAY or a 6-DAY itinerary. See details below.
Meeting Town: Grand Junction, Colo. (Sunday 8 a.m.)
Ending Town: Grand Junction, Colo. (Late afternoon on last day of tour)
Tour Length: 6-Days/5-Nights Lodging -or- 4-Days/3-Nights Lodging
Total Miles: 200-360 miles over 6 days of riding -or- 150-200 miles over 4 days of riding. (Can I keep up on this tour?)
Mileage Range: 20-102 miles
Ability Level: 1/2/3 (Lower-Intermediate to Advanced). Although the Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour is among Lizard Head Cycling’s “easier” tours, don’t be mistaken, this tour offers BIG challenges for the advanced cyclist. To assist intermediate cyclists the standard itinerary on this tour provides shuttles to the top of major climbs. But if one seeks climbing, this tour has it. For example Day 2’s ride options serve up 102-miles with over 5,000-feet of climbing while Days 3 & 5 also have well offer 5,000-feet of climbing. As a result it is a good tour for couples and friends with varying abilities.
6-Day Tour Cost: 6-Day Tour @ $2,800 per person.
Group discount of $200 per person for groups of 4 or more.
Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.
4-Day Tour Cost: 4-Day Tour @ $1,350 per person. The 4-day Moab BOB is a scaled down version of the full 6-day Moab BOB tour.
Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.
Single Room Supplement: 6-Day @ $500 -or- 4-Day @ $290 for a private room each night of the tour.
6-Day Tour Includes: 5-nights of lodging, 6-days of meals (aside from 1 dinner), guide service, shuttle to and from the Moab region, entrance fees, daily lunch en route, energy food, liquid refreshments and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, massage & bike rental are additional. NOTE: If you would like to mountain bike on the layover day, Scott Spark PLUS sized MTB rentals are $55-/day from Lizard Head Cycling Guides
4-Day Tour Includes: 3-nights of lodging, 4-days of meals, guide service, shuttle to and from the Moab region, entrance fees, daily lunch en route, energy food, liquid refreshments and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, massage & bike rental are additional.
6-Day Tour Lodging Includes (5 Nights):
- Nights 1 & 2: Two days at the serene oasis along the Colorado River, the Red Cliffs Lodge, Moab, Utah
- Nights 3 & 4: Hotel Moab Downtown: A comfy urban abode located in the heart of Moab, Utah.
- Night 5: Stay at the geological gem of the Dolores River Canyon, the Gateway Canyons Resort, Gateway, Colorado.
4-Day Tour Lodging Includes (3 Nights):
- Nights 1 & 2: Two days at the serene oasis along the Colorado River, the Red Cliffs Lodge, Moab, Utah
- Night 3: Hotel Moab Downtown: A comfy urban abode located in the heart of Moab, Utah.
Meeting Hotel: Both Moab & The Back of Beyond Tours meet and end at Courtyard Marriott in Grand Junction, CO. If staying at the meeting hotel pre-tour (Saturday) or post-tour (Saturday), reservations should be made in advance. Use this pre-loaded rate code to make a reservation at the Courtyard Marriott ($89/night) or call “Keeley” direct at 970.255.6003. Another good option is the Clarion Hotel (mention Lizard Head Cycling) located 1/4 mile from Marriott. Both hotels have airport shuttles. The Clarion will deliver guests to the Marriott.
Road Bike Rental: Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent Scott CR-1 Pro and Scott Solace carbon road bikes with full Shimano Ultegra components for only $250/week, or $150 for 3 or 4 day tours. Both the CR-1 and Solace models are sub- 17 lb comfortable, high performance bicycles geared for climbing hills. In addition we also have electric bikes available for rental at $375/week. And finally we have a selection of straight bar road bikes and kids bikes in our rental fleet. Just let us know what you need and we can probably find it.
Please also see this blog post for more information on bike rentals.
Electric Bike Rental: We now have a limited selection of SCOTT electric bikes that can be reserved for our tours. These are road bikes with straight bars that make the slowest rider the fastest rider in the group. Rental Price is $375/week.
