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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 : Overland Stage Route, Carrizo Gorge RR & Sandstone Canyon Drop-off Trails  

Overland Stage Route, Carrizo Gorge RR & Sandstone Canyon Drop-off Trails

The first series of Trek Legs in our Anza-Borrego scouting expedition provides an incredible array of terrain to choose from. Leg 1 of the scouting expedition starts on several Easy trails, just above the Mexican border, in the most beautiful rugged desert region in Anza Borrego encountered - see Trek Leg 1 below. Ancient tribes were attracted to the palm trees, a universal symbol for water and life. The boulder-strewn Jacumba Mountains supply relief from the afternoon sun and nesting sites for the golden eagle, an important spiritual symbol for the Kumeyaay natives, who still consider this Piedras Grandes cultural preserve sacred. We traveled up the iconic Butterfield Overland Stage Route to Blair Valley to explore prehistoric village and ceremonial sites. From there those looking for an Easy route to Sandstone Canyon, a must on any Anza-Borrego expedition, can jump to Trek Leg 4. Two more adventuresome routes into the canyon were explored. Trek Leg 2 starts Easy by traveling through Canyon sin Nombre and retracing surviving dirt sections of the Overland Stage Route. Trails became more technical as we scouted the Seco del Diablo (Dry Devil) and Tapiado loop leading to Diablo Drop-off, now a Moderate route after the parks department graded a portion. Trek Leg 3 provides a Difficult alternative through the more exciting “Squeeze and Pinyon Mountain Drop-off into Fish Creek. Both Leg 2 and 3 are narrow one-way routes (see detailed Trek Leg  Scouting Reports below).  Leg 4 travels the Easy Fish Creek Canyon trails, our link to Stage B of this Journey.

View Trek Series scouted route live, on-line, in Google Maps/Satellite below or download GPS/GPX Tracklog to your Smartphone, Tablet, Computer or Dedicated GPS device (see Maps in menu for more information).

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Trek Leg 1 : Prehistoric Oasis, Goat Canyon & Great Overland Stage Road  

The most beautiful rugged desert region in Anza Borrego, rich with prehistoric native sites, The Great Overland Stage Route and old railway relics to explore.

Prehistoric Oasis, Goat Canyon & Great Overland Stage Road

The SoCal scouting expedition starts just above the Mexican border, near an Oasis that has attracted overlanders for 6000 years. Relics of ancient living are everywhere; 3500 year old native burial sites, mortar holes, water basins, caves with art including the “Horse and Rider Pictograph, the oldest record of early Spanish exploration - likely the 1774 Juan Bautista de Anza expedition, who blazed a route to colonize San Francisco. We retraced old native camps and ancient trade routes, the same that John Butterfield used in 1858 for the Southern Route of his Great Overland Mail Stage Line. The San Diego Eastern Arizona Railroad and the Goat Canyon Trestle, the tallest wooden trestle standing in the US, add to the regions appeal for iconic trails. Route ends in Blair Valley, site of the Overland Stage Road “Foot & Walker Pass”, at the head of Blair Valley, a prehistoric campsite; still attracting overlanders today. Rank: The trails in this region are mostly Easy, however, some soft and deep sandy sections near the railway and a rocky section along Corrizo Creek earn a Moderate rating. Watch for illegal immigrants. Blair Valley section is Easy.

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Trek Leg 2 : The Great Southern Mail Stage Route & Diablo Drop-off  

Diablo Drop-off is a twin-tiered steep descent that is historically heavily eroded, requiring good ground clearance and articulation.

The Great Southern Mail Stage Route & Diablo Drop-off

Leaving Sweeney Pass, we headed north through the picturesque Canyon sin Nombre, to exit on and explore the Southern Overland Stage Route along the intact Carrizo-Vallecito corridor as far east as the Carrizo Stage station, and west past Palm Oasis relay station and out towards Vallecito Station. Heading further north we explored two canyons along the earthquake fault, Arroyo Seco del Diablo and Arroyo Tapiado. Both lead to Diablo Drop-off, providing an alternative if you are turned back by one of the common canyon mudslides caused by an earthquake or flash flood. Climbing out of the Arroyo Seco del Diablo to the summit plateau we enjoyed the panoramic views of the Jacumba Mountains to the south and looking north, Fish Creek Canyon, Carrizo Badlands and the Santa Rosa Mountains. Diablo Drop-off is a twin-tiered steep descent that is historically heavily eroded, requiring good ground clearance and articulation. Rating: Leg 2 starts Easy by traveling through Canyon sin Nombre and surviving dirt sections of the Butterfield Overland Stage Route. Trail became more technical as we approach Diablo Drop-off, now a Moderate route after the parks department graded a portion. This was done in 2013, and erosion could soon see it evolve back to a Difficult rating. Drop-off is now one-way, running north.

Trek Leg:
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Trek Leg 3 : Pinyon Mountain Drop-off to Fish Creek & Sandstone Canyon  
The "Squeeze" on the way to Pinyon Mountain Drop-off.

The most exciting, dramatic and difficult gateway into Anza-Borrego Desert and Sandstone Canyon.

Pinyon Mountain Drop-off to Fish Creek & Sandstone Canyon

Looking for a more technical route into Fish Creek and Sandstone Canyon, the Pinyon Mountain Trail rewarded us with a diverse range of scenery and challenging terrain. Leaving the Great Southern Overland Stage Route, the one-way trail heads East, starting on an easy sandy trail across a picturesque desert, and gets progressively more difficult as it reaches the first major obstacle, the “Squeeze” a narrow rocky gap that our Jeep JK was just able to pass, with a couple of inches on side of the body metal. There is no turning back from this point and only experienced drivers and 4WD drives with good ground clearance and articulation should proceed. Pinyon Drop-off is a very steep trail that has seen its share of rollovers. From the bottom of the incline, the trail returns to Moderate as it travels across Hapaha Flat before reaching Fish Creek Canyon and travels to the Sandstone Canyon gateway. Alert: If the photos do not look dangerous you should look at the Pinyon drop-off roll-over on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyIDNn73H4U

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Scout Report
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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

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