Southwest Colorado Road & Gravel Tour - Lizard Head Cycling Guides
107 Aurum St, Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 970.728.5891

Southwest Colorado Road & Gravel Tour

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

Southwest Colorado Road & Gravel Tour: Highlights

Serving up a Mixed Dirt Salad!

The Southwest Colorado Gravel & Road Tour is a breathtaking ride in Lizard Head Cycling’s backyard. The terrain offers a mixture of gravel roads, jeep roads and paved roads. This is our mixed dirt salad! The itinerary centers in the Redrock Canyon Country of western Colorado and eastern Utah between the San Juan and La Sal Mountains.

The Southwest Gravel bike tour meets and ends in Grand Junction, Colorado.

On this tour we stay in lodging that includes one night at Gateway Canyons Resort, three nights are in luxury cabins at the hip CampV and a night in Moab. Highlights of the routes include dirt roads to the confluence of the Rio San Miguel and Rio Dolores, a spectacular ride on the Rimrocker Trail and the wondrous Dolores River Canyon.

On Day 5 the tour rides over the La Sal Mountains for a night in Moab!

In summary, this is a tour full of highlight rides and jaw-dropping views as Redrock Canyon Country offers up some of the most amazing riding on the planet!

Southwest Colorado Road & Gravel 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

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.

2024 Tour Dates

  • September 8 to 13, 2024 (Book Now!)
  • September 15 to 20, 2024 (Book Now!) – TOUR OPENED
  • September 22 to 27, 2024 (Book Now!) – TOUR A GO!
  • September 29 to October 4, 2024 (Book Now!)

Tour Status Notes: NO STATUS = Date Set, no riders have signed up. TOUR OPENED = Tour Opened, rider minimums not met. TOUR A GO! = Tour is Go, rider minimums met. SOLD OUT = Tour Full, rider maximums met.

Why Should you Sign-Up Now and OPEN a Tour Date?
This is the proverbial chicken and the egg conundrum! We need our cyclists to first commit to the date that works for them so that we can commit to that date.

For starters, when you OPEN a date you get to pick your preferred departure date, and there is no penalty if the tour does not run. Once you pick your tour date, Lizard Head closes nearby dates and funnels all additional riders to your chosen date until the tour meets its 6 rider minimum.

BONUS: As an added bonus, we can also hold a spot for you on another tour date of your choosing. There is no fee to switch to another tour date.

In conclusion, if you want a tour to run, we need you to sign up and not wait for others to do the same! Waiting for others may mean that a tour date takes longer or does not confirm. Just Do It! Once a few riders jump into the proverbial waters, others will follow!

Southwest Colorado Road & Gravel Tour: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Tour Length: 6-Days or 4-Days in length

Meeting/Ending Town: Grand Junction, Colorado. Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT)
NOTE: If cyclists wish to depart early on Day 6, Canyonlands Regional Airport (CNY) just north of Moab now has flight options United and Delta.

Total Miles: 265 miles with 173 miles paved (58%) and 92 miles gravel (42%). Additional mileage options are available.

What is the Riding Surface?: This tour is 60% to 70% gravel and dirt.  So although it is a “gravel tour”, there are options for riders with less experience riding on dirt roads.

Ability Level: Upper Intermediate (3) to Advanced (3/4)
Must have some gravel riding experience. This is not a first time/beginner level gravel tour.

Tour Cost for 6-Day/5-Night: $3,460 per person. Add $645/per person to the Tour Cost to have a private room each night of the tour. Cost includes lodging and meals. Lodging availability may vary. Please note that the tour cost may vary slightly due to hotel availability and cost of Gateway Canyons Resort.

Tour Cost for 4-Day/3-Night: $2,235 per person.

Tour Discounts: Please see our Reptile Rewards & Tour Discounts page to learn more about Reptile Rewards, Tour Discounts, and Group Discounts. Tour discounts are not stackable with any other discounts or promotions – only the highest valued discount is provided. Please note that for discounts to apply the tour minimum must be met.

Tour Includes: 4 or 6 days of guide service, all meals, park service fees, energy food, liquid refreshments, shuttles, and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental, and massage are additional.

Lodging: (subject to change)

Despite the name, the stay at CampV is in luxury cabins and not a campground.

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.

Gravel Bike Rentals

NOTE: The make, model, and specifications of rental bikes may differ from what is described below. Please contact us if you have any specific needs for a rental bike or have any questions about rental bikes.

Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent the Scott 2023 Addict 30 which is light, can handle rough terrain, fits chunky tires and has enough mounts to carry all the liquids and freeze-dried chicken curry you want. What's really important, though is what this bike allows you to do. Now, perhaps more than ever, the Addict Gravel 30 is your ticket to adventure when you need it most.

