Idaho Nature October 01, 2021
Everyone Should Take This Exhilarating Adventure To Some Of Idaho’s Best Hidden Gems
There are more than two dozen scenic byways in Idaho. From the panhandle to southern Idaho, you can travel these byways and see many of the more popular attractions and views. However, there is one byway, located approximately 80 miles southwest of Boise — the Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway — that will take your breath away. Not only will this roadway take you through an unchanged and fascinating piece of the American West, but it will be full of exciting adventures. Grab some snacks and plenty of water; download some awesome tunes, and hop in your car as you go on an unpaved backcountry adventure.
Here is a
link to an interactive Google Map that will serve as your journey’s navigator.
Driving along the Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway, also known as Mud Flat Road, is an experience that is difficult to find elsewhere. This scenic drive is one large loop with 101 miles of pure beauty. You will venture through a remote area filled with high-desert, mountain scenery. It is truly the ultimate destination if you are searching for a day filled with peace, quiet, and beauty.
Prepare yourself for the ultimate off-the-paved-road adventure. This lesser-known roadway is primarily a gravel road and is fairly narrow. You’ll certainly want to hop in an off-road vehicle that can handle the more difficult terrain with ease. If you wish to complete the entire 101-mile loop, be prepared to spend up to eight hours on the road as the more rough road conditions can slow you down.
Keep in mind there are no services along the Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway in Idaho. You will want to plan ahead with plenty of water, snacks, a full tank of gas, and more. There is also little cell phone coverage, so make sure someone knows that you are taking the journey on this phenomenal and quiet road.
You will begin your adventure from Highway 78 near Grand View, Idaho. Grand View is a nature lover’s paradise with access to some of the best hunting, fishing, and camping in the Gem State. This charming small town is also a great place to top off your fuel tank, stock up on snacks, and get ready for the ultimate drive.
It’s finally time for the heart-racing adventure you've been seeking. Turn onto Yturri Boulevard, and travel on the gravel road to Silver City Road. This is more than 44 miles of a gravel road filled with twists, turns, and pretty incredible views. This road is certainly best enjoyed in a 4x4 vehicle like the Nissan Frontier.
You don't have to travel far into your journey for the thrills to begin. Along the byway is the Shoofly Oolite Interpretive Trail. Hop out of the car, lace up your hiking shoes, and explore.
This 1.6-mile trail is rated as moderate, but the views will make the challenging areas of the trail well worth the journey. As you climb, keep your eyes out for some of the most interesting rock formations. From natural arches to rocks shaped like animals, you never know what you'll find. This is a trail that will certainly bring out your adventurous side.
Approximately 22 miles into the ride, you will come to the Three Forks Junction. While you can always press along on Mud Flat Road, for the most breathtaking and magical views in the area, travel approximately 25 miles off of the byway to the Three Forks Overlook. Here you will see where the North Fork, Middle Fork, and Main Owyhee Rivers meet. It’s a picturesque view, and you won’t want to leave without capturing a few stunning images on your camera.
Travel back to the Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway, and continue your drive through the gorgeous mountain and desert landscape. As you enjoy the views, you will venture down into the North Fork Owyhee River Canyon. This may become one of your favorite areas along this byway.
Not only are there some of the most fascinating and beautiful views of this drive in the North Fork area, but a campground and picnic area are located at the North Fork Recreation Site. Get out of the vehicle, stretch your legs, have a snack, and take lots of remarkable photographs.
As you continue your drive in southwestern Idaho, capture some views of Jordan Creek. Jordan Creek is often visible next to rural ranches, mountain scenes, and sagebrush hills.
Jordan Creek was named after Michael Jordan, a leader of gold prospectors who came to the area in the 1860s. Jordan was killed in a fight with the Indians in 1864.
Finally, as you complete the loop and arrive back at your starting place — Grand View — drive another 30 miles to the exciting, beautiful, and adventure-filled Bruneau Dunes State Park.
Grab your hiking shoes once more as you can hike and explore the remarkable dunes. Bruneau Dunes State Park is home to the tallest single-structured sand dune in North America, and it stands at an incredible 470 feet tall. If you are ready to continue your adventure, rent a sandboard and fly down a sand dune or stay after the sun sets and gaze at the incredible night sky.
Whether you live in southwestern Idaho or you just want to enjoy a remarkable road trip to the unique and unchanged American west, the Owyhee Uplands Backcountry Byway will provide sensational views and thrilling adventures that you will want to relive over and over again.
Don’t wait any longer. Hop in your car and head out on this remarkable day trip in Idaho. Plus, if you are looking for even more adventures in Southwestern Idaho, check out
City of Rocks National Reserve and Shoshone Falls. Address: Mud Flat Road, Mud Flat Rd, Idaho, USA