BLM Back Country Byways serve a unique niche in providing an “off-the-beaten-path” adventure through landscape settings as diverse as the West itself. Most Byways traverse remote country, providing solitude and spectacular scenery in landscape settings ranging from soaring mountains and alpine meadows to sagebrush prairies and saguaro cactus deserts. These landscapes offer visitors the opportunity to explore Oregon’s lush Coast Range, crest over Colorado’s lofty San Juan Mountains, follow Lewis and Clark’s epic journey across Montana and Idaho, pass ancient Anasazi petroglyphs in Utah, and traverse the Rio Grande’s wild gorge in New Mexico.
Educational opportunities abound along these narrow ribbons through the Nation’s public lands as travelers can search for deserted forts, ghost towns, fossils, wildlife, hot springs, and dormant volcanoes. These Byways also cross many cultural, historic, and working landscapes, helping showcase the Bureau’s balanced stewardship in managing public lands for multiple uses. Most of these routes connect western towns and places, fostering economic stimulus to many of the rural communities located near public lands.
Back Country Byway Categories
While most BLM-designated Back Country Byways are native surface or gravel base roads, BLM back country Byways fall into one of four category types. These categories range from “Type I” paved all-weather roads suitable for normal passenger vehicles, to Type IV single-track trails suitable only for dirt bikes, mountain bikes, or snowmobiles during winter season. Click here
to see descriptions of all four Back Country Byway category types.
The National Back Country Byway Program is BLM’s unique contribution to the larger National Scenic Byways Program. Both programs were created following a study by the President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors that found 43 percent of American adults identified driving for pleasure as a favorite pastime.
Follow this link to view descriptions of BLM Back Country Byways on the America’s Byways® Web site.