Couples Bike Rental Discount: Sign up as a couple and receive one free bike high performance rental per couple ($250 value).
Tandems and Recumbents: Lizard Head Cycling Guides happily accommodates both tandem and recumbent bikes on its tours.
Meals On Tour
Lizard Head Cycling sources our favorite restaurants in each town that we visit. Our guides focus on establishments that offer fresh and local ingredients. Guests choose whatever they desire to eat off the menu: including appetizer, salad, entree and of course dessert... yum! Also, while on tour if a guest wants to dine early before the group and go to bed, this is fine. We understand that on some days sleep is the most important post ride element.
Lunches on Tour: Lizard Head Cycling Guides prepares healthy lunches to keep you going. We will serve you fresh organic fruits and veggies, salads, hummus, sandwich fixings, nuts, gourmet cheeses and of course plenty of salty/sweet snacks such as chips and cookies. We pride ourselves on being able to cater to specific dietary requests, so rest assured that you will be able to get the nutrition that works for you during the week. Gluten Free, Dairy Free or a someone who loves it all – we will keep you well fed during the tour!
Overall Route Map
Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour: Itinerary*
*Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Please view this itinerary as an outline as to what to expect on this tour.
*** The 6-Day Itinerary is Shown Below. Please contact us for a PDF of the 4-Day Moab & The Back of Beyond Itinerary. ***
Day 1: Colorado River Road to Red Cliffs Lodge
30-Miles or Bonus 45-miles
The Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour gears up with an enticing entrance to the striking redrock-desert geography with a ride along the Colorado “River Road” to Red Cliffs Lodge.
State Route 128, or “The River Road,” follows the southern bank of the Colorado River through a narrow, steep and spectacular gorge lined in sandstone walls. This route offers minimal elevation gain-loss and moderate mileage for the Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour warmup.
An additional mileage option of spinning up Castle Valley is available. A number of interesting hiking trails take off from tonight’s lodging.
Our lodging for the next two nights is along the banks of the Colorado River at the Red Cliffs Lodge.
Day 1: Colorado River Road to Red Cliffs Lodge: 30 Miles
Day 2: Dead Horse Point to Red Cliffs Lodge
Standard, 46 miles with up to 1,350 feet of climbing
E.F.I., 92 miles with up to 4,525 feet of climbing
Today we will start the day with a morning shuttle up to the Island in the Sky & Dead Horse Point State Park. After taking in the amazing views from Dead Horse Point, cyclists enjoy a 20+ mile descent back down towards Moab and then return to the Red Cliffs Lodge to complete the ride.
For cyclists whose legs are feeling up to it and wish to E.F.I. (Every Freaking Inch) today’s route, the option of riding from Red Cliffs Lodge up to Deadhorse State Park and then back exists. These cyclists leave the lodge early to attempt the 2,000-foot climb over 30-miles to the Island in the Sky.
Day 3: La Sal Mountain Loop Road
39-Miles (up to 46-Miles w/ 5,000-feet of climbing)
The desert-canyon tour turns massif country, if just for one day. On Day 3 Lizard Head Cycling offers its riders the stunning La Sal Mountain Loop Road.
Day 3’s La Sal mountain Loop tour starts from the Red Cliff’s Lodge along the Colorado River before turning up to ride beneath the stupendous scenery of Castle Valley. The La Sal Loop is the Moab Tour’s “mountain stage” with rolls, turns, twists, and sometimes hairpins, through the La Sal Mountains, reaching upwards of 8,000-feet.
Upon topping out at the spectacular vista atop the La Sal mountain loop cyclists will enjoy lunch with a view. The descent that follows to Moab showcases the intersection of canyons and mountains.
In summary the La Sal loop road descent is a 27-mile beauty with 100-mile views to the west. It is a highlight ride of a tour jam packed with highlights.
The hub of Southeastern Utah, Moab is the host for tonight’s lodging at the Gonzo Inn. Lizard statues are present on the grounds throughout the Gonzo, a fitting adornment.
