Route Guide: Blacktop Ramble 2
The Blacktop Ramble is held in Torrey, Utah because of its proximity to some of the most rip worthy scenery in the entire country. Southern Utah is known for being the home of the “Mighty 5” national parks which include Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands and Zions. Rides can take you from the cooler climates of alpine forests and lakes to multi-colored cliff bands of the Colorado Plateau and mind-bending red rock formations that seem to be imported from other planets. Although this list is certainly not exhaustive, below are some epic rides that you can launch into from the Blacktop Ramble campground. And, if you’ve got time to spare, we encourage you to take some detours to/from the BTR so you don’t miss out on all things badass in the region. No matter the direction you’re coming from, there are landscapes and roads that you will never forget.
GROUP RIDES: Because there are so many ladies with different levels of riding skills, we believe that it is too dangerous to organize large group rides. However, that’s what this campout is all about. Mingle with other babes to find out who seems most compatible with your skill level and type of ride you want to do. This is your weekend so go where you want to go and see what you want to see. We encourage you to research the area and plan the perfect rides for you.
Highway 12 to Bryce Canyon
226 MILES ROUND TRIP
FEATURES: This ride has it all. High alpine mountain pass, vistas of Capitol Reef National Park and the Grand Staircase National Monument, red rock cliffs and canyons, open desert and crazy sandstone formations. This is our top pick ride for the Ramble. No matter where you turn around and head back to camp, you won’t be disappointed.
(226 Miles round trip but you can shorten as much as you want by turning around at any point. See potential turnaround points below)
Highway 12 is definitely the headliner ride for the area. It is often listed as one of the top 5 most scenic drives in the country alongside Hwy 1 in California, the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado and the Going-To-The-Sun road in Glacier National Park. It is so badass that it’s almost overwhelming. The road starts about 1.5 miles from the BTR campground near the entrance of Capitol Reef National Park and takes you over Boulder Mountain in the Dixie National Forest. Nearing the town of Boulder, Highway 12 twists and turns through the Hogsback, a section of the road where cliffs drop steeply into narrow canyons on both sides of the highway. from there, the road continues through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and concludes at Bryce Canyon National Park.
STOPS + TURNAROUND POINTS
Boulder - (Approx. 36 miles from Torrey)
Burr Trail Grill (Casual - burgers, sandwiches, salads, etc.)
Magnolias (gourmet street tacos)
Hell’s Backbone Grill (fancy - amazing James Beard award recipient)
Kiva’s Koffeehouse - (Approx 50.5 miles from Torrey)
Coffee & Snacks
Escalante - (Approx 65.5 Miles from Torrey)
Bryce Canyon - (Approx 113 miles from Torrey)
Goblin Valley State Park
160 Miles Round Trip
FEATURES: Red rock cliffs, sandstone canyon, open desert, hoodoos and other trippy sandstone formations.
Litas founder Jessica Haggett recently visited Goblin Valley State Park and personally added it to the ride list. Goblin Valley is place that captures and stretches the imagination, challenging you with its geologic whimsy. The landscape is super trippy and is covered with sandstone goblins and fascinating formations. The “Valley of Goblins” is the park’s main attraction which is accessible by three separate short hiking trails. The best thing about the park is that you are allowed to go off the trail and explore the hoodoos, mushrooms, or goblins by yourself.
Gas Station and a couple of fast food restaurants in Hanksville which is approx 47.5 miles from Torrey.
Capitol Reef National Park
40 Miles Round Trip
FEATURES: Colored cliffs, prizmatic soils, hidden arches, massive domes and deep canyons
If you find yourself suffering from the “cocktail flu” and can’t muster the strength for one of the longer rides, this is just the ride for you. Capitol Reef National Park is a short ride that packs a big punch. From the moment you leave camp until the paved road ends in the park, there isn’t a mile that is wasted on your eyes.
From the BTR campground, just head to the Capitol Reef National Park visitors center which is approximately a 10 mile ride. Once you get to the visitors center, there is a clearly marked road that will take you into the park. Just follow the road until the pavement ends in approximately 10 miles. Return the same way you came (about 40 miles round trip).
Alternate: If you’re feeling up to it, add a little mileage to this ride by taking a canyon cruise. Access this spur, just as you’re leaving the park near the visitors center. Just turn right on highway 24 (towards Hanksville) instead of left (back to camp). Once you make it through the canyon there is a good place to turnaround just after mile marker 87. This spur will add approximately 17 miles to the Capitol Reef National Park ride.
There is no gas station on this ride so make sure you top off before you leave the town of Torrey.
Fish Lake Loop
84 Mile Loop
FEATURES: High mountain alpine lake, pine and aspen forest, farm land and open desert.
Want a medium length ride that gets you out of the heat? The Fish Lake Loop is perfect! This ride takes you out of the dry desert and up to Utah’s largest naturally formed mountain lake. Fish Lake is deep, with a maximum depth of over 170 feet and an average depth of 85 feet. Its oblong shape is roughly 5 miles long and just over a mile and a half wide. The clear, cold waters of Fish Lake are surrounded by jagged mountains on one side and a tall, flat plateau (Fish Lake Plateau) on the other.
The ride takes about 2 hours roundtrip not including stops. Once you get to Fish Lake (the halfway point), take a break, eat some lunch at Fish Lake Lodge, and, if you’re hot and sweaty, go jump in the chilly mountain waters.
Gas Station - The only fuel pump is located at the lakeside store so fill up just to be safe.
Restaurant - Fish Lake Lodge
Important Note: To make sure your GPS/Map app takes you the right way, plug in Mill Meadow Reservoir as your first stop. This will bypass your map system’s setting to just take you the shortest way to Fishlake thereby eliminating the loop. This will take you on a counter-clockwise route around the loop which is (in our opinion) the best way to go.
Plug in the following stops in your map app (assuming you’re starting from the Blacktop Ramble campground):
Mill Meadow Reservoir, UT
Fish Lake Lodge, UT
Mystic hot springs
146 Miles Round Trip
FEATURES: Mineral rich hot springs with a hippie vibe.
Sore from your ride to the BTR? Spend the day soaking in the best hippie hot springs in the west. Mystic Hot Springs is an oasis in the desert with mineral-rich waters located in Monroe, Utah. The soaking area consists of two concrete pools and six vintage cast iron bathtubs. You can see more about Mystic Hot Springs here, https://mystichotsprings.com/.
Restaurant - Bullies Drive In