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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.

 
Backpack into Havasupai Falls, Arizona is well worth the 11mi/17km trek past Navajo Falls, Havasu Falls and Navaho Falls.
Go Deeper: Bike/Hike/Backpack
Some Experiences Are Just More Rewarding On A Single Track

All our Trek Legs are interlinked so they can be used as long distance self-sufficient Overland Routes that travel on the edge of or far away from civilization, and to and alongside as many interesting wilderness regions as possible (see TREAD LIGHTLY). As a result, almost all are naturally suited to hiking, backpacking and mountain biking. This section flags some of our favorite Trek Legs because they take us deeper into a region where motorized vehicles cannot/should not for a scenic experience, access to a unique historical relic or where a fabled quest culminates.

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.

Anza-Borrego’s Outstanding Sandstone Canyon Trail

Under construction, coming later this month.

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Pinyon Mountain Drop-off to Fish Creek & Sandstone Canyon

Pinyon Mountain “Squeeze” and Canyon Drop-off, the most difficult access into Fish Creek wash, is an exciting gateway to the Sandstone Canyon. The one-way route that heads East is suited to experienced drivers and 4WD vehicles with good clearance and articulation.

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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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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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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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Apache Pass & Great Overland Stage Road of 1861

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

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Bryce Canyon & Indian Hollow

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

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Ancient Cliff Dwellings & Moki Dugway

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

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1869 South Pass City & Carissa Mine

Under construction but TREK LEG SLIDESHOWS are ACTIVE.

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Red Rock Canyon, Backdoor to Vegas & Lake Mead

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

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Backway to Observation Point & Bryce Canyon

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

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Cochise Stronghold Canyon

Cochise Stronghold Canyon provides a fantastic array of secluded and sheltered dispersed camp areas. The Apache used these mountains to evade the US Cavalry until Cochise signed a treaty in 1872, on these very grounds, where he was born and buried in a secret location.

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Rocky Mountain Backdoor to Canmore & Trunk Road

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

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Moab Flat Iron Mesa

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

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Backpacking & Dispersed Camping in Zion

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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Montezuma & Ancient Pueblo Ruins

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

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Toroweap on Grand Canyon North Rim

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

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Fish Creek, Anza Trail to Palm Canyon Oasis

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

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Badlands Coal Towns & Ghost Towns

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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Borax Mule Train Trails to Titan 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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Glacier ‘Going To The Sun’ Road

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

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Glacier ‘Going To The Sun’ Road

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

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Moab Cane Creek Canyon

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

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Boundary Badlands & Rangelands

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

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Badlands & Red Deer Valley

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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Hiking & Dispersed Camping in Zion

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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Moab Sandstone Arches & Monuments

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

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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 Trail & Superstitions

Trek Legs make it easy to dip in and out for a day and/or a night of dispersed camping on the way to Overland Expo or spend days on four different mining region trails leading to the heart of an 800 year old civilization and a true desert oasis along Grand 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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Route 66 & Havasupai Falls

Nothing compares in Arizona to the extraordinary beauty we found in the ancient land of the Havasupai – the blue-green water people. This stunning desert oasis requires a 10-mile backpack or horseback ride, making the destination all that much more rewarding.

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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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Shoup to Ft. Fizzel

Route retraces Lewis & Clark’s aborted trip up the Salmon River and on to “Lost Trail Pass” where the Discovery Corp lost their way while traveling over the Continental Divide. Trek finishes at “Lolo Trail” a Nez Perce path used for their annual buffalo hunt.

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Bayhorse to Shoup Byway

As with all our routes, we avoid paved roads as much as possible in favor of less traveled backroads that go deeper into wilderness regions. In doing so in this series, we miss the nicest section of one of America’s most scenic two-lane paved byways.

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Yellowjacket to Shoup

Travels to 8,450’ Yellowjacket Mountain Crags to view, hike or backpack vast pristine Frank Church ‘River of No Return’ Wilderness before moving on to Salmon North Forks where river rafts/kayaks navigate largest roadless wilderness in lower 48.

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Bayhorse Mine to Yellowjacket

Classic ghost town structures, charcoal kilns, tramline buildings and optional ‘white-knuckle’ ledge roads to the mines above makes Bayhorse a rewarding side trip as do the remote Crags of River of No Return Wilderness and the Yellowjacket Mine.

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Bonanza to Bayhorse Mine

Starting in ghost town of Bonanza, route retraces toll wagon/stage road past intact Yankee Forks Gold Dredge, Custer ghost town, over 8,800’ pass to Challis and to outstanding Bayhorse Ghost Town and white-knuckle ledge road to Skylark Mine.

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Grimes Pass to Bonanza

Travel three mountain passes and meadows to the Cape Horn region of the magnificent Sawtooth Mountains. Stanley’s old west log structures, the jagged mountains and Salmon River gateway are a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts.

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Owyhee Desert to Rome

Route travels across open desert historical trails used to reach the War Eagle Mines via Owyhee Crossing. Follow the river to Rome, past a series of column-like bluffs on Hill Beachy’s Stage Road and ‘Home Stations’ fortified during 1860’s Indian wars.

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B.R. Range to Buckskin Pass

Trail leaves awe-inspiring views afforded by the Black Rock Range Highlands, drops down into lush pastures, travels through desert rangeland and climbs back up to 7,389’ Buckskin Pass gateway, site of legendary 1859 Lost Buckskin Mine.

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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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Sasquatch Lake to Kaslo

Old mining wagon roads fan out from Ainsworth Hot Springs and Kalso providing access to the mountain wilderness above and Kokanee Glacier Park adventures. Historical Sternwheeler landings and marinas continue to launch watercraft of all kinds.

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Balfour to Sasquatch Lake

Disembark the ferry, hit the sandy beach, shoot up to Kootenay Glacier Park for incredible craggy peak hikes or head into Nelson to experience urban Kootenay Mountain culture, at its best. Make time for all if you can.

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Ft. Steele to Crawford Bay

Refresh your party at the 1873 St. Eugene Mission, turned resort. Choose the paved byway via Creston or take the gravel-dirt Grey Creek Pass over the top of the Selkirk range, down steep switchbacks to the West Kootenay and Crawford Bay.

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