Bureau of Land Management Back Country Byway

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Bureau of Land Management Back Country Byways
Back Country Byways highlighted with brown squares
System information
Formed: 1989 (1989)[1]
Length: 2,952 mi[1] (4,751 km)
Highway names
Interstates: Interstate nn (I-nn)
US Routes: US Highway nn, US Route nn (US nn)
State: Varies by state
System links
  • Scenic Byways

The Bureau of Land Management Back Country Byways are roads that have been designated by the Bureau of Land Management as scenic byways. Some are also National Scenic Byways or National Forest Scenic Byways. The program was initiated in 1989, and since then, 54 backways have been designated in the Western United States.[1] Each backway is classified into one of four types based on the vehicles that can traverse it.

  • Type I—Roads are paved or have an all weather surface and have grades that are negotiable by a normal touring car. These roads are usually narrow, slow speed, secondary roads.
  • Type II—Roads require high-clearance type vehicles such as trucks or 4-wheel drives. These roads are usually not paved, but may have some type of surfacing. Grades, curves, and road surface are such that they can be negotiated with a 2-wheel drive high clearance vehicle without undue difficulty.
  • Type III— Roads require 4-wheel drive vehicles or other specialized vehicles such as dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), etc. These roads are usually not surfaced, but are managed to provide for safety considerations and resource protection needs. They have grades, tread surfaces, and other characteristics that will require specialized vehicles to negotiate.
  • Type IV—Trails that are managed specifically to accommodate dirt bike, mountain bike, snowmobile, or ATV use. These are usually single track trails.[2]

List[edit]

Unless otherwise stated, all byways are rated Type I.