The Addict 30 features: Addict Gravel Disc HMF Carbon Gravel geometry, Shimano GRX 22 speed drivetrain, Shimano BR-RX400 hydraulic disc brakes, Schwalbe G-ONE Bite Performance 700x45C tires. Approx. Weight: 20.3 / 9.2 kg (without pedals)

Learn more about our Rental Bikes and Equipment

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

Meals On Tour

Lizard Head Cycling Guides provides most meals on all tours (unless otherwise noted) including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guides will prepare a daily lunch en route for nearly every tour, both road and off-road, as well as provide nutritious snacks at periodic aid stations during the day.

Most of our road tours utilize local restaurants for all meals and occasionally guides may prepare a dinner or two during a tour. Due to the nature of being "off the grid", most of our off-road tours feature guide prepared meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. FUN NOTE: When guides prepare a meal in camp and the guests sit around and watch, this is called "Guide TV". :)

We also pride ourselves on being able to cater to specific dietary requests and needs, so rest assured that you will be able to get the nutrition that works best for you during your tour. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, or a someone who loves it all – we will keep you well fed during the 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.

Dinners: On our road tours, Lizard Head Cycling sources our favorite restaurants in each town that we visit. Our guides focus on establishments that offer fresh and local ingredients and guests choose whatever they desire to eat off the menu including: appetizer, salad, entrée, 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.

Ability Level: Can I Ride This Tour?

Definition of Ability Levels

= Intermediate (2/3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 1 to 3 times a week for a total of 50 or more miles.
= Upper Intermediate (3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 2 to 4 times a week for a total of 75 or more miles.
= Advanced (3/4) Rides and/or takes spin classes 3 to 5 times a week for a total of 100 or more miles. Has ridden multi-day tours and done a century ride.
= Expert (4) Rides 4 or more times per week totaling 150 or more miles. Rides E.F.I. with regularity. Has done numerous multi-day tours, century rides and races.

How Fit do I Have to Be? If one month prior to the tour, you can ride 2 to 3 times a week equaling a total of 75 or more miles a week, you'll do just fine. We like to jokingly say that "one is ready for a Lizard Head Cycling Tour when they are finished with tour" and this is true! The only way to simulate a week long bike tour is to go on a week long tour.

Our average rider age is 55 years. These are bike tours, not races so we take our time to stop, take pictures and see the sights. We have all day to reach our destination and most riders take "bumps" at some points. We offer reduced mileage options for each day. Of course if someone wants to ride E.F.I. (Every Freaking Inch), we love to show them all the extra climbs, loops and hidden canyons that can be included!

Do the Bump! Daily mileage options allow cyclists of varying abilities to enjoy this tour. One of our favorite options is to give cyclists a "bump" via the support vehicle, or a 10 to 20 mile lift down the road representing an hour of pedal time. After the bump the rider is "off the front" and riding at his or her own pace without feeling they are being left behind the group. They'll then have time to linger and take in the spectacular scenery. All cyclists come together in time for lunch. Afterwards, cyclists can take another bump and/or continue riding.

Seamless Mileage Options: Lizard Head Cycling Guides designs multiple mileage options for each tour – something we're well known for in our business. This technique is similar to heliskiing in that one does not ski everything, they ski the best. 🙂

Slow or Fast? Many cyclists who sign up for our tours have worried themselves silly about not being able to keep up, but then they're surprised to find that all the worrying was about nothing. They do just fine! Slow and Fast only exist relative to other cyclists. Speed does not matter as long as one is moving on the bike. As long as one is moving, they are truly going fast enough.

If you have questions about your ability to ride this tour, please contact our office via email or call us at 970.728.5891 - we'll more than happy to guide you!

Please also see this blog post for more information.

Overall Route Map

Below is an example of the daily routes for this tour and are subject to change based on season, available accommodations, road closures, and other factors. The actual routes will be made available to registered participants before their tour, so please view these routes as a general outline as to what to expect.

Southwest Colorado Road & Gravel Tour: Itinerary*

*PLEASE NOTE: Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations, road construction, road closures, and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Also, the distances and elevation profiles shown below may not reflect the actual distances and elevations while on tour as these are provided here to give an idea as to the anticipated mileage and terrain. Please view this itinerary, the distances, and elevation profiles as a general outline as to what to expect while on this tour.

