Overlanding 101, Part 2:
Where to Overland for Maximum Adventure
If you’re just getting into offroading, you’ve probably heard a lot about overlanding. If you’ve been in the game a while, you’re definitely aware of it. Overlanding can be really cool. At its core, overlanding just means you’re relying on your own rig and what you have with you for an adventure, usually for longer than a couple of days. Overlanding is offroading for the adventure of it, not necessarily for the most challenging trails. In this article, we’ll show you the best overlanding adventure trails to help you get the most out of your rig.
The Mojave Road: The Intro Trail
If you’re just getting your feet wet in the world of overlanding, the Mojave Trail is a great starting point. Lots of sites online will refer you to much shorter trails that don’t even take a full day to complete. To us, that’s just a long day on an easy trail. The mojave trail is technical enough to be interesting, but it can be completed by anybody who takes it on in under three days. You’ll pick it up on the edge of the Colorado River, near Laughlin, Nevada, and ride it back into California -- it ends near Baker.
The Mojave Road trail is just shy of 130 miles, and plenty of groups can finish it in two days, but if it’s your first time on the trail give yourself three days just to be sure. The trail is basically in the same condition that it was when it brought pioneers through the desert into California hundreds of years ago. You’ll find that the trail meanders between watering holes, rather than cutting straight through the desert in the shortest route. While your trusty trucks may not need water, the original users rigs had a little more...natural horsepower, and the watering holes kept the teams alive as they traversed the desert.
On the mojave trail, you’ll get some good camping time, and you can take in some of the weirder sights, too. Make sure to check out the traveler’s monument (come prepared with a rock for this one!), the mailbox, the penny cans, the frogs (pictured above), the bobbleheads, and more. Maybe it’s the desert heat, but wheelers have gotten into some weird art fixtures out here.
The Dalton Highway: The Deadliest Trail
The Dalton Highway is known as the deadliest road in the United States. That’s primarily because of the lack of cell service, but you can leave that part out when you tell your friends about your adventures on Alaska’s Dalton Highway. It begins just north of Fairbanks, and ends at the Arctic Ocean - over 400 miles later.
The highway was originally constructed to support the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline in the 1970s, but today it’s primarily run by adventurers like you. Today, there are only 5 settlements on the highway, and only 3 of those are actually populated. Combined, there are less than 50 people living near the highway. So who cares, right? Well, not you. Unless you need gas, or food, or a mechanic, or….
You can count on the Dalton Highway to truly test the limits of your own self-reliance. It’s probably not the first overlanding trip you should take on, but it should absolutely be on your bucket list.
It should go without saying, but you’re probably going to want to run this one as a summer adventure -- unless you’re really into buying super high end camping gear designed to withstand insane negative temperatures.
The Continental Divide Trail: The Most Challenging Trail
The Continental Divide Trail runs over more than 2,500 miles from Mexico to Canada, with elevation changes throughout from 4,000 to 13,000 feet. It was first run as an overlanding route in 1989 when Land Rover sent 6 Range Rovers through the entire route. It runs through lots of long stretches with absolutely no services (some spanning over 200 miles), so you’re going to want to make sure you’ve done the necessary pre-trip planning.
The beauty of the trail is unparalleled in North American overlanding, and along the way, you’ll find ghost towns, abandoned fire towers, and more. You can expect to spend about a month on the trail in total, but if you can take the time for the trip, it will be worth every minute.
The Trans-America Trail: The Most American Trail
The Trans-America Trail spans 5,000 miles from North Carolina to Oregon. The route can take months, and can include additional mileage to include passage through the North East, and along the rockies, depending on the time you’ve got and the adventure you’re willing to take on.
One of the best features of the Trans-America trail is that it can optionally run along the Lockhart Basin Road -- considered one of the toughest off-road routes in the country.
Don’t get out out on the trails without your 10 essentials - not for an afternoon, and definitely not for a long weekend or more. You never know what could happen on the trail, leaving you stuck for longer than you intended. Keep your bases covered, and enjoy the peace of mind knowing that you’re prepared for the best and the worst that could come your way.
If you’re ready to get into overlanding, but you aren’t sure where you should get started to set up your rig for the long haul -- we can help! Give our helpful team of offroading enthusiasts a call, or shoot us an email, and we will get you on the trail as fast as we can, with all the gear that makes sense for you.