Wyoming BDR (WYBDR), detailed route information

** See 2023 update below **

Our planned route of the WY BDR was Sections 1 to 6 (backwards from north to south). We skipped Sections 7 and 8 because we have spent a lot of time riding in the Big Horn mountains (they are fantastic) and instead would tack on part of the CO BDR.

For this tour I rode my KTM 790 Adventure R (my 1190 Adventure R was sad to be left at home) while my friend Mike rode his KTM 1290 Adventure R.

Based on Bret Tkacs Adventure skill rating system, I’d call myself a level 4+. I could use improvement on climbing ledges larger than 8 inches and in boulder fields (areas completely covered with boulders 8 inches or larger). I think I’m pretty good in sand and ride as well as possible in greasy mud. I add this comment to give you an idea on the speed we ride (note that we were riding in control with neither of us going down).

Day 0
To get to the start of the tour I had a long day riding from Steamboat to Ten Sleep. We stayed at the Ten Sleep RV Park in one of their “modern” cabins. It was nice and new, with comfortable beds, a nice bathroom, a fan, and AC. What more could you ask for? Two thumbs up from us. We enjoy the Saloon for dinner and drinks which also gave us part of lunch for Day 1.

Day 1
Route – Ten Sleep to Atlantic
Travel Time (including stops) – 7 hours 45 minutes (about 7 hours 0 minutes in 2023, not sure if it was faster riding or less frequent stops for pictures)
Distance – 240 miles
Lunch – Leftover pizza and a sandwich on the trail
Route started with red dirt that was a bit greasy (20 mph) at times due to heavy rain two days before and light rain the day before with the majority being good traction (40-45mph). After passing canyon it was high speed (45-55mph) gravel to Shoshoni. After Shoshoni a long stretch of desolate very high speed gravel (55-70mph). After Lander fun twisty pavement up and over pass (50-70mph). Down the backside was great dirt roads with beautiful views (35-45mph). After crossing highway it was more high speed gravel to Miner’s Delight.

Miner’s Delight is a nice place with friendly owners. Cabins are rustic with a communal bathhouse. Cost was $90 per person ($180 for our cabin) with a big breakfast included. Dinner at the Mercantile was good but be patient the service is a bit slow at times.

Day 2
Route – Atlantic to Casper (past Alcova)
Travel Time (including stops) – 7 hours 30 minutes (about 5 hours 45 minutes in 2023)
Distance – 184 miles
Lunch – Bar on the trail
Leaving Atlantic is was good gravel (35-45mph) crossing the highway twice before heading for the Beaver Rim (amazing views). The rim trail was generally good with some climbs and our average pace was around 35mph. We crossed a small stream in a meadow and shortly afterwards came across intermittent sandy patches (15-20mph), the sand increased and the last climb was probably 1.5 to 2 miles long with some deep ruts on one side (15-17 mph). After passing the cattle guard the conditions improved and our speed was back to 35mph. The last section was pavement to Alcova (70mph) followed by pavement to Casper (70mph).

We enjoy the hot tubs at the C’mon Inn and steaks at FireRock Steakhouse so we added some miles to get to Casper. Definitely recommend.

Day 3
Route – Casper (Alcova) to Medicine Bow
Travel Time (including stops) – 5 hours
Distance – 141 miles
Lunch – Bar on the trail, then food at The Virginian in Medicine Bow
Pavement to Alcova (70mph) where we found the road out of Alcova was closed, we headed west from Alcova to Road 409 (45-55mph) which lead to an amazing twisty descent down to the river and canyon. Do not miss this detour, it is tremendously better than the BDR dirt road. From there we went to Cottonwood Campground to check out the views before returning to the BDR. Good gravel (45mph) until the turn into the Shirley mountains. We did add a more challenging 3 miles of barely visible double track in the middle (15-17 mph). The trail up into Shirley has some embedded rocks and a bit rougher but still good double track (18-25mph). Patches of sand increased and the speed decreased (15-20mph) and we rounded a bend to a 1/3 mile very deep, fine sand hill climb (hill had been graded and there was hardly any sand in 2023). We found this to be the most challenging feature on the WY BDR. Both of us made it to the top without going down but I struggled with losing speed up the hill (worked out) while the Mike got pushed off the sand an up the embankment, back down, and had a couple times where he could see the his license plate before making it to the top (10-15mph).

Once over that section it was better double track with amazing views (20-35mph). We took the detour to a view point which was was worth it, the ride up was rocky/ledgy at the top but not bad (15-20mph). We blazed down Shirley mountains (30-40mph) before picking up pavement to Medicine Bow (75-85mph). The owner of The Virginia is extremely nice and appreciative of BDR riders. Doing the route again we would have continued to Centennial since we arrived so early but we didn’t know the condition of the next 100 miles so we stayed.

Spent the night at The Virginian, the food was decent and the rooms are very rustic (reminded us of visiting grandma’s house, along with the smells). Great prices and they are very appreciative of BDR riders.

Day 4
Route – Medicine Bow to Encampment (Steamboat)
Travel Time (including stops) – 6 hours 30 minutes (BDR, 8 hours 25 minutes to Steamboat)
Distance – 155 miles (250 miles)
Lunch – Sandwich on the trail

There was rain to the west the night before and rain forecast for our route making us nervous about the day. We left early (7:00am) to give us the best chance of making it to Encampment. Started out on pavement for a few miles (70mph) before turning onto dirt. The dirt was good with a few greasy patches due to recent rains (20-35mph) and a number of gates to open and close. Thirty miles later we fueled up in Elk Mountain and continued on a good dirt road (35-50mph).

The route moves on to highway with spectacular views of tree less mountains, alpine lakes, and scenic lookouts (65-75mph). There was a short dirt section with a rocky climb that was a nice break from the highway (17-25mph) before returning to the highway. A bit later another turn on to an old paved road that had great twisties as it descended (40-55mph). This dumped back onto the highway an into Centennial. After a weather check we decided to roll the dice and attempt the next section. It starts by backtracking the highway before jumping on dirt. The road was a bit rocky but still good (20-35mph) before we hit a long stretch of recently graded area where the gravel/dirt had two to three inches of a very loose layer on top (20-25mph).

Once past that section is was good dirt that allowed us to carry good speed and enjoy the views (35mph). This crossed over into the fire burned area where our speed remained the same and we enjoyed the post-apocalyptic views. Towards the bottom there was green foliage and trees next to the creek that turned into a well maintained dirt road (45-55mph). Across a bridge we stopped for food before finishing up the leg to Encampment on a short pavement section (55mph).

After filling up and looking at the weather we made the decision to hustle to Steamboat rather than finish Section 1 due to rain and trail notes that the section is not passible when wet. So it was pavement to Walden (Colorado) and then up and over Buffalo pass and into Steamboat.

We had a reservation at the Spirit West River Lodge. We pulled in to tell them we weren’t able to stay due to weather. The owner was unbelievably nice and understanding. Encouraging us to not risk the weather and while I offered to pay for the night she wouldn’t hear anything of it. It is a beautiful property and we will definitely return and stay with them. Such great folks, hell they even offered drinks and if there was anything they could help us with. Seriously. And we weren’t even staying. When in the area please consider staying with them.

Note: We did continue on and ride the CO BDR from Steamboat down to Gypsum, but no write up on that section. However I will say it is a fun route.

2023 addition of Section 1)
We made the run from Baggs to Encampment in both directions and found this to be a fun section with some great views. Timewise it was about 3 hours.

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