Redrock Canyons Utah Bike Tour, Lizard Head Cycling Guides
   
107 Aurum St, Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 970.728.5891 info@LizardHeadCyclingGuides.com

Redrock Canyons

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Please click here to jump to the Overview section with all tour details including pricing.

Redrock Canyons Tour: Highlights

Leading paragraph from the NY Times story: “We had awakened before dawn to get a jump on the desert heat and rolled out under a headlight moon, pedaling fast in the cool morning of the Dolores River Canyon. There were no cars, not out here. There was only the sound of bike tires on asphalt, the river’s murmur, the cascading song of a canyon wren and that beginning-of-the-world smell of river mud in the blue morning.”

New York Times: “Four Corners, Two Wheels – A Bicycle Tour Through Remote Southwest Canyon Country”

The Redrock Canyons is Lizard Head Cycling’s original tour and became our most popular itinerary after it was featured in the New York Times in 2010. The Redrocks tour is a supported lodge to lodge road cycling tour that follows a Seldom Seen route through the Redrock Canyon Country of western Colorado and eastern Utah. This iconic region boasts striking geologic features, numerous prehistoric cultural sites and encompasses some of the “greatest unexplored wilderness in the country”. If one was to ride just one tour in the American West, this is the one to experience.

The Redrock Canyons is still our best bike tour with unmatched scenery and fantastic lodging. It is a superb tour for all abilities ranging from intermediate to E.F.I. (every freaking inch) riders. Although the Redrock Canyons tour appears to be a big mileage tour, the mileage segments are determined by the distance between lodges in this remote landscape, as such we cater each day so that intermediate level riders enjoy themselves immensely. This is our flag-ship tour and you can do it! We guarantee you’ll love the Redrock Canyons bike tour.

New for 2020: 4-Day and 6-Day Versions!

Join Lizard Head Cycling for 4-days or 6-days on our Redrock Canyons Bike Tour. Jump to our tour dates below for potential departures.

Lizard Head Cycling Guides is a proud member of the Grand Staircase-Escalante Partners in support of their commitment to education, stewardship and restoration of the full National Monument.

Please click here to jump to the Overview section with all tour details including pricing.

Read the Sunday New York Times Feature Story on the Redrock Canyons Tour

Redrock Canyons, Utah

View the New York Times Slideshow with Audio

Noteworthy Links

View client photos of this tour.

USA Today: Listen to the Bears Ears and protect national treasures

Noteworthy Videos

Celebrate Bears Ears: Welcome to our New National Monument!

Canyonlands HD Scenic Flight

Lizard Head Cycling Guides: Redrock Canyons Tour

View from Rim Rock Drive in Colorado National Monument

Riding through Indian Creek (Day 4)

On each night of the Redrock Canyons cyclists relax in comfortable accommodations while enjoying delicious meals in the heart of Redrock Canyon Country. Highlights include: the 1980’s Coor’s Bicycle Classic “Tour of the Moon” stage through the Colorado National Monument, the stunning geology of Unaweep Canyon, world famous Monument Valley, terrain from Edward Abbey’s classic novel The Monkey Wrench Gang and the sandstone cliff encircled beauty of Lake Powell. These attractions are viewed while riding beneath the stunning peaks of the San Juan, Abajo, La Sal, and Henry mountains. The tour route meanders alongside and intersects many of desert southwest’s major rivers canyons including the Rio Gunnison, Rio Colorado, Rio Dolores, and Rio San Juan.

Although the Redrock Canyons Tour is best for fit cyclists who have some longer-distance cycling experience, intermediate riders love this tour. Days range from 48 to 112 miles in the saddle. Cyclists have the option to shorten each day by taking a “bump” in the support vehicle, this is a common practice on the Redrocks Tour. Cyclists who have ridden multi-day tours such as Cycle Oregon, Ride The Rockies or RAGBRAI will do fine on the Redrocks Tour. Many cyclists experience riding their first century on the Redrocks Tour.

PLEASE NOTE: Daily shuttle options between aid stations allow cyclists of varying abilities to enjoy the Redrock Canyons Tour. See How the Shuttle Works in Tour Beta below. Most cyclists worry they will not be able to “keep up” and end up doing fine on this tour. Click here to view a small map of the region.

Redrock Canyons Tour: Testimonials

Read what previous guests on our Redrock Canyons Bike Tour have been saying…

That trip was great, an absolutely fantastic break out from the lockdowns. That part of the world really is exceptional. The small group of riders worked really well and was very congenial. Lots of laughter and good cheer over meals and such. Also, I can’t say enough about Leslie and DeAnne as a guide team, they were outstanding. – Jon

I had a great week with Scott and DeAnne and both are superb guides. They went out of their way to make sure everyone had a good time and were well taken care of. This was my second trip with Lizard Head and I loved both of them. I would not hesitate to ride with Lizard Head again in the future. Thanks for another week of awesome memories. – Kevin

The Redrocks Canyon Tour is beyond words, just fabulous. Each day brought new vistas that continued to delight and challenge me. There is not one I can call my favorite, but riding down from Monument Valley into Lake Powell was especially exhilarating. My husband could tell from the big smile on my picture, just how happy I was riding in through Colorado National Monument.

