Are you searching for the best overland routes? Then you are in the right place. Overlanding is often a long-term mode of transportation in Europe that involves crossing many nations and/or continents. In contrast, overlanding in the USA might be a weekend getaway in a different part of your own state. The emphasis of the activity is on the trip rather than the destination, and both forms of travel aim to locate an experience that is outside of the typical tourist sites.
A journey like this is made more enjoyable by driving or riding on dirt roads or trails, although it is not necessary in the sense of the European worldview. However, if you’re going to Central Asia or Africa, you’ll probably be driving on unpaved roads.
People like spending their spare time off-roading, which focuses on navigating difficult terrain. Again, there are differences in what is considered offroad on both sides of the Atlantic. Anything that is not tarmac, asphalt, or concrete is often referred to as offroad in Europe. So, in their books, gravel roads are also considered off-road. Others may see this as their navigating independently across the area without using any tracks or trails. When we use the term “offroad” in this article, we mean anything that is not a paved road according to the European standard. Here are some tips on how to find the best overland routes out there.
1. Visiting open source websites that offer them
You most likely used Google or another search engine to get this post, so I’m assuming you’ve already tried the google technique. But since the internet is such a vast space, it may often be difficult to identify the correct websites with insightful material.
Utilizing free route-finding services offers benefits and drawbacks. These websites are often open source, which means that anybody may add music to the library. This is fantastic since there will be global tracks available. Because it is difficult to curate, some tunes will undoubtedly be of higher quality than others. They won’t all be legitimate. Therefore, if you are following a track and come across a private property sign, stop immediately.
As an excellent example of a free and open source website that offers several songs, see Wikiloc. There are several hiking paths on there, so you may select by activity type. Dangerous Routes is another source of ideas for trails and exciting roads. Although it is more maintained than wikiloc, there are still more than 13.000 roads globally. Although not all of them are unpaved, the website’s concept is that they are all breathtaking. You can immediately determine if an area is paved or not by looking at the photographs included with each entry. a terrific place to begin thinking about your future journey.
Trailsoffroad (4×4) and RideBDR are two sites offering routes in the USA that are well-managed (moto). Both have access to a large database that is chock full of trails throughout North America. With Trailsoffroad, you may download the GPX files for free, but you must join to a premium membership for US$25 per year to read a thorough description of the course and access other useful features.
The GPX tracks are available for free download on RideBDR, although certain portions are not suited for 4x4s since the routes were created with motorbikes in mind. You are allowed to test out any route as they are all on public roads. A hardcopy map of each of the accessible routes is also available for purchase.
The Trans European Trail, sometimes known as the TET, is the last resource. It is a maintained path that is regularly updated. There are no unlawful or private property crossings throughout the route, which is entirely legal to ride. On the website, the GPX files are available for free download. To keep such roads open and accessible for all of us, kindly obey the local rules and other road users.
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2. Locating Excellent Offroad Tracks on Pay-Per-Click Websites
A few websites charge users money in exchange for services that are comparable to those provided by the previously stated free choices. This has the benefit of putting a committed crew behind each route and providing the security of thorough and current track descriptions.
Using a motorbike or 4×4, one may travel the USA on the Trans America Trail. It is made up of a network of several portions that you may finish all at once or stretch out across many journeys. For all the labor that goes into designing and maintaining a route like this, the complete loop costs just US$32 to get the GPX files by email.
3. Finding New Offroad Trails Using Google Maps and Google Earth
Using Google Maps or Google Earth to identify trails in the region you want to go to is another common method for discovering overlanding routes. Start your search for a park or natural area on Google Maps by focusing on green areas. Afterward, comparing the satellite and map views to see which highways pass through this region.
In this way, Google Earth is significantly more comprehensive and gives you a virtual 3D experience. giving you a greater sense of the landscape’s appearance. Simply select to the location you want to visit and begin exploring. Another amazing feature of Google Earth is the ability to draw a line on the map after you’ve discovered a location you want to visit. Then, you can quickly export this line as a KML file for use with your GPS.
4. Searching Government Websites for Good Overlanding Trails
This one is quite peculiar to the United States, although the majority of governmental organizations provide information regarding routes, maps, and camping spots on their websites. You may visit the following websites to locate various overlanding trails:
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) (USA), United States Agricultural Forest Service (USA), and Off Highway Vehicle Program (OHV) (USA). Regional OHV initiatives differ from state to state. Enter OHV and your state to search for your local program on Google. Check the rules before you go since some states demand that you pay a sticker before using the facilities.
5. Searching Forums for New Off-Road Trails
Forums are another excellent source of knowledge; however, they may be challenging to navigate. They do still exist, and many serious overlanders and advanced riders still use them. Several well-known forums with a wealth of information include:
6. Using apps to find overlanding routes
These days, who goes on an excursion without their smartphone? Exactly. So why not install some practical applications for organizing and carrying out your overland travels on it? An exclusive layer for 4×4 maps is available in the widely used GPS navigation program Gaia GPS. This makes it an excellent tool for organizing your overland expedition. Even the Forest Service and other helpful governmental organizations have their own specific layers, so you don’t need to search for each map on a separate website but can just explore the layers that are accessible.
Gaia GPS offers free basic capabilities, but to access the most of its premium features, you must pay US$40 per year to become a premium member. The maps are really helpful for travelers anywhere, while being largely centered on the US. To get a 20% discount for the first year, use my link.
Gaia GPS allows you to plan your journey and then use the same software to navigate. Although having a dedicated GPS device may make this seem unimportant, I’ve discovered that file transfers are not always simple or hassle-free. For this reason, having a phone or iPad in your car just for navigation is a common practice.
ONX is another choice for applications, although it only offers trials for the USA. Once you download and pay for the app, ONX allows you to browse through the trails and tracks.
The iOverlander app is the last app on our list that I want to discuss. It’s mainly intended for locating camping areas and other significant locations of interest than for locating trails and tracks. I’ve found it to be very useful on protracted overland journeys. The quality of the input varies since it is open source and user created, but generally it is extremely excellent. People discuss their wild camping areas, campgrounds, and motels, as well as embassy locations and comments on border crossings. When traveling overland across many nations, it is a need.
As you can see, there are numerous great options available for you to find and locate overland routes. It is up to you to browse through these options and pick the best overland route out of them. Before you proceed with any of the overland routes, you will need to gather more information on that. Then you will be able to figure out what options are available to consider, and you will end up with getting outstanding results out of the journey.