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Old West Routes
 

Use the Route tab to explore options by desired time and pace on the trail.  

Our Scouting Reports & GPS Tracklogs retrace the paths blazed to old west frontiers by early pioneers and prospectors. They left an ideal overland explores playground in their wake; remote pack trails, wagon roads, water routes, ghost towns, boom camp survivors, mine relics, colorful history and a spirit for adventure that inspires. 

 
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North American Overland Journeys
 

Location tabs are the fastest way to find geographic regions of interest and interconnected trails.

All of our Scout Reports and GPS Tracklogs flow continuously from one interesting region to another, state-to-state, province-to-province, nation-to-nation using as little pavement as possible, and when we do, it tends to be byways versus freeways.

 
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Go Deeper: Foot, Bike, Horseback & Watercraft
 

For many, self-reliant vehicle overlanding is the adventure. Others Go Deeper. 

All our Scouting Expeditions provide opportunity to hike, bike and backpack. Many routes also provide equestrian and watercraft journey extensions. We’ve flagged some favorites to inspire you to take your overland adventure to another level.

 
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Explore what fascinates you the most.
 

Every Scouting Expedition is researched to travel through Old West Frontiers rich with interesting trails, tales and relics. 

The roar of the rush has subsided, but imprints linger; ghost towns, abandoned rails turned to trails, surviving boomtowns that retain the charm of yesteryear continue to outfit today’s adventurers with supplies, historical lodging and spirits. Look deeper, and you will find signs of Native America.

 
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Choose Your Pace & Challenge
 

As most of our Scouting Expedition GPS Tracklogs are interlinked, the base route is most often Easy or Moderate, but we explore Difficult options along the way. Some can be overgrown and sometimes barley visible, making them that much more appealing for those looking to build that into thier own adventure. Three broad categories are used but beware, what is Easy today can be Difficult tommorow, due to environmental conditions (see Go Prepared). 

 
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Get Lost in the Journey
 

One of the greatest pleasures associated with 4WD vehicle overlanding is the ability to wander at will, as one trail leads to another in a maze of options. However, advance research can help you explore routes that fascinate you the most and can make the most of your time.

There is nothing wrong with using a map and compass for guidance. In fact, you should always have them with you. But GPS technology and affordable mapping software really empower you to free-flow and always have a sense of where you are, at all times.

 
Challenge: Moderate Terrain
Expect the Unexpected

Rating is subjective, particularly since the majority of our Routes are on unmaintained roads or trails that are off the grid, where you can’t rely on AAA to come to your aid. That’s why we only use three broad rating categories. Routes rated ‘Moderate’ will generally require a 4WD with low range, more ground clearance and/or underbody protection, because they are on rougher routes more prone to erosion. We may alert you to expect deep sand sections, stream crossings, single lane ledge roads, steep drop-offs, off-angle or loose surfaces, tight sidewall clearance, and the like. However, our Scouting Report and Slideshow captions are not intended to be a recommended or definitive route. Rather, documentaries of scouting expeditions provide pictorial reference and information that can compliment other resources that can help you find the degree of complexity you are comfortable with and help you plan for, or avoid, more remote/complex sections. It is crucial that you have the right driving/ backcountry experience, camping supplies and survival equipment for the Route you pick. Refer to GO PREPARED If you’re unsure, consider some form of training or traveling with others that have more experience (see Go PREPARED). Driving and spotting capabilities are only part of the equation. The more complex or remote the terrain the more important being prepared for the unexpected is. It will happen, a breakdown, camping equipment failure, bad weather, road closures… you name it. Moderate routes are more likely to see land-management changes (CHECK MVUP in USA). It is crucial that you have the right driving/ backcountry experience, camping supplies and survival equipment for the Route you pick. Refer to GO PREPARED, DISCLAIMER and TREAD LIGHTLY.

Trek Legs

Anza-Borrego’s Outstanding Sandstone Canyon Trail

Under construction, coming later this month.

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The Great Southern Mail Stage Route & Diablo Drop-off

Retracing surviving sections of the Overland Stage Route in the storied Carrizo-Vallecito corridor along Anza-Borrego’s earthquake valley; Arroyo Seco del Diablo - Arroyo Tapiado loop to Diablo Drop-off, a dramatic gateway to Sandstone Canyon.

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Prehistoric Oasis, Goat Canyon & Great Overland Stage Road

Jacumba Mountains have attracted overlanders for 6000 years; a region thick with sacred native sites, palm tree oasis, serene 4WD roads and adventurist hiking trails, in the most beautiful rugged desert region in Anza Borrego.