List of BLM Back Country Byways
Name Image States Description Notes Designated
Alpine Loop National Back Country Byway Engineer pass road, CO.jpg Colorado This route winds its way to an elevation of 12,800 feet (3,900 m), crossing Engineer and Cinnamon passes. The rugged scenery includes river meadows, alpine tundra, ghost towns, ore mills, abundant summer wildflowers and impressive fall colors. Portions of this byway may require a 4-wheel drive vehicle. (Road Type III) September 22, 1989
Barrel Springs Back Country Byway California, Nevada This route in the northern corners of California and Nevada travels through rugged terrain perfect for wildlife viewing. Historical buildings and evidence of emigrant life remain along the route, testifying of early settlers' trials on the frontier. Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle. (Road Type II) June 20, 1989
Big Sheep Creek Back Country Byway Montana Located near Dell, 24 miles (39 km) north of the Montana–Idaho state line, the road is mostly two-lane gravel with a few side roads that lead to the foot of the Rocky Mountains and provide many opportunities for solitude and exploration. July 21, 1989
Big Sky Back Country Byway Montana Crossing a variety of different landscapes across vast Montana wilderness, Big Sky Back Country Byway follows much of the Regina-Yellowstone Trail, once used as the principal route from Canada to the famed Yellowstone National Park. July 13, 2000
Bitter Springs Back Country Byway Nevada Bitter Springs Back Country Byway offers more than a drive with many rock formations, like the Muddy Mountains and colorful sandstone for sightseeing. Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle. (Road Type II) June 19, 1989
Black Hills Back Country Byway Arizona Black Hills Back Country Byway is the perfect place for experienced mountain bikers and four-wheel-drive enthusiasts to test their skills. For some quiet time, take a hike along the numerous nature trails and end up at a natural hot springs. Portions of this byway may require a 4-wheel drive vehicle. (Road Type III) May 28, 1992
Bradshaw Trail California This BLM Back Country Byway follows historic desert trails steeped in western lore and showcasing spectacular scenery. Portions of this byway may require a 4-wheel drive vehicle. (Road Type III) November 8, 1992
Buckhorn Back Country Byway California, Nevada Famous for wild animals, including horses and burros, the unique Ponderosa Pine Dunes, and wet season waterfowl, Buckhorn Backcountry Byway is the perfect way to enjoy nature up close. Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle. (Road Type II) June 20, 1989
Bull Creek Pass National Back Country Byway Utah This byway travels through the Henry Mountains, surrounded by tall walls of granite. Portions of this byway may require a 4-wheel drive vehicle. (Road Type III); also a Utah Scenic Byway June 21, 1989
California Trail Back Country Byway Nevada Parallels a portion of the California National Historic Trail, which saw over 250,000 immigrants make their way from Independence, Missouri, to California over 150 years ago. June 5, 1990
Chain of Craters Back Country Byway New Mexico This byway follows New Mexico County Road 42, showcasing the Chain of Craters and providing access to the Continental Divide Trail and to other attractions. Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle. (Road Type II); also a New Mexico State Backway March 10, 1993
Chimney Peak Back Country Byway California This is a rugged trek through some of California's best desert landscapes, passing over 50,000 acres (20,000 ha) of designated wilderness. Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle. (Road Type II) June 8, 1996
Christmas Valley Back Country Byway Oregon Christmas Valley provides the best of nature. The 93-mile (150 km) loop runs through breathtaking high desert landscapes, by Fossil Lake, and up to Lost Forest where you can learn about the prehistoric creatures that once lived there. Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle. (Road Type I, II) June 29, 1989
Cow Creek Back Country Byway Oregon A refreshing break from the steady highway pace, this 45-mile (72 km) detour wanders alongside Cow Creek as it dips through the coastal mountain range of Oregon. Along the route are quaint farms and ranches, and stately forests. Also an Oregon State Scenic Byway 1999
Diamond Loop Back Country Byway Oregon Travel alongside ancient craters formed from long ago volcanic eruptions. March 14, 1991
Fort Churchill to Wellington Back Country Byway Nevada This byway spans 67 miles (108 km) beginning in Fort Churchill and ending in Wellington. Fort Churchill was built in order to protect the Pony Express riders and settlers against the Indians in the area. Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle. (Road Type II) November 11, 1989
Galice to Hellgate Back Country Byway Oregon Travel through a deep river canyon and steep mountain slopes. Enjoy a day of white water rafting, fishing or a guided tour along the Rogue River June 29, 1989