Honestly, I cannot think of a single recommendation to improve. The entire experience is so thoughtfully created. Thank you.

Alex and Leslie were wonderful. I especially appreciated the time taken by both the first day to give me, a first timer on a trip like this, instructions on how to descend and ride on my first road bike. They problem solved, They worked tirelessly to keep us fed, safe, and riding. I also appreciated the time you took to bring a seat post that fits and Leslie for lending me her bike. The food and the lodging were great. Staying at the animal shelter, having deer walk by during dinner was a special treat.

I should not have worried that I would be too slow. Though the slowest rider, starting the earliest made me feel still part of the group. I never would have imagined I could ride so much and so much elevation each day. I appreciate your encouragement when we spoke on the phone.

I felt very safe even though the tour occurred during Covid. The precautions and changes made were evidence based and obviously thoughtful and well thought out. Alex and Leslie were polite but effective, encouraging mask-wearing amongst the few who needed encouragement so that masks were never an issue.

I plan to do another tour in 2021 and will see if we can get a small starter group together. – Sonja

(Leslie and Alex) were awesome. Positive, hardworking, good cooks, etc. Loved the route. Loved the bike. Perfect. Fit like a glove. All that new bike feel. Loved the insistence on handwashing, and the fact that we ate outside. Given the state of the planet (with Covid) I got far more than I expected when I did this trip. L&A were awesome. Flexible. Made an awkward world situation AMAZING!! – Ken

Thank you David and Scott. The experience was epic, and as I emotionally stated earlier, it’s always more than cycling. We overcome mental and physical barriers, but most of all leave with shared memories and new friends. – Rodney

All of it including the adventurous weather. I can’t wait to try another Lizard Head ride. (David and Leslie) were the consummate host and hostess, a pleasure to be around on and off the road, attentive, unflappable, and turned the sag wagon into the best road food diner on the planet. (They) made a terrific experience all the more so. – Alfred

We’ve done 7 or 8 trips with Lizard Head and they’ve all been good. Red Rocks trip was our first. We saw the article in NY Times Sunday paper just after John started his company. Though it is a hard ride, one of my favorite days ever of riding was going down into Monument Valley. – Barb S.

(Redrock Canyons and Tour of the Gila) I would rate both tours 11/10 and would say there are more similarities than differences. The similarities are that you have a winning formula in terms of tour length, ride length, amount of climbing, food, accommodation, and slickness of organisation such that it runs smoothly all the time. Having said that, variety is built in and is what makes it so enjoyable. Your “model” is very adept at catering to big groups, small groups, different hopes and expectations, and flexibility in response to client requests. The guides (whether you and Dan or Deanne and Dave) operate exactly the same in reflecting your company values (a high level of internal consistency). The differences were that (Redrock Canyons) was high on “wow factor” scenery and that (Tour of the Gila) was good for long, arduous but non-punishing climbs. I very much enjoyed the layover in Silver City (NM) and the fact 5/5 clients didn’t ride (when one was an EFI type) showed that it was well appreciated. I think the same type of rider could enjoy both tours based on the timing of their holiday/tour and could be steered to either. Perhaps (Redrock Canyons) is more of a long-term hook for attracting new riders: it’s status as the “iconic (Lizard Head) tour” courtesy of the newspaper article gives it a certain prestige. – Craig B.

Redrock Canyons 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

TIP: To easily register for a particular tour, please click the Book Now! link after the tour date listed below. This will select the tour name and the appropriate date on the registration form.

2021 Tour Dates

What is the Mountains to Desert Charity Ride?

The Mountains to Desert Charity Ride (M2D) is a 100-mile Gran Fondo ride from Telluride to Naturita that descends 6K-feet!

The M2D is a ride benefiting the Just For Kid's Sake Charity serving the rural Rio San Miguel watershed of western Colorado. The ride is a great cause, it is well run, breathtakingly beautiful and so much fun! There are aid stations and encouragement along the route.

M2D Logistics: The cost to add the M2D ride is $125-. Cyclists fly into Grand Junction or Montrose, Colorado on 9/24/21.

How do I get to Telluride? After flying to Grand Junction or Montrose, the Bustange bus is an inexpensive option. The cost is $22- from Grand Junction departing at 1:25pm and $11 from Montrose departing at 2:51pm for Telluride.

Telluride Express runs regular daily shuttles from Montrose to Telluride departing throughout the day (approximately $75-).

NOTE: Lizard Head Cycling will be offering a 3pm shuttle from Grand Junction to Telluride on Friday 9/24/21 and then a return shuttle from Naturita to Grand Junction at 5pm on 9/25/21.

Shuttle Minimum: If 5 or more riders sign up, this will occur (2 as of 6/14/21). The shuttle cost will be $95-. The maximum number of shuttle passengers riders is 14.