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Chiricahua Hoodoo “Hands Pass” Backdoor Trail

Hands Pass, a little known and used historical back door trail from the 27 million year old Chiricahua Hoodoos - dramatic pinnacles, columns, spires and balanced rocks; ideal for exploration.

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Retallack-Cody Over-the-top Trail

A region so thick with relics, it was coined the “Valley of the Ghosts”. Off-road vehicles can retrace the exhilarating over-the-top Retallack to Cody Wagon Road past interesting mines and jaw dropping mountain views. Retrace the 1891 discovery route of 'Silvery Slocan'.

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Gleeson Pearce Ghost Town Road & The Dragoon Mountains

We followed the High Lonesome Road to the tip of the Dragon Mountains. Cochise County coined the route the Pearce Ghost Town Road, to stimulate interest in the relic-rich region. Weaving between the old road and abandoned bed of the Arizona & Colorado Railway added interest.

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Berlin, side-door to Pony Express and Ft. Churchill

Berlin ghost town has been stabilized and protected, so there is much to see. Up the hill, we explored a ancient Ichthyosaur dinosaur bed. Our route makes a stop at the intact Poinsettia Mine camp before traveling north past Rawhide where we join the Pony Express to Fort Churchill.

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Lowell, The Shady Dell & The High Lonesome Road

During my research for interesting trails running north from the Mexican-SE Arizona, I came across a road called “The High Lonesome”. It was just so Hollywood romantic; I had to try it out. The abandoned road is a blast, but it was discovering the combined Bisbee-Lowell urban frontier, that was so magical.

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Devils Chasm: Ancient Salado Remote Cliff Dwelling

Cherry Creek Road passes through Salt River Canyon Wilderness to reach Devils Chasm, an incredibly well preserved remote ruin. Further down Cheery Creek, trail becomes more rugged, as it travels on ledge roads of deep canyons.

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Sedona Broken Arrow & Schnebly Hill to OX

TREK LEG ROUTE SLIDESHOW and GPS/GPX Maps are ACTIVE.

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Nelson & Techatticup Mines

TREK LEG ROUTE SLIDESHOW and GPS/GPX Maps are ACTIVE.

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Sedona Red Rock Cliff Dwellings

TREK LEG ROUTE SLIDESHOW and GPS/GPX Maps are ACTIVE.

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Borrego Badland, Truckhaven Road & Hills to Salton Sea

TREK LEG ROUTE SLIDESHOW and GPS/GPX Maps are ACTIVE.

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Smiley Rock Trail to Williams “Route 66”

TREK LEG ROUTE SLIDESHOW and GPS/GPX Maps are ACTIVE.

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Moab Tip-Toe Behind The Rocks

TREK LEG ROUTE SLIDESHOW and GPS/GPX Maps are ACTIVE.

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Backway to Cottonwood & Jerome

TREK LEG ROUTE SLIDESHOW and GPS/GPX Maps are ACTIVE.

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Rhyolite, Red Pass & Titus Canyon

TREK LEG ROUTE SLIDESHOW and GPS/GPX Maps are ACTIVE.

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Rhyolite, Red Pass & Titus Canyon

TREK LEG ROUTE SLIDESHOW and GPS/GPX Maps are ACTIVE.

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Abandoned Railway to Fairbanks

We retraced the Overland Stage route and the El Paso & Southwestern Railway that share the corridor between Tombstone and Fairbank, a known refuge for the cattle rustlers and robbers such as Johnny Ringo, Curly Bill and Billy Clanton.

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Mascot Mine Side Trip

TREK LEG ROUTE SLIDESHOW and GPS/GPX Maps are ACTIVE.

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Johnson Valley

TREK LEG ROUTE SLIDESHOW and GPS/GPX Maps are ACTIVE.

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Minehaha Creek Loop to Crown King

TREK LEG ROUTE SLIDESHOW and GPS/GPX Maps are ACTIVE.

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Old Dale & Gold Crown Mine Trail

TREK LEG ROUTE SLIDESHOW and GPS/GPX Maps are ACTIVE.

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Backway to Crown King & Senator Highway

TREK LEG ROUTE SLIDESHOW and GPS/GPX Maps are ACTIVE.

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China Ranch to Echo Canyon

TREK LEG ROUTE SLIDESHOW and GPS/GPX Maps are ACTIVE.

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Moab Poison Spider Mesa

TREK LEG ROUTE SLIDESHOW and GPS/GPX Maps are ACTIVE.

