If you’re anything like me, you almost romanticize going on an epic overland adventure. Not one of those weekend trips leaving Friday and coming home Saturday either.
A long, hard, adventure where you may or may not make it back home in one piece. Well, at least the Jeep may not make it back in one piece. Here are overland trails you can take on this winter or summer that are over 100 miles (or more).
Below I have listed the best overland trails in the United States, along with the length and difficulty levels. I have also included towns you will pass through, and where the trail officially begins.
The North Rim Grand Traverse
Starting Location: Sublime Point, Arizona
Duration: 547 miles
The North Rim Grand Traverse assures a scenic landscape throughout the trail. Here, you will be able to see some of Arizona’s most remote viewpoints, with minimal traffic and many camping opportunities. This trail will take your breath away with its amazing views.
The route starts at Sublime Point, Arizona, and ends in Saint George, Utah.
Most vehicles can take on this trip – 4×4/4wd will make the trip more enjoyable for peace of mind, but work with what you have.
The best time to take on this trail is March-November to mostly avoid the scorching desert heat in the summertime. This will make camping a much more enjoyable experience within desert conditions. It is important to be mindful that nighttime here will be extremely cold – heating arrangements should be made for your overland vehicle.
How many days will the North Rim Grand Traverse take?
This overland trip will take anywhere from 6-14 days depending on travel time. After all, this trail is over 500 miles long, and even the slightest hiccup can set you back over a day.
Can a stock Jeep Wrangler take on The North Rim Grand Traverse?
Yes, a stock Jeep Wrangler will not have any issues on this overland trip.
Can a Subaru take on The North Rim Grand Traverse?
Yes, a Subaru will not have any issues on this trail system especially if equipped with all-terrain tires.
Can I camp on the North Rim Grand Traverse?
Yes, you can camp along this trail. You must obtain a permit prior to camping so make sure to take the necessary steps before starting this epic overland trip.
Are there any gas stations on the North Rim Grand Traverse?
There are not many fueling stations on this trip. It is important to have enough fuel stored for 400-600 miles. If you plan to camp in your vehicle while it is running you will need even more fuel. Plan accordingly!
Are there any restaurants or grocery stores on The North Rim Grand Traverse?
No, you must be completed stocked up on food for the entire trip before starting!
The TransAmerica Trail (TAT)
Starting Location: Orlando, FL
Duration: 5,000 miles
The TransAmerica Trail, or most commonly known as TAT, was originally created by Sam Correro in 1894. This semi loop connects from West Virginia to Georgia, then goes north to Idaho before turning east and ending at the Wisconsin border. This trial includes a few legs that can take you to Oregon, Texas, or the West Virginian coast. If you’re wanting to travel the country – the overland trail may be for you.
While the trail was first designed for motorcycles, you are traveling across America and will hit a variety of different terrains with limited resources on certain stretches of the trip. During winter, snow will make this trail more difficult, but not impossible as long as you and your vehicle are prepared and capable.
4WD/4×4 equipped SUVs, trucks, and Jeeps should be considered when planning what vehicle to take. A lot of this trail can be completed with a 2wd vehicle, but if you want to take on this trip in its entirety, a 4×4 vehicle should be chosen.
Trans America Trail Explained
Trans America Trail Vlogs
White Rim Road
Starting Location: via Shafer Trail Road, Utah
Duration: 110 miles
If you want a short and challenging route, then you should check out the White Rim Road. This is a moderately difficult drive in the most ideal weather, however, during high water conditions on the Green River, can cause some trails to flood making it impossible to complete the full loop. Please check road conditions before beginning your trip.
The trail system is located very close to Moab Utah – Many amenities can be found here including restaurants, gas stations, hotels, and more before you get onto White Rim Road.
This trail also has stricter guidelines about which vehicles are allowed to take the trail. All vehicles must have high clearance and four-wheel drive (4wd) (low). ATVs, UTV’s and OHC’s are not permitted on the White Rim Road.
Additionally, generators are not allowed, so keep that in mind when planning your camping arrangements.
How many days does it take to complete White Rim Road?
White Rim Road will take you around 2-4 days to complete depending on the conditions of the trail.
Can a stock Jeep Wrangler take on the White Rim Road?
Yes, a stock Jeep Wrangler can complete White Rim Road. You should definitely consider some larger tires for higher ground clearance, a winch, and recovery equipment to make this trip more safe and comfortable.
Can I bring a travel trailer on White Rim Road?
No, a travel trailer will not be safe and would not make it very far on this serious overland trail. Plan on using a camper shell on your truck, sleeping inside the vehicle, a rooftop tent, or a standard tent.
Are there gas stations along White Rim road?
There are amenities in Moab, Utah before you get on the trail. Otherwise, once you get on you should be completely stocked up on food, water, and fuel to complete the trip. Plan accordingly and carefully.
