Overlanding, mudding and off-roading are just a few of the terms used to describe the adventure of taking your vehicle off the beaten path.
The term “off-road” can be a little misleading in that most, if not all, vehicles would be quickly rendered obsolete by obstacles like boulders, logs, trees, and mud in a true bushwhacking scenario. However, man-made off-roading trails and roads are no walk in the park. Terrain can be difficult and dangerous, and should only be attempted by skilled drivers who are capable of navigating extreme geography and weather (and preferably have experiencing dealing with breakdowns, as calling road-side assistance is not an option).
Here are four extreme off-road destinations around the globe to consider for your next adventure.
West Virginia, United States
Named after the famous family feud that took place over a hundred years ago, the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System was created by the West Virginia Legislature to drive tourism in the state. There are hundreds of miles of trails in this continually expanding project that offer options for beginners as well as those seeking the ultimate test of skills. The trails are open 365 days a year to ATVs, dirt bikes, and utility vehicles (UTVs). The organization that oversees the development of the system projects that there could be as much as 2,000 total miles of trails once all are finished and linked in this nine-county project.
Sahara Desert, Africa
Extreme heat and topography top make Africa an off-roader’s dream, from Casablanca to Cape Town. The Sahara Desert covers the northern part of the second largest continent and spans from east to west. Most of this largely inhospitable terrain provides ample locations for other-worldly adventures. The Rallye Aicha des Gazelles is a women-only event that is 100 percent off-road and pits teams of two racing across the desert landscape of Morocco.
Baja California, Mexico
While many tourists flock to the beaches to whale-watch in the Sea of Cortez, the peninsula also offers world-class off-roading. Races like the Baja 1000 are one of the wildest ways to experience the desert landscape. If this beyond your skillset, there are options outside the numerous race events taking place across the region. Whether you prefer dirt bikes, ATVs, quads, or UTVs, there is something for every level of rider. And, when done, return to any of the resorts along the coast to rest and recover.
Utah, United States
No off-roading list is complete without including Moab, a mecca for outdoor adventure-seekers. The region in southeastern Utah offers some of the best mountain biking in North America. Additionally, the trails that are so unique for bikers are equally exciting for overlanders. The beautiful sandstone landscape, which makes for a dramatic backdrop in this unique desert setting, has something for beginners and experienced off-roaders.