Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour, Lizard Head Cycling Guides
   
107 Aurum St, Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 970.728.5891 info@LizardHeadCyclingGuides.com

Moab & The Back of Beyond

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

Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour: Highlights

Moab’s Back of Beyond Bike Tour delves into the heart of redrock canyon country of Southeastern Utah and Southwestern Colorado. Spend the first two nights at the spectacular Gateway Canyons Resort! Pedal beneath 800-ft redrock sandstone walls along the Colorado River, ride through the supernatural landscapes of Arches & Canyonlands National Parks, and climb the scenic La Sal Mountain Loop.

4-Day and 6-Day Versions!

Join Lizard Head Cycling for 4-days or 6-days on the Moab’s Back of Beyond Bike Tour. See tour dates below for potential departures.

“You Have Arrived at the Remote Outpost of the Resistance”
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.

The Dolores River Canyon in Colorado

The Dolores River Canyon in Colorado

High above Castle Valley, Utah

High above Castle Valley, Utah

The remarkable Unaweep Canyon

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Celebrate the Day!

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.

Exceptional Lodging!

The 6-day Moab & The Back of Beyond bike tour includes six nights of lodging that includes two nights at the spectacular Gateway Canyons Resort.

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: Testimonials

Read what previous guests on our Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour have been saying…

I am missing the days spent outside, the breath taking views, and the time spent getting to know this wonderful group of people. Thank you all for making my first bike trip such an amazing experience. – Jocelyn

Read This Trip Report: The Back of Beyond Bike Tour Trip Report

It was an outstanding trip with great scenery, wonderful camaraderie, and fantastic behind-scene support by Lizard Head. Based on this trip, I would definitely try another Lizard Head adventure, and certainly another cycle tour in USA southwest. The stark canyon geography, and sparsely traveled roads are a real treasure. Hopefully we can all enjoy another bike trip together real soon. – Doug

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

Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour: Dates

Any of the Moab & The Back of Beyond tour dates can be opened as either a 4-Day or a 6-Day tour. Whoever opens the tour first determines if it is either a 4-Day or a 6-Day version.

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.

2022 Tour Dates

  • April 6 to 8, 2022 Special 3-Day Tour (Book Now!)
    $1345/pp with 3 nights lodging. Meals include 3 breakfasts, 2 dinners, and 3 lunches.
  • April 10 to 15, 2022 (Book Now!)
  • April 17 to 22, 2022 (Book Now!)
  • April 24 to 29, 2022 (Book Now!)
  • September 25 to 30, 2022 (Book Now!)
    A new moon on September 25, 2022 means dark stargazing skies at night!

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.

Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour: Overview

PLEASE NOTE: This tour is offered with a 6-Day or a 4-Day itinerary. The 4-Day itinerary is a scaled down version of the full 6-Day tour. See details below.

Reptile Rewards

Tour Length: 6-Days/6-Nights | 4-Days/3-Nights

Meeting & Ending Town: Grand Junction, Colorado – Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT).

Meeting & Ending 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, reservations should be made in advance. Use this pre-loaded rate code to make a reservation at the Courtyard Marriott ($94/night) or call 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. Call the Clarion on Horizon directly 970.243.6790 to request a $84 rate.

Take The Train! An option for getting back to Denver after the tour ends is to take a multi-day scenic train ride on the Rockies to the Red Rocks Classic onboard the Rocky Mountaineer.

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: Intermediate (2/3) to Upper Intermediate (3) to Advanced (3/4)

Although the Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour is among Lizard Head Cycling’s “easier” tours, don’t be mistaken, this tour offers BIG challenge 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: $2,995 per person.
Special Offers: Group discount of $200 per person for groups of 4 or more. Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.

4-Day Tour Cost: $1,750 per person.
No group discount on tours 4 days or less. Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.

Single Room Supplement: For 6-Day Tour, add $590- total to the Tour Cost for a private room on all nights of the tour (6-nights). For the 4-Day tour , add $290- total to the Tour Cost for a private room on all nights of the tour (3 nights).

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.

6-Day Tour Includes: 6-nights of lodging! (including two at the spectacular Gateway Canyons Resort), 6-days of meals (aside from 2 dinners & 2-breakfasts), 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, please let us know when you register.

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 6-Nights (subject to availability):

4-Day Tour Lodging Includes 3 Nights (subject to availability):

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

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.

Overall Route Map

Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour: Itinerary*

*Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations, road construction, and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Please view this itinerary as a general 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. ***

NOTE: Due to lodging availability, the Moab & The Back of Beyond tour is often run in reverse, but the rides remain the same.

