It was designed by some adventure motorcyclists who (if you search their site) have several states they've accomplished, and a few more they're in the process of doing.
The Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route is a scenic ride across the state of Colorado, beginning in Four Corners and finishing at the Wyoming Border. The route has been created specifically for dual-sport and adventure motorcyclists who are interested in exploring Colorado’s majestic high-mountain ranges and historic mining country.
This 675-mile south-to-north route utilizes many remote and high-elevation dirt roads and leads riders through a number of iconic locations including Telluride, San Juan Mountains, Continental Divide, Collegiate Range, Northern Rocky Mountains and historic Leadville, along the Colorado River.
How may days will this take? I think this will take 4 MAYBE 5 days depending on how slow people move, traffic, issues etc, Including getting to 4 corners and back from Wyoming.
Will my truck be able to do it? A stock pickup could do most if not all. 100% of the trail is road, some jeep trail, but no rock crawling or technical stuff. This is a VERY scenic off road route, but not much of a vehicle or driver challenge
When? Thinking Labor Day Weekend would be best. it's a 3 day weekend so most won't have to take much time off of work, and it's a bit earlier than when the Motorcyclists like to go (mid to late September)
Can I get GPS Tracks Yup! they offer them for free here just keep in mind they've got it broken up into 6 days for motorcycles, if you've ever ridden all day off road you'll know why, it takes a HUGE toll on your body so 150-200 miles in a day is A LOT
Below are answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about the Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route.
How far between gas stops?
The longest gap between gas stations is approximately 121 miles from Gypsum to Steamboat Springs. There is gas at Rancho Del Rio, but it’s not guaranteed and they only carry low octane gas.
What is the COBDR?
The Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route (COBDR) is a mostly off-road motorcycle route across Colorado from New Mexico to Wyoming. The South to North route winds through the high elevations such as the San Juan mountains and relaxing segments such as the Colorado River Rd. The route includes dirt, gravel, and pavement surfaces and may include rocks, ruts, sand, mud and snow depending on time of year and conditions. The route can be completed in 4-6 days depending on pace, and is also accessible by four-wheel drive vehicles, as the entire route is at least double-track.
Do I have to camp?
No, you can complete the COBDR using motels and restaurants fairly easily.
Can I build a camp fire?
In most cases camp fires are allowed, but check with local Ranger Stations to determine if campfires are allowed before you build one. Forest fires are a threat during parts of the year and the rules that manage this risk must be followed. Be sure to fully extinguish fires so they are DEAD-OUT. Use water to ensure a fire is fully extinguished and the ground is left cool and wet.
Where do I camp?
There are many campgrounds and suitable dry camping locations along the route. The Butler Motorcycle Map for the COBDR has a tent icon showing campgrounds on the route and many near the route. The COBDR Butler Map is available at www.touratech-usa.com or www.butlermaps.com.
Is there water on the route?
There are a few natural water sources along this route however, depending on the snow pack, some may not running. You can find potable water in the towns along the way. It is suggested that plenty of water is carried for personal and cooking use. Here is a video on water filtration filmed in the Oregon Backcountry: http://youtu.be/vqOFZAoZdTU
Where can I find the GPS tracks for the COBDR?
The tracks for the route can be downloaded free of charge online at http://www.backcountrydiscoveryroutes.com/COBDR
Why do I need paper maps when I have GPS tracks?
Always bring a complete set of maps for the area you plan to ride. They have good information about roads, water sources, and are an indispensable resource when the GPS doesn't work, or is giving questionable advice. Unplanned events can occur and having paper/synthetic maps of the area can be a life saver. National Forest maps are available at http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/map/state_list.shtml#U and local Ranger Stations. COBDR Butler Motorcycle Maps are available at www.touratech-usa.com or www.butlermaps.com.
What is the ideal bike to use?
Any bike that has a license plate, can run knobby tires, is set-up to carry the gear you plan to bring, and has the fuel range to make the distance between gas stops. Most adventure or dual-sport motorcycles will be suitable for the trip. Choose the bike that you are the most comfortable riding in desert and mountain terrain.
What GPS should I use?
