New Mexico Backcountry Discovery Route

NMBDR route

If you grew up watching westerns on TV, the landscapes on the New Mexico BDR will bring back memories. It’s true Wild West with the history to prove it.

You’ll ride through areas where the notorious outlaw ‘Billy the Kid’ made history by eluding authorities and see the land the same way he did because not much has changed in many of these places. Wild horses, landscapes that roll on forever and the tiniest of towns highlight this route.

Beginning in Dell City, TX you’ll enjoy the Guadalupe Rim views on your way to the high-elevation historic town of Cloudcroft. Hot springs, and lakeside camping can be found on your way into the mountains of the Gila National Forest and you’ll even be a stone’s throw from AZ before heading back to the north east toward Colorado. Highlights include Chloride Canyon, long stretches between towns and endless dispersed camping options. The last section north of Abiquiu winds through high mountains with open meadows with groves of aspen trees and is as beautiful as it gets.

Best time of year: Late May/June and September/October. July and August are monsoon season with extremely high temperatures and not recommended.


The NMBDR is presented by Sandia BMW Motorcycles, with additional support from Santa Fe BMW Motorcycles.


Additional Route Information

In addition to the Interactive NMBDR 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 the latest route upates, visit the BDR Facebook page and the NMBDR Thread on ADVrider.com, where you and other riders can post experiences, photos, and road condition reports.


Route Updates

June 16, 2016 - Alternate expert section in Section 7 from Abiquiu to El Rito is now open.  

May 17, 2016 - Section 3 Update: New Mexico resident, Jim Burton, just reported this on the Section going through Chloride Canyon. "Roads were in really good condition with many of the forest roads having been recently graded.  The grading on Chloride has made it pretty easy until you climb out of the canyon.  At that point the climbs are not for inexperienced riders as the roads are really dry and ATV's have chewed the roads up making the switchbacks really loose.  Other than that there are just some dust puddles here and there to watch out for".

May 4, 2016 - Road Closure Section 7

 

Sandia BMW Motorcycles

    

Completed Backcountry Discovery Routes

Utah Backcountry Discovery Route

Washington Backcountry Discovery Route

Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route

Arizona Backcountry Discovery Route

Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route

NMBDR

CLOSE MAP

Backcountry Discovery Routes

Backcountry Discovery Routes Headquarters

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)

12th Street Coffee (Carrizozo, NM)

Ella's Cafe (Reserve, NM)

Can't Stop Smokin BBQ (Ruidosa, NM)

The Pony Expresso (Dolores, CO)

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

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

Pleasant Valley Inn (Young, AZ)

47661 N. Hwy 288 (Arizona 288 & Midway Ave), Young, AZ 85554
Ph. 928-462-3593

A small 10-unit motel right on Hwy 288 along your route in Young, Arizona. Rates vary from $75.00 single occupancy to $80.00 double occupancy. Rooms have in-room coffee, refrigerators, microwaves, cable t.v., internet and if you want, serve breakfast.

                

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

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)

12th Street Coffee (Carrizozo, NM)

Ella's Cafe (Reserve, NM)

Can't Stop Smokin BBQ (Ruidosa, NM)

The Pony Expresso (Dolores, CO)

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

Pleasant Valley Inn (Young, AZ)

47661 N. Hwy 288 (Arizona 288 & Midway Ave), Young, AZ 85554
Ph. 928-462-3593

A small 10-unit motel right on Hwy 288 along your route in Young, Arizona. Rates vary from $75.00 single occupancy to $80.00 double occupancy. Rooms have in-room coffee, refrigerators, microwaves, cable t.v., internet and if you want, serve breakfast.

                

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 - 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

 


NM1 Dell City to Ruidoso

The southern starting point of Section 1 of the NMBDR riding kicks off in Dell City, TX, a small farming community just across the border. The landscape here may be nothing to write home about, but hang in there, the Land of Enchantment awaits! Make sure to top off your fuel tank before leaving town, it will be a long time before you hit the next service station. Head north out of Dell City and you’ll end up at the foothills of the Guadalupe Rim, which is flanked by the Guadalupe Mountains to the northeast. Savor the warm weather while you can, before you know it you’ll be ascending 5,000 feet onto the rim itself by way of a short segment of incredible tarmac. Absorb the majestic scenery at the top of the Crow Flats Valley you just rode through, as well as the Brokeoff Mountains to the west. Fuel up again in Weed and point your cycle west through the Sacramento Mountains. Lovely primitive campsites dot the way throughout the entire route. Heads up: these roads may be impassable when they’re wet. Soon you’ll spy White Sands National Monument in the distance while traveling on West Side Road. The high country town of Cloudcroft happens to be one of the most iconic towns in all of New Mexico. We recommend spending a few hours here to fully soak in the charm. Enjoy award-winning apple pie at the legendary Apple Barn prior to embarking on Section 2 of the NMBDR.

