Onion Creek to Castle Valley

Red rocks.  Blue sky.  Black knobbies. Flying dirt. The road that parallels Onion Creek outside of Moab, Utah is a true gem for dual sport riders. Click below for a taste of what you can expect…

Lion’s Park is in Moab at the intersection of 128 and 191 and makes for a good pit-stop before departing for the back-country.  Fill water containers at the fountain or water faucet, use the restroom, and make sure that fender bag is cinched and trail-ready.

At Lion’s Park and head east on UT-128 towards Dewey Bridge and Cisco for 20.0 miles.  The road parallels the Colorado River through a valley lined with sandstone cliffs.  Shortly after passing Sorrel River Ranch on the north side of 128 look for a brown sign indicating the right turn onto Onion Creek.  The turn is at the top of a rise and is easy to miss if you’re testing the speed limit. Reset your odometer after turning onto Onion Creek road.

Red rock lines the canyon walls along Onion Creek

The road turns to dirt and crosses Onion Creek several times. After getting your boots wet and climbing along a ridge-line the roads breaks into a high meadow after 8.9 miles.

Meadow of scrubby plants after climbing out of Onion Creek

Cross the meadow and after a total of 9.5 miles come to a Y in the road. A left turn goes to Rose Garden Hill and a right continues on this route. Bear right and proceed another 1.0 mile before making a left turn to continue on BLM 100.  A right turn will take you onto private land with signs that indicate to turn around.

The road quickly ascends to a notch after another 0.7 miles (11.2 total).  At the top of the rise between two sandstone cliffs is a cattle-gate.  Be sure to re-latch it after passing through.

View west after passing through the cattle gate on BLM 100

The road narrows and snakes for 3-4 miles among brush, trees, and a few creek crossings before starting to climb.  Be aware of cattle as this road crosses open range land. More than a few cows have ambled from behind a tree into our path as we’ve rounded a curve about to pick up another gear.

Rolling path among the trees, sand, and red rocks

Notch in the distance is the location of the cattle gate.  View is looking west

Continue to follow the beaten path and the road will climb east and then turn south.

View looking north as the road bends south and climbs

After 17.8 miles from the turn onto Onion Creek road you come to one of the best views of the ride. Here, you’re looking west into the Onion Creek drainage as the land falls beneath you in 3 to 4 grand steps.

Popular photo and snack location looking west

After a break at the look-out proceed another 3.7 miles to a T intersection with FR-33.   Turn right along this fast road with smooth dirt sweepers, but keep an eye out for ice in the shade…even in April.  Travel 4.2 miles and bear to the right at an intersection with another gravel road.  Arrive at Fisher Towers overlook after 6.5 miles (27.6 total). At Fisher Towers overlook the road turns to pavement and continues 16 miles down to UT-128.

Fisher Overlook is a 5 minute walk from the trail head.  It’s easy, even in boots.

Follow the pavement ribbon from Fisher Overlook down through Castle Valley to 128.  Turn left to return to Moab on 128.  On the way consider a restorative stop at Sorrel River Ranch, Castle Creek Winery, or Sunset Grill.  We especially like appetizers on the patio at Sunset Grill before heading back to camp for a shower.

Plenty of moto-parking at the top of the hill at Sunset Grill

Ride: Onion Creek to Castle Valley

Length: 80 miles from Lion’s Park in Moab

Description: Mix of dirt and scenic pavement on a big-bike friendly loop

Gas: Moab, UT

GPS data: Available on Dispatch GPS Page