64.6 Miles (103.96 km)
- Distance: 64.6 Miles (103.96 km)
- Rating: 3-C, A Journey Through Time Scenic Byway offers plenty of turning opportunities to keep the technical rating up, but not so much that newer riders will feel overwhelmed. C-rating because of "gummy worms" in sections near Boulder, Utah. Ratings Explained »
- Travel: North to South for best results
- Start: Torrey, Utah
- End: Escalante, Utah
- Fuel: Available in Torrey, Boulder and Escalante, Utah.
Leave it to Utah to give such a brilliant road such a lame name (A Journey Through Time Scenic Byway). Despite the official designation, locals refer to this road simply as "The Backbone". We've ridden all over and still find this road to be one of our all time favorites.
Leaving Torrey, Utah and heading south the road starts out among high-desert scrub and ascends into juniper tree's and eventually into aspen as it climbs up and over Boulder Mountain. Look to the east for glimpses of the distant red-rock Moab backdropped by the La-Sal mountain range. The road is wrought with corners that are just a little too tight to be called sweepers, but flow well enough to allow for a brisk pace - be careful of free-ranging cattle.
After cresting Boulder mountain you'll begin dropping towards the town of Boulder, Utah and you'll overlook a sea of rumpled beige rock reaching out to the horizon - this is where the road will soon take you. Be sure to stop in Boulder at Hell's Backbone Grill - fantastic food with the best oatmeal we've ever had.
As you continue the road clings to narrow ledges cut impossibly into rock walls before it climaxes at the section that gives the road its nickname of "The Backbone"; a narrow ribbon of pavement follows an equally narrow ridge of rock. The road climbs and drops through the endless expanse of iron-rich, rusty stone, like a scene from the Coyote and Roadrunner cartoons, before the cornering calms down into an average two-lane route a few miles shy of the town of Escalante, Utah. You can run the road in either direction, but we feel the road flows better when ridden from North to South.