What you need to guarantee a great, and safe, time on the DBBB.
The Daniel Boone Backcountry Byway (DBBB) is a scenic motorized tour of the foothills, high cliff-lines, hollers, and diverse deciduous forests of eastern Kentucky. The DBBB is comprised of official county and public roads with variable terrain types, including moderate-to-difficult trail sections, sweeping gravel roads, and interconnecting pavement including sections of the Federal National Scenic Byway through the Red River Gorge Geologic Area.
The DBBB is intended for licensed, insured, and street legal vehicles and motorcycles. The DBBB is made possible by the local counties, local businesses, local and non-local off-road clubs, local and non-local motorcycle enthusiasts, and local communities. Please respect the land, the people, the history, and the natural resources of the area.
The Byway was created to support local economies, so please buy gas, food, campground rentals, cabin rentals, recreation/entertainment opportunities, and everything you possibly can locally… in other words, SUPPORT THE LOCAL ECONOMIES!!!! The DBBB utilizes the historic transportation system of these counties to provide world-class motorized recreation so please, TreadLightly!
What vehicle setup gives me the best chance of completing the route?
Minimum equipment (changes with conditions): two-vehicles, 33” mud tires, rear locker (strongly encouraged for several areas), recovery straps, winch, cell phone, CB or GMRS radio and the knowledge to use all equipment. Cell phone coverage is often non-existent or spotty at best.
Road descriptions and conditions:
The original DBBB route began on Chop Chestnut Road off US 11 just south of Stanton, Kentucky. Unfortunately, due to insurance issues with the active rock quarry, this scenic section of the DBBB was removed. In lieu, the route bypasses Chop Chestnut Road and heads south along a ribbon of asphalt, passing through mature forest and cliff lines along High Rock Road. Heading east, the asphalt transitions to gravel and then trail surface.
Mountain Springs Road (Furnace-Pilot Road)
Turning onto Mountain Springs (Furnace-Pilot Road), the route changes from asphalt to gravel, then trail. Quickly the route passes through a homestead with an equine themed swinging gate. This gate has been court-ordered to remain open. Anyone traversing this section and any section of the DBBB can rest assured, if they are using the official CartoTracks map of the DBBB (CartoTracks.com), it is 100% county road and open to the public. Users are advised to proceed past this homestead on the route and prepare for some of the most difficult yet scenic sections on the DBBB. Once you pass the homestead outbuildings and a large cabin within eyesight, users will find a very rutted, wet, hilly, muddy section of the county road. This section will challenge most vehicles of any level of build and will likely require winching in most seasons. Ultimately, the supporters of the DBBB will improve this section to a more sustainable level but since the road is embroiled in a lawsuit, no improvements can be made until resolved. Upon completion of this muddiest of sections, the route passes an iconic, photogenic house in disrepair from many decades ago. As the trail rolls through beautiful forest, the terrain becomes sandy and gains the top of a ridge and eventually daylights to the asphalt of KY 1639 AKA South Fork.
Continuing east, the DBBB streams along Ashley Lease Road (asphalt) to Barker Branch (mixed surface) to KY 1036 (asphalt) to the next trail section. BE ADVISED THAT THIS AREA IS LOADED WITH AWESOME OFF ROAD PARK LAND (HOLLERWOOD OFF-ROAD ADVENTURE), PROCEED WITH CAUTION AND AWARENESS OF UNLICENSED RECREATIONAL VEHICLES, BICYCLES, HIKERS, HORSES, MOTORCYCLES AND OTHERS.
Fixer-Leeco Road, Larison Road, Cave Fork Road, Bald Rock Fork and New Virginia Ridge
Turning off KY 1036, enthusiasts can either turn onto Fixer-Leeco Road or Larison Road from KY 1036. Fixer-Leeco Road is gravel and passes by the driveway of a long-time supporter of off-road access in the area so please TreadLightly! The gravel road descends into a tributary of Zachariah Fork which at times can be dammed up by beaver activity. Proceed with caution! A beaver dam can cause inordinately high water along this section of road. Larison Road is asphalt as it begins to descend the steep ridgeline but transitions to gravel as it passes by a wonderful lake. Passing by the lake, travelers intersect Fixer-Leeco Road and continue south to either head north-east on Cave Fork Road or south to Bald Rock Fork Road or New Virginia Ridge Road, each option leads to US 11 via Ky 498. Both of these roads have many stream crossings and traverse historic “big sinking oil deposit land”. Bald Rock Fork Road provides access to the world-class rock-climbing areas within the Pendergrass-Murray Recreational Preserve and a hyper-scenic motorized ride through karst topography that sees streams emerge from the limestone deposits out of nowhere and then just as suddenly, the stream disappears underground. TREADLIGHTLY! through this section as endangered bats hibernaculum exists… don’t disrupt them! If you choose to travel New Virginia Road, continue south on the grinding gravel and enjoy the rolling scenery of eastern Kentucky! New Virginia Road ends at US 52 heading east to connect with KY 498, intersecting US 11 to head south.