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Cochrane Coke Ovens, Martinez Mine & Box Canyon

Trail leaves wide-open section of Cochran Wagon Road, entering rugged Martinez Canyon and on to the steep-walled, narrow Box Canyon Trail. Optional, challenging side trip to Martinez Mine.

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White Mountain Wilderness to Battleaxe-Gila River Trail

Drop in-out of White Mountains for dispersed camping or carry on for incredible array of eye-pleasing geography, Gila-Battle Axe Trail, Cochran Coke Ovens Stage Route and Martinez Canyon.

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Apache Sacred Lands

While there’s an Easy route into this wonderful region, those seeking more challenge will find the Difficult options rewarding. It is easy to see why Apache held sacred ceremonies in this volcanic-rock boulder studded land, now a magnate to 4WD enthusiasts, hikers, birders and rock climbers.

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Havasupai Point on Grand Canyon South Rim.

Havasupai Point is a rare opportunity for a road less traveled to Grand Canyon, for dispersed camping and sightseeing, away from the masses that flock to the South Rim.

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Ranch Trails to Havasupai Fallls & Point

Not much has changed in the ranchlands bordering the South Rim of Grand Canyon, where work on the ranch continues to be done on horseback. The quite and serenity of wide-open landscape – the sheer lack of any distractions is magic.

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Pass Canyon to Oatman

Diverse range of remote trails and craggy canyons of the Black Mountain, first blazed in 1860’s, now populated only by curious mountain sheep and wild burros.

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Thumb Butte & Secret Pass

Minutes off the Highway, we were rewarded with the distinctive landmark, Thumb Butte, and the progressively more challenging trail on the loop back to the highway, intriguing us to come back for more of the region later – Pass Creek to Oatman.

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Packsaddle Mountain to Chloride & The Beale Wagon Road

The living ghost town of Chloride, revitalized by artists and artisans, makes for an interesting stop and the hills above are easily accessed for overnight camping.

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New Denver-Perry Back Rd.

Surrounded by rivers and lakeshores, the ‘Silvery Slocan’ feels like a mountainous coastal island forest, capped by rugged peaks. Old West false-front stores continue to outfit overlanders touring lakeshore boomtowns or deep wilderness.

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Owyhee Canyon to Silver City

Travel from the deep-shadowed and remote canyons of the Owyhee River, through the Indian War stronghold of Three Forks to the heart of the second richest silver strike of the old west, War Eagle Mountain. Relive Silver City, a tremendous valley boomtown survivor where you can refresh your party at the 1866 Idaho Hotel.

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Rome to Owyhee Canyon

Follow the route traveled by Chief Buffalo Horn, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau son of Sacajawea and the Silver City to Virginia City Stage passing the mystical ‘Pillars of Rome’ and on to the other ancient crossing of the Owyhee River at Three Forks and the remote deep shadowed canyons upriver.

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Buckskin Pass to Owhyee Desert

Route carries on from picturesque Windy Gap switchbacks, past mines lured to the region by the legendary 1859 Lost Buckskin Mine, before reaching the summit and a ledge road that drops down lush rangelands to Owyhee Desert.

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Belmont to Berlin via 10,000' Ophir Pass

You may find it difficult to leave the charismatic ghost town of Belmont, but the 10,000’ Ophir Canyon Pass awaits - up a rugged road, over, and down a breathtaking ledge road before dropping into Ione Canyon to the ghost towns of Ione and Berlin.

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Rhyolite to Gold Point

This Trek Leg has it all; interesting turn-of-the century ghost towns and relics to explore, a diverse range of trails, topography to encounter including the most exciting entrance into Death Valley, Red Pass and Titus Canyon.

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Black Rock to B.R. Range

The route across Black Rock Desert provides the longest intact segments of the historic emigrant trails to California and Oregon in the western US and a wilderness landscape largely unchanged since first explored by The Frémont Expedition in 1843

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Virginia City to NV Baja

Wallow in the old west glory of Virginia City, take a historical toll road and carry on wagon roads past Lousetown and Washington Mine to Pyramid Lake where you can drive along sandy Baja-like beaches until you find an ideal spot to camp.

OverlandFrontier.com Must Come To An End

It is with a heavy heart that we must advise our supporters that we are forced to close the Overland Frontier website. While the site was only open for one year, we started development many years earlier. Since that time the importance of a mobile friendly website has increased. We hope we can be back one day, with a new and improved resource for overland routes. We have so many more Treks, Journeys and Expeditions that we did not have time to showcase. We are anxious to find a new mobile-friendly channel to share these routes with other enthusiasts and we are open to ideas and partners; contact rogermercier@me.com

In the meantime follow our expeditions on Facebook