Any GPS unit capable of displaying 10 track logs with a minimum of 500 points each is suitable for use on the COBDR. Garmin models that work best for this application are: Zumo 665/660, Montana, GPSMap 60, 62, 76, 78 and 276. Other GPS manufacturers may have units that will work. Check the technical specs to determine suitability.
How difficult is the route?
The COBDR route is designed to be ridden on adventure and dual-sport motorcycles, as well as driven in 4x4 vehicles. There are no single-track style trails on this route. Many of the roads are in remote areas and reach high elevation areas where road maintenance is minimal or non-existent. You can expect to cover sections of road with deep ruts, loose rocks, sand and other challenges. There are also sections that have deep sand. Road conditions change from week to week based on the recent weather. When you see signs that read, “Roads maybe impassable when wet”, use caution, roads become very slick and can be impassable. You may also encounter sections that have trees or branches over the road. There are alternate "easier" routes around a few of the most challenging sections. Depending on time of year and weather, there may be a few small deep water crossings. Flash floods are frequent during summer storms. Don’t cross flooded washes. Wait until water subsides.
What time of year can I do the COBDR?
The COBDR is best from July-September and sometimes October if no early snow storms have occurred. The route can be done in June, but snowpack in the high mtns may keep you from doing the entire route as mapped. There have been some years where the snow has not cleared from the high country until the last week of July.
Are there any gates on the route?
Yes, there are several gates on the route. Most remain open unless BLM or NFS has closed them due to snow closure.
What tires should I use for the COBDR?
DOT approved knobby tires (such as Continental TKC 80 or Dunlop 606) are strongly recommended.
What weather concerns should I have?
Colorado has fast moving thunder storms during the summer months. These storms usually build in the mountains in the early afternoon and usually contain lightning, hail stones and heavy downpours. It’s recommended you go over the high passes early in the day.
What is the highest elevation on the COBDR?
The highest elevations are reached in section where California Pass reaches nearly 13,000 feet. The route travels at high elevations for long distances and is above 8,000 feet the majority of the time.
How long does it take to run the COBDR?
Most people average 150 miles a day on a backcountry motorcycle trip. Plan on doing this route in 4-6 days depending on how fast you want to travel and how early you want to roll out of camp.
Is there cell phone coverage on the route?
Much of this route is remote and out of reach for cell phone towers. There will be long sections with no coverage. Your best bet is to talk or text in the towns or on top of mountains. You will be surprised where you get coverage and where you don't. A satellite communication device is a good idea in the backcountry.
How do I get information on current road conditions?
We are working to include information on current road conditions on our website based on other riders’ reports. In the meantime, you can find the most up to date roads information on www.bushducks.com
Can the Route be done North to South?
Yes the route can be done North to South.
How Bad is the Sand Really?
This is a tough question to answer because conditions are constantly changing. If the weather has been moist or temps have been cool, the sand will be firmer and significantly easier to ride. If it hasn’t been hot for some time, the sand becomes very soft and deep. So the bottom line is, learn to ride in deep sand before your trip which will make your ride more enjoyable.
What about the Clay?
There are several sections where the road is a clay surface north of Haggerman Pass. When wet, these sections become very slick and virtually impassable. When you encounter wet clay roads, a higher gear selection is recommended to keep your rear wheel from sliding. Slow and steady will get you through, but in some cases travel will come to a halt due to slick conditions.
Do I need to worry about Altitude Sickness?
Altitude sickness is certainly possible on this ride. The COBDR reaches elevations of over 10,000 feet many times so plan your ride responsibly. The higher and faster you go up, the greater risk you are for symptoms. Consider spending a night or two at moderate elevation if you are prone to altitude sickness. It’s always best to ride up high, sleep down low. Altitude sickness, also referred to as Acute Mountain Sickness, is the illness causing effect of high altitude on the human body. The exact mechanism by which it occurs is unknown, but the severity of symptoms can vary from mild to life threatening.
Common symptoms of High Altitude Sickness / Acute Mountain Sickness include: fatigue, headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, muscle cramping, insomnia, elevated blood pressure, shortness of breath, water retention and dehydration. Recognizing the symptoms of High Altitude Sickness, getting to a lower elevation, using supplemental oxygen, staying hydrated with water and Acli-Mate® Mountain Sport Drink may help to prevent or reduce the severity of altitude sickness. (Immediate medical attention is advised for moderate to severe AMS!)