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The Grand-Rocker Loop

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

The Grand-Rocker Loop is Moab's newest, long distance overland track that's soon to become a classic. The Grand-Rocker loop pieces together some of the the region's best terrain like the RimRocker, Kokopelli, and Tabeguache Trails, and takes adventurers into less explored areas far away from the crowds in Moab. If you're looking for a week plus adventure in Moab that features technical trails, alpine views, red rock canyons, and getting way into the backcountry, the Grand-Rocker Loop is your ticket!



Route Overview


Trip Length & Season

Adventure Rating: Epic Trip Length: 6-12 days days, 509 miles Season: Recommended June to October. This track may be accessible earlier/later in the season depending on snow.

Technical Ratings & Terrain

Recommended Vehicle / Moto / Adventure Vans

Fuel, Provisions, and Recommended Gear

Alternative Routes

Camping Recommendations

Discovery Points

Land Managers & Other Resources

Permits & Papers


 

Route Details

With all of the epic trails in the Moab region, we felt it was long overdue that a longer overland route was developed highlighting some of the region's best scenery and trails. Sure you've got the RimRocker and White Rim Trail, but these routes can be easily completed in 3 or less days. We wanted something that required folks to get way off the beaten path to experience the Colorado Plateau in all it's grandeur. And what better way to inspire a new adventure, than by looking to the past. The Grand Loop was one of the first long distance bikepacking routes that gained critical acclaim back in the mid 1990s before bikepacking had exploded in popularity (kind of like overlanding!). While not nearly as established as the White Rim Trail, the RimRocker has quickly become a local favorite for off-roader visiting the Moab region. The 500+ mile Grand-Rocker Trail derives it's name from these two routes, but there's so much more to the track! The Grand-Rocker Trail traces pieces of both the Grand Loop and the RimRocker Trail. Unlike the RimRocker and White Rim Trails, explorers will have the opportunity to take on some more technical trails, hence the need for a high clearance 4x4 (2" lift with 33" tires is recommended). Along the way adventurers will get to travel the famed Tabeguache Trail, Divide Road, Kokopelli trail, Top of the World, Dolores Triangle Safari Route, ford the Dolores River, Sheep Canyon, Fins & Things, Onion Creek and more.


Grand Junction serves as the official starting and ending location, but you may pick up the route where ever you please and travel in either direction. For the sake of this guide, we'll follow the route in a clockwise direction. The first stretch of the route follows in the tracks of the Grand Loop. You'll begin things off by crossing the Colorado River and following the pavement for several miles until reaching the Tabeguache Trail. The Tabeguache Trail is a bumpy and technical jeep trail. The trail is filled with all kinds of fun ledges, impressive views, rocky sections, and sections of slick rock. Plan to spend several hours navigating this section of trail. After you reach the bottom of the mountain near the Gunnison River, the track becomes climbing up the Uncompahgre plateau. You'll top out at about 9,400' elevation once you reach Divide Road (DP9). Divide Road is a graded dirt road with views for miles! As you head south, the track veers onto Nucla-Delta Road, which connects with the RimRocker Trail a short distance later. Like many trails in Moab, the RimRocker (DP is famous for it's views in the canyon country and alpine scenery traversing through the La Sal Mountains just east of Moab. The RimRocker follows along a series of impressive mesas, but begins climbing into the La Sals as you near the Utah border. As you begin climbing into the alpine, the red rock canyonlands disappear, which are replaced by lush green meadows and stands of aspen trees. The track splits off from the RimRocker and takes the high elevation pass over Geyser Pass (DP16). If you're traveling earlier or later in the season, consider staying on the RimRocker Trail into Moab (DP23), which tops out at around 8,600' versus 10,600' for Geyser Pass. As you descend into Moab, there are a number of cool discovery points worth checking out like Geyser Pass Yurt, La Sal Lookout Point, and the Porcupine Rim viewpoint. And just before you drop into town, you'll get to take on a section of one of Moab's most famous slickrock trails, Fins & Things (DP22) From Moab, follow the pavement until you reach the turnoff for Onion Creek Road (DP26). Onion Creek is an epic trail in its own rate. The trail parallels onion Creek in a massive canyon with impressive redrock mesas towering above. The track wraps its ways around Beaver Mesa, eventually descending down John Brown Canyon (DP1), a favorite trail among the adventure bike crowd. You'll pass through the tiny hamlet of of Gateway before heading into an area simply known as the Dolores Triangle. The key thing to know about heading into the Dolores Triangle is that you'll need to cross the Dolores River, which can be impassable after rainfall or snowmelt. Motorcyles will want to take the detour to avoid the river crossing, and overlanders should check with BLM regarding water levels. You should get a sense of how the river is moving upon arriving at Gateway. The track parallels the Dolores River for several miles. At the entrance, it's hard to miss the gargantuan cliff simply known as the Palisade (DP28). Many of the tracks in the Dolores Triangle are narrow, steep, rocky, and see little vehicle traffic. First up, is Sheep Creek Trail (DP29) that certainly fits the description. Expect a lot of exposure as you make your way up the track. There are several hairpin turns that require 3 point turns, but take it slow and use caution. Upon cresting the mesa, you'll follow a bumpy and underused trail out to the Steamboat Mesa (DP30) for some spectacular views. If you enjoy white knuckle trails, consider connecting Granite Creek with Sheep Creek (easy to find on Google), which takes this up a notch or two in terms of the steepness and narrowness of the trail! From Steamboat Mesa, the track follows a portion of the Dolores Triangle Safari Route, a favorite among locals local to do a quick day trip. The track then crosses the Dolores River. We recommend getting out and walking the river to check the depth, and if it's moving swiftly, we recommend turning rather than risking a destroyed vehicle (see alternative routes to avoid the river crossing). After crossing the river, it's off to one of Moab's most famous viewpoints, Top of the World (DP32). The track to Top of the World is very rocky, so expect to spend several hours making the out-and-back trip to the viewpoint. After crossing the Colorado River, the track jumps onto the famed Kokopelli Trail. Parts of the Kokopelli are smooth where a decent moving speed can be achieved, while others are a bit rockier and slow going-- but expect to have a lot of fun on this trail (DP34)! The final off road portion of the track goes up road 16 and through Coal Canyon (DP36), which still has active coal mines-- so be mindful of trucks moving industrial equipment through the area. The track finishes off with an absolutely magnificent piece of pavement through the Colorado National Monument via RimRock Drive (DP37). There's dozens of viewpoints along the drive, but our favorites are the lookout at Otto's View (DP38, requires a short hike) and Grand View (DP39). The route concludes upon crossing the river back into Grand Junction.


 

Maps + Navigation


Download Digital Mapping Files


 

Terms of Use: Should you decide to travel a route that is published on Overlandtrailguides.com, you do so at your own risk. Always take the appropriate precautions when planning and traveling, including checking the current local weather, permit requirements, trail/road conditions, and land/road closures. While traveling, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, and carry the appropriate safety, recovery, and navigational equipment. The information found on this site is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps), and all route guidelines were prepared under diligent research by OverlandTrailGuides.com, the route accuracy and current conditions of roads and trails cannot be guaranteed.

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