Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route

COBDR route

If getting high is your thing, Colorado offers some of the tallest mountains passable by motorcycle in the US. With several passes over 12,000 feet, there is no shortage of views on this route, just shortness of breath while taking in the sights in the thin air of Ophir, Corkscrew, Hurricane, California, Cinnamon, Cumberland, Cottonwood, Weston and Hagerman passes.

Beginning in the four corners location where, CO, AZ, NM and UT intersect, this 675-mile route winds its way north through the Rocky Mountains to the Wyoming border. The terrain includes dirt roads with rocks, sand and even a few water crossings to keep it exciting.

Best time of year: July through September. Most of the route can be done in late June. Depending on snowpack you might not make it through some high passes until sometime in July.


Additional Route Information

In addition to the Interactive COBDR Map on the right, SheADV.com hosts an interactive BDR Map that shows current weather conditions, estimated snow levels, and forest fires for all BDR's.

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


Route Updates

Feb 10, 2017 - Cottonwood Pass to Close Summer 2017.  Detour available

Feb 5, 2017 -  Colorado has recieved 150% of usual snowfall state wide, so passes may open late.  More info here

May 17, 2016 - Current Snow Levels - For up to date information on current snow levels in Colorado, visit http://www.weatherstreet.com/weather-forecast/colorado-snow-cover.htm


Businesses Servicing the Route (Food/Lodging/Gas)

The Pony Expresso: 795 Railroad Ave. (Hwy. 145), Dolores, CO 81323.  Tel. 970-882-7950.

 

 

COBDR

CLOSE MAP

Backcountry Discovery Routes

Backcountry Discovery Routes Headquarters

Big G on 40 (Fruitland, UT)

45000 W Highway 40, Fruitland, Utah 84027
Tel. (435) 548-2636
Mon-Sun: 6:00 am - 10:00 pm
Big G on 40 includes: gas/fuel station, cafe, groceries. Hours of operation: Fuel 24 hours, DEF on tap, Cafe 6am-8pm, Store hours: 7 days a week 6am-10pm.
 

Winona Trading Post & Towing (Flagstaff, AZ)

I-40 and BDR Route
Day - 928-527-1177  Eve. 928-853-3676
Services: Gas, Groceries, Liquor, Towing Service

EL Farolito (El Rito, NM)

Cafe Abiquiu (Abiquiu, NM)

Bode's General Store (Abiquiu, NM)

EL Bruno's Restaurant & Cantina (Cuba, NM)

EL Cafecito (Grants, NM)

The Pony Expresso (Dolores, CO)

Idaho Border

on route

Bear Lake Overlook

on route

Bear Lake Shoreline Access

on route

Temple Peak Summit

side trip

Monte Cristo Range

on route

Current Creek Reservoir

on route

Bald Mountain Pass

on route

Reservation Ridge Views at Indian Head

on route

Smith Cabin

on route

Nine Mile Canyon Petroglyphs at Pig Head Rock

on route

Sego Canyon Rock Art Site

on route

Dewey Historic Bridge

on route

Sego Canyon Ghost Town

on route

Fisher Towers Viewpoinit and Campground

side trip

The Narrows

on route

Castle Valley Overlook

on route

Hideout Canyon Viewpoint

on route

Moab Visitor Center

on route

La Sal Pass (on La Sal Route)

on route

Hurrah Pass (on Lockhard Route)

on route

La Sal Store at La Sal (on La Sal Route)

on route

Big Spring Canyon Overlook

side trip

Needles Outpost (on Lockhard Route)