Day 1: Unaweep Canyon to Gateway
Part #1 (Standard) Unaweep Canyon to Gateway: 19 miles with 2,500 feet of descending!
Part #1 (Every Freaking Inch/EFI) Unaweep Canyon to Gateway: 43 miles with up to 3,050 feet of climbing
Part #2 Roundtrip from Gateway along the Dolores River: 22 miles

The Southwest Gravel tour meets in Grand Junction, Colorado before cyclists head into the stunning confines of Unaweep Canyon. Unaweep Canyon is quite possibly the 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. This is mine expanding geology cyclists ride where a river once traveled. Although smaller in scale, the experience is akin to riding a bike through the Grand Canyon.

Upon reaching Gateway cyclists head out along the banks of the Dolores River on a beautiful 18-mile out and back gravel ride.

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 to Gateway: 19 miles +260 feet / -2,510 feet (100% paved)

Unaweep Canyon to Gateway EFI: 43 miles +3,050 feet / -3,195 feet (80% paved/20% gravel)

Dolores River Out and Back: 22 miles +930 feet / -930 feet (5% paved/95% gravel)

Day 2: Dolores River Canyon to the San Miguel Confluence
65 miles with up to 3,550 feet of climbing

We consider the first 25-miles of Day 2’s 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)

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

At the 35 mile point we divert onto a gravel road to the confluence of the San Miguel and Dolores Rivers. While the guides set up a lunch spread, at this wild confluence deep within the canyons, jump in for a wild swim! After lunch we continue our journey south following the Dolores River until we reach State Highway 90 upon which we ride our final miles to our luxury accommodations at CampV. What a day!

65 miles +3,127 feet / -2,299 feet (80% paved/20% gravel)

Day 3: Dolores Canyon Loop
50 miles with up to 3,875 feet of climbing

From our cabins at CampV we set out on a deep canyon ride into through Paradox Valley and soon hit the gravel to climb up to Monogram Mesa. From here the route takes a circuitous route around the base of Wild Steer Mesa and transverses the length of Monogram Mesa. We the drop back down to pavement to finish the ride back to CampV and settle into our lodging for another night.

50 miles +3,875 feet / -3,875 feet (30% paved/70% gravel)

Day 4: Nucla Loop 
60 miles with up to 5,095 feet of climbing

The Nucla Loop is a mixed paved and gravel route near the town of Nucla. The route joins a portion of the historic Rimrocker Trail for a mixture of hard pack gravel and pavement with excellent views of the eastern banks of the Dolores River Canyon. Riders take in these huge views and marvel at the ages old relationship of rock and river and how it is has crafted this stunning landscape.

Nucla Loop: 60 miles +5,095 feet / -5,095 feet (31% paved/69% gravel)

Day 5: CampV to Moab
Standard: 52 miles with 5,800 feet of climbing & 7,065 feet of descending
EFI: 77 miles with 6,870 feet of climbing & 8,230 feet of descending

This is a not to be forgotten journey from CampV over Geyser Pass to Moab meandering around the south side of the La Sal Mountains. This route literally takes cyclists from the redrock desert to the green mountains and then back to the desert!

CampV to Moab (standard): 52 miles +5,800 feet / -7,065 feet (45% paved/55% gravel)

CampV to Moab (EFI): 77 miles +6,870 feet / -8,230 feet (65% paved/35% gravel)

Day 6: Dead Horse Point State Park
28 miles with up to 2,930 feet of climbing

After breakfast on the final day, we ride to the best views in all of Canyonlands to Dead Horse Point State Park, have lunch, and then depart for a shuttle to Grand Junction to end the tour.

Dead Horse Point State Park: 28 miles +2,930 feet / -1,060 feet (75% paved/25% gravel)

Southwest Colorado Road & Gravel Tour: Logistics & FAQs

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

If you have not already, now would be a great time to consider adding travel insurance to your tour. You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you would like. We recommend Generali/Trip Mate.

Generally, if contracting COVID causes clients to cancel or interrupt their tour, trip insurance companies would treat it as any other illness as long as it is contracted after the insurance was purchased. Please check your individual plan documentation for details. Please note that quarantine is usually only covered if clients are actually sick with COVID. If a state requires quarantine upon arrival because of standardized state law, coverage is generally not covered. Again, check your individual plan documentation for details.

American Guests - use this link:

  • The Premium Plan is the only plan which offers Pre-Existing coverage so long as the plan is purchased prior to Final Payment.
  • The Premium Plan is the only plan that offers an optional Cancel For Any Reason - the policy must be purchased within 24 hours of initial trip deposit, the full trip cost must be insured, and if they cancel for Any Reason, it must be 48 hours prior to departure, and the reimbursement for an Any Reason claim is 60% of pre-paid, insured, non-refundable trip cost.
  • Customer Service can be reached at 1-800-874-2442 for coverage questions and policy modifications or to purchase by phone. Agency Code: LIZA0855

Canadian Guests - use this link:

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