Garnet Back Country Byway Montana This byway lies in the midst of the mountainous wilderness punctuated by the Garnet ghost town. Picnic, cross-country ski, snowshoe, horseback ride, hike, snowmobile, camp, and stop by the ghost town visitor center to take advantage of all this scenic byway has to offer. Portions of this route are narrow trails, suitable only for bikes, snowmobiles, ATVs or similar vehicles. (Road Type IV) July 21, 1989
Gold Belt Tour Scenic and Historic Byway Nom022 pq.jpg Colorado The Gold Belt Tour follows historic railroad and stagecoach routes leading to North America's greatest gold camp, three world-class fossil sites, and numerous historic sites. The Shelf and Phantom Canyon Roads cut along unpaved routes through winding canyons. Five byway communities allow a glimpse into this area's rich heritage. Portions of this byway may require a 4-wheel drive vehicle. (Road Type III); also a National Scenic Byway and a Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway September 22, 1989
Gold Butte Back Country Byway Nevada This byway travels across 62 miles (100 km) of Nevada desert. The town of Gold Butte stands as an old mining town established in the early 1900s where precious metals such as gold, copper, zinc, and lead were mined. Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle. (Road Type II) June 19, 1989
Grave Creek to Marial Back Country Byway Oregon Explore the rugged mountains and canyons north of the Rogue River in the southwestern part of Oregon as you climb from the Rogue River's narrow gorge over the ragged ridges of the Siskiyou Mountains and down to the settlement of Marial. June 29, 1989
Guadalupe Back Country Byway New Mexico This backway follows NM 137 in southern New Mexico. It begins at the NM 137/US 285 junction near Brantley Dam State Park and proceeds southwest to Sitting Bull Falls in the Lincoln National Forest. Also a State Scenic Backway September 26, 1994
Harquahala Mountain Back Country Byway Arizona The Harquahala Mountain Byway runs through the 22,880-acre (9,260 ha) Harquahala Mountains Wilderness and contains an interesting observatory on top of Arizona's highest mountain. Portions of this byway may require a 4-wheel drive vehicle. (Road Type III) March 2000
Lake Valley Back Country Byway New Mexico This backway is nestled between the Mimbres and Caballo mountains and the Cookes Range in southwestern New Mexico. Drive NM 152 and NM 27 between Las Cruces and Truth or Consequences, near a string of lakes and reservoirs. Also a State Scenic Backway April 14, 1993
Lakeview to Steens Mountain Back Country Byway Oregon This byway provides an excellent opportunity to take in scenic forested lands, wetlands, and a wide range of recreational activities. Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle. (Road Type I, II) June 28, 1989
Lewis and Clark Back Country Byway Idaho Explore two National Trails, visit the homeland of Sacajawea and the Lemhi Shoshone, enjoy beautiful scenic vistas and observe the abundant wildlife. You can see how nature and humans have shaped the landscape, from wildfires and critical habitats. Also an Idaho State Scenic Backway June 22, 1989
Los Caminos Antiguos Colorado The Ancient Roads' lead you to key historical areas in the San Luis Valley—a high, enormous sun-baked flat between the Sangres and the San Juan foothills. Also a Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway May 6, 1994
Lovelock Cave Back Country Byway Nevada Lovelock Cave has yielded 2,000-year-old artifacts. Among the findings to marvel at are the famous Lovelock Cave duck decoys, baskets and textiles now held in museums across the United States. September 16, 1994
Lower Crooked River Back Country Byway Oregon Cross into the hilly sections of Oregon's high sagebrush desert, follow a striking river canyon and catch glimpses of the blue-green waters of the Lower Crooked River. September 26, 1989
Lower Deschutes River Back Country Byway Oregon This byway follows the Deschutes River through the multi-colored walls of a canyon made of Columbia River basalt. Fish or raft the waters of this nationally recognized river. September 26, 1989
Lunar Crater Back Country Byway Nevada This byway is 24 miles (39 km) long. Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle. (Road Type II); also a National Natural Landmark September 24, 1997
Missouri Breaks Back Country Byway Montana This byway runs through central Montana, encompassing an area of varied geography and historical importance. Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle. (Road Type II) July 21, 1989
Mt. Wilson Back Country Byway Nevada This byway extends over 66 miles (106 km) of the Wilson Range. The gravel road winds through volcanic caldera now overgrown with piñons and junipers. Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle. (Road Type II) June 5, 1990
Nestucca River Back Country Byway Oregon Explore the wooded canyon of the Nestucca River; the forest is a temperate rainforest and provides habitat for many different species. The canyon walls are made up of seafloor sandstones and basalts. September 26, 1989
Nine Mile Canyon Backway Utah Nine Mile Canyon is known as a major representative area of the prehistoric Fremont Culture. The canyon houses a myriad of rock panels along the main road and in side canyons. Also a Utah Scenic Byway June 21, 1989