Day 3: La Sal Mountain Loop to Moab: (59-Mile Full Option)
Approximate Ascent: 5,923 feet; Approximate Descent: 6,043 feet
Day 4: A Day of Options in Moab
NEWS: In January 2017 the National Park Service decided it would no longer issue Commercial Use Authorizations for guided bicycling within Arches National Park. The reasons stated by the Park Service were due to the spending freeze instituted on the Department of the Interior by the Trump administration and number two due to the fact they believe the park’s roads have become too busy with vehicular traffic to continue to accommodate guided non-motorized traffic. Of course it goes without saying that if more people were on bicycles, there would be less vehicular traffic, but that is another story. 🙂
None-the-less while on vacation in Moab you can still ride in Arches on your own without Lizard Head Cycling Guides. You can do this on your on Day 4, the “Day of Options” while lodging in the town of Moab. There is a lovely bike path that now leads from Moab all the way to Arches and back.
Guests of Lizard Head Cycling have options on Day 4 of the Moab bike tour. Do you want to try mountain biking on Moab’s famed Slickrock Bike Trail, go on a canyon hike to a peaceful desert grotto, visit local art galleries or road ride along the Colorado River south of Moab? Or perhaps take a ride into Arches National Park?
Day 4 is for our guests to decide. Lizard Head Cycling will help with advice and bikes for whatever you end up doing. We can bump you to the Slickrock MTB Trailhead or the easier BAR-M trails.
NOTE: If you would like to mountain bike on the layover day, Scott Spark PLUS sized MTB rentals are $55-/day from Lizard Head Cycling Guides.
Day 5: Old La Sal to Gateway Canyons Resort
48 Miles or up to 90-Miles
Day 5 begins with a shuttle south of Moab to Old La Sal where riding commences on Utah’s eastern border. After a start that serves up a 3,000-foot descent into Colorado’s Color-Country and the famed Bedrock Store (circa 1881), a shuttle picks riders up for a 25-mile bump onto Scenic By-Way 141.
The riding begins anew inside the magnificent Dolores River Canyon which previous guests have termed “the most beautiful 30 miles they have ever ridden”. Day 5 ends along the Dolores river at the oasis of the Gateway Canyons Resort.
In summary Day 5’s ride is yet another high-point of this tour offering vast vistas and mileage options for cyclists. The bonus climbing options on this stage will satiate the desires of the hard core cyclist.
Day 5: Old La Sal-Bedrock: 20 Miles: First Half of the Day
Day 5: Naturita-Gateway: 51 Miles: Second Half of the Day
Day 6: Unaweep Canyon
43 miles with 3,400-feet of climbing! This is a spectacular day!
In the early morning you will not want to hurry off from the luxury of Gateway Canyons Resort. The Moab BOB finishes with a ride up and over Unaweep Canyon. The route offers over 3,000-feet of climbing followed by a long down hill to the finish line in Whitewater. After a late lunch we shuttle a few miles back to the meeting hotel in Grand Junction.
If guests would like to extend their stay, they can add an additional night at Gateway Canyons Resort within the geological wonder of the Dolores River Canyon. If you choose to stay, the resort offers excellent mountain bike riding, and hiking and of course one can also spend the day poolside at the spa. Note that guests will need to make additional reservations and arrange for a separate shuttle.
Day 6: Ride Option: Unaweep Canyon Up & Over: 43 Miles
Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour: Logistics & FAQs
Lizard Head Cycling recommends shipping with BikeFlights.com. Bikes can be shipped either to our partner bike shop in each meeting town for professional assembly or directly to the meeting hotel for self-assembly. Bike boxes can generally be left at the meeting hotel during the tour. Bikes shipped across the continental US should be shipped 8 days prior to your tour.
Tour Support: A 15-passenger van and trailer that carries luggage, food and equipment supports Lizard Head Cycling’s tours. Cyclists keep a day bag that is accessible within the support vehicle.
The vehicle will sag and then pass riders to set up aid stations every 20 to 25 miles. This allows cyclists to linger at the back and then take a ten-mile, fifteen-mile or whatever mile “bump” forward to catch-up or get ahead of the group. Energy food, drink mixes, and fresh fruit are available throughout each stage.
