Not lost in the typical sense. Lost in a way that you enjoy, that you search for. You could almost call it found. In the process of making our maps we scour the country, mostly in search of the twisty and dramatic roads. What we learned along the way is that beyond the energetic roads that climb cliffs and carve canyons, are stretches of asphalt that some how got lost in time. Their purpose crumbled to the elements like their center stripes and shoulders. These roads have a special place in our hearts and an important part on our maps. We call them Lost Highways. If you find yourself on one, you may just succumb to the loneliness and drone along with a certain connection to the motorcycle that you don’t feel when you’re spotting break markers and apex’s on more challenging roads.

You won’t find a Lost Highway just anywhere. They’re almost exclusive to the American West where dreams were paved, lost, then forgotten. Some Lost Highways served Uranium mines, others seem to have no good reason to be paved at all. No matter their reason for existence, Lost Highways dissect portions of land that has been ignored by people. And that’s why we love them.

Not just any empty road can be a Lost Highway, it must have (or not have), certain things. It must be paved, it must be “weathered,” there can’t be power lines, homes, 7-11s, or stoplights. A Lost Highway is a road through nowhere and it must feel like it.

The next time you open up a map and plan your ride hoping to connect the stretches of gold highlighted roads don’t ignore the in-between places. Sometimes the long straight roads are the ones you’ll remember the most.


Comments (5)

  • George Davenport Reply

    I enjoy your Armchair Adventures very much!

    I have most of your maps and have ridden many of the Lost Highways in Idaho and Montana, some more than once.

    They are superb rides for the very reasons discussed in this edition of Armchair Adventures.

    I now search for the Lost Highways in all your maps, and put them up there with the Gold Roads.

    July 29, 2015 at 8:47 pm
  • Lupuslefou Reply

    I’ve been down several amazing abandoned roads like this. The first that comes to mind is jungo road, winnemucca, NV. Classic desert highway. I’d like to hear more of the authors take with specific roads he’s experienced.

    July 30, 2015 at 3:29 am
    • butlermaps Reply

      Hi Lupuslefou,
      Good question. The image in this story was taken on a desolate Indian road in Arizona. Specifically Road 34 that passes Vaya Chin, among other interesting Indian communities. For various reasons, it’s one of my favorites.
      Ride Safe

      August 5, 2015 at 2:43 pm
  • Roahkahn Reply

    Well written, I agree with most everything with the exception of the author asserting that a lost road must be paved. I pity anyone who is restricted only to pavement on a motorcycle.

    When you turn a corner on a dirt road in the desert moutains of the Southwest and before you is a small herd of desert bighorn sheep coming up from an early morning drink in a canyon lake or river it’s surreal. Turn off the engine and in tge silence they become more curious than you are of them. Your lost road experience has exponentially gotten better….off the pavement.

    July 30, 2015 at 10:23 pm
  • butlermaps Reply

    Thanks Roahkahn. Actually, we totally agree, the meandering dirt roads through the desert Southwest are among our favorite. For our map publishing purposes however we stuck to recommending the paved “lost highways” if for no other reason than there are to many dirt options to logically fit on our maps. Have fun beyond the pavement! If you have some ride reports feel free to share with us, we may feature one in a future Armchair Adventure.

    August 5, 2015 at 2:36 pm


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *