Meet your fellow cyclists this morning at our host hotel in Grand Junction, Colorado. After introductions and a brief orientation, we hit the road together. An hour transfer takes us over the border into Utah where we?ll begin our first ride. The scenery today doesn?t disappoint as we pedal the Upper Colorado River Scenic Byway, following the curves of the Colorado River with red sandstone walls and buttes rising alongside us. Our ride ends in the small bustling town on Moab, UT where we?ll spend the next several days exploring the best rides in the area. Lunch and dinner included.
Cycling: 44 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 1,693? / 2,073?; Van Transfer: 1 hour
After a tasty breakfast we ride out to the gorgeous Dead Horse Point State Park. Our route out of Moab begins on the Moab Canyon Pathway, a paved path designed specifically to help keep cyclists off busier sections of road and safe to enjoy the scenery. It?s a hearty climb up to Dead Horse Point but the vistas are well worth the effort. Look out over the zigzagging landscape of Canyonlands National Park below and the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers. After lunch we retrace our route back to Moab for another evening in the outdoor-centric town of Moab. Breakfast and lunch included.
Cycling: 68 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 3,638? / 3,638?
Today?s route takes us out of canyon country and into the forested scenery of the La Sal Mountains; home of the Moab Gran Fondo. We?ll be following their route in this mountain challenge. We start by retracing part of our first ride along the Colorado River but soon turn off into the beautiful Castle Valley. Here the steady climb begins and we test our endurance against the hills. Watch as the treescape transforms from Pinyon pines and junipers to oak and larger pines, along with some whispering Aspens. From the high point, the road is predominantly downhill, with some intermittent breaks in the descent. Enjoy your celebratory dinner at a local establishment of your choosing. Breakfast and lunch included.
Cycling: 63 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 5,408? / 5,408?
After yesterday?s challenge we take a well-deserved rest day off the bike. Instead we?ll use the morning to visit nearby Arches National Park. A short hike takes to Delicate Arch, one of the most photographed natural arches in the world. Enjoy some free time to rest and explore Moab in the afternoon before we transfer up and over the La Sal Mountains to the sleepy town of Naturita, Colorado where we?ll continue the next stage of our journey. Breakfast and dinner included.
Hiking: 3 miles; Elevation gain/loss: 480? / 480?; Van Transfer 1.5 hours
Our cycling today follows the Unaweep-Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway. This sparsely populated area once had established mining communities living and working here and now offers a lovely cycling route along a quieter route. Our path follows the Dolores River and past historic markers and now dormant mining sites. Our ride ends in the small community of Gateway, Colorado where we?ll enjoy a relaxing evening. All meals included.
Cycling: 51 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 1,741? / 2,565?
We continue our route along the Unaweep-Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway and travel into Unaweep Canyon, one of the prettiest sections of the ride. Unaweep Canyon is a geologically unique canyon that cuts across the Uncompahgre Plateau. The Ute Indian name "Un-a-weep," which translated means "canyon with two mouths" refers to the fact that from the Unaweep Divide, one mouth (East Creek) drains eastward to the Gunnison River and the other mouth (West Creek) drains westward to the Dolores River. Our ride ends in Grand Junction, Colorado where we?ll spend a final night and celebratory dinner together. All meals included.
Cycling: 53 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 3,188? / 3,099?
Our final ride doesn?t disappoint as we cycle the classic Colorado National Monument Loop. Back in the ?80s, there was a world-class cycling race in Colorado and many racers favorite stage was called ?Tour of the Moon.? While no longer used for competition, Colorado National Monument remains one of the most otherworldly experiences on two wheels, as long as you don?t mind working for the celestial views. Our route passes through a moonscape of majestic pillars of red rock and massive stones poised on needle-like precipices. At ride?s end it?s time to say goodbye and bring home amazing photos and experiences to remember. Breakfast and lunch included.
Cycling: 41 miles, Elevation gain/loss: 3,254? / 3,253?