Motorcycle riding is a lifestyle for the adventurous at heart. Riders grab the world by the handlebars and turn off the beaten track to meet new people and see places far from the everyday world. If that describes you, we have the perfect road for finding adventure and exploring America.
America is a vast country, and it would take a lifetime to explore it on your motorcycle, so you need a plan. Why not start with something big? Texas is a huge state, second only to Alaska in size—yet likely closer to your home. But because Texas is so big, it can seem daunting to plan a motorcycle tour of the state. There’s a simple solution: Ride the River Road and choose a different way to and from this destination route.
Just the name Rio Grande conjures up images of the vast Wild West seen in Hollywood movies. There’s a road, locally known as River Road, that you can ride along this legendary river. River Road is actually Texas Farm to Market Road 170 (FM170). It runs about 115 miles from the western side of Big Bend National Park through the city of Presidio to Candelaria.
Heading west from Big Bend National Park, FM170 passes through Big Bend Ranch State Park. This state park is sometimes referred to as the “Other Side of Nowhere.” It’s a remote area of high desert with steep canyons, rugged mountains, and breathtaking vistas. The road runs along the river in places, winding up and down the hills and canyons for an exciting ride.
Recreational opportunities include hiking, fishing, and camping. The camping option is especially unique. The International Dark-Sky Association designates the park as an International Dark Sky Park. If you like to see stars at night, you’ll be amazed at the stellar show in one of the darkest night skies in the lower 48 states.
The road from Presidio to Candelaria was a dirt road until 1985 when FM170 was extended, providing the first paved access to this west Texas town. If Big Bend Ranch State Park is the other side of nowhere, riding this section of FM170 will let you say you travelled to the end of the road to nowhere and back again. For serious riders of dual-sport motorcycles, another way out of Candelaria is on a dirt road that leads to the wilds of west Texas. Adventures paved and unpaved are waiting for you!
And if you’re traveling with other riders, you can save more on your insurance with a rider group discount from Dairyland. Check our website for details.
Till next time, ride safe!
Interested in other motorcycle rallies and rides in Texas during the year? Check out Rockers, Riders, and Ribs.
There’s also the scenic loop through the Davis Mountains.