If you want a new outdoor adventure, consider off-roading. It gets you right in the middle of nature, surrounded by trees, wildlife, and nature’s grandeur. There are some amazing sites spread far and wide all across the country that you can explore. You don’t need a jacked-up monster truck to navigate off-road trails. Don’t go out there with a stock pickup truck, either. Something in between with the right amount of torque and horsepower, as well as the right tires and modifications on it will do. A rugged truck or Jeep is just what you need to spend a day outside crawling over rocks and through creeks. Here are some of the best off-roading sites in America.
The Trans-America Trail
Stretching from Tennessee to Oregon, Sam Correro created the TAT because he wanted a coast to coast off-pavement motorcycle route. It is 5,000 miles of dirt, forest service, gravel, and Jeep roads that were believed to only be passable on a motorcycle. In 2013, a group in Land Rovers did the trail, proving larger vehicles can traverse the road.
The Alpine Loop Scenic Byway
The Alpine Loop Scenic Byway is 63 miles of off-road action that starts in Silverton, Colorado, and winds through the San Juan Mountains. The loop is closed in the winter and the high alpine environments will require a four-wheel-drive vehicle with high ground clearance. The loop takes four to six hours to complete and you’ll pass abandoned mining towns, with lots of hiking and camping opportunities.
Jeep named their most durable and reliable Wrangler model after the Rubicon Trail. The trail runs from Georgetown, California, to Tahoma, California, just west of Lake Tahoe over slick granite and through the scenic Sierra Nevada landscape. The route is so challenging that the Rubicon Trail Foundation has a list of modifications they recommend for your vehicle before embarking on the trail. Don’t be afraid of getting some scratches in the paint.
Cape Lookout National Seashore
The barrier islands of North Carolina make for an incredible outdoor playground. If you know where to go, there are some spectacular overland routes. The islands that make up the 56-mile-long Cape Lookout National Seashore are some of the best. To get out there, you’ll have to ferry your vehicle; there are no paved roads and you can camp anywhere you want on the beach, as long as you don’t drive through the dunes.
The Dalton Highway
The Dalton Highway is as remote and rugged a route as you’ll find—it’s a highway in name only. It’s a mostly gravel road in northern Alaska that is 414 miles long, connecting Livengood and Deadhorse. Originally, it was a service road for the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline and is still considered one of the most dangerous roads in the world. That’s because of the lack of services and cell phone reception; you are on your own if you embark on this trip.