Can I bring my bike on the shuttle? Yes, you can bring your own bike.

Flying to Grand Junction for the shuttle? Arrive at the Grand Junction airport before 3pm on 9/24/21.

Flying to Montrose for the shuttle? Arrive at the Montrose airport before 4:30pm on 9/24/21.

Post Mountains-2-Desert Ride: After finishing the Mountains-2-Desert at Camp V in Naturita on Saturday 9/25/21, a 5pm return shuttle to Grand Junction will be provided.

Post Redrocks Tour Logistics: To ride both the M2D and the 9/26/21 Redrock Canyons tour, we recommend flying Multi-City flying inbound to Montrose and flying outbound from Grand Junction, Colorado.

Where do I stay when I arrive in Telluride? When you get to Telluride on Friday September 24th, you will need to make pre-tour lodging reservations. We recommend the Victorian Inn, the Camel's Garden, the New Sheridan or the Mountainside Inn.

What happens on the day of the M2D? The ride starts from Telluride at 8am. Lizard Head Cycling will transport your luggage. The ride ends in Naturita, Colorado where Lizard Head Cycling will pick you up and take you back to Grand Junction for the start of the Redrock Canyons tour!

What Does my Entry in the M2D include? The entry includes a water bottle, T-Shirt, numerous aid stations along the route, a swag bag full of goodies and at the end there is usually a meal, drinks and celebration with live music! More Details for 2021 will be coming out in the next couple months...

Charity Fundraising: At its core the M2D is a great cause for kids. If you are into fundraising, each $150- raised or so gets you a chance in a raffle to win a new bike and all sorts of other gear.

  • October 17 to 22, 2021 (1 room remains for 1 or 2 people) 

2022 Tour Dates

2021 Utah EPIC Tour Dates


Two Week Combined Tours of 14-Days/13-Nights

  • September 26 to October 9, 2021 (Book Now!) – TOUR A GO!
    1st Week Redrock Canyons & 2nd Week Utah Mountains & National Parks

2022 Utah EPIC Tour Dates


Two Week Combined Tours of 14-Days/13-Nights

  • May 8 to 21, 2022 (Book Now!)
    1st Week Redrock Canyons & 2nd Week Boulder, Bryce, and Zion

What is the Utah EPIC Tour?

The Utah EPIC tour combines the 6-Day Redrocks Canyon tour for the first week and either the 6-Day Boulder, Bryce & Zion (BBZ) tour or the 7-Day Utah Mountains & National Parks tour for the second week creating what we consider the American West's most iconic two- week bike tour. If in your lifetime you were going to ride one incredible tour in the American West, the Utah EPIC is the one!

Tour Cost: $5,595 per person shared occupancy, or $6,590 per person single occupancy.

Tour Includes: 13-nights of exceptional lodging, all meals (except 2 dinners, 2 breakfasts, and 1 lunch), guide service, entrance fees, daily lunch en route, energy food, liquid refreshments, shuttles and mechanical support. Additional Costs: Alcoholic beverages & massage therapy.

Flying Logistics: Fly into Grand Junction, Utah (GJT) for the first week and then at the end of the second week, fly out of either St. George, Utah (SGU) or Las Vegas, Nevada (LAS). NOTE: Additional post tour logistical details for the Boulder, Bryce & Zion (BBZ) and Utah Mountains & National Parks are provided on those tour's web pages and/or in your tour confirmation email.

Driving Logistics: Drive to the start in Grand Junction, Colorado, ride both weeks to end the tour in St. George, Utah. At the end of the tour we recommend renting a car or flying back from St. George or Las Vegas to Grand Junction. When available, Lizard Head Cycling Guides can provide a return shuttle back to Grand Junction via the Lizard Head van. This shuttle is 8-hours in length and starts immediately at the conclusion of the trip at 2pm on the final day.

Tour Logistics: At the end of the first week on Friday after riding the 6-Day Redrock Canyons tour, the cycling ends deep in Glen Canyon which is followed by a 50-minute shuttle to Hanksville, Utah where Utah EPIC riders are lodged at the Whispering Sands Motel.

  • If the second week of your Utah EPIC tour includes the Utah Mountains & National Parks tour: On Saturday Utah EPIC cyclists will ride from Hanksville, Utah to Torrey, Utah and stay the night in Torrey (lodging included). Then on Sunday at approximately 11:00 am, Utah EPIC cyclists meet the other riders for the start of their Utah Mountains & National Parks tour.
  • If the second week of your Utah EPIC tour includes the Boulder, Bryce & Zion (BBZ) tour: On Saturday Utah EPIC cyclists will ride from Hanksville, Utah to Torrey, Utah and stay two nights in Torrey (lodging included). Sunday is a layover day in Torrey, Utah and then on Monday at approximately 11:00 am, Utah EPIC cyclists meet the other riders for the start of their Boulder, Bryce & Zion (BBZ) tour.

Both tour options end in St. George, Utah at the end of week.

