Scenic Roads Happenings September 2009
Sand Flats Road
By Rob Cassingham
The Sand Flats Road is most commonly known as the access point for the world-famous Slickrock Bike trail, but the route continues for another 17 miles on a well-maintained dirt road through a landscape that is nearly National Park quality in terms of scenic splendor. Sandstone fins, deep canyons, vast sweeping panoramas-there is much here to delight the eyes, and on many days you will have it all to yourself.
Originally, the Sand Flats Road was the main route between Moab and Castle Valley prior to the construction of the River Road, which is today’s Utah Highway 128. The mesa that the road crosses is named Wilson Mesa, but the early road was so often covered with deep windblown sand that Wilson Mesa became commonly known as Sand Flats. A rider on horseback could ride the distance in several hours, but a loaded wagon would bog down in the sand and could take two or three days to make the arduous trip. Today, regular road maintenance has made deep sand a thing of the past, and this road is generally passable to passenger cars in dry weather. Please note that the road does have some short sections of minor washboard , so watch your speed. Too much speed on a corner rippled with washboards can result in your vehicle’s trunk trying to pass your hood!
To begin this scenic drive, drive to the intersection of Main and Center Streets in downtown Moab, and reset your tripmeter to zero.
Mile 1.9 Several of the many fine campsites nestled amongst the sandstone fins and bluffs.
Mile 0 You are at the intersection of Main and Center Streets, adjacent the Moab Information Center. Proceed south on Main Street
Mile .3 Turn left on 300 South
Mile .75 Turn right on 400 East
Mile .8 Turn left on Millcreek Drive. There is a small convenience store at this intersection.
Mile 1.3 Stop sign, and a three way intersection. You are to continue east and proceed up the hill. This is the beginning of the Sand Flats Road.
Mile 2.1 The Moab Landfill is on the right. Several years ago, the landfill was designated “America’s Most Scenic Dump”.