NM2 Ruidoso to T or C

Section 2 begins with a series of rock-based, yet flowy mountain roads. You’ll twist and turn through high-elevation deciduous forest and across numerous slow-moving streams en route to Ruidoso, an engaging mountain hamlet. The route continues north of town on its timbered trek before dropping into the Tularosa Valley and onward to the town of Carrizozo. If you’ve been experiencing bike issues, the ‘Carrizozo Bike Shop’ has an extensive knowledge of European and other metric-spec bikes. Not long after a short jaunt on US Highway 380, the pavement changes to dirt and begins to turn north by way of a spectacular double-track. Take it ALL in, this is New Mexico at it’s finest! Please note: there are private ranches in the area, a safe and respectful speed is imperative to avoid losing the privilege of riding such a remarkable section. Regain the highway about 35 miles down the road and head west and then south toward the White Sands Missile Range. This lengthy, quite sandy passage is appropriately named ‘Jornada del Muerto’ (Route of the Deadman) as there are no amenities for the next 105 miles!

NM3 T or C to Reserve

Launch this section in Truth or Consequences, a town that got its moniker from a popular 1950’s game show. Don’t miss out on the many thermal pools that T or C offers – it’s the best way to soak away the aches and pains from a long day in the saddle! The route moves north along the banks of Elephant Butte Lake, which boasts some of the most spectacular camping along the entire NMBDR. After bisecting I-25, the road climbs up and into the Sierra Cuchillo foothills of the Black Range and on toward Wilson. Stock up on fuel and supplies at the General Store and get ready for Chloride Canyon, a protracted technical section (you’ll cross Chloride Creek over 100 times in this section), before riding up and over the divide to Reserve. This is arguably the most remote part of the NMBDR: if you aren’t a confident and skilled rider, we recommend skirting this section and hitting the pavement for 30 miles instead of riding the dirt. The following 100 miles escorts riders through high-elevation woodland, breathtaking scenery, and fast, rhythmic double-track. Pristine freshwater lakes accent the entire journey, pick a pool and take a quick, invigorating dip to clear your head for the rest of the trip.

NM4 Reserve to Fence Lake

As is common along the NMBDR, gas stations are sparse, so don’t forget to top off while in Reserve – the small service station in Luna is often closed. This route parallels Arizona, all it takes is a quick ride 500 feet down a fork to hit the state line. You’ll pass scads of Piñon and Juniper and catch glimpses of ancient cliff dwellings high along the cliffs. By and by, the track drops down into a high desert and then heads due north to US Highway 60 and the Zuni Reservation. An overlook near the Zuni Salt Lake showcases just how desolate and otherworldly this area truly is. There’s a wild and terrible beauty in western New Mexico unlike any other state in the Union.

NM5 Fence Lake to Grants

Viable camping spots are scarce along this leg of the NMBDR. Any camping here must be viewed as a privilege and access is granted solely by the residents of the reservation. However, easily accessible camping is found just south of Grants inside the Cibola National Forest farther down the road. Wide open spaces and unobscured vistas ultimately give way to hilly canyon terrain by the time the small depot known as Candy Kitchen comes into view. Consider a visit to the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, across the street from the General Store, and where roughly 90 wolves are housed at any given time. It’s a fascinating learning experience and a donation will be much appreciated. Low on fuel? Hop off the road for a short 6 mile side-trip to the tiny community of Pinehill, where the only services are located until the town of Grants.

NM6 Grants to Cuba

Plan ahead for this 121 mile ride, an extremely remote and challenging journey: top sand-riding skills are a must, as the sand is plentiful and occasionally deep. The road snakes along the foothills of the San Mateo Mountains, offering endless views of sandstone towers and monoliths carved by wind and water since time immemorial. Primitive camping abounds, so you’ll be able to enjoy your time even more on this stretch of the Wild West that points north.

NM7 Cuba to END

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NMBDR FAQ

NMBDR 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.)

NMBDR Discovery Points

NMBDR Restaurants

NMBDR Gas Stations

NMBDR Lodging

NMBDR Wildfires