on route

Newspaper Rock Petroglyph Panel

on route

Abajo Mountains Viewpoint

on route

Gooseberry Guard Station Meadow

on route

The Notch in Elk Ridge

on route

Natural Bridges National Monument

side trip

Bears Ears Pass

side trip

Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum, Blanding

side trip

Butler Wash Ruins

Hike

Wolfman Petroglyph Panel

Hike

Sand Island Petroglyph Panel

side trip

The Twist

on route

Goosenecks State Park Viewpoint

side trip

Mexican Hat Rock

on route

Swinging Steak Restaurant in Mexican Hat

on route

Moki Dugway Switchback

on route

Mulley Point Viewpoint

side trip

Valley of the Gods Scenic Route

on route

San Juan River Bridge

on route

Arizona Border

on route

Monument Valley

Side Trip

STRAWBERRY Wildfire

Report Date: 08/10/2016
Latitude: 39.048
Longitude: -114.306
Fire Location: N/A
Fire Size: 4700 acres (1902.0 ha)
Percent Contained: 90.0%
Expected Containment: 8/19/2016
Fire Type: Wildfire
Team Type: Incident Management Team - Type 2
See http://www.nifc.gov/news/sitreprt.pdf for more information

BRIGGS Wildfire

Report Date: 08/14/2016
Latitude: 38.340
Longitude: -112.469
Fire Location: N/A
Fire Size: 200 acres (80.9 ha)
Percent Contained: 0.0%
Expected Containment: 10/1/2016
Fire Type: Wildfire
Team Type: Unknown
See http://www.nifc.gov/news/sitreprt.pdf for more information

TWIN LAKES Wildfire

Report Date: 08/09/2016
Latitude: 43.894
Longitude: -108.981
Fire Location: N/A
Fire Size: 200 acres (80.9 ha)
Percent Contained: 40.0%
Expected Containment: 8/20/2016
Fire Type: Wildfire
Team Type: Incident Management Team - Type 2
See http://www.nifc.gov/news/sitreprt.pdf for more information

SPRING CREEK 2 Wildfire

Report Date: 08/13/2016
Latitude: 39.378
Longitude: -108.069
Fire Location: N/A
Fire Size: 700 acres (283.3 ha)
Percent Contained: 90.0%
Expected Containment: 8/25/2016
Fire Type: Wildfire
Team Type: Unknown
See http://www.nifc.gov/news/sitreprt.pdf for more information

HAPPY HOLLOW Wildfire

Report Date: 08/14/2016
Latitude: 40.499
Longitude: -108.571
Fire Location: N/A
Fire Size: 335 acres (135.6 ha)
Percent Contained: 75.0%
Expected Containment: 8/20/2016
Fire Type: Wildfire
Team Type: Unknown
See http://www.nifc.gov/news/sitreprt.pdf for more information

BEAVER CREEK Wildfire

Report Date: 08/10/2016
Latitude: 40.958
Longitude: -106.634
Fire Location: N/A
Fire Size: 35543 acres (14383.7 ha)
Percent Contained: 44.0%
Expected Containment: 10/21/2016
Fire Type: Wildfire
Team Type: Unknown
See http://www.nifc.gov/news/sitreprt.pdf for more information

WASHAKIE PARK Wildfire

Report Date: 08/11/2016
Latitude: 42.994
Longitude: -108.997
Fire Location: N/A
Fire Size: 550 acres (222.6 ha)
Percent Contained: Unknown
Expected Containment: Not Reported
Fire Type: Other
Team Type: Unknown
See http://www.nifc.gov/news/sitreprt.pdf for more information

LAVA MOUNTAIN Wildfire

Report Date: 08/10/2016
Latitude: 43.642
Longitude: -109.968
Fire Location: N/A
Fire Size: 14644 acres (5926.2 ha)
Percent Contained: 95.0%
Expected Containment: 9/1/2016
Fire Type: Wildfire
Team Type: Unknown
See http://www.nifc.gov/news/sitreprt.pdf for more information

Winona Trading Post & Towing (Flagstaff, AZ)

I-40 and BDR Route
Day - 928-527-1177  Eve. 928-853-3676
Services: Gas, Groceries, Liquor, Towing Service

Colorado Motorcycle Adventures

Ride in comfort and style with Colorado's premiere adventure motorcycling and rental company, located in Denver, CO.  Colorado Motorcycle Adventures is a BMW Motorrad partner and the only BMW certified touring company in the USA. They offer late model dual-sport motorcycles, provide route suggestions, self-guided tours, and all-inclusive guided tours of the Rocky Mountains. Whether you want a one day adventure or a two week ride-of-a-lifetime, the guys at Colorado Motorycle Adventures have over 20 years of experience riding motorcycles across the country, and will put their knowledge and expertise to work for you. Your ride awaits. Live Large, Explore More!

