ADVMoto's Top Five Must Rides
1. Copper Canyon, Chihuaha, Mexico
The six canyons of the Copper Canyon system in the Mexican state of Chihuaha should be high on the list of any adventure rider who wants a breathtaking desert experience. Parts of this canyon system (known in Spanish as Barranca del Cobre) are actually deeper than the Grand Canyon, and it covers more area as well, meaning there’s plenty of opportunity to ride.
The Mexican government is pushing tourism in the region, but it’s still not hard to get off the beaten path and immerse yourself in the local culture and landscape; Mexico’s largest waterfall is here, as well as hot springs and beautiful rivers. Because of the extreme elevation changes between the canyons and the surrounding mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental range, riders will experience differing climate zones on their way from the canyon bottoms to the surrounding high plateaus. Arriving in winter means you can even experience freezing temperatures at some points.
Some travelers shy away from Mexico over fears of drug violence, but if you keep your nose clean, you should be able to avoid trouble. You can ride or trailer your bike down from the US (or up, from South America), or deal with a company that offers tours in the area - there are many to choose from.
2. Moab, Utah
Think of the epic sandstone desert scenery from all those John Ford westerns, with John Wayne and Co. riding around chasing bad guys. That’s the sort of picture you get when you’re bombing around in the wilderness outside Moab, Utah. Natural features like Corona Arch and Castle Valley will stick in your mind forever, but bring a camera anyway.
You’ll have to contend with sand in the desert here, but you shouldn’t have to worry about mud, or rain. This is a very popular area for four-wheeling and other outdoor activities, but don’t count on someone else being around to help you out if you get into trouble - be prepared with water and a toolkit in case things go wrong.
Want to tour the area? The Utah Backcountry Discovery Route has sections running around Moab, and if you poke around online forums, you should be able to find someone with some GPS tracks for Moab as well.
3. Baja Peninsula, Mexico
The Baja Peninsula has a long history of attracting riders who wanted to try something new and adventurous out. You’ve got everything in Baja - deserts, cliffs, rocks, beaches, and did we mention deserts? The area is hot and hostile, but beautiful and exciting. That’s why characters like J.N. Roberts, Malcolm Smith and the Ekins brothers (Bud and Dave) pioneered the off-road races that made the area so famous, starting back in the 1960s.
Now, decades later, the area is still popular for off-road riders; a rise in crime scared away some visitors, but that’s supposed to be on the decline, and reports of off-road motorcyclists being harassed were rare.
The best time to visit? Try to co-ordinate with one of thefor an idea of what to expect.
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