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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.

 
Trek Stage A : Alberta Prairie Homestead & Railtown Expedition  

Alberta Prairie Homestead & Railtown Expedition

Under the Lands Act, a homesteader could purchase 160 acres for $10. The CPR and CNR railways did a very effective job publicizing the opportunity. Canada’s population grew by one-third in the first decade of the twentieth century. Almost a million people settled in the prairies, leaving a perfect grid of interconnecting country roads. Many old homesteads stand deserted, waiting to be appreciated, as do the pioneer towns that are trying to survive.  What made this trip so special is that I had an opportunity to include a 100 Year Anniversary celebration of our family’s Alberta homestead, and 368 years in Canada. To appreciate and celebrate what my forefathers acomplished I decided to take the long way up and back from Calgary, taking as many country roads as possible, looking for remaining signs of the early homesteads that built the West and the railways, rail-towns that served them. The "Therien - Bonnyville" Trek Leg tells but one story of what typical homestead families had to endure to settle "The Last Geat West".  

You can download the GPS Tracklog but half the fun is freestyling as you travel across the endless homestead grid, gravitting towards whatever catches your eye. I followed the, mostly, abandoned CPR and CNR branch lines, where eager pioneers located thier homesteaders within an easy wagon ride to grain elevators, railroad stations and stores. 

Trek Series:
Trek Series:
Scouts GPS Tracklog
 
GPS Tracklog
 
Trek Leg 1 : Homesteads & Railtowns: Stettler - Vilna  

Half the fun is randomly navigating the never-ending old homestead grid for whatever draws your attention.

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 publicizing the opportunity. Canada’s population grew by one-third in the first decade of the twentieth century. Almost a million people settled in the prairies, leaving a perfect grid of interconnecting country roads. Ready-made farms were available just in the Palliser Triangle of Southern Alberta. The remainder was but a chunk of raw land a ton of hard work.

Many old homesteads stand deserted, waiting to be appreciated, as do the pioneer towns that are trying to survive.  What made this trip so special is that I had an opportunity to include a 100 Year Anniversary celebration of our family’s Alberta homestead, and 368 years in Canada.

My Dad used to like to travel these same roads, across the Prairies and sell subscriptions of the famer’s newspaper – The Winnipeg Free Press. During summers, I would travel with him farm-to-farm. I think Dad liked it when farmers did not have cash-on-hand, as he could barter for old collectables by rummaging through old barns with them.  I still have the itch for traveling and collecting old things and stories. 

Trek Leg:
Click on Photo for Slideshow
Slideshow
                  
Trek Leg 2 : Homesteads & Railtowns: Therien - Bonnyville  

Half the fun is randomly navigating the never-ending old homestead grid for whatever draws your attention.

Homesteads & Railtowns: Therien - Bonnyville

We sometimes get so busy with life we forget to appreciate where we came from. I had an opportunity to connect with my roots; 100-year milestone anniversary is cause for celebration and a good time to reflect on our family’s heritage that reaches back 368 years, in Canada, but only a century in the west. 

The occasion inspired me to take the long way to the celebration taking as many country roads as possible, looking for remaining signs of the early homesteads built by our forefathers that became the backbone of the Canadian West. 

This trek was particularly rewarding for me, a chance to celebrate what my very own forefathers endured and accomplished, as pioneers; creating the opportunity and luxuries we take for granted today. I’m anxious to share their Journey and story with hope that it inspires you to take a journey to explore your roots and storied past. 

Trek Leg:
Click on Photo for Slideshow
Slideshow
                  
Trek Leg 3 : Homesteads & Railtowns: Bellis - Badlands  

Half the fun is randomly navigating the never-ending old homestead grid for whatever draws your attention.

Homesteads & Railtowns: Bellis - Badlands

Under the Lands Act, a homesteader could purchase 160 acres for $10. The CPR and CNR railways did a very effective job publicizing the opportunity. Canada’s population grew by one-third in the first decade of the twentieth century. Almost a million people settled in the prairies, leaving a perfect grid of interconnecting country roads. Many old homesteads stand deserted, waiting to be appreciated, as do the pioneer towns that are trying to survive.  What made this trip so special is that I had an opportunity to include a 100 Year Anniversary celebration of our family’s Alberta homestead, and 368 years in Canada. To appreciate and celebrate what my forefathers acomplished I decided to take the long way up and back from Calgary, taking as many country roads as possible, looking for remaining signs of the early homesteads that built the West and the railways, rail-towns that served them.

When time permits I will add the narration, but for now the slideshow speaks volumes. You can download the GPS Tracklog but half the fun is freestyling as you travel across the endless homestead grid, gravitting towards whatever catches your eye. I followed the, mostly, abandoned CPR and CNR branch lines, where eager pioneers located thier homesteaders within an easy wagon ride to grain elevators, railroad stations and stores.

Trek Leg:
Click on Photo for Slideshow
Slideshow
                  

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