Colorado Motorcycle Adventures

Ride in comfort and style with Colorado's premiere adventure motorcycling and rental company, located in Denver, CO.  Colorado Motorcycle Adventures is a BMW Motorrad partner and the only BMW certified touring company in the USA. They offer late model dual-sport motorcycles, provide route suggestions, self-guided tours, and all-inclusive guided tours of the Rocky Mountains, as well as tours on the BDR's. Whether you want a one day adventure or a two week ride-of-a-lifetime, the guys at Colorado Motorycle Adventures have over 20 years of experience riding motorcycles across the country, and will put their knowledge and expertise to work for you. Your ride awaits. Live Large, Explore More!

Big G on 40 (Fruitland, UT)

45000 W Highway 40, Fruitland, Utah 84027
Tel. (435) 548-2636
Mon-Sun: 6:00 am - 10:00 pm
Big G on 40 includes: gas/fuel station, cafe, groceries. Hours of operation: Fuel 24 hours, DEF on tap, Cafe 6am-8pm, Store hours: 7 days a week 6am-10pm.
 

Winona Trading Post & Towing (Flagstaff, AZ)

I-40 and BDR Route
Day - 928-527-1177  Eve. 928-853-3676
Services: Gas, Groceries, Liquor, Towing Service

EL Farolito (El Rito, NM)

Cafe Abiquiu (Abiquiu, NM)

Bode's General Store (Abiquiu, NM)

EL Bruno's Restaurant & Cantina (Cuba, NM)

EL Cafecito (Grants, NM)

The Pony Expresso (Dolores, CO)

Idaho Border

on route

Bear Lake Overlook

on route

Bear Lake Shoreline Access

on route

Temple Peak Summit

side trip

Monte Cristo Range

on route

Current Creek Reservoir

on route

Bald Mountain Pass

on route

Reservation Ridge Views at Indian Head

on route

Smith Cabin

on route

Nine Mile Canyon Petroglyphs at Pig Head Rock

on route

Sego Canyon Rock Art Site

on route

Dewey Historic Bridge

on route

Sego Canyon Ghost Town

on route

Fisher Towers Viewpoinit and Campground

side trip

The Narrows

on route

Castle Valley Overlook

on route

Hideout Canyon Viewpoint

on route

Moab Visitor Center

on route

La Sal Pass (on La Sal Route)

on route

Hurrah Pass (on Lockhard Route)

on route

La Sal Store at La Sal (on La Sal Route)

on route

Big Spring Canyon Overlook

side trip

Needles Outpost (on Lockhard Route)

on route

Newspaper Rock Petroglyph Panel

on route

Abajo Mountains Viewpoint

on route

Gooseberry Guard Station Meadow

on route

The Notch in Elk Ridge

on route

Natural Bridges National Monument

side trip

Bears Ears Pass

side trip

Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum, Blanding

side trip

Butler Wash Ruins

Hike

Wolfman Petroglyph Panel

Hike

Sand Island Petroglyph Panel

side trip

The Twist

on route

Goosenecks State Park Viewpoint

side trip

Mexican Hat Rock

on route

Swinging Steak Restaurant in Mexican Hat

on route

Moki Dugway Switchback

on route

Mulley Point Viewpoint

side trip

Valley of the Gods Scenic Route

on route

San Juan River Bridge

on route

Arizona Border

on route

Monument Valley

Side Trip

Winona Trading Post & Towing (Flagstaff, AZ)

I-40 and BDR Route
Day - 928-527-1177  Eve. 928-853-3676
Services: Gas, Groceries, Liquor, Towing Service

NMBDR Movie Premiere - Salt Lake City, UT

NMBDR Premiere in Salt Lake City, UT

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Brewvies Cinema Pub, 677 South 200 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84101.

