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The Grand Circle Tour
Motorcycling through Colorado and Utah
The Grand Circle Tour - definitely recommended for motorcycling, and best planned for times when school in session. You will encounter some of the most wonderful scenery in the United States, and various National Parks. This region of the country can get pretty crowded during prime vacation times, so plan this trip in the fall. Early Spring might also be possible, although you will probably encounter some snow in the higher elevations.
Me and My Motorcycle Somewhere in Utah
We chose to have our bikes taken to Denver by truck, and we flew from Chicago to Denver. Leaving in mid-September, we arrived in Denver with temperatures in the mid-70's, clear skies. The weather was so perfect that some of our group headed off for a quick mountain ride the afternoon of our arrival.
We woke the next morning to high winds and snow flurries, and made our way north to Glenwood Springs, Colorado. I remember this first day as being fairly miserable, riding out of Denver on I-70 in the cold, a heavy wet snow falling.
The Independence Pass
Whenever I know that a mountain pass is on the route for any given day, I always have a bit of trepidation, remembering our trip to the Alps. I rode my first mountain pass in dense fog, and while memorable, I don't really want to repeat the experience.
The Independence Pass in the Colorado Rockies was not as daunting. The road was good, in great condition, the curves are sweeping, and the view is unbelievable. We stopped at the top and took pictures, and then went onto Leadville, Colorado - a charming old town with the highest elevation in the Rockies.
With frequent stops for warmth and coffee, we made it to Glenwood Springs in the late afternoon. Along the way, the weather changed for the better - sunshine and much warmer temperatures.
We stayed at the historic Hotel Colorado, which I highly recommend. It is a wonderful old hotel, within walking distance of the famous Glenwood Springs pool.
The Beautiful Hotel Colorado
Moab, Utah and Arches National Park
From Glenwood Springs, we travel on to Moab, Utah - we choose the long way, through Grand Junction, Colorado, onto US 50 to Whitewater onto SR 141, through Gateway onto Naturita, Colorado. At Naturita, we took a hard right onto CO Highway 90 and onto Utah where the road turns into SR 46, passing the LaSal Mountains. We travel to Moab on US 191.
A substitute route from Glenwood Springs would be a 175 mile route on I-70 west into Utah. Use this one if you are riding in the rain, or you don't want to get your chrome dusty. The scenic route is about 100 miles longer, but it is definitely worth the time and rubber.
This was my first trip to Utah, and it is truly beautiful! You will encounter scenery that is unique to this region of the country. Words are truly not powerful enough - describing the rocks, the formations, the colors - cannot be done.
Arches National Park Near Moab, Utah
Arches National Park Map