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

Moab & The Back of Beyond

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Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour: Highlights

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. To end the tour we now spend two nights at the spectacular Gateway Canyons Resort (nights 5 & 6)!

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

4-Day or 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.

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: 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

NOTE: 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.

2020 Spring Tour Dates

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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 Town: Grand Junction, Colorado (Sunday 8:00 a.m.)

Ending Town: Grand Junction, Colorado (Late afternoon on last day of tour)

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: $2,850 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: $1,650 per person.
No group discount on tours 4 days or less. Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.

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.

October Early Bird Pricing: Take $200 off 6-Day 2020 Road tours plus a $75 bike rental discount, or $150 off 2020 MTB tours for reservations made thru October 31, 2019. (NOTE: Western US tours only; this discount is not stackable with other discounts)

Single Room Supplement: For 6-Day Tour, add $550- 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).

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):

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 or post-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.

NOTE: 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.

Bike Rental

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. Ebikes excluded, pedal bikes only).

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

Read more on our Road Bike Rental FAQs page.

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.

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. ***

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

Day 1: Unaweep Canyon
44 miles with up to 3,050 feet of climbing

After a morning meeting at the Courtyard by Marriott Grand Junction and a quick shuttle from Grand Junction, we begin our Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour with a ride start along scenic byway Highway 141 into the intimate confines of Unaweep Canyon – a geologically unique canyon that cuts across the Uncompahgre Plateau. The route offers over 3,000-feet of climbing with a lunch at the Gateway Stables. After lunch enjoy a long downhill into Gateway, Colorado where we stay at the amazing Gateway Canyons Resort.

Unaweep Canyon

Unaweep Canyon

Elevation Profile: 44 mi +3050 ft / -3125 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.

Unaweep Canyon near Gateway

Gateway Canyons Resort

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

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

Day 3: Gateway Canyons Resort to Old La Sal
Standard: 69 miles with up to 2,950 feet of climbing
E.F.I.: 90 miles with up to 5,725 feet of climbing

The riding on this day continues following the dazzling scenery of scenic byway Highway 141 southward into Dolores Canyon. The first 30-miles of riding from Gateway Canyons resort are beneath 1,500-foot Redrock Canyon walls and many of our guests have called this section the “most beautiful ride” they have ever enjoyed. It is quite simply one of the most stunning roads in the country.

After reaching the confluence of the Rio Dolores and the Rio San Miguel the route heads west through Paradox Valley. The Standard ride ends at the famed Bedrock Store (circa 1881) and the E.F.I. ride ends just across the border into Utah in Old La Sal. From here it is a short shuttle to Moab, Utah to our accommodations and a well deserved dinner.

Dolores River Canyon

Dolores River Canyon

Paradox Valley on the way into Utah

Standard Elevation Profile: 69 mi +2950 ft / -2600 ft

E.F.I. Elevation Profile: 89 mi +5725 ft / -3200 ft

Day 4: Dead Horse Point
Standard, 56 miles with up to 3,340 feet of climbing
E.F.I., 102 miles with up to 4,650 feet of climbing

Todays route takes us early morning from downtown Moab, along paved bike trails past Arches National Park, and then up a 2,000-foot climb along Dead Horse Mesa Scenic Byway. Along the way we pass through deep canyons and quirky desert landscapes climbing to the top of a plateau to our destination of Dead Horse Point State Park. From here are magnificent and breathtaking views of the Colorado River just below and then Canyonlands National Park, the La Sal Mountains, and the Abajo Mountains in the far southern distance.

Reversing course from Dead Horse Point State Park we descend back down the morning climb along Dead Horse Mesa Scenic Byway and it becomes a screaming downhill… woo hoooo! Standard route riders shuttle back from the bottom of the descent and E.F.I. riders have the option of riding the remaining 13 miles back to our lodging in Moab.

Las Sal Mountains above Moab

Dead Horse Point State Park

Spring flowers in the desert

Standard Elevation Profile: 56 mi +3340 ft / -2820 ft

E.F.I. Elevation Profile: 69 mi +3650 ft / -3650 ft

Day 5: La Sal Loop Road to Red Cliffs Lodge
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 along the last 18 miles of the ride to end at Red Cliffs Lodge along the Colorado River.

High above Castle Valley on the La Sal Mountain Loop

Red Cliffs Lodge

Colorado River at Red Cliffs Lodge

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

Day 6: Stage 1 – Colorado River Road and Stage 2 – Colorado National Monument
Stage 1: 28 miles with up to 1,410 feet of climbing
Stage 2: 27 miles with up to 2,750 feet of climbing

The final riding day of the Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour serves up a classic two stage ride through the striking redrock-desert geography. From our lodging at Red Cliffs Lodge we head out along State Route 128, or “The River Road,” which 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.

After lunch we shuttle 50 minutes back to Grand Junction for stage 2 within 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.

At the end of the ride through Colorado National Monument we shuttle a few short miles back to Grand Junction and our final night of lodging at Courtyard by Marriott Grand Junction.

Colorado River

View from Rim Rock Drive in Colorado National Monument

Stage 1 Elevation Profile: 28 mi +1410 ft / -1060 ft

Stage 2 Elevation Profile: 27 mi +2750 ft / -2510 ft

Moab & The Back of Beyond Tour: Logistics & FAQs

Bike Shipping

Lizard Head Cycling recommends shipping with 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

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 MH Ross Travel Insurance. 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:

  • 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.

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