Utah Backcountry Discovery Route

The Utah Backcountry Discovery Route, or UTBDR, is a scenic driving route across the state of Utah, from Arizona to Idaho, for dual-sport adventure motorcycles and 4x4 vehicles. This 871 mile long south-north route uses mostly un-paved backroads and will pass through a number of iconic locations including Moab, Valley of the Gods, the Abajo and La Sal Mountain Ranges, Nine Mile Canyon, and the northern Wasatch Mountains.

The Utah Backcoutry Discovery Route was produced and released by Curbsyde Productions with major support from Touratech-USA, KLiM Technical Riding Gear, Butler Motorcycle Maps, NEMO Tents, WARN Winches, Sidi Boots, and Noren Films. Additional support provided by Canyon Lands Jeep Rental, BMW Motorcycles of Utah and The Edge Powersports KTM.

For ride reports, route updates, and to join or organize BDR rides, please visit the UTBDR thread on www.ADVrider.com and the Americas thread on www.advrider.com

Route Updates

April 2, 2015 - LaSal Store/Gas stop had closed.

3 Step Hideaway

Great Rides Utah Motorcycle Rentals

UTBDR

CLOSE MAP

AZ border to Mexican Hat

Sec 1 Mexican Hat to Monticello

Begin your epic ride in the idyllic setting of Mexican Hat. Fuel, food and lodging are available here, but we advise booking your room ahead due to the limited number of beds at this popular destination. The route officially starts just east of the town in the famed Valley of the Gods, site of legendary western movies and iconic sandstone towers-a dazzling display of pastel hues painted by the rising sun will surely motivate you to get up and out early. Once you rejoin the pavement, a brief ride up the Moki Dugway ushers you east onto Snow Flat Road and eventually north up Butler wash. Fuel up in Blanding to prepare for the Abajo Mountains stretch. WARNING! Stay tuned to the weather forecast and be prepared to spend the night if conditions sour-the road over the Abajos may become impassable in the rain and mud. HIGHLIGHTS: Valley of the Gods towers; swtichbacks up Moki Dugway; Native American artifacts in Butler Wash; views from the Abajo Mountains

Sec 2 Monticello to Dewey Bridge

Fill your tank to the brim in Monticello before heading out on a nice paved ride over Harts Draw Road. At the intersection of Highway 211, you’ll have a choice to make. For novice riders, the decision should be to go east towards the La Sal Mountains-the scenery is similar to the Abajos with spectacular views in every direction. Turning left here will eventually take you to Lockhart Basin, an experts-only trail and a 70-mile trip from Indian creek to Moab. WARNING! Do not attempt this section if you are not comfortable in advanced off-road situations (refer to video for more info). Both fuel and supplies are available at the Needles Outpost, a short distance from the turn-off to Lockhart Basin Road. Rudimentary camping is available along both routes, as well as along Onion Creek further north of Moab. Make sure to replenish fuel and supplies in Moab. HIGHLIGHTS: Newspaper Rock; Canyonlands National Park; Colorado River views; Hurrah pass; Onion Creek; historic Dewey Bridge

Sec 2 EXPERT ONLY Lockhart Basin

Sec 2 Winter Around LaSal Mtns ALT

Sec 3 Dewey Bridge to Wellington

As you heave the historic Dewey Bridge behind, the riding moves onto the flatter areas of Utah. Don’t be put off by the flat terrain. Old mining camps and abandoned uranium mines offer plenty to look at. The route will eventually pull you north of I-70 into the Book Cliffs, a 200-mile sedimentary rock outcropping. Get off your bike to check out the ghost town of Sego before dropping down into the town of Green River. Options are limited, but fuel for you and your bike are available here. Ray’s Diner downtown is a popular stop for travelers passing through. Just outside of town, the route heads north along Cottonwood Wash offering pleasant views of the San Rafael Swell to the west. Expect to make up some time along the Green River cut-off, which will take you west along the Cedar Mountain Recreation Area via a graded gravel road. If you do not plan on camping, consider riding a short distance to price, which has more food and lodging options than Wellington. HIGHLIGHTS: Yellowcat Mine; Book Cliffs; Sego ghost town; Sego cemetery; Ray’s Diner

Sec 4 Wellington to Currant Creek Hwy 40

Upon leaving Wellington, an old paved road ushers you to the mouth of Nine Mile Canyon, a beautiful 70-mile stretch of backcountry byway. While the canyon encompasses all types of archaeological sites, it is also home to the world’s largest concentration of Native American rock art, which dates back 8,000 years. Halfway through the canyon, turn onto Argyle Canyon and up to Highway 191, where you’ll cross onto Reservation Ridge. From here, the road rises to 9,000 feet offering gorgeous views that seem to stretch forever. WARNING! It is 240 miles from Wellington to Evanston. If your fuel range is less than that, take a quick detour to Soldier Summit for fuel. Continuing north, Timber Canyon offers a charming ride under a canopy of thick cottonwood trees along the Strawberry River. For those looking to camp, there are several campsites here, but please respect private property rights in this area! Section 4 officially ends at Highway 40 and Currant Creek Road. HIGHLIGHTS: Nine Mile Canyon; Reservation Ridge; Timber Canyon; Uinta National Forest

Sec 4 out to Gas

Sec 5 Currant Creek to Evanston

You’ll get high into Utah’s northern mountains on this stretch. After crossing Highway 35, follow a primitive road surrounded by evergreen and aspen trees. The road eventually tops out on a high alpine meadow with rewarding panoramas of the Uinta Wilderness. There is reasonable camping here though better sites can be found along the alpine lakes further ahead. For advanced riders, there are alternate trails up to the lakes—while challenging and rocky, they’re worth the trip if you and your machine are up to it. If you’re not, jump the highway and keep an eye out for signs labeled ‘Washington Lakes Trail’. The pavement of Highway 150 is unavoidable in the next section but it has been rated G2 and G3 by Butler Maps, and offers fun riding nonetheless. Turn onto Whitney Road to rejoin the dirt. The final section brings you to Evanston, Wyoming where you can fill up on fuel and food. HIGHLIGHTS: High meadows; alpine lakes; G2 pavements; miles of aspen-lined roads

Sec 5 up to Camping

Sec 5 Expert Whitney Bypass

Sec 6 Evanston to Garden City

Aside from staying in Wyoming and stitching together roads in the vast gas and oil fields, there is no way to avoid the paved section from Woodruff to Monte Cristo Ridge. Hang in there—once you arrive at Monte Cristo Ridge, the route winds through dense pine forests and offers a number of expansive vistas to the west and east. There are myriads of great camping sites the entire length of the road on the way to Garden City. At the end of the route, you will be rewarded with a view worth of the epic adventure you just experienced across the state of Utah. Head into Garden City for a cold pint or a cup of raspberry ice cream, the town’s specialty. HIGHLIGHTS: Outstanding views; tall pines; Bear Lake; raspberry ice cream

Garden City to ID border

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UTBDR FAQ

Below are answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about the Utah Backcountry Discovery Route.  

UTBDR Packing List

(This packing list serves as an example and is not intended to be a complete list for your backcountry riding needs. Feel free to customize this list to work for you.)