7:00 pm - Doors open 
7:30 pm - Movie followed by Q&A

Guest Speakers: Kevin Woody, BDR Ambassador and NMBDR Expedition Member.

Tickets: $10 each or $15 for two.  Purchase tickets in advance in person at Harrison Eurosports, located at 339 W 9000 S in Sandy, Utah; or by calling (801) 562-0100.  No tickets will be avaialble at the door. 

For more information: Call (801) 562-0100 or visit the Facebook Event Page.

This event is presented by Harrison Eurosports.

Experience challenging riding on remote backcountry roads covering 1,200 miles through the beautiful state of New Mexico.  Discover New Mexico’s scenic terrain including high-elevation forests, mountains, deserts and canyons. You will experience the unique culture and history of New Mexico’s rural towns, native reservations, historic locations & more.



NMBDR Movie Premiere - Albuquerque, NM

NMBDR Premiere in Albuquerque, NM 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Kimo Theatre423 Central Ave N.W. Albuquerque, NM 87102.

2:00 pm - Doors open 
2:30 pm - Movie followed by Q&A 

Sandia BMW Motorcycles, the Presenting Sponsor of the NMBDR, is organizing a ride to the event from their dealership. The group gathers at Sandia at 11:00 am and leaves for the theatre around 12:30 pm.

Guest Speakers: Rob Watt, NMBDR route architect and BDR Board Member; Roger Pattison, NMBDR scouting and expedition team member.

Tickets: $12. Purchase your tickets at http://www.kimotickets.com/event/233137.  

Parking: Free Sunday meter parking is available on Central Avenue.  There is a paid parking garage behind the KiMo Theatre on 5th Street and Copper, as well as a surface parking lot on 6thStreet and Central. (Note, the theatre does not validate parking).

For more information: Call (888) 898-9985 or visit http://www.sandiabmwmotorcycles.com

This event is presented by Sandia BMW Motorcycles.

Experience challenging riding on remote backcountry roads covering 1,200 miles through the beautiful state of New Mexico.  Discover New Mexico’s scenic terrain including high-elevation forests, mountains, deserts and canyons. You will experience the unique culture and history of New Mexico’s rural towns, native reservations, historic locations & more.


Albuquerque NMBDR premiere

 


Rocky Mountain ATV/MC

Built by a team of riders as passionate about adventure motorcycling as you are, Rocky Mountain ATV/MC has become the go-to source for adventure riders everywhere. With dedicated categories for riding gear, adventure tires, luggage/panniers, camping gear and motorcycle parts, Rocky Mountain ATV/MC is your online stop for adventure.

Sec 1 Four Corners to Telluride

The official start of the COBDR begins at the Four Corners Monument where the borders of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado converge. This is Tribal land so backcountry travel is very limited. The official BDR track follows paved roads to the small town of Dolores before peeling off onto the dirt. Riders can fill up with fuel there before heading north on a mix of narrow two track and wide graded roads on the way toward Groundhog Reservoir. There is a small convenience store at the reservoir for drinks and snacks. While the official route takes off on a dirt road just before the town of Telluride, consider riding through the historic downtown and up to Bridal Veil Falls. Highlights: Four Corners Monument, San Miguel Mt Range, Bridal Veil Falls, Downtown Telluride Lodging:Cortez, Telluride

Sec 2 Telluride to Lake City

Section 2 brings riders through the heart of Southern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. Dramatic passes, ghost towns and one of a kind vistas make this section a highlight of the trip. The first riding challenge comes on Ophir Pass, just outside Telluride. This is a rocky road with tight switchbacks that require a slow and methodical pace. At Highway 550, riders will have several miles of pavement before heading east on rugged backroads toward Lake City over several high altitude passes. The charming town of Ouray is several miles off route, but is worth the detour especially if you’re looking for a real bed and a warm meal. The ride from Ouray to Lake City covers incredible terrain over Corkscrew Pass, California Pass, and Cinnamon Pass. Expect to take the better part of a day to explore this area. There will more than enough excuses to stop for a photo and wander around historic mining towns. Highlights: Ophir Pass, Downtown Ouray, ghost towns including Animas Forks, numerous high passes. Camping: Primitive camping at base of Corkscrew Pass just off of Hwy 550 as well as near Lake City. There is also a state campground with services along Lake San Cristobal. Lodging: Ouray, Lake City

Gas to Telluride

Fuel available in Telluride

Gas to Ouray

Fuel available in Ouray

Alt Sec 3 Easy Ouray to Lake City

Alternative route - easy bypass.

