Come experience the best adventure motorcycle riding America has to offer with Backcountry Discovery Routes!
See rural America, and get a taste of the trails that shaped early American history. From the Western slopes and mining towns of the Gold Rush era, to the battlefields of the American revolution — you can explore America’s magnificent public lands by motorcycle. Enjoy towering mountain vistas, expansive desert solitude, and sounds of wildlife, while riding incredibly fun terrain by motorcycle. You’ll explore remote dirt roads and tiny towns that most people will never see.
Making this adventure motorcycling dream is easier than you think.
The non-profit organization, Backcountry Discovery Routes, has made it easy with free GPS tracks and helpful trip planning resources for each of the nine routes. For visitors from outside the USA, there are fly & ride opportunities with motorcycle rentals and guided, or self-guided tours available.
FIND YOUR ADVENTURE
Crossing more state lines and covering more mileage than any other BDR makes the NEBDR one of the most diverse routes in the BDR series. Every state delivers a unique experience unto itself and while sections can be done over an extended weekend, riders who commit to the entire 1,300-mile route will truly feel as though they had an adventure of a lifetime.
Best time of year: The NEBDR uses seasonal roads that open as early as April 30th in NY and as late as May 30th in VT, NH & ME. The earliest the route can be ridden in entirety would be June 1st. Depending on the winter snowfall, the route can be very muddy and slippery in some places during the spring time and early summer. The best time to ride the NEBDR is mid-June to mid-October.
Difficulty: Intermediate to Expert
A spectacular, yet challenging 820-mile ride across the south-eastern region of California. Rugged two-track and remote dirt roads lead riders through majestic canyons, rocky riverbeds, and sandy washes of California’s famous deserts and national preserves, including a dream ride in the Mojave Preserve.
Best time of year: Mid-October until mid-April. This is a wintertime route, but winter storms may hamper some times and elevations may see some snow. Although parts of this route can be ridden in winter, storms and bad weather may prevent some sections from being available and higher elevation terrain may be unavailable due to winter snowpack.
Difficulty: Intermediate to Expert
A scenic ride that uses dirt, gravel and paved roads to wind through remote parts of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. This 1,080-mile route primarily uses forest roads and rural country lanes, to lead riders through the Appalachian mountains, majestic forests, bucolic farming landscapes, Amish country, and locations that played pivotal roles in early American history.
Best time of year: Mid-May until the first snow fall in late fall
Difficulty: Beginner Plus, but becomes Intermediate depending on bad weather and road conditions.
Nevada’s 900-mile south-to-north route leads riders on miles of meandering two-track roads through Nevada’s expansive deserts, open sagebrush valleys, and seemingly endless mountain ranges. You’ll visit ghost towns, quirky taverns, see desert sculptures, murals, and the world’s largest car forest.
Best time of year: Sections in the South are ridable April, May, October, and November, and in most cases throughout the winter. Northern sections are best June to October. We suggest: Ride from the North to the South in the summer until you can’t stand the heat; and ride from the South to the North until you can’t take the cold.
If you’ve ever wanted to ride endless twisty mountain roads, the Idaho BDR will throw corners at you for days on end. It’s a true off-the-grid ride that is long enough, at 1,250 miles, that you might just use up an entire rear knobby tire.
Best time of year: July through October, if no early snow storms have occurred.
Hot springs, and lakeside camping can be found on your way into the mountains of the Gila National Forest of New Mexico and you’ll even be a stone’s throw from Arizona before heading back to the north east toward Colorado. Highlights of this 1,200 mile backcountry adventure includes Chloride Canyon, long stretches between towns, wild horse sightings, and endless dispersed camping options.
Best time of year: June and September.
Rocky, remote and hot are three words that come to mind for Arizona. Blessed with a surprising number of mountain ranges, the Arizona BDR is more green and mountainous than many people expect. Starting on the US/Mexico border, the 750-mile route stays east of Tucson and Phoenix with options to see the Grand Canyon from vantage points most people never see.
Best time of year: May, June, September, October.
With several passes over 12,000 feet, there is no shortage of views on this ride. Beginning in the four corners location where, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah intersect, the 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, and sometimes October if no early snow storms have occurred.
This 871-mile route will take riders to some iconic places like Valley of the Gods, Moab, the Abajo and La Sal mountains, Onion Creek, 9 Mile Canyon and the Wasatch Mountains. Utah is unpredictable with mud that is impassable when wet. Deep sand also challenges riders in places, and a few expert-only options provide excitement for those who seek adrenaline.