NOTE: If you have friends who want to join for just 1-week of the Utah EPIC, they can join for either the first or second week. Please contact us for more details: Info@LizardHeadCyclingGuides.com or 970.728.5891

Tour Status Notes: NO STATUS = Date set, no riders have signed up. TOUR OPENED = Tour opened, rider minimums not met. TOUR A GO! = Rider minimums met, tour is GO! SOLD OUT = Rider maximums met, tour full.

Special Tour Date for the October 14, 2023 Annular Solar Eclipse!

The next major annular solar eclipse for the continental USA will occur on Saturday October 14, 2023. An annular solar eclipse is where most of the sun is covered by the moon, but it does not reach totality as the moon is too far in it’s orbit. What you will experience is very dim twilight conditions for about 4 minutes as the sunlight is shaded by the moon creating what as known as the “ring of fire” effect. This will occur mid-morning on Day 6 of this special Redrock Canyons Bike Tour as the eclipse passes directly overhead and we expect to witness this while climbing the incredible Moki Dugway deep the heart of Utah’s canyon country.

This is a once in a lifetime experience that you soon will not forget, so sign up early to secure your spot!

NOTES: This is a Monday to Saturday tour in order to best experience the timing for this rare astronomical event. Please make sure to click the “Book Now!” link shown below to register for this tour.

  • October 9 to 14, 2023 Special Annular Solar Eclipse Tour (Book Now!)

Redrock Canyons Tour: Overview

PLEASE NOTE: This tour is offered with a 6-Day or a 4-Day itinerary and both versions of this tour can be run simultaneously. The 4-Day itinerary follows the first four days of the full 6-Day tour. See details below.

Reptile Rewards

Tour Length: 6-Days Cycling/5-Nights Lodging (layover day option of rest day or ride) -or- 4-Days Cycling/3-Nights Lodging

Meeting & Ending Town: Grand Junction, Colorado – Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT). Riders on the 4-Day tour shuttle from Monticello, Utah back to Grand Junction, Colorado at the end of Day 4.

Total Miles:
315-miles standard tour distance
420-to 500-miles E.F.I. distance (Can I keep up on this tour?)

Average Daily Mileage: 60 or 70-miles (E.F.I.)

Difficulty Level: Intermediate (2) to Advanced (3/4) 

Tour Cost: 6-Day is $3,145 per person. 4-Day is $2,195 per person. Group discount of $200 per person for groups of 4 or more.
Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.

2022 Special Offer: Register for a 6-Day or longer Spring or Summer 2022 tour by October 15, 2021, or an Autumn 2022 tour by November 15, 2021, and receive a $200 tour discount plus a $100 bike rental discount!
(NOTE: New reservations only. Not stackable with other discounts)

Non-Riding Spouses & Partners on Tour: If a non-riding spouse or partner would like to join you on tour and they have their own transportation, they can stay in your room for the cost of the tour's single room supplement. Non-Riding spouses and partners can join a tour's meal plan of three meals a day for $85 per day.

Single Room Supplement: For 6-Day tour add $675 total (includes 5-nights) to the tour cost for a private room. If cyclist is willing to share a room with a same sex cyclist and there are none available, then add $395. For 4-Day tour add $495 total (includes 3-nights) to the tour cost for a private room.

Tour Includes: Five excellent nights exceptional lodging, all meals, taxes, entrance fees, lunch on the route, energy food, liquid refreshments, shuttles, guide service and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, massage, bike rental are additional. NOTE: Add $275 – if one desires to take the scenic flight on Day 6.

Lodging: (subject to availability)

Meeting Hotel and Ending Hotel reservations and costs are NOT included unless specified otherwise. Guests are on-their-own to make reservations at the Meeting Hotel or Ending Hotel, or other nearby hotels.

Meals On Tour

Lunches: 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!

Dinners: 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.

Road Bike Rentals

The Scott Addict 10 Disc was designed from the ground up with those longer days in mind. With geometry that is less focused on racing and more on enduring, the Addict 10 will be your go to when you’re looking to put the miles in.

The Scott Addict 10 Disc features: Carbon Frame and Fork, Shimano Ultegra 2x11 Drivetrain, 34x32 Compact Gearing, 30mm Tires, and Hydraulic Disc Brakes. Approx. Weight: 16.89 lbs / 7.66 kg (without pedals)

Learn More: Click Here to learn more about our Road Bike Rentals including pricing.

Road E-Bike Rentals: Click Here for more information on our Road E-Bike Rentals including pricing.

Take Your Rental Bike Home! Click Here for more information.

Couples Bike Rental Discount: Sign up as a couple and receive one free Road Bike Rental per couple for a one week tour. ($250 value. Pedal bikes only. E-Bikes excluded.)

Tandems and Recumbents Lizard Head Cycling Guides happily accommodates both tandem and recumbent bikes on our tours.

