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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 : Nevada Pony Express/Overland Stage Route to Virginia City  
150 years later we retrace the Pony Express, a segment north of Rawhide to Virginia City

Nevada Pony Express/Overland Stage Route to Virginia City


Never before has a venture that only lasted 18 months (1860-1861) captured the imagination of people worldwide; 150 years later the logo stands as an international icon of determination and speed. In 1851 overland mail would take three months from Missouri to California. The Overland Express Stagecoaches were able shorten it to 22 days taking a southern route by 1857. The Pony Express delivered mail in 10 days from New York to San Francisco. To this day, determined Overlanders can retrace most of it. The trail was broken into five divisions; the most remote and dangerous was Division Five across the deserts of the Great Basin of Nevada and Utah. It continues to be the most remote and least retraced. Our two Trek Legs travel through the solitude of Division 5 but ends in one of North Americas best preserved 1860’s old west boomtowns, Virginia City, not a museum but a self sufficient community.

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Trek Leg 1 : Berlin, side-door to Pony Express and Ft. Churchill  

Never before has a venture that only lasted 18 months captured the imagination of people worldwide, 150 years later we can still retrace the Pony Express and relay stations built along the way.

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

This Trek Leg starts in Berlin, a Ghost Town that has been stabilized and protected, so there is much to see. Up the hill, you can view an 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. Never before has a venture that only lasted 18 months captured the imagination of people worldwide, 150 years later we can still retrace the Pony Express and relay stations built along the way. Each one-way XP delivery took 75 horses. Superintendents set up “Home Stations” every 65 to 100 miles to ensure replacement horses; feed and food were available for relay stations that are 12-15 miles apart. Our route passes the ruins of the 150-year old First Desert (relay) Station and the surviving Buckland (home) Station and nearby Fort Churchill, erected in 1861 to reduce friction with natives. RATED: Most of it is Easy but because it is very remote and some eroded bits can easily become more difficult, or hard to find, we rated it Moderate.

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Trek Leg 2 : Ft. Churchill to Virginia City  
Virginia City is one of North Americas’ best-preserved 1860’s old west boomtowns.

Old West at its best…The Overland Stagecoach Route, The Pony Express, Union Army Fort, Indian Wars, Virginia City, Gold Hill, The Virginia & Truckee Narrow Gauge and Iconic personalities such as Wild Bill Hitchcock, Buffalo Bill Cody & Mark Twain

Ft. Churchill to Virginia City

Follow the Overland Stage and Pony Express Route, as did early XP Riders Wild Bill Hitchcock, Buffalo Bill Cody and travelers such as Mark Twain, who stayed to work as a columnist for the Virginia City Enterprise. Sandy shores of Carson River provide serene picnic/campsites where giant Cottonwoods provide shade. Travel-up the 5000’ serpentine road into the heart of the Comstock Silver Lode and boomtowns of Virginian City, Gold Hill and Silver City, which once boosted a population of 40,000. Today what remains is one of North Americas’ best-preserved 1860’s old west boomtown collections, not a museum but several thriving self-sufficient communities, albeit geared to tourism where rides on the Virginia & Truckee RR or Concord Stage are possible. RATED: Easy.

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Trek Leg 3 : Virginia City to NV Baja  
Once a club for the Comstock elite, Old Washoe Club is now famous for its ghosts

Immerse yourself in the rich old west atmosphere of Virginia City before slowing your pace on historical wagon roads that lead to the Paiute Reservation, where campers can experience the tribes Baja-like Pyramid Lake.

Virginia City to NV Baja

Leaving Virginia City and neighboring Comstock boomtowns can be hard to do if you enjoy nicely preserved old west structures, colorful tales and relics. Also alluring is a backdoor gateway to Pyramid Lake, home to Baja-like sandy beaches and some of the earths’ most spectacular crystalline Tufa deposits. One of these is shaped like a Pyramid and was illustrated in the 1840’s Freemont Expedition journal. Today’s overlanders continue to camp across from the Pyramid and fish for the Prehistoric Cui Ui fish, a traditional food of the Paiute people (your hosts) or World-class trophy Lahontan Cutthroat Trout that can be caught in the 15 to 20 lb range. Rated: Easy for toll road but Moderate for wagon roads to Pyramid Lake, however, a highway bypass is available for this section.

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           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

In the meantime follow our expeditions on Facebook