Sec 3 Lake City to Buena Vista

Section 3 is a much different riding experience than the first two sections. The roads are wider and faster, allowing for quick miles between fuel stops in Lake City and Taylor Park. For those looking to camp, primitive but beautiful spots can be found nearLos Pinos Pass. The small mining towns of TinCup & Pitkin are worth a stop and offer a few choices for food and supplies. If fuel range is an issue, fill up in Taylor Park before heading over Cottonwood Pass. A few small water crossings make the route interesting before hitting the well-traveled oiled and blacktop surface of Cottonwood Pass. Buena Vista is one of the larger towns along the COBDR with plenty of places to eat and sleep. Highlights: Pitkin, Tincup, Cumberland Pass, Cottonwood Pass, Moose and other wildlife on Los Pinos Pass, Water Crossings

Gas to Lake City

Gas available in Lake City

Alt Sec 4 Easy Go around Home Gulch

Alternative route - easy bypass.

Gas to Taylor Park

Gas available in Taylor Park

Sec 4 Buena Vista to Gypsum

Be prepared for varying types of roads in Section 4. Just outside Buena Vista, the route follows sandy two-track through an OHV area. Heading north, riders will traverse three major alpine passes on your way to the high desert landscape of Gypsum. Weston Pass is the first and has no major obstacles. Food, lodging and fuel are available in Leadville, a historic mining town and one-time front runner for Colorado state capital. Haggarman Pass is typical of Colorado’s backcountry, offering stunning views of the rugged alpine tundra. After descending into the Fryingpan River valley for a short stint on black top, the route heads north again over Crooked Creek Pass. Lime Creek Park has a few primitive camp sites at the base of a steep limestone canyon. Alternatively, ride to the other side of the pass and pay for spot at Sylvan Lake State Park. Narrow logging and hunting roads will bring you from Sylvan to Gypsum through dense pine and aspen forest.

Sec 5 Gypsum to Steamboat Springs

Section 5 begins on a mellow dirt road that runs past the town’s namesake gypsum mine north of town. Low sage and black dirt offer a unique contrast to the alpine settings experienced in previous sections. Wilderness and private land limit off-road options through this part of the state, so a small section of paved riding is necessary to link the best dirt sections together. Keep an eye out for State Bridge along the Colorado River and Highway 131. This funky venue offers camping in teepees and yurts, and live music events. North of State Bridge you’ll encounter mellow dirt roads with a few shallow water crossings. Camping is very limited once you cross over Highway 134 near Gore Pass, so riders looking to pitch a tent should keep their eyes peeled between State Bridge and the historic stagecoach stop just south of the highway. The small section of road below the dam at Stagecoach Reservoir is particularly stunning in the early morning or late evening when the sun bounces off the river winding next to the road. Highlights: Colorado River, Historic Stagecoach, downtown Steamboat Springs Camping: State Bridge, Campgrounds at Stagecoach Reservoir

Sec 6 Steamboat to Wyo Border

The final section of the route is a mellow one. Just north and west of Steamboat Springs, the route connects gently winding roads through lush farmland. These are well used roads, so be wary of farm trucks and other traffic. As you pass Steamboat Lake, the road narrows into serene pine forest, but remains relatively easy. Highlights: Steamboat Lake, aspen forests, Little Snake River Valley. Camping: Steamboat Lake, Routt National Forest

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COBDR FAQ

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

COBDR 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.)

COBDR Discovery Points

COBDR Restaurants

COBDR Gas Stations

COBDR Wildfires