If you have any further questions, please read more on our Rental Bikes FAQ page. You can also email us at info@lizardheadcyclingguides.com or call us at 970.728.5891

Ability Level: Intermediate to Advanced cyclists. A combination of quiet, car-free roads, easily assessable mileage options and plenty of climbing makes the Redrocks Tour well suited for intermediate to advanced cyclists. Intermediate riders have done the Redrocks tour since its inception and have loved it. We have built our business showcasing this tour. There are additional mileage options for E.F.I riders (every freaking inch) and overall it should be noted that the Redrocks is not as hard as the NY Times story makes it sound! Since the NY Times story was published we have added a day to the tour and adjusted the itinerary to make the Redrock Canyons bike tour more forgiving.

Non-Riding Activities on the Redrock Canyons Tour: If you have non-riding spouse who would like to join this tour, follow this link.

Do the Bump! Lizard Head Cycling provides daily mileage options that allow cyclists of varying abilities to enjoy our tours. One of our favorite options is to give cyclists a “bump” via the support vehicle. A bump is a 10 to 20 mile lift down the road representing an hour of pedal time. After the bump the rider is now “off the front” and riding at his or her own pace without feeling they are being left behind the group. It allows riders to linger and take in the spectacular scenery. When the support vehicle arrives cyclists take another bump or continue riding.

Slow or Fast? (What Level Cyclist are You?)

  • PLEASE don’t be scared away from this tour. The Redrocks Tour is not as hard as it sounds.
  • Slow and Fast only exist as relative terms to other people.  Speed does not matter as long as one is moving on the bike.
  • Please Note: “One is ready for a Lizard Head Cycling tour, when they finish a Lizard Head tour”.
  • If you have questions about your ability to ride this tour, please contact our office (info@LizardHeadCyclingGuides.com or 970.728.5891).
  • Our guest’s median age is in the mid-fifties.

Overall Route Map

Redrock Canyons 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.

Mileage Note: Exact mileage numbers will vary.

Day 1: Colorado National Monument and Unaweep Canyon
Morning Ride:
Colorado National Monument: 27 miles with up to 2,750 feet of climbing

Afternoon Ride:
Unaweep Canyon to Gateway (Standard): 24 miles with 2,800-feet of descending!
Unaweep Canyon to Gateway (EFI): 43 miles with up to 2,775 feet of climbing

Day One’s riding begins on Rim Rock Drive of the Colorado National Monument. The 23-mile drive follows the redrock rim nearly 2,000 feet up a series of canyons above the Rio Colorado. The entire road has been designated a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places and was named by National Geographic as one of the country’s Top 10 Under-Appreciated Parks.

The detailed design for the road was developed in 1932 by the National Park Service for maximum scenic impact, using the National Park Service Rustic style. The road was constructed with almost entirely manual labor by the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps, and represents one of the most significant Depression era public projects. Extensive drilling and blasting was required, and three tunnels were bored. Work was suspended by the Second World War from 1942 to 1948, and was finally completed in 1950. At its height, the project employed more than 800 men. Rim Rock Drive could not be constructed in the 21st century, its expense and environmental consequences would be considered too high.

During the 1980s, Rim Rock Drive was host to a classic mountain stage of the now defunct Coors Classic Stage Race. The stage itself was dubbed The Tour of the Moon. Bernard Hinault and Greg Lemond themselves battled it out on this scenic road.

Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument, Rim Rock Drive

Colorado National Monument: Rim Rock Drive

Day One Continued…

After Day One’s morning tour through the Colorado National Monument cyclists head into the stunning confines of Unaweep Canyon. Unaweep Canyon is quite possibly most spectacular road ride in Colorado, it is also one of the least known roads in the state. Geologically speaking Unaweep was at one time a river channel of the Colorado River before the massive uplift of the Uncompahgre Plateau diverted the river’s course.

Today cyclists enjoy riding the road where the river once traveled. Although smaller in scale, the experience is akin to riding a bike through the Grand Canyon. The splendid resort of Gateway Canyons (opened in 2005 on the Dolores River) in Gateway, Colorado awaits us for dinner and lodging this evening. The beauty of Gateway Canyons Resort must be seen to be believed.

Unaweep Canyon

Unaweep Canyon Road to Gateway, Colorado

Thimble Rock

Gateway Canyons Resort

Colorado National Monument – Elevation Profile: 27 miles +2750 ft / -2510 ft

Unaweep Canyon to Gateway (Standard) – Elevation Profile: 27 miles +564 ft / -2789 ft

Unaweep Canyon to Gateway (EFI) – Elevation Profile: 43 miles +2775 ft / -2855 ft

Day 2: Unaweep Canyon Out & Back (Road), or Bull Canyon Out & Back (MTB)
Relaxing next to the pool: No Miles!

Optional Rides
Unaweep Canyon (Standard): 29 miles with up to 2,370 feet of climbing
Unaweep Canyon (Extended): 47 miles with up to 3,160 feet of climbing
Gateway to Bull Canyon MTB Gravel Ride (EFI): 46 miles with up to 6,495 feet of climbing

Enjoy the Resort! We recommend no riding on this day to immerse yourself in Gateway!