The DBBB rolls leisurely through the asphalt turned gravel of Tip Top Road and descends to the next trail section.
Hell Creek Road
Hell Creek Road is a highly scenic gravel trail section of the DBBB. It requires attention to detail as it flows along steep cliff-line then drops into and crosses Hell Creek Fork but provides some very attractive photo opportunities. Just after you cross Hell Creek Fork, to the left you will notice a rock formation and to the right at the top of the hill, a significant water fall flows during wet weather, it is spectacular! The route transitions into Shoemaker Ridge Road and ultimately another trail section. If you want to avoid the notorious rock garden on Old Fincastle Road, head west and continue on Shoemaker Ridge Road and daylight on US 11.
Old Fincastle Road
Once leaving Hell Creek Road, the DBBB turns sharply down a cliff-side shelf and switches back until it reaches the flow of Walker Creek. The water level here can be tricky, scout ahead before attempting and be aware of the slippery exits. This historic road continues up the forested hill steeply and encounters a muddy, washed out switch back before finally flowing into the picturesque rock garden of Old Fincastle Road. This section of trail can seem daunting but careful line selection and keeping tires on the highest points of rocks allows the enthusiast to enjoy the challenge and scenery that rivales any outdoor adventure east of the Mississippi.
Once you achieve the top of the ridge past the iconic rock garden of Old Fincastle Road, the DBBB heads west on Ky 2016 and then abruptly darts to the south on the Big Andy Road.
*For those bypassing Old Fincastle Road, continue north on US 11 and turn onto KY 715 to connect to KY 2016 to a left on Big Andy Road*
Big Andy Road, Lower Devil Creek Road, and Sandy Ridge Road Rating: Easy
Big Andy Road is gravel and follows a woodland area with oil pumping infrastructure down to Lower Devil Creek Road. This scenic area follows Devil Creek and the North Fork of the Kentucky River. Heading west, the DBBB follows along Sandy Ridge Road and ultimately hits KY 715 and asphalt for a long run through the world-class hiking and rock climbing area known as the Red River Gorge National Geologic Area. Be sure to research and plan ahead to check out at least one of the hundreds of natural sandstone arches in this “Land Of The Arches”.
Once the DBBB meanders through the Red River Gorge Geologic Area, it heads west just before the blue iron bridge across the Red River, turning sharply on KY 613 at the blue iron bridge.
Indian Creek Road, Spaas Creek Road, Punkin Hollow Road
Indian Creek Road is a county road that turns north along the DBBB but is not officially on the DBBB route. Indian Creek Road is gravel and runs adjacent to the scenic creek. The USFS maintains established campsite suitable for car camping. The area is beautiful and the stream is stocked with trout. Please pack it in and pack it out!
The DBBB continues west until it meets the junction of one of the original county roads on the route, Spaas Creek Road.
Spaas Creek Road road follows along Spaas Creek with many stream crossings. The road crosses USFS managed land so stay exactly on the trail! Users have created many “braids” but the middle route is always hard-bottomed so do not avoid the mud puddles, just stay on the trail without creating more “braids”.
Exiting the Spaas Creek drainage, the DBBB tops out on gravel surfaces and weaves through the cliff lines until reaching asphalt. Heading west once again, the route turns south onto a single lane bridge and into an area with homesteads tightly packed. Passing an old barn closely, the DBBB begins its climb up to the top of the ridge on Punkin Hollow Road. The climb up this road is medium difficulty but can be a real challenge when wet. Please avoid during wet conditions and respect the freeze and thaw cycle. Once achieving the top of the ridge, the road descends attractively along tributaries and mature forest. Passing a couple cabins and exiting a creek, the DBBB hits gravel and ultimately asphalt as it crosses the Cane-Creek single lane bridge and connects back to US 11 via KY 613. This completes the original loop of the Daniel Boone Backcounty Byway.
Please TreadLightly! And Leave No Trace! Please Support the Local Economies!