The allure of overlanding long distances is a siren song for many offroaders and adventurers. Unfortunately, there are few places in the United States where you can drive for days and not see a street light or find yourself tip-toeing across private land. The choices for purists who want to avoid pavement are even more limited. And the few existing routes are often remote and far from home.
However, Trails Offroad has good news for those living in or visiting the Phoenix Valley or Southern California. You can travel between Indio, California, and the west edge of the Phoenix Valley, utilizing only 20 miles of pavement. Sure, you can drive between those locations by taking I-10, a trip of just over 3 hours and 200 miles. But you can also drive almost all of it on dirt and enjoy several nights camping along the way!
Due to the numerous trail segment options, this is a fascinating trip with endless possibilities. Trails Offroad spent three seasons documenting this extensive trail network so you can personalize your adventure. You can pick and choose your route and make it as long or as short as you would like. As a bonus, you could start or finish within beautiful Joshua Tree National Park!
Your first step is to log into the Trails Offroad web portal here as an All-Access Member. Then navigate to the big map. Once on the map, ensure you have selected the CTD and Scout Route options so they are visible.
Then start planning! Use the Trails Offroad App on your phone or tablet to download the Arizona and California trails for offline use. Alternatively, All-Access Members can download the trail’s GPX file onto Gaia GPS for personal use.
As mentioned, the options for this trip are numerous. Allow a minimum of 3-4 nights to enjoy the more prime trails and epic camping. You can choose your difficulty levels based on the Trails Offroad Advanced Rating System that comes with each trail guide for All-Access Members, shown above.
Are you looking for ideas for your trip?
Whether you start or finish this epic trip in California, allocating more time in the Lower Sonoran Desert in Arizona will be well worth it. Here is a short video of the area.
For three years, Trails Offroad created trail guides in this area. You could easily spend 3-5 days just poking around and spending nights in memory-making campsites.
You will drive in or across desert washes no matter which trails you choose. Observe the weather carefully while you are on your adventure. Flash floods are rare but potentially deadly.
The trails often have interesting and loveable oddities, such as Sundad or the desert boats!
You can also find old cabins and mines.
The rock formations in Arizona and California are very unique.
You can even take in General Patton's Memorial Museum!
If you have a question on a trail, don't hesitate to ask the writer of the trail guide a question.
Temperatures can be rather extreme, making your best time to visit later in the fall through early spring.
Fuel can be found in Quartzite, Arizona, which will be less expensive than in Blythe, California. You have to drive pavement here anyways, so it's a good time to top off!
There are no bathrooms or other amenities, this is a "roughing" it trip!
Avoid in the rain due to the numerous wash crossings.
There is a bombing range to the south of these trails, and at one time, the area was used for the military to practice artillery and bombing, mind the signs!
Todd is the Founder of Trails Offroad and an avid wheeler who loves to explore new trails whenever and wherever possible. They say necessity is the mother of all invention, which is true for Todd. His want and desire to find passable trails and new nooks and crannies of the Great American west to explore were his reasons behind starting Trails Offroad. On any given day, you can find Todd on an obscure 4x4 trail, curating Trails Offroad guides, or using his legs to hike to an alpine lake.
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