With a layover day at the Gateway Canyons Resort, we recommend no riding to take in this amazing resort with two pool complexes, world class auto museum, Discovery HD theatre, adventure Center and fabulous hiking trails!

If you are keen to ride, there are three ride options offered this day. The first is to pedal 25-miles round-trip up and down Highway-141 through magnificent Unaweep Canyon to Gateway Canyon Resort’s Stables. In the spring and after rain storms there are multiple waterfalls on the west side of the canyon. Look for a waterfall near milepost 122 and then again near milepost 132 at Fall Creek. Riders will also have the option to Reach the Summit by riding a few miles past the stables to route’s high point at the Unaweep Divide to extend the ride which makes for a 47-mile round trip road ride.

A third more epic option is an off-road adventure to ride gravel on a mountain or gravel bike from Gateway to the Bull Canyon Dinosaur Tracks Overlook and then back. This route travels from Colorado into Utah and then back and offers tremendous views of the La Sal Mountains and Bull Canyon.

After the rides, guests can luxuriate in the Gateway Canyons pool, take in a spa, tour the magnificent auto museum or simply relax. There is so much to do, or not do, at the resort!

Unaweep Canyon

Unaweep Canyon (Standard) – Elevation Profile: 29 miles +2370 ft / -2365 ft

Unaweep Canyon (Extended) – Elevation Profile: 47 miles +3160 ft / -3160 ft

Gateway to Bull Canyon MTB (EFI) – Elevation Profile: 46 miles +6495 ft / -6495 ft

Day 3: Gateway to Camp V
Gateway to Camp V (Standard): 49 miles with up to 2,335 feet of climbing
Gateway to Camp V (EFI): 57 miles with up to 2,845 feet of climbing

We consider the first 25-miles of Day’s 3 ride to be the most beautiful section of road on all of our tours. The route follows the dazzling scenery of Highway 141 southward. The first 25-miles from Gateway Canyons resort are beneath 1,500-foot Redrock Canyon walls and alongside the Rio Dolores. Many of our guests have called this section the “most beautiful ride” they have ever enjoyed.

YouTube – Lizard Head Cycling Guides: Dolores River Canyon (PT 1)

Views of the Hanging Flume are visible from Highway 141. The flume is an engineering feat of over 100 years ago and also one of the world’s most extraordinary monuments to human greed and folly. Its purpose was to deliver water to a placer gold mine. Construction started in 1889 and a million board feet of lumber was used. The mine went bankrupt in the early 1890s. Today travelers are awe struck at the lengths gone into the creation of this means to convey water.

YouTube – Lizard Head Cycling Guides: Dolores River Canyon (PT 2)

The road riding is high above the Dolores River and tight against vertical sandstone walls. It is quite simply one of the most stunning roads in the country. We finish our ride near Naturita, Colorado and check into our lodging at Camp V.

The Hanging Flume

Remnants of the Hanging Flume

Rio Dolores

Big Turn of the Rio Dolores

Burning Man themed Church with Organ at Camp V

Gateway to Camp V (Standard) – Elevation Profile: 49 miles +2335 ft / -1505 ft

Gateway to Camp V (EFI) – Elevation Profile: 57 miles +2845 ft / -2020 ft

Day 4: Camp V to La Sal, Utah
62 miles with up to 4,525 feet of climbing

Departing from Camp V the route heads west through Paradox Valley, then over Paradox Pass and into Utah. The mighty La Sal Mountains will loom large to the northwest during today’s ride. The riding ends at the intersection with US-191 and we then shuttle to Bluff, Utah and our lodging at the Desert Rose.

Riding in the Needles District

Riding in the Red Rocks

The snow capped La Sal Mountains

Elevation Profile: 62 mi +4525 ft / -3845 ft

Day 5: Bluff, Utah to Monument Valley, Arizona
Standard option: 40 miles with up to 3,430 feet of climbing
E.F.I. Option: 57 miles with up to to 4,520 feet of climbing

From Bluff, we’ll roll out in the soft early morning light southwest towards Monument Valley along US Scenic 163. Ten miles into the day we’ll ride up and over the southern end of Comb Ridge, a 40 mile long geological feature of special interest. If you have been to Monument Valley before or this is your first time, the landscape is captivating. The mood of the red rock in this harsh landscape varies with the light to reveal both subtle and striking beauty.