The Mojave Road
Starting Location: California
Duration: 150 miles
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Taking the Mojave Road trail will bring you back to the past. This historic site hasn’t gone through any kind of improvement since its development 150 years ago.
This easy to medium-difficult trail is well preserved and California works hard to keep it that way.
Guests are expected to adhere strictly to the trail, and veering off of it is prohibited.
The trail begins at the California side of the Colorado River. The shore leads to the Cedar Canyon. Along the way, you will see several historical ruins, such as Fort Mojave. The road conditions vary greatly on this trail, and it’s strongly advised that you check road conditions before beginning your trip.
This trail also only allows road-legal vehicles, so keep that in mind when choosing which rig to take on your trek.
Full-size SUVs, compact trucks, and Jeep Wranglers equipped with 4×4/4wd are a great choice if deciding to take on The Mojave Road.
Can I camp on The Mojave Road?
Yes, roadside camping is permitted on The Mojave Road. It is important to pack out what you packed in – do not leave trash/garbage where you decide to camp to protect this historic overland route.
Are campfires allowed on The Mojave Road?
Due to extremely dry conditions and fire risk most of the year, you should not bet on having a campfire while on the overland trip. Check with the state government and local authorities to confirm.
Can a stock Jeep Wrangler take on The Mojave Road?
A stock Jeep Wrangler can take on The Mojave Road, but modifications do help. Like offroad tires above 33″, a winch, and recovery equipment can make this trip even easier.
Can I bring a travel trailer on The Mojave Road?
No, the trail will become too difficult to complete with a travel trailer over 10 feet long. An Overlanding trailer designed specifically for offroading can work. Otherwise, a slide-in-bed camper or a rooftop tent is all good camping additions to a vehicle for The Mojave Road.
Are there gas stations along The Mojave Road?
No, you must make sure you are filled up with fuel prior to starting this overland trip. Plan accordingly and bring enough extra fuel just in case.
How many days will it take to drive The Mojave Road?
The Mojave road will take anywhere from 1-2 days to complete depending on travel speed. But if you wish, this trip can be extended easily to 2-3 days.
The Dalton Highway
Starting Location: Eliot Highway, Alaska
Duration: 414 miles (828 miles)
The Dalton Highway comes with a great and clear view of the Northern Lights in August. This is a must-have adventure for cold-loving trail riders. This is a quiet and peaceful ride since you will barely see any towns, cities, cars, people, or infrastructure for that matter.
This trail is a one-way shot – meaning once you make it to Deadhorse. The only way out is back up on the Dalton Highway. There are some amenities in Deadhorse, but due to its remote location – betting on this can sometimes be dangerous.
Taking this into account, make sure that you have spare fuel to account for the lack of amenities as well as spare tires, emergency flares, and CB radio prepared for any emergency you might encounter on this trail.
There are no grocery stores or restaurants along most of the highway, so pack plenty of food.
Offroad vehicles like Jeep Wrangler, Toyota Tacomas, Toyota 4runners, and others. Of course, equipped with 4×4/4wd can be used for the Dalton Highway; Especially in the winter months. During the summer months – the Dalton Highway can be completed with less capable vehicles.
Snow covers the road from late August to late May, so plan accordingly.
If you consider yourself to be a serious overlander and off-roader, the Dalton Highway must be added to your bucket list.
How many days will it take to complete the Dalton Highway?
It is possible to complete the one-way shot to Deadhorse, Alaska in about 1-2 days. Stock back up and head back on the Dalton highway for another 1-2 Days. It is important to plan and stock up with food and fuel to accommodate more than this though. Otherwise, this fun adventure could become dangerous.
The Pan-American Highway
Starting Location: Prudhoe Bay, Alaska
Duration: 18,640 miles
If you want to go all-out, then the Pan-American Highway is something that you should definitely try. Its long duration will feel like a lifetime’s worth of time, resources, and dedication.
If you choose to take this path, make sure that you are greatly packed with food and fuel.
Here, the trail begins at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, and will take you all the way to Argentina. (Yes, the Country)
This will expose you to several states and countries, which can take as long as you want it to. There are certain areas of this trip you cannot drive on and will have to ship your vehicle across.
Keep this in mind when planning your trip. There are also areas where driving a right-handed vehicle is not permitted, and you will need to plan accordingly.
Pan-American Highway Explained
Pan-American Highway Vlog
Trans-Wisconsin Adventure Trail
Starting Location: Galena, IL
Duration: 600+ miles
The Trans-Wisconsin Adventure Trail is one of the most fun trail systems you can overland on. Thanks to the many paved roads, this is a relatively easy trek.
For those seeking a summer overland trip with their family, this is the perfect trail. For those wanting a bit more offroading – The Trans-Wisconsin Adventure trail has many additional features and trails along the way to test the limits of your overland vehicle.
