The Upper Colorado River Scenic Byway is a roller coaster at first, dipping and peaking repeatedly as it passes through some relatively boring surroundings. Eventually, the road meets up with the Colorado River, and enters a dramatic canyon.
Leave Fruita on Interstate 70 westbound. There are two ways to reach Moab, via US 191 (the wide, fast, and somewhat boring route) or via Utah Rte. 128–the Upper Colorado River Scenic Byway. You can access the Byway from two exits off I-70, selecting the Rte. 128 exit (exit 202) will require a slightly
longer drive, but the road is much smoother and better maintained than what you’ll cross if you take exit 212.
Between Rte. 128 and the Colorado Border, Interstate 70 runs through an area of frequent dust storms. If the signs are flashing, turn your headlights on and slow down.
The first attraction you’ll reach along the byway is the Dewey Suspension Bridge. constructed back in 1916, this bridge was responsible for connecting Moab with the rest of the world.
: A wildfire that started a campsite near the Dewey Bridge has burned the bridge. As of the following day, nothing remained except for the cables and metal frames on either end of the bridge. An article from the Aspen Times
has more details. As I write this, I have heard of no plans to rebuild the bridge, but perhaps that will take some time.
Even though it was built nine decades ago, the Dewey Bridge is still Utah’s longest suspension bridge. At the time, it was also the second longest span west of the Mississippi.
Even though the Dewey Bridge has been recently restored, only foot traffic is allowed. The highway passes across a much newer bridge, just a few hundred feet away.
The nearby canyon walls, carved by the Colorado, are nice here, but become much more dramatic just a few miles down the road.
The view from the middle of the bridge.
Note: This trip was first published in 2005.