We’ll cross the Rio San Juan at the town of Mexican Hat and continue southwest towards Arizona. Tonight’s lodging is on the Navajo Nation at either The View Hotel or Gouldings Lodge

US Scenic 163 passing through Comb Ridge

US Scenic 163 passing through Comb Ridge

Road to Monument Valley

Road to Monument Valley

US Scenic 163 Heading Southwest to Monument Valley

US Scenic 163 Heading Southwest to Monument Valley

Monument Valley

Monument Valley

Elevation Profile - Bluff to Monument Valley: +4519 ft / -3254 ft

Bluff to Monument Valley, 57 miles – Elevation Profile: +4520 ft / -3255 ft

Day 6: Monument Valley to (Lake Powell)
Standard Option: Moki Dugway to Lake Powell, 70 miles with 5,250 feet of descending
E.F.I. option #1: Monument Valley to Lake Powell, 107 miles with 7,660 feet of descending
E.F.I. Option #2: Not recommended 🙂 Monument Valley to Hanksville, 154 miles with 7,500 feet of climbing

Our final day of riding will be without a doubt memorable and much easier than anticipated. Since the ride loses 4,000-feet at a 1% to 2% grade over the final 50 miles, this will be the easiest 100-miles you have ever ridden. From Monument Valley cyclists roll back into Utah and re-cross the Rio San Juan at Mexican Hat where the route turns north following Route 261. Ten miles north of Mexican Hat Route 261 runs into headwall of the Moki Dugway. The Dugway is a 1,100 foot climb in 2.8 miles of packed earth road. There are multiple switchbacks up the Dugway’s 10% grade. From the top of the Dugway on Muley Point the sublime views featuring the Goosenecks of the Rio San Juan, Monument Valley and the Valley of the Gods may be the very best in all of Utah.

Finger Rock

Stone Cathedral

Stone Cathedral

Day 6 Continued…

Heading north and trending upward from the Moki Dugway on Route 261, the Abajo Mountains dominate the northern skyline while the Henry Mountains rise to the west. Intersecting Route 95 our route turns west. In writer Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang this is the road where the outlaw George Washington Hayduke walked for three days pulling survey stakes before the road was constructed. It is indeed hard to understand why this road was built since it does not lead to anything in particular. But since the road now exists and the drop dead gorgeous scenery, what better way to explore this region than on a bike? Abbey would probably approve.

Sign below the Moki Dugway Climb

The Moki Dugway

The Moki Dugway’s multiple switchbacks

Moki Dugway Ascent: 2.8 miles and 1,100-fet on dirt

Moki Dugway Ascent: 2.8 miles and 1,100-fet on dirt

Abajo Mountains

Approaching the Abajo Mts. and the Bear Ears

Day 6 Continued…

The region around Route 95 is chock full of water springs and accompanying Anasazi Indian ruins such as Fry Canyon and Mule Canyon. We pass near the nation’s first National Monument, Colossal Bridges, designated by Teddy Roosevelt in the early 1900’s. Colossal Bridges was renamed Natural Bridges, but Colossal better describes these bridges and the indomitable figure of Teddy Roosevelt.

Route 95

Route 95 heading towards Glen Canyon Reservoir

Day 6 Continued…

Edward Abbey’s Hayduke was fantasizing about blowing up Glen Canyon Dam while pulling survey stakes as he walked towards Glen Canyon Reservoir. If anyone in our group of cyclists upon reaching Glen Canyon Reservoir seeks to blow up the dam, they’ll be at the wrong end of the 186 mile long reservoir with nearly 2,000 miles of shoreline. Arriving at the north end of Glen Canyon Reservoir cyclists cross three impressive bridges over the Rio San Juan, Rio Colorado, and the Dirty Devil River. To end the tour a refreshing jump into the lake is highly recommended. Following the end of riding we shuttle back to Grand Junction with dinner at a quirky cowboy bar in Green River, Utah.

Well Done!

Optional Low-Level Scenic Flight: To end your Redrock Canyons Bike Tour treat yourself to a spectacular low-level scenic flight across Canyonlands National Park. The scenery is incredible and after the flight you’ll arrive back in Grand Junction at approximately 6pm Friday evening, cost $239.


Note: If your group has a private plane, the Hanksville, Utah airport allows pickup directly from the end of the Redrock Canyons tour.

Colorado River Bridge at Glen Canyon

Colorado River Bridge at Glen Canyon

Glen Canyon Reservoir

Glen Canyon Reservoir (North End at Hite)

Standard, Moki Dugway to Lake Powell, 70 miles – Elevation Profile: +2840 ft / -5250 ft

Extended, Monument Valley to Lake Powell, 107 miles – Elevation Profile: +5970 ft / -7660 ft

E.F.I., Monument Valley to Hanksville, 154 miles – Elevation Profile: +8530 ft / -9800 ft

Redrock Canyons Tour: Logistics & FAQs

Meeting Location: On Day 1 cyclists meet the guides and support vehicle at 8:00am at the Courtyard Marriott next to the airport in Grand Junction, Colorado. The Marriott has an airport shuttle and full hot breakfast.

Ending Location: The tour ends at the Marriott on Horizon Drive in Grand Junction, Colorado after Day 6’s stage to Lake Powell. Cyclists are shuttled from Lake Powell back to Grand Junction.

Pre- and Post-Tour Lodging: Riders are responsible for their own lodging for night preceding and following the tour.

Tour Size: 6 to 18 riders

2014 Lodging: The Redrocks tour is priced for double room occupancy.

  • The single-supplement option (single-room occupancy) $400 includes five nights lodging.
  • If a solo cyclist is willing to share a room, Lizard Head Cycling will attempt to match the cyclist with a same-sex roommate.
  • If a roommate is unavailable, the solo cyclist on the Redrocks Tour receives a $200- discount off the cost of single-supplement/single-room occupancy.