Best time of year: August through October depending on early snow storms and weather.
Difficulty: Intermediate Plus to Expert
Thoroughly exploring the Cascade Mountains, this 575-mile route has stunning views of the massive volcanoes from the dense forest in the southern part, and the open arid pine forests of the central part of the route, showcasing the diversity of Washington.
Best time of year: July through October depending on snowpack and weather.
Information About Booking Process:
Do I book online?
You can book directly with the tour companies by following the instructions on their websites or contacting them by phone or email.
What kind of information will I receive after booking?
You will receive a confirmation of your booking and information on next steps from the tour company.
What are the terms of cancellation for me (in case of sickness etc.)?
Please inquire with the tour company about their cancellation policy.
Will I have my money back if the tour is cancelled by the operator?
Each tour company has its own cancelation policy, but as a general rule, if the tour is canceled by the operator, your deposit/payment will be returned to you promptly.
For what reasons might a tour operator cancel a tour?
While it is rare to have a tour cancelled, it can occur if a tour doesn’t reach a minimum number of participants, or if the route is not feasible to ride due to road conditions or weather events. You can ask the tour operator if the tour is likely to get cancelled for any reason and they can explain the possibilities.
Tour Organization (self-guided, guided):
Do I have to book a tour or can I ride on my own?
The BDR routes are open source. GPS tracks for all BDR routes are available for FREE at RideBDR.com. International riders have a number of options for exploring the BDRs on a motorcycle.
- Fly and ship your bike to the US to ride a BDR(s).
- Fly and rent a motorcycle from one of the BDR Partner companies to ride a BDR. Use BDR online resources to plan your trip and make your own hotel and/or camping reservations. Or have the tour company help you put together a self-guided tour complete with hotel reservations for each night.
- Join one of the existing BDR tours offered by one of the BDR Preferred Partners.
- Choose a custom guided or self-guided tour made just for your group by one of the BDR Preferred Partners.
Where can I find more information about the routes and the infrastructure along the route?
You will find the most complete information about BDR routes at RideBDR.com. Additional information can also be found on the printed Butler Motorcycle Map for each route
Nature of the routes:
Is BDR only off-road?
Most of the BDR routes are mostly dirt and gravel with some pavement. The Mid-Atlantic BDR, however, is about 50% dirt and 50% pavement.
Are all BDR routes of the same difficulty level?
The BDRs vary in level of difficulty and can become easier or harder depending on current road conditions and weather which can change by the minute. Generally speaking, the CABDR-South, UTBDR and AZBDR are more difficult. The COBDR, NVBDR, NMBDR, are in the middle, but can be difficult in certain places. WABDR, IDBDR and MABDR are least difficult, but have their own challenges. Read the FAQs for each route on the RideBDR.com website for more detailed description of the route terrain and common challenges.
When are the best times to ride BDRs?
Refer to the information on the landing page or read the FAQ on each route page at RideBDR.com.
Where do I fly to if I want to ride a BDR?
The arrival airport depends on which BDR you’re doing, and how you’re accomplishing it. Each BDR has a recommended starting point usually accessible via a suggested route from a major city. If you’re arranging your trip with the help of one of the tours companies, they will provide advice based on your travel itinerary.
I normally ride a certain bike – may I ride it on a BDR?
The BDRs were created with the adventure and dual sport rider in mind. The motorcycle you choose needs to be street legal with a license plate, must be able to ride off-road and have the capability to carry the gear you will be traveling with. The bike should also be of the size and power that you can handle in challenging terrain. A wide range of motorcycles are available for rent by our Preferred Partners.
Are there also beginner levels?
MABDR is the least difficult route, but has tricky sections as well. In general, BDRs are not recommended for beginning off-road riders. By the time you ride a BDR you should have a few overnight off-road / dual sport trips in your experience. You should be comfortable riding off-road with a fully-loaded motorcycle150 miles (8 hours) per day for a week straight. Note, that some of our Preferred Companies offer off-road training as part of their BDR tours, or help you take easier workarounds while on the route. Inquire with our Preferred Partners for options.
May I ride with my partner as a pillion?
Riding with a passenger (pillion) is not recommended on BDRs.
How many miles / km a day is a standard BDR ride?
The routes are generally designed to cover between 125 and 200 miles per day and take 6-8 days to complete. Check the tour options and details with individual Preferred Partners.