The path to Ray’s Tavern is paved in gold — or is it American cheese and fry sauce? Either way, Ray’s is the way to hamburger bliss after a weekend of concurring and communing with Mother Nature at her most brazen — namely, Moab and the surrounding Southern Utah recreational areas.

Myriad hiking trails, climbing routes, MTB singletrack, slot canyons and waterways fill a weekend adventure in Red Rock Country. But it wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Ray’s Tavern, a burger joint in the middle of quaint Green River, Utah.

Green River, a once bustling town and a hub for uranium mining and oil extraction, is now a little sleeper that’s primarily known for four things: delicious melons, the John Wesley Powell River Museum, being a pull-out for white water rafters, and for Ray’s quarter-pound charbroiled burgers.

Ray’s Tavern opened in 1943 and has long since been what Inside/Outside Southwest magazine called "a river rat Mecca." It’s true, and Ray’s attracts people from all sports.

Aside from whitewater rafting, Green River’s nearby recreational areas — the Book Cliffs and San Rafael Swell — offer opportunities for mountain biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, hiking, and off-roading. There are a number of Green River-based outfitters to equip folks for such excursions. And, of course, many travelers head straight for Moab and the Southern Utah national parks.

A relaxed setting for a meal and a brew, Ray’s is packed on Sunday evenings as people pass through en route to the Wasatch Front. The last of the weekend’s sunshine pours over the parking lot, which has more gear strapped to all-terrain vehicles than you could imagine. There are rafters and bikers sitting in the oaky interior or on the large patio. One can hear storytellers reliving the weekend’s many highs; in reaction, there’s tons of knee-slapping and guffawing.

And then there’s the food. Most folks stick with a pitcher filled with one of Utah’s fine craft ales and lagers and a burger. The menu is simple, and the charbroiled burger, in and of itself, is worth the pull-off from I-70.