Bike Shipping

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.

Bike Gearing: A low gear of 34×27 is sufficient on most days. Riders will find a lower gear of 34×28 or even 34×30 useful on “Slickrock Hill”, a Hors Categorie 9-mile climb at the end of Day 2 and on the “Moki Dugway” climb on the morning of Day 6.

Tour Months: The Redrock Canyons Tour is offered during the months of May, June, September and October.

Weather and the Redrock Canyons Tour: The bike touring experience is 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 and fun. It is the “war stories” that are told around the Thanksgiving table five years down the road. Bonding 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 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 16 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. (good weather for long rides). October sunlight is radiant as the slanted post autumnal equinox 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. These storms dust the high peaks with the first snows of the coming season. These weather systems translates into about 8 to 16 hours of unsettled weather down in Canyon Country. Weather events in the desert can best be described as brief and intense in nature.

Dining: Cyclists dine each evening and morning at uniquely local establishments chosen by Lizard Head Cycling. All meals are included with the costs of the tour.

Ride Difficulty: The Redrocks Tour is designed for “Intermediate to Advanced Cyclists. The tour is similar to riding Ride the Rockies or Cycle Oregon. The pace is considered moderate to difficult.

Tour Support: The tour is supported by a van and trailer which carries all luggage and equipment. The support vehicle, a 15-passenger van and trailer, provides a shuttle option from aid stations along the route.

The Daily Schedule: Cyclists ride at their own pace. Tour riders depart each morning as early as they choose and can use the support vehicle when they desire. The tour is designed to provide mileage options depending on cyclist’s fitness level and desire.

How the Shuttle and Mileage Options Work: The Redrock Canyons Tour is designed to offer cyclists a significant challenge while at the same time providing easily accessible mileage options for cyclists of varying fitness levels. This system works with a support vehicle that jumps ahead rather then “sags” to set up aid stations along the route. Cyclists customize their experience by choosing either to start each day’s ride from the hotel, at the stage’s first aid station or from the top of the day’s big hill. Cyclists can choose to linger at lunch and explore one of the National Monuments such as Hovenweep of Day 3 of the tour.

This custom system works well for our guests. In the big picture very few people will ever have the pleasure of visiting these spectacularly remote areas of the American West.  Of those that do, 99.9% of them do so in a vehicle.  So if one pedals 300 of the 420-mile Redrocks Tour, they are in such a small minority that they should really celebrate!  On average only about 50% of the Redrock Canyon guests pedal every mile of the tour.

Daily Support Schedule:

  • 20-mile mark: liquids, energy food & fruit
  • 40 to 50-mile mark: lunch on the trail includes fresh sandwiches, fruit, salad, smoothies & soft drinks
  • 75 mile mark: liquids, energy food & fruit

Flying to Grand Junction:

  • United connects through Denver
  • Delta connects through Salt Lake City
  • Allegiant Air flies directly to Grand Junction from Los Angeles & Las Vegas for $159- roundtrip.
  • American flies directly from Dallas/Fort Worth on a seasonal basis.

Daily Mileage and Evening Towns:

  • Day 1: 50 miles to Gateway, Colorado
  • Day 2: 32 miles roundtrip back to Gateway, Colorado
  • Day 3: 90 miles to La Sal, Utah (60 mile Lower Mileage Option)
  • Day 4: 80 miles to Monticello, Utah
  • Day 5: 57 miles to Monument Valley, Arizona (28 mile Lower Mileage Option)
  • Day 6: 110 miles to Hite, Utah (over 5,000 feet of descending!) (75 miles is the Lower Mileage Option)

Redrock Canyon Tour Facts:

  • Standard Mileage Option: 420 miles
  • Lower Mileage Option: 299 miles
  • The 15-passenger van that supports the tour allows for cyclists with varying fitness levels to enjoy the same tour. The van is available for shuttling each day from the aid stations.
  • Elevations range from 4,100′ to 7,100′
  • There is little traffic on these roads.
  • Please contact us with your questions.

Related Links:

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.

Travel Insurance

Lizard Head Cycling Guides highly recommends clients purchase Travel Insurance through TripAssure. A policy can be purchased individually through the sales link below or Lizard Head Cycling Guides can also set-up a policy for its clients.

The estimated cost for a 50-year old buying insurance for a $2,500 tour ranges from $100 (standard plan) to about $200 (cancel for any reason plan).

Lizard Head Cycling Guides Custom Sales Portal Link is:

https://www.tripassure.com/main/?welcome=LIZA0855CO

  • The best options for our clients are either the Asset or Bridge plans.
  • The Asset-Plus & Complete plans both include a Cancel-For-Any-Reason option.
    • As a result these plans cost more.
    • The Cancel-for-Any-Reason option is only available when insurance is purchased within two weeks of initial deposit.
  • For information on Coronavirus, please click here.
 

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