The fun began many years ago when a bowling alley and roller rink opened in the south end of Moab. Bobby Bertwell, Gravel Pit Lanes senior pin setter mechanic, is the son of a former owner. He recalls that his dad started up the Canyonlands Bowling Tourney in 1978. That has run now for 42 consecutive years! In 1998 the alley was moved from its original location by a new owner, Jess Nations, to the site of a former gravel pit on Mill Creek Lane. The roller rink was left behind, but the original pin setting machines and lanes traveled to the new location, and the alley’s primary activity continued unaltered for years.
Great and unexpected changes were ahead! They began in 2014 when Erik Hansen purchased the business, and are being further developed by his personable son Karsten, who took over management this year. He and his dad created the Alley Sports Pub, a sports bar in its own huge room that serves food specials four nights a week (99¢ Taco Tuesday, 39¢ Wing Wednesday, 99¢ Taquito Thursday, and $6 Fish Friday), and offers a large number of different beers, twenty on tap. The décor is fantastic; antiques mingle with a sculpture of a golfer by artist Lyle Nichols, leather booths and couches, a beautiful gas fireplace, and fourteen TV screens, one big enough to sleep on. Though off the beaten track, its popularity is growing.
Bowling has changed with the times; commitment to leagues has waned, but folks continue to really like the sport. The 42nd Canyonlands Bowling Tourney was held early this year and many groups participated. A serious bowler can purchase all the equipment he will ever need right here, from a vast array of balls to bags for the balls. Casual bowlers of all ages are welcomed to work on their skills. A variety of Birthday bowling packages are offered at great prices, and the lanes are open daily.
Bright, clean, and well-decorated (with portions of Erik’s immense collection of antiques and oddities), Gravel Pit Lanes is welcoming from the moment you walk in, though Groucho Marx (another Lyle Nichols work) has done his best to welcome you outside! In addition to the twelve bowling lanes, the massive service counter, and the Pub, there is a spacious venue where two DJs have been livening up the Saturday Latin Night with Hispanic music and dancing (temporarily suspended.) Beyond that are two pool tables, a foosball table, an air hockey table, and numerous arcade games with a brand new jukebox to entertain the players.
Clearly a sharp business man, Karsten Hansen is enthusiastic and far sighted. He operates the business with his eye on its future. His hope is that Gravel Pit Lanes will continue to be a place where families can come and have fun, and he wants to develop the concept of a family fun center farther. There is the possibility of building a mini golf course in front of the building, and of creating an outdoor bar at the back of the building with access to games such as bocce ball and a small disc golf course. Meanwhile, there is plenty here to keep a family happy!
Looking for fun? Look no farther: Gravel Pit Lanes is open daily with bowling, pool, pinball machines and good food. What a great place for a birthday party, whether young or old! Hours are 4pm to10pm (or closing) Monday through Saturday, and Sunday 11am to close for Sunday Brunch and the NFL Sunday Ticket. Located at 1078 Millcreek Drive, the phone is 435-259-4748. Please check out the web site for more information and a map, and head on over! www.gravelpitlanes.com