The overland trails featured here will hopefully inspire you to go explore the amazing backcountry of the deserts and mountains of California. We have personally travelled each trail and our write ups are photographic accounts of each of our trips.
When tackling a new trail, we highly encourage you to use specialized overland trail guides, that will give detailed GPS and trail map descriptions. We personally use and recommend the following excellent and very detailed overland guidebooks (we have no affiliation with these writers). TAP Note: As with any guide book, trails change with weather conditions. Be prepared for an ever-changing environment.
- Backcountry Adventures: Southern CA, Peter Massey and Jeanne Wilson
- Backcountry Adventures: Northern CA, Peter Massey and Jeanne Wilson
- Guide to California Backroads & 4-Wheel-Drive Trails, Charles A. Wells & Matt Peterson
Click on any link to take you to a detailed trail report and potential areas to explore.
Sierra: Inyo National Forest
- Mazourka Peak Trail: Inyo National Forest
- Papoose Flat Trail : Inyo National Forest
- Laurel Lake Trail : Eastern Sierra
- Buttermilk Country Loop Trail: Eastern Sierra
- Coyote Creek Trail: Eastern Sierra
- Coyote Flat Trail: Eastern Sierra
- Wyman Canyon Trail: Inyo National Forest
- White Mountain Road: Inyo National Forest
- Movie Flat Trail: Eastern Sierra
- Silver Canyon Trail: Inyo National Forest
- Wheeler Ridge Trail: Eastern Sierra
- Sand Canyon: Inyo National Forest
- Lower Coyote Canyon Trail
- Fonts Point Trail
- Sandstone Canyon Trail
- Oriflamme Canyon
- Pumpkin Patch
- Calcite Mine
- Slot Canyon Trail
- Canyon Sin Nombre
- Arroyo Seco Del Diablo Trail
- Grapevine Canyon
- Mortero Wash
Most of the trails listed here are easy to moderate and many can be done by stock high-clearance SUVs or pick-ups with 4×4.
- Please be aware when traveling overland in the desert, you should be prepared for pin-striping.
- Some trails described here definitely require good off-road tires with 4-low gearing and lockers.
- Be safe, be prepared, drive slowly and don’t be afraid to back off a trail that intimidates you. Remember adventure does not have an ego.
- Above all: TAP reminds you to TREAD LIGHTLY. We go out in nature to explore, have fun and create memories…we do not go out to destroy the beauty given to us or to injure ourselves or others.