It is not uncommon for cyclists on Lizard Head Cycling’s tours to ride their first century with us. Many are surprised by their ability to pedal the majority of miles offered. We have all day to reach the destination. If you have any questions about your ability to ride with us, please contact us today (970.728.5891 or Info@LizardHeadCyclingGuides.com).
How the Shuttle Works: Our Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour offers cyclists a challenge while at the same providing easily accessible mileage options for riders of varying fitness levels and desires. Lizard Head Cycling’s tour leaders offer advice and provide cyclists with profiles of each stage. Cyclists customize their experience by reducing overall mileage and choosing to avoid or focus on climbing the big hills of any given day.
The system works through a support vehicle that jumps ahead rather then sags to set up aid stations. This allows cyclists to linger at the back and then take a 10-mile, 15-mile or whatever mile “bump” forward to catch-up or get ahead of the group. Many cyclists on Lizard Head Cycling’s tours ride their first century with us and are surprised by their ability to pedal most of the miles offered.
If you have any questions about your ability to ride with us, please call us today (970.728.5891).
The Daily Schedule: Cyclists ride their own pace. Lizard Head Cycling does its best to support riders in their varying desires and efforts. Cyclists can either use our tours to simply support their tour experience or to engage in a guided experience along the route.
Q-sheets with directions, profiles and locations of aid stations are given out for each stage.
Weather and the Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour: The bike touring experience is really about one’s attitude. In 2010, three of the Redrock Canyons Tours were run in near record heat, near record cold and “perfect weather.” The tours that were run under extreme conditions ended up being exceptionally memorable. It is the “war stories” that are told around the Thanksgiving table five years down the road. Bonding often occurs through adversity creating life long friendships. The weather will do what is does.
“There is no bad weather, just bad clothing.” — Old Norwegian saying
Spring Weather Synopsis: Spring in red rock and canyon country begins in earnest during the month of March with bright warm days and cool to cold nights. By April daytime highs reach the upper 70s with lows in the 40s and 50s. In May, temperatures reach the mid to upper 80s and by the end of the month even low 90s. As the summer solstice approaches in June long days translate into temperatures that are regularly in the upper 80s to mid 90s with nighttime lows in 60s. Early morning roll-outs in June make for memorable sunrises with early afternoon arrivals at the hotels. Through the middle of May spring snow storms can still effect the high mountains above Redrock Canyon Country. The mountains rise 7,000 feet above the desert and as a result the effect of late season storms on sensible weather down in the canyons usually results in 8 to 12 hours of unsettled weather such as wind and thunderstorms. Spring is generally a windier and drier season then fall in the desert.
Fall Weather Synopsis: Temperatures in early September are no longer as hot as mid-summer, but can still feel quite warm with afternoon highs reaching as high as the low to mid-90s. By the end of September temperatures are averaging in the mid to low 80s. By the end of October temperatures are usually in the upper 60s to low 70s. (Great weather for long rides). October sunlight is radiant as the slanted post autumnal equinox sun rays sustain brilliant light even at mid-day. In mid-October, the Cottonwood trees along the rivers burn yellow against the azure desert skies. As for the threat of fall rain, from mid-September through October, low pressure systems will occasionally spin through the high mountains 6,000 to 8,000 feet above canyon country dusting the high peaks with the first snows of the coming season. These weather systems translates into about 8 to 10 hours of unsettled weather down in Canyon Country. Weather events in the desert can best be described as brief and intense in nature.
General Tour & Cancellation Policies
Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with all of our tour and cancellation policies, which can be found by clicking here.
Lizard Head Cycling Guides teams up with Seven Corners for travel insurance. Seven Corners offers:
- Travel Medical
- Medical Evacuation
- 24/7 Assistance
- Trip Cancellation
Be sure to go to our custom Seven Corners portal by clicking this link or by clicking the the banner on the right after confirming your tour with us to get a quote on travel insurance.