How to Find Overlanding Trails (Best Tools & Resources)

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Last Updated on September 20, 2022 by Rose Morah

One of the most common challenges when it comes to Overlanding is finding cool trails for the next trip.

In this article, we are going to discuss ways of finding great Overlanding trails, or rather the tools and resources you need to help discover them.

But before that, let’s first look at the following two important pieces of information:

  • The tools provided in this article are great but unfortunately, you cannot solely rely on one tool for planning. I recommend using one and comparing it with another. Additionally, have a contingency plan just in case you find that the trail is closed.
  • When using these tools to find trails, make sure that the route is perfect for your skill level, off-roading style, and the vehicle that you will be driving. 


How to Start Overlanding on A Budget (Overlanding Tips for Beginners).

A Complete Overlanding Trip Checklist.

9 Most Important Overlanding Tips and Tricks (A Beginners Guide).

Tools and resources for finding Overlanding trails

1. OnX Off-road app

OnX Off-road is an app that is built for people who love and enjoy going on adventures.

Through this app, you can easily find cool off-road trails for a 4×4, SxS, dirt bike, ATV, and snowmobiles.

It is so easy to use because once you spot a trail that you find interesting, you simply just tap on it and it will give you detailed information about the trail, such as:

  • Trail photos.
  • Open and close dates.
  • Trail difficulty ratings, and so on.

Additionally, the app will give you the following information:

  1. Land Ownership information

It will tell you whether the trail is on public or private land and will include the land owner’s names.

  1. Weather forecast

This is an extremely important feature, especially when you are out there off-roading.

  1. You can customize your map on OnX Off-road with markups

This means that you can add waypoints to mark where you parked the vehicle, mark your campsite, and mark intersections on your trail.

  1. The app has got two map modes (dirt mode and snow mode)

The snow mode allows you to view snow trails on the map.

  1. You can save your map for offline use

This will be helpful especially when you are going to remote areas.

  1. It allows you to track your trips

These include distance, speed, elevation, location, and a lot more.

  1. You can share and save your trips

If you are planning a trip with friends, the app allows you to save and share it with them.

Check out some Fun Places To Go On A Road Trip With Friends in the US.

  1. You can sync it with Android Auto and CarPlay

The OnX Off-road app comes in two versions:

  • Premium – $29.99/year
  • Elite – $14.99/month or 99.99/year.

A free trial is available.

See these 14 Cheap Off-road Vehicles (For off-road & Overlanding Adventure).

2. Trails Offroad website

Trails Offroad is another great tool to help you find cool Overlanding trails.

It offers the following:

  • Off-road trail guides
  • Tailhead map view
  • Directions to trailheads
  • Community reviews
  • It has a great system of rating trail difficulty (easy, moderate, difficult, severe, extreme trails)
  • Photo and descriptions of the trails
  • Waypoints with details
  • You can upload your tracks to Gaia GPS and lots of other features

Most people use Trails Offroad for research and Gaia for navigation.

There’s a free version and a paid version – $25/per year.

Related: Pros and Cons of onX Maps, Trails Offroad VS. Gaia GPS.

3. Gaia GPS

Gaia GPS is not only a great tool for finding Overland trails. It is also a great resource for finding hiking and backpacking, hunting, fishing, mountain biking, and backcountry skiing trails.

The following are some of the features that you will find on Gaia GPS:

  • You can just add an address and it will find trails located at that address.
  • On the app, you are able to see the public land boundaries.
  • You get Motor Vehicle Usage Map (MVUM) overlays on the Premium version.
  • The app will help you to track your route while giving you information about your location.
  • It gives you the popular trails based on where you want to go Overlanding.
  • It gives you camping information as well as the best season/time to explore the trail.
  • You can read reviews of other people who have been on those trails.

The app is offered in three versions:

  • Free version
  • Premium ($39.99 per year)
  • Premium with Outside+ ($47.88 per year)

Related: How To Use Gaia GPS (A Complete Guide).

4. Google Earth/Google Maps

I love using Google Earth to help me find trails mainly because it has amazing layers that show you what’s National Forests, Parks, and BLM lands.

Additionally, I love to start my search on Google Maps by adding my destination, then I check out the areas that seem to have interesting trails.

I typically then use one of the above apps that we have just discussed to find more information. 

Once I have discovered some good camping spots on the route, I then use the satellite view on Google maps to study the area.

It is usually fun to explore via satellite view.

You might also like these 10 Best Road Trip Planner Apps/Websites.

See also:

Pros and Cons of Hardshell Rooftop Tent (Buyers Guide).

15 Best Portable Showers for Camping (Must-Have Accessories).

13 Best Ways To Shower When Camping.

5. Offroad trail guide books

There are amazing books that have done a good job of highlighting off-road trails of a specific location.

Personally, I have used Backroad Maps and other books on Amazon.

Offroad trail guide books help you discover incredible Overlanding trails, a brief history of the routes, camping sites, and other routes that can take you to a particular trail.

Buying A Used Jeep Wrangler JK? See What To Know & Look Out For.

6. Local rangers station

The local rangers are the best people to provide you with valuable information about the local trails.

Why you should take time to talk to the local rangers before exploring the local trails?

They are more familiar with the trails and will therefore give you better information concerning the trails.

For examples:

  1. The best trails to explore in that location. 

You will most probably not find some of that information online.

  1. The trail condition

Does it get closed and is it a difficult, easy, or average trail?

  • The best season to explore the trails.

When is the best time to visit?

See also: Roadtrippers vs Wanderlog Travel App (Which One Is Better?)

7. Join Overlanding Facebook groups

Facebook groups allow you to connect with people in your area to get first-hand experience, especially when you are a beginner.

They help you discover great trails because you get to take each other on trails that you have been to.

Additionally, Overlanding as a group helps you grow and share your experiences together.

8. YouTube

Watching videos on YouTube has given me ideas of trails that I need to put on my bucket list. And once I’m ready, I use the trail apps to plan accordingly.

Hey, I'm Matthias. I am passionate about adventure travel, EVs, and tech in general. I am open-minded and pretty curious. But you know what they say, blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures!