Overlanding in the Southwest? (1 Viewer)

Joined
Aug 1, 2017
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Seattle, WA
I'm thinking about doing an overland trip this winter starting from LA. I was originally looking at Baja California but due to the political climate I've decided to stay in the US. Considering the Mojave Road, Death Valley, maybe El Camino del Diablo in Arizona, perhaps making it all the way to Texas or up to Utah.

I'm just wondering if you guys have some ideas for good overlanding in this area? Bear in mind that I'm going in December so I think Moab will be snowed over and any mountains are pretty much out. Hoping to be back in LA 11 days after I leave.

Let me know what you think!

BTW My 80 series cruiser is totally outfitted for overlanding so rough roads shouldn't be a problem :)
 
Joined
Aug 11, 2017
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Austin
Big Bend is really cool, and you could have a pretty nice route through sand diego, tuscon, and las cruces (there is some decent desert 4wheeling out there). Oh and Marfa is a really bizarre in the middle of nowhere artsy-fartsy town that you could pass through.
 
Joined
May 1, 2012
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215
Location
Mesa, AZ
 
I wouldn't scratch Moab off your list. Yes, it can be miserable weather there but It very well could be 65 degrees and sunny too. I think you have more than good chance that it would be gorgeous there.
 

bwesty

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Mar 2, 2006
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In the mountains
 
 
Southern and Central AZ has some great options.

El Camino
Roosevelt Lake / Cherry Creek area - FS203 > FS96 > Salt River Bridge then you could easily head south to Mammoth and hit Rug Road (be advised - experience required - difficult trail (reports below)

Mammoth to Klondyke and beyond - New Year's Trip
more recent report here - February 17-20 Overlanding adventure

Exit of Rug Road puts you within a relatively short drive to New Mexico, hit the deserts of southern New Mexico. Lots of open land and trails in Southern AZ and NM.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2012
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Minneapolis, Mn
 
I concur on New Mexico (Las Cruces area). There's a ton of BLM land there south of Hwy 10 at the West and East Potrillo Mountains all the way to the Florida Mountains....then I would cruise north and hit all that land in Utah. Winter is awesome in the high desert. Some of that high desert in New Mexico on Hwy 54 is over 7000 feet!!!
 

zona

Rig name: Tio Nacho
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May 20, 2013
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806
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Chandler
 
Head to Big Bear, cruise over to Grand Canyon, head down to Flagstaff, take General crook Trail from 87 to 260 (highways), camp, fish, etc. Cruise over to Sunrise AZ, camp, fish, hike, etc. Head up to Canyon de Chelly then to Zion national park and back to Lala land.

Zona
 

John McVicker

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Big Pine, CA
 
 
 
Check out the old Pony Express Route. You'd be taking it from west to east but that'd be good. There's actually some of the old buildings and corrals still standing. To me it was really impressive to be able to do much of the exact same terrain that they did.

The old Oregon Trail is a good one to consider also. In many parts you have to have faith that the book/maps actually have you on the real trail...but in other places you can actually see the trails they took...170 some odd years later. And there are many markers and plaques along the trail.

Both of the above trails are 90% dirt...no pavement. However, even tho you'd never know it, you're usually not far from from gas etc. We did these 2 trails over a 10 day period, never ate in a restaurant, never slept in a motel. One of the best trips ever!
 
Joined
Oct 30, 2005
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482
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Oregon
 
 
 
I would not recommend the Camino del Diablo. It is heavily trafficked by the border patrol. They are friendly, but suspicious (not a criticism, they wouldn't be doing their job if they weren't). The road is no longer a quaint two-track with solitude. Lots of trash too
 
Joined
Dec 2, 2004
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Mojave road is an easy ride, and very mellow to enjoy a the desert in the winter--IF IF IF the wind is not blowing and if Soda Dry Lake lake bed is passable. There is a way around the lake and not that big a deal though. Death Valley and enivrons are very close as well. Lots to do in the area and points south
 
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4Cruisers

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I wouldn't scratch Moab off your list. Yes, it can be miserable weather there but It very well could be 65 degrees and sunny too. I think you have more than good chance that it would be gorgeous there.
Agree, we travelled through the Moab area and the San Rafael Swell in mid-February several years ago. Around Moab, we drove down along the south bank of the Colorado River and did a great hike up Hunter Canyon. Moab's nice this time of year because it's pretty dead and quiet :).
 

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