Day 1: Colorado National Monument and Unaweep Canyon
Colorado National Monument: 27 miles with up to 2,610 feet of climbing
Unaweep Canyon: 43 miles with up to 2,775 feet of climbing

After a morning meeting at the meeting hotel and a quick shuttle from Grand Junction, we begin our tour with a ride start near Fruita, Colorado and into Colorado National Monument. The 23-mile route along Rim Rock Drive in Colorado National Monument follows the redrock rim nearly 2,000 feet up a series of canyons above the Rio Colorado.

After the morning tour through Colorado National Monument and a short shuttle cyclists ride along scenic byway Highway 141 into the stunning confines of Unaweep Canyon – a geologically unique canyon that cuts across the Uncompahgre Plateau. Although smaller in scale, the experience of riding in Unaweep Canyon is akin to riding a bike through the Grand Canyon. The splendid resort of Gateway Canyons Resort in Gateway, Colorado awaits us for dinner and lodging this evening.

Colorado National Monument Elevation Profile: 27 mi +2610 ft / -2370 ft

Unaweep Canyon Elevation Profile: 43 mi +2775 ft / -2860 ft

Day 2: Layover in Gateway – Unaweep Canyon Out & Back
Standard: 30 miles with up to 2,370 feet of climbing
E.F.I.: 47 miles with up to 3,160 feet of climbing

With a layover day at the Gateway Canyons Resort, there are two ride options offered this morning. The first is to pedal 30-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. E.F.I. riders will also have the option to Reach the Summit by riding a few miles past the stables to the route’s high point and turnaround point at the Unaweep Divide to extend the ride which makes for a 47-mile round trip road ride.

After the morning ride on this layover day make certain to visit the amazing auto museum in the afternoon or to lay pool side at one of the two pool complexes. Gateway Canyons Resort is simply one of the most beautiful, luxurious, and relaxing resorts in the Western US.

Standard Elevation Profile: 30 mi +2370 ft / -2365 ft

E.F.I. Elevation Profile: 47 mi +3160 ft / -3160 ft

Day 3: Gateway to Camp V
49 miles with up to 2,340 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.

Elevation Profile: 49 mi +2340 ft / -1505 ft

Day 4: Camp V to Old La Sal
Standard, 27 miles with up to 1,790 feet of climbing
E.F.I., 40 miles with up to 3,645 feet of climbing

Starting from Camp V, we ride back north on Highway 141 and end the first segment with an aid station at the San Miguel River Preserve. From here we shuttle onto a gravel road to the Hanging Flume and then to the Rio Dolores & Rio San Miguel confluence where we will have lunch, swim and afterwards continue our shuttle to Bedrock, Colorado. From Bedrock we start our second segment by riding west on Colorado 90 to the Utah Border with an optional EFI climb to Old La Sal, Utah. From Old La Sal we shuttle to Moab and to our lodging.

Elevation Profile – Standard and EFI Routes

Day 5: La Sal Mountain Loop
Standard: 46 miles with up to 4,965 feet of climbing
E.F.I.: 60 miles with up to 5,650 feet of climbing

Our desert-canyon tour turns massif country, if just for one day, as today offers its riders the stunning La Sal Mountain Loop Road. The ride starts from downtown Moab proceeding south through Spanish Valley and then onto La Sal Loop Road just as we past Kens Lake. Soon the climbing starts as we ascend from desert into sub-alpine scrub terrain with rolls, turns, twists, and sometimes hairpins, through the La Sal Mountains and 100-mile views.

Upon topping out at the spectacular vista atop the La Sal Mountain loop cyclists will enjoy lunch with a view. The descent that follows into the stupendous scenery of Castle Valley is simply breathtaking as we drop nearly 4,400-feet in the last 18 miles to end the ride.

Elevation Profile: 46 mi +4965 ft / -4930 ft

Day 6: Optional Rides and Activities

After breakfast guests are own to engage in activities offered in the Moab region. Optional out and back rides include Arches National Park, along the Potash-Lower Colorado River Scenic Byway or the Upper Colorado River Scenic Byway.

If you ever wanted to go adventuring, you can on-your-own choose from the multitude of adventure options Moab offers. If you ever wanted to go hot air ballooning, bungee jumping, mountain biking, rafting, jeeping, side by side driving on Slickrock, sky diving, hot air ballooning, rock climbing, tandem base jumping and more, Moab is your place! Check out the Moab Utah Vacation Planning Website for a comprehensive list of area activities. We will help facilitate transport if needed to your activity of choice.

Alternatively, from your beautiful location, you can do absolutely nothing and just read a good book next to the Colorado River.

Day 7: Shuttle from Moab to Grand Junction

On Day 7 we depart Moab early in the morning for an 8:00 AM arrival at the Grand Junction, Colorado airport (GJT). If flying out on this day, guests should plan for a 9:00 AM or later departure.

Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour: Logistics & FAQs

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.

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.

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.

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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