Four Corners Trip Timing?

Discussion in 'The Rockies – It's all downhill from here...' started by shil, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. shil

    shil deus ex machina

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    I’m planning a springtime road trip to the Southern Rockies.
    Road bikes, if it matters.
    I’d like to explore a part of The States I haven’t seen before. Monument Valley, Arches, stuff like that.

    How early is too early to think about heading down that way? When’s the snow gone?
    When would you head out?
    Any and all advice is welcome.

    Thanks!
    #1
  2. VxZeroKnots

    VxZeroKnots Long timer

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    road bike? Late March would probably work or April/May would be better. If it keeps snowing like it has the snow will probably be gone in about 4 weeks. :D

    Seriously though you just never know around here, it'll still be fairly chilly in the high country until June, but everything below 8K ft/ 2.5K m should be good by April at the latest. Especially Arches and Monument Valley, that is prime time for that area.
    #2
  3. MTKNZ

    MTKNZ Touring Kiwi

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    +1
    I was there in April and it was perfect, not too hot, not too crowded, amazing place to be.
    Plan to do as much of Arches on foot as you can, really great trails there.
    Just in case you happen to be as crazy as me, riding a heavily loaded road bike around inside Monument Valley is great fun, but its a long way if you get stuck....DAMHIK!
    Have an awesome trip!
    #3
  4. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    Memorial Day gets to be too late. Hot after that.
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  5. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    if you can push it to sept/fall you could ride the lower stuff in more comfort plus the upper stuff is open too.

    as for just staying down low in the desert March and April works.
    it's the same time-frame that everyone migrates to Moab from Colorado.
    #5
  6. shil

    shil deus ex machina

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    Thanks. Hoping to make it down your way sometime this year.
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  7. oldmanb777

    oldmanb777 Just say NO to socialism!

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    Really depends. the weather can be great in January, but not dependable. I've also seen snow in May. But certainly spring is good, and fall is best. Some years it's nice all winter, some years it's snowy all winter. Gets more dependable later in the spring. Watch the winter storms develop in the Gulf of Alaska. they hit that area a week later.
    #7
  8. shil

    shil deus ex machina

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    I’ve come up with a tentative itinerary: Google Map
    Google Maps says about 30 hrs riding time, so about 6 hours a day for the week we’ve got. Are we perhaps rushing things too much?
    I’ve heard that the North Side of the Grand Canyon’s the way to go, but that’s not open ‘til mid May. Maybe it’s worth holding off ‘til then?
    Any must-sees I’ve left off? Anything here that maybe I should leave ‘til next time? Any suggestions?

    I’d love to spend a month. That’s not going to happen this trip, but I don’t want to wave at things as I blast by either.

    Thanks!
    #8
  9. FatChance

    FatChance Road Captain

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    Don't take 191 between Moab and I70, take 128 between Moab and I70 (Cisco). :nod
    #9
  10. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    Just a couple of other options...
    1-From the north side of Lake Powell you can take the Burr Trail(easy dirt) to Boulder, UT.
    2-From Mexican Hat, UT stay north of the Sleeping Ute Mountains on McElmo Canyon Road. It is north of your 490/160 route and will come out on Hwy 160 just west of Cortez.
    3-Owl Creek Pass (easy dirt, might not be open when you go) goes east from Ridgway, CO (550 at 62). This will come out on hwy 50 between Montrose and Gunnison. East on 50 to the Blue Mesa Reservoir then hwy 92 west towards Delta and back onto 50 north.

    If nothing else, don't miss 92! It runs along the north rim of the Black Canyon. I occasionaly find myself riding it both directions on day rides.

    Sounds like you have enough time. I've done the loop of Lake Powell including the Burr Trail in less than 3 days, taking my time.
    #10
  11. redninja

    redninja Will ride 4 scenery

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    Regarding the Grand Canyon....The North rim is way less crowded, but I think there are many, many more fabulous views from the South Rim. Especially since you'll be on a road bike....IMHO the main reason to go to the North Rim would be to ride all of the nice forest roads in that area, on a dirt bike.
    #11
  12. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Junkie

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    We did a ride very close to your route in 2007, it was the end of June and hot in Mon. Valley but there's an area off Hwy 12 that passes around Bolder Mtn south of Torrey where you'll be over 9600', it was pretty chilly there even in late june. There could be snow issues there well into May depending on the weather. I'd skip the South Rim on a MC, (Traffic & Tourists) the street riding is much nicer on the north side anyway. The area across AZ (Tuba City) is pretty booring. If you really want to see the GC my suggestion is to jump over to Vegas from Hurricane and catch a plane that will take you on a scenic flight over the canyon, the rim views pale in comparison.

    I'd also skip 550 north out of Durango and opt for the lesser traveled 145 through Teluride then catch 141 north into Grand Junction (you can thank me later :D) 550 is 4 lane much of the way and not near as street bike worthy (curvy) as the route through Telluride and the Unaweep scenic byway. Also once you pass Ouray, 550 flattens out, gets busy with traffic and towns. I've done both numerious times and only take 550 if I'm in a hurry. Once you leave GJ, you jump on 70 for a bit then follow the Colorado river into Moab. :clap
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  13. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    I wouldn't skip 550 if it is your only chance. The four-lane is really only hwy 50 north of Montrose. 141 is a hoot, though and should be on your hit list.
    How about 550 north to Ridgway, 62 west to 145 north to Naturita and 141 north? Misses Telluride (meh) and Lizard Head, but that's about all.
    #13
  14. Hondo

    Hondo What if it's a Samsquamch?

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    +1 to this.

    This is THE way to experience the Moab area for the 1st time (well, it always is a stunning ride!)
    #14
  15. shil

    shil deus ex machina

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    Based on forecasts and schedules we'll be heading west the first week of June.

    Thanks everyone for your ideas and advice! Much appreciated!
    #15
  16. beachmike1

    beachmike1 Adventurer

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    Okay NR is forested and neat .good dirt roads less views but very nice. Rode from NR to lake Powell scenic as all get out with the mesas on the north side of the road. SR more views some better neat place. Will not disagree but drive to SR from flagstaff dull as dirt. For the east much better.

    I am planning a similar route in the same time frame. Leaving LA early to get to Lost Wages by about 11. then continuing to mesquite and getting off the slab for SRs to Cedar city. i may stop in Pine valley for the night depending...Taking KLR planning to camp as I am cheap. S
    st. George is dull but has Starbucks..coffee is in Utah but do not get too excited about it. Think of Utah as the polar opposite of Seattle and you will get the groove. Learn to expect a different style. I am not judging nor LDS. I like the place and for the most part..excepting one s.o.b. in Bryce Canyon...oh and another fat asses sherif on the road frm Kanab to Bryce..the Utoids are great folks...okay the Arizona strip is full of weirdos.. But so is my home in Orange County ca. And most of NYC. Just different. Utah is one of the pretties places on earth.
    #16