State Route 128 is one of Utah’s prettiest state highways. It has been designated as the Upper Colorado River Scenic Byway, and is part of the Utah Scenic Byways program. Locals, however, call this stretch of road “the River Road.” It connects the I-70 to the US 191, just to the north of Moab, Utah, and follows the banks of the Colorado River through a spectacular gorge, with high, sheer sandstone walls that provide a beautiful setting as you travel in your Cruise America rental RV. This route exits the interstate at the ghost town named Cisco, and makes its way south towards Moab.
This area is known throughout the world as one of the most beautiful drives in the U.S. Keep in mind that, while scenic, you must be aware and alert, as there are parts of the highway that are narrow, with blind corners and no shoulders. If you were in a large, class A RV, this might be problematic, but fortunately, your class C RV will not present any challenges.
Many travelers miss the opportunity to travel on this road, as they take the modernized US-191, but if you’re traveling westbound on I-70, you save 45 miles in distance by taking SR 128, and you add a huge degree of scenic value to the journey. Those who choose to take it as a shortcut usually end up making it a regular routine when they make the trip.
Many describe this route as heavenly, as they watch the Colorado River appear, drawing closer and closer to the road. The river and the road meet up at the historic Dewey Bridge, built in 1916. It was the state’s longest suspension bridge until April of 2008, when it was destroyed by a brush fire that was started by a small child playing with matches. The bridge has been rebuilt, but is no longer used for a vehicle crossing. Once you cross the new bridge, you will see the splendor of the river at your side, and the scenic red rock cliffs begin to close in. The open plains disappear as they transform into a valley.
As you continue on towards Moab, you will remain mesmerized as you marvel at the sites. Because you’re in an RV, you won’t have to worry too much about potty breaks, but you should know that the first bathroom opportunity is in Hittle Bottom. This is where so many white water rafting trips begin. As a point of interest, you will find a grave there, marking the burial spot of a pioneer woman who was killed when she fell into the river in the 1800s, and died of pneumonia as a result. There is a campground there bearing the same name, which will accommodate your Cruise America RV should you decide to stay the night.
Once you get to the Fisher Towers area, you’ll find a Castle Valley and Professor Valley side road that leads explorers to Castle Rock, and on to the La Sal Mountains Scenic Loop. Here you will find numerous hiking and mountain bike trails, as well as beautiful campsites set amongst the Whispering pines, quaking aspens and picturesque babbling brooks. There are several lakes and streams throughout the La Sals, from which you can fish for trout. This area has been used in a number of western films, so if it looks familiar, you know why!
Along the route you will be treated to a view of several of the natural features that make up the Arches National Park, although from this route there isn’t an entrance into the park. There are some popular attractions along the highway, including Negro Bill Canyon, complete with trails for hiking, campgrounds and boat docks, which are found in an area known as Big Bend, where the river curves.
Note: The campground at Negro Bill is called Granstaff (Negro Bill’s last name), and will only accommodate vehicles 24’ or less, so don’t plan on parking your standard or large size Cruise America RV there.
The last stretch of the road winds along a fairly narrow shelf with steep cliffs to the east and the river to the right of you. Eventually you will reach Spanish Valley and Moab, all the luckier to have been treated to such breathtaking beauty.
Like so many other popular destinations, this road trip will create memories that last a lifetime, and there’s no better way to make it happen than in the comfort of a Cruise America rental RV.