Mojave Desert Joshua Tree Road Scenic Backway
Under Governor Bangerter, the Utah Travel Council along with UDOT, USFS, FHA, NPS, Utah League of Cities and Towns, Utah Association of Counties and Associated Governments, and the Utah Travel Regions, created Utah’s Scenic Byways and Backways Program as a tourism initiative. The result was the designation of the Mojave Desert Joshua Tree Road by the State of Utah as a Scenic Backway in 1990.
The Mojave Desert Joshua Tree Road Scenic Backway resides in the extreme southwestern corner of Utah in the Mojave Desert and offers an alternative north-south route for Old Highway 91. The Backway is 18.9 miles one way passing through the Beaver Dam Mountains by way of Bulldog Pass and Bulldog Canyon. Despite a landscape that has been affected by 8 wildland fires from 1993 to as recent as 2012, the Backway still delivers remarkable views of the rugged Beaver Dam Mountains including the Beaver Dam Mountains Wilderness
. At its southern end the Backway passes through the newly designated (2009)Beaver Dam Wash National Conservation Area
(NCA) and the Woodbury Desert Study Area
, and passes within spitting distance of the Joshua Tree National Natural Landmark
. Wildland fires have left their mark on the landscape, but pockets of Joshua trees and other vegetation unique to the Mojave Desert can be seen and appreciated.
Dispersed camping is allowed on federal lands, although vehicles must stay on designated roads within the NCA north of the Backway. Also take note that the Backway travels through the Shivwits Indian Reservation on its northern end and public access to these lands is not permitted.