Most full-size SUVs, some compact SUV’s and trucks can take this trip on – with or without 4×4/4wd depending on the weather and time of year you take the trail on.
The Trans-Wisconsin Adventure Trail offers many swimming spots, camping, nature preserves, hiking trails, biking trails, and even fishing areas for you to choose from. That is what makes this route such a great family vacation overland trek.
The route starts in Galena and ends at Lake Superior in Cornucopia.
How many days does it take to complete the Trans Wisconsin Aventure Trail?
This trail can be completed anywhere from 5-10 days depending on the speed you wish to travel and the activities scheduled.
Are there gas stations on the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail?
Yes, there are many gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, and hotels along the route. Some planning is in order for the longer stretches of offroad driving on the route. Otherwise, the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail is a great mix of on-road and off-road driving.
Can I pull a camper on the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail?
For the most part, it is possible to bring a travel trailer, camper, or RV on the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail. It may in some ways limit where you can go or what you can do – but if you wish to travel with a house on your hitch. It is completely possible.
Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route
Starting Location: Jarbidge, Nevada
Duration: 1,250 miles
The Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route is probably the most environmental-focused trail on the list. It is filled with vast mountains, which offer lakes and hot springs along the way.
July through October is the best time to ride this trail to avoid snow and hunters. This is a trail with very little cell reception, so be sure to pack a GPS and a good map as a backup.
The Idaho Back Country Route will start in Jarbridge, Nevada, and takes you all the way to the United States Canada border in Idaho. The trial can also be done in reverse starting at the Canada border in Idaho and making your way south to Nevada.
If you’re looking for a serious Overlanding trip, the Idaho Back Country Discovery Route will probably suit you well.
Vehicle choices for this trip become quite narrow. Full-size trucks and SUVs equipped with 4×4/4WD are the best options if looking to complete the entire trek.
For those with vehicles without 4×4, there are many parts of the trail you can take on for sightseeing and exploring – but trying to take the entire official route could become difficult depending on the time of year.
How many days does the Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route take to complete?
To complete the entire route, in summer, without any major weather events or delays. At a minimum, it will take 7-10 days to complete depending on your travel speed.
For myself, I would allow around 10 days total to take on this overland adventure. If I was to take this trip in the snowing winter, I would push this number to 15 days.
Are there gas stations along the Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route?
Yes, this overland route will take you through many small towns with options to break off and head to a large city along the way. If you’re needing to stock up on groceries, fuel, or just want to stay at a hotel for the night… There are many options for you. Definitely plan ahead so you do not run out of fuel or food!
Can a stock Jeep Wrangler take on the Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route?
Yes, a stock Jeep Wrangler of any year will not have a problem completing this trip. Any full-size SUV, or truck with 4wd will have a great time on this trip.
Texas Hill Country Route
Starting Location: East Highway 71 and County Road 310, Texas
Duration: 191 miles
The Texas Hill Country Route provides an easy-to-trail path regardless of experience. While being a majorly paved trail, this route still offers various sceneries and exposure to the different cultures in the area.
This route starts just outside Horseshoe Bay and ends in Fredericksburg.
Any vehicle with at least 4 wheel drive can take on this trail. Even our AWD friends can take most of this trial on. Some notable problems for vehicles lower to the ground would be the high water crossings.
Any full-size SUV or truck will not have an issue. Those in Subarus or others may need to find another route when coming to a water crossing.
Are there places to stop for fuel on the Texas Hill Country Route?
Yes, this route will take you through some small towns that do have conveniences like restaurants and gas stations to fuel back up before hitting the trail again.
How many days will the Texas Hill Country Route take?
The Texas Hill Country Route can take anywhere between 1 day to 4 days depending on the pace you would like to set. If you are wanting a speedy run on a Saturday, it is completely possible to start very early in the morning and finish late at night. If you want to make this into more of a camping getaway, a 4-day trip is completely comfortable for the 191 miles trek.
Can a Stock Jeep Wrangler go on the Texas Hill Country Route?
Yes, stock 4wd, 4×4, or AWD vehicles including a Jeep Wrangler will have a smooth, easy trip on the Texas Hill Country Route.
Can I bring a camper or travel trailer on the Texas Hill Country Route?
While you could 100% bring a travel trailer on the Texas Hill Country Route legally. I would not recommend doing this. A long travel trailer could get you into trouble on some of the overland trails or could make the recovery of your vehicle much harder if you do become stuck or disabled.
You could certainly trailer a slide-in-bed camper for your truck for this trail. It will work much much better.
Otherwise sleeping in your vehicle, in a rooftop tent, under a camper shell, in a tent outside, or even just outside in a sleeping bag underneath the stars are all great methods of sleeping arrangements on this trail.
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