Old Route 66 - Oatman Road Arizona This desert route passes through Oatman, Arizona, whose ghost town appearance brings back the Old West. Free-roaming burros, staged gunfights, and gorgeous desert views come together to recreate a truly Western atmosphere. February 8, 1993
Owyhee Uplands Back Country Byway Idaho From expanses of sagebrush and wildflowers, to sheer, red-walled river canyons, the Owyhee Uplands represent what many people believe the real West is all about. June 22, 1989
Parker Dam Road California Following the Colorado River, Parker Dam Road showcases scenery, history, and recreation in one of the West's most impressive places. August 11, 1994
Pony Express Trail National Back Country Byway Utah This byway takes travelers back in time to experience the Pony Express. Sites along the way tell of the historic trail's operation from 1860 to 1861; it also details stagecoach travel. Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle. (Road Type II); also a Utah Scenic Byway April 27, 1992
Quartzville Road Back Country Byway Oregon Meander beside the blue-green depths of the Green Peter Reservoir and the Quartzville Creek National Wild and Scenic River as you discover a pathway of old-growth forests, highlighted with rocky outcroppings. October 28, 1989
Quebradas Back Country Byway New Mexico Follows County Road A-129 to US 380, passing through two wildlife refuges. Also a State Scenic Backway June 20, 1989
Red Gulch/Alkali National Back Country Byway Wyoming Drive this byway and take a step back in time. View petroglyphs or dinosaur tracks, take the 32-mile (51 km) byway and journey to the past. Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle. (Road Type II); also a Wyoming State Scenic Backway January 1, 1990
Red Rock Canyon Back Country Byway Nevada Red Rock Canyon Back Country Byway runs for 13 miles (21 km) across a paved loop through the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. June 19, 1989
Saline Valley Road Back Country Byway California From SR 190 north to Death Valley Road near Big Pines, Saline Valley Road takes you to a little-known corner of the Death Valley ecosystem. Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle. (Road Type II) August 28, 1992
Seminoe to Alcova Scenic Backway Wyoming The backway is in a remote area, but provides amazing landscape transformations while traversing the Seminoe Mountains, the Pedro Mountains, and Fremont Canyon. Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle. (Road Type I, II); also a Wyoming State Scenic Backway June 28, 1989
Silver Island Mountain National Back Country Byway Utah Located 120 miles (190 km) west of Salt Lake City, this byway follows a 54-mile (87 km) loop in northwest Utah. Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle. (Road Type II); also a Utah Scenic Byway May 6, 1992
Smithsonian Butte National Back Country Byway Utah Take in the stunning desert landscape of Southern Utah; all nine miles (14 km) between Big Plain Junction and Rockville just south of Zion National Park's southern entrance, offer gorgeous views of the surrounding geographic wonders including the byway's namesake and Zion Canyon, not to mention the historical Grafton ghost town. Also a Utah Scenic Byway June 21, 1989
Snake River-Mormon Basin Back Country Byway Oregon This byway provides you with amazing sights. The route is full of towering river canyons, aspen lined meadows, flowered basins, and timbered mountains teeming with wildlife. Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle. (Road Type I, II) March 14, 1991
South Big Horn/Red Wall Scenic Backway Wyoming This byway is a 100-mile (160 km) mostly gravel road that traverses the antelope-dotted prairies northwest of Casper, travels up into the Big Horn Mountains, and drops back onto the prairie. Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle. (Road Type II); also a Wyoming State Scenic Backway June 28, 1989
South Fork-Alsea River Back Country Byway Oregon This byway parallels the Alsea River, which is always in sight. The byway provides ample turn-outs for viewing the timbered landscape and local wildlife. April 11, 1990
South Fork John Day River Back Country Byway Oregon Drive along the South Fork of the John Day River and enjoy the majestic old growth local trees. This byway is a prime place to view a variety of wildlife. April 2, 1990
Steens Mountain Back Country Byway Oregon This byway climbs over 9,733-foot-high (2,967 m) Steens Mountain, the highest peak in southeastern Oregon. Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle. (Road Type I, II) June 29, 1989
Transcontinental Railroad Back Country Byway Utah Although one might look at Utah’s northwestern region and see nothing but vast, isolated desert, a sharp observer would see a historical playground distinguished by this byway. Portions of this byway may require a high-clearance type vehicle. (Road Type II); also a Utah Scenic Byway August 16, 1993
Wild Rivers Back Country Scenic Byway New Mexico Follows the Rio Grande Gorge in the north-central area of New Mexico, near the village of Questa. Also a State Scenic Backway June 20, 1989

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External links[edit]