It’s a popular stop along the Trans-America Trail, and only a few miles from the Utah Backcountry Discovery Route, so 3 Step Hideaway isn’t exactly hidden, but it is certainly remote. That remoteness is a big part of its charm, along with the scenery, the easy access to great motorcycle roads and trails, and the warm hospitality of its owners, Scott and Julie Stevenson.
Bill and I arrived at 3 Step on an afternoon in late September 2017 to prepare for a training and tour with MotoDiscovery. We had driven our Toyota “Tacoma GS” truck with Bill’s BMW GS and my mountain bike on a trailer from Norman, Oklahoma to Gallup, New Mexico the first day. The next day we enjoyed a leisurely drive from Gallup to 3 Step, which is northeast of Monticello, Utah in the Lisbon Valley, just barely west of the Colorado border. In fact, you can see the lights of Telluride on a clear night, or so they say.
The Stevensons have owned 3 Step since 2014, continuing the process of creating a destination from three weathered 19th century cabins and a root cellar. Accommodations now include two large, well-equipped cabins, two rustic cabins, two tepees, and plenty of space for camping. Food and refreshments are served at the Cantina, the Hideaway’s main gathering spot, and a bath house sits right next door. The entire place is “off the grid,” running on solar power, and Scott and Julie ask guests to take conservation of precious water and power resources seriously.
Scott took Bill and I on a tour of the place in his side-by-side and we got some great views of 3 Step and the surrounding area. Scott also mentioned that one of the canyons on the place has some archeological significance so I decided to do some exploring on foot the next day.
When I set out to explore the canyon, I took the 3 Step dogs, Bailey and Sage. (There are also several cats.) Sage is an energetic pup, but Bailey has some hip trouble and struggled to make the climb as we walked up from the mouth of the canyon. It was a short but fairly challenging hike as we ascended a stream bed and climbed over fallen trees and boulders. We climbed over the rim before reaching the head of the canyon and saw some very old cedar trees and interesting stone formations. But the most interesting thing I found was a rock cairn. It looks like it’s been there awhile, but I have no idea what its significance is, and Scott hadn’t seen it before. I would like to ascend farther up the canyon and see if I can find other cairns. Maybe next time. I also rode my mountain bike on some of the trails around 3 Step. This would be a great place to spend more time mountain biking as well as hiking.
Seven riders arrived that Friday night, September 29th, to start training on Saturday, September 30th. Alex Moore and Barak Naggan of MotoDiscovery had arrived as well and the group was ready to get started that Saturday morning. By afternoon the students were ready to put their off-road riding skills to work and took a trail ride on the shelf road just east of 3 Step. A fun road and some great scenery!
We spent four nights at 3 Step, during three of which we camped comfortably in our truck-top tent because the facility was full to capacity with our group and a bunch of KTM riders from Georgia. The fourth night some lodging opened up and we stayed in one of the rustic cabins, with heat provided by a wood stove. (The night time temperatures were in the 30s and 40s during our stay.) The home-cooked meals were healthy, delicious, and filling and we lacked for nothing. Scott and Julie anticipate their guests’ every need and provide a welcoming, personal atmosphere in an ideal setting. For more information, go to http://www.3stephideaway.com or find them on Facebook —https://www.facebook.com/3stephideaway/