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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.

 
The Great Northern K&SRR Narrow Gauge raced against the CPR N&SRR to reach the mines above Sandon and Cody, BC.
Explore: Rails to Trails
Built Through The Most Rugged and Scenic Terrain in North America

No sooner had rich ore discoveries been made in the West, that government and railway tycoons were championing a transcontinental railway. After the Central Pacific Railroad met the Union Pacific Railroad in Utah in 1869, there were seven more Transcontinental’s built in US and Canada. The 1870’s - 1880’s era was known as the Gilded Age, when the NA economy rose at the fastest rate in its history. Rail lines jumped from 35,000 to 254,000 miles by 1916, alone. Short lines were being built in every direction, mostly due to new ore strikes and emigration in the west. Two or three rival lines often raced to the same discovery that sometimes were played out on arrival. Once rails and ties were salvaged, rail beds were used as roads or totally forgotten. By the mid 1950’s the Golden Era of railroad had peaked and soon massive abandonment left an incredible network of rail trials. Some are reserved for hikes, bikes and equestrian while others are rated multi-use to include off-road vehicles. They range in length from day/multi-day hikes or rides to 600mi/965km expeditions on the BC’s Kettle Valley Railway.

Trek Legs

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Homesteads & Railtowns: Therien - Bonnyville

There is a unique peace and serenity to be found in the prairies while exploring the, now, little used network of wagon roads created to link rail town elevators with homestead grains. Many ghost-homestead survive waiting to be appreciated; icons of the backbone of the Canadian West.

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Homesteads & Railtowns: Bellis - Badlands

In the quest for mystical journeys, we sometimes forget to explore the magic of our own backyards. Living in Calgary, the temptation is always to head west through the mountains, but every other direction leads to little used networks left by railroads and wagon roads to 100 year old homesteads.

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Homesteads & Railtowns: Stettler - Vilna

Under the Lands Act, a homesteader could purchase 160 acres for $10. The CPR and CNR railways did a very effective job of attracting nearly a million people to settle in the prairies at the turn of the century, leaving a perfect grid of interconnecting country roads, homestead ruins and surviving rail-towns to explore.

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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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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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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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Echo Canyon, Inyo Mine to T&T Railway

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

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Bumblebee to Cleator & Crown King

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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Badlands & Red Deer Valley

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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Perry Back Rd to Rossland

Perry Back Road follows the slow flowing part of the Slocan River, ideally suited to paddlers, floaters and swimmers. Bikers/hikers can take advantage of the extensive Rail-to-trail network on their way to the exciting gold rush city of Rossland.

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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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Ft. Fizzel to Wallace

Wallace is a gem worth spending some time in; resupply, dine and refresh your party at the Art-Deco Ryan Hotel before driving/biking through 14 cavernous tunnels and 9 high trestles of The Route of The Hiawatha nearby.

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Gold Point to Tonopah

Route travels from the fantastic ghost town of Gold Point with over 50 relics to explore, through sparse Joshua tree forest, extensive mine relics and boomtown survivors of Goldfield and Tonopah.

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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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Sandon & Trails of Idaho Peak

Explore the eclectic collection of ghost town relics in Sandon before you drive to Idaho Peak trailhead for an easy hike that provides breathtaking views of the entire Slocan Valley and puts you eye-to-eye with Kokanee Park and Vahalla Glaciers.

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Retallack to Sandon and the Kaslo & Slocan Rail Trail

Mountains flush with trails to explore; old wagon roads, abandoned rail beds and pack trails that lead to interesting mines, ghost towns, incredible mountain top views, alpine meadows and wilderness camps.

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Kaslo to Retallack

Kalso is an ideal base camp or springboard to Kootenay Lake, Kokanee Glacier Park, Valley of the Ghosts or up to Lardeau Country for a stay at the 1897 Windsor Hotel.

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Ft. Churchill to Virginia City

Depart the ruins of the Union Army Fort and follow the Pony Express to Virginia City, one of North Americas’ best-preserved 1860’s old west boomtowns, home to the incredible Comstock Silver Lode and terminus to Virginia & Truckee RR, now reopened.

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