Sheep Creek Route (Grand Junction to Moab)

Sheep Creek 4×4 Route


There are a couple of possible routes to get from Grand Junction to Moab by staying off of the highway. I know a number of people are interested in taking Ds Road out of Grand Junction and across the Dolores Triangle to end up on Entrada Bluffs Road near the Dewey Bridge. While this is an excellent route between GJ and Moab, there is one huge problem with it; the crossing of the Dolores River is usually not crossable by most vehicles until later in the year. That means if you are heading to Moab in the spring or early summer, chances are that it is not a viable route for you.

There is another option that will take you across part of the Dolores Triangle, though. I call this the Sheep Creek Route. This route starts out the same way, by following Ds Road out of GJ and onto the Dolores Triangle. However, instead of taking the right turn towards the Dolores River ford, you will take the left fork and head towards Granite Creek. After dropping down to the Granite Creek crossing and then climbing back up the other side, this road will get narrow and rocky. It will be slower going from this point and hopefully you aren’t too concerned about your paint job, as the brush on this trail does get up close and personal to your vehicle.

After a right turn off of this trail comes the fun part. Descending the Sheep Creek switchbacks to Gateway. This section of trail is very steep and has a number of pretty tight switchbacks at the top. It is also prone to washing out, so you might want to check with the Grand Junction BLM office (970- 244-3000) before heading out this way. As a matter of fact, the switchbacks were just recently repaired by the BLM (May 2009) after having been washed out since the end of last summer (2008).

Once you reach the bottom of the Sheep Creek switchbacks, you will soon meet up and then parallel the Dolores River for a few miles to Gateway, CO. Back in Gateway you can stop and fuel up or grab a snack if needed. Cross the bridge over the Dolores and take a right into John Brown Canyon. From this point on, you can follow the Gateway-Castleton Road to the La Sal Loop Road, which will take you to Moab.

GPS Tracks for the Sheep Creek Route

  Google Earth Track (Version 1)

    GPX Track (Version 1)


If you have any questions, suggestions or comments about the Sheep Creek Route from Grand Junction to Moab, please feel free to post them below.

This page was last updated on: 12/19/2009

5 Responses to “Sheep Creek Route (Grand Junction to Moab)”

  • IntrepidXJ’s Adventure Weblog .: :. » Blog Archive » Dolores Triangle Route (Grand Junction to Moab) Says:

    […] travel part of this route when the river is flowing too much to cross, you could also look into the Sheep Creek Route as another […]

  • Grand Junction to Moab Routes | IntrepidXJ's Adventure Weblog Says:

    […] Sheep Creek Route An alternate option to the Dolores Triangle Route above during the spring and early summer is the Sheep Creek Route. This one starts out the same way, but instead of heading towards the Dolores River crossing, it turns towards Gateway and descends the steep and narrow Sheep Creek switchbacks. It is possible that these switchbacks could be washed out and not drivable (they were repaired in early 2009) so make sure to do your research ahead of time. Once you reach Gateway, you will follow the Gateway-Castleton Road towards Moab. […]

  • Clay Greathouse Says:

    This sounds like a great trip, after doing Black Bear as often as I do I search out tight Switchbacks;-) So the question is how tight comparing to black bear? How long time whys from Junction to Gateway? Are there any Mine or Ranch or Indian ruins along the way? Yes we are thinking this might be a fun Tour out of Junction!

  • Dan Kucera Says:

    I ran this route last Thusday, Oct 18th 2012. Made it through the switchbacks fine in my big truck (95 Land Cruiser on 35’s). I had to use my rear e-locker once to get across a wash just below the switchbacks, which had some big rocks in loose gravel. I was a little concerned because the only tracks I saw at the top were atv, motorcycle and bicycle tracks. Made it through just fine, though. Thanks for the blog and tracks – they were invaluable.

  • Randy Langstraat Says:

    Thanks for the update on the route, Dan. It’s actually been a few years now since I’ve gone that way. I should make it a point to get that way again soon.