There are a few stretches of road that stick with me long after I’ve left them behind. Utah’s State Route 128 from Cisco to Moab is one of them. This less-traveled road spans 60 miles, the last ten of it running alongside the Colorado River. If you’re driving to Moab from the east, don’t even think of staying on I-70 past the Cisco exit. Instead, follow the signs to Cisco (which is—truly—a ghost town), breeze on through, and soon you’ll be cruising through some of the most far-out landscape you’ve ever seen.
About halfway between Cisco and Moab, you’ll start passing Windgate sandstone towers. The Fisher Towers are the most noticeable—a climbing destination, of course, but also just a beauty to behold.
Before long, you’ll find yourself deep in a red rock canyon, trying to stay on the road as you look up the cliffs from your car window.
Two weeks ago, I took this route on my way to Moab, stopping along the way to gawk and take photos—even though I’ve driven this way several times before. I stopped so many times that the sun dipped behind the cliffs before I got to Moab.
Shadows covered the canyon walls, but just moments before, the river was glittering a liquid gold.