What Is An Overlanding Vehicle - Tuff Stuff Overland

What Is An Overlanding Vehicle

Knowing what type of vehicle to use is the first thing one must know before going overlanding. Here's a detailed guide on what an overlanding vehicle is!
The Best Overland Trails To Take In The USA - Tuff Stuff Overland

The Best Overland Trails To Take In The USA

Knowing where to go Overlanding is a great way to have the ultimate encounter with nature. Here's a detailed guide on the best overland trails to take in the USA!
Why 270 Awnings Are The Ultimate Camping Upgrade - Tuff Stuff Overland

Why 270 Awnings Are The Ultimate Camping Upgrade

The 270 awning model continues to wow outdoor enthusiasts with its benefits. Here's detailed guide on why it's the ultimate camping upgrade!
Overlanding vs. Off-Roading What’s The Difference - Tuff Stuff Overland

Overlanding vs Off-Roading What’s The Difference

“Overlanding” and “off-roading” are often used interchangeably but they're not the same. Here's a detailed guide explaining the difference between these similar yet very different activites.
Overlanding: What It Is And Why You Should Try It - Tuff Stuff Overland

Overlanding: What It Is And Why You Should Try It

Overlanding is great for hardcore adventurers seeking to experience the wilder side of life. Here's a detailed guide on what overlanding is and why you should try it!
The Best Off-Road & Overland Trails In Florida - Tuff Stuff Overland

The Best Off-Road & Overland Trails In Florida

If you think gorgeous sunsets and exquisite beaches are all Florida has to offer, you might want to think again. When it comes to outdoor activities to explore, there is no limit to what you can do and places you can visit in the beautiful Sunshine State. Of these many activities are two sought-after leisure options, which are overlanding and off-roading.

Florida offers some of the best road adventures you could ever ask for. Are you planning to explore the gorgeous landscapes and roads in Florida? Tighten up! Here are some of the best off-road and overlanding trails in Florida in all their splendor.

A Jeep going through a swamp

Going Overlanding & Off-Roading Florida-Style

With the Atlantic on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other, Florida is blessed with miles and miles of beautiful beaches. However, warm weather, beautiful beaches, and a fun nightlife is not all Florida has to offer.

Florida is located in the Southeastern region of the United States of America. Georgia borders it to the north, the Straits of Florida & Cuba on the south, the Gulf of Mexico to the west, Alabama to the northwest, and the Bahamas & Atlantic Ocean to the east. In fact, Florida is the only state that borders both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

Florida is world-renowned for being the Theme Park Capital of the world (more specifically, Orlando), the largest producer of orange juice and grapefruit in the United States, and having an average of 361 days of sun a year. However, it is also famous and highly sought-after for the tons of natural wonders scattered over all 65,758 square miles. 

With its numerous natural attractions, Florida gets its fair share of outdoor life enthusiasts. From campers looking to have a taste of the outdoor world Florida-style to expedition lovers that simply want to see the state on wheels, Florida caters to all with its plenty of campsites and adventure trails.

So, If you find yourself constantly asking if visiting Florida for an off-roading or overlanding trip is worthwhile, the answer is YES!

But don't just pack up and travel to the Sunshine State blindly, especially if you are not familiar with its terrains. While Florida welcomes tourists and out-door enthusiasts with open arms, it is best to go prepared. This will enable you to have more fun and enjoy the attractions that Florida has to offer while remaining safe.

Some of the best overlanding trails to visit in Florida include:

 

1. Osceola National Forest

Osceola National Forest is one of many National Forests in Florida.

Located west of Jacksonville, and parts of other counties like Columbia, Baker, Bradford, and Hamilton, Osceola National Forest is a flatwood National Forest created by President Herbert Hoover. It was named after a notable Seminole Warrior named Osceola.

Osceola is made up of almost 200,000 acres of land. A collage of pine flatwoods, swampy areas, and cypress hardwoods, Osceola offers a variety of interesting attractions for outdoor enthusiasts who are looking to enjoy interesting outdoor experiences, including a chance to go overlanding and see the world on wheels.

On Osceola National Forest grounds, you can easily engage yourself with activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, wildlife-watching, and swimming. While some of these activities can be enjoyed without limitations, others may require permits before you can engage them.

Although Osceola National Forest boasts of vast land, overlanding and off-roading is only allowed on designated trails in the dense forest. These trails are numbered and marked, and can be easily found by talking to forest rangers.

When it comes to navigating the dense and mostly hidden (from unfamiliar eyes) trails, you will have no problem driving a sturdy 2WD. However, as you get off the main road, the trails get more challenging and especially slick when wet after a rainfall. These trails will require a 4WD with high clearance and excellent recovery equipment. The more challenging trails are any off-roader’s dream but may be difficult for novice overlanders.

 

2. Croom Trail

Croom trail is located near Brooksville. A loop that measures approximately 16.7 kilometers, Croom trail is considered a moderately challenging route that takes about four hours to be completed.

Like many other trails in Florida, Croom Trail is a hot spot for many other activities like horseback riding and mountain-climbing. It is famous among overlanders and off-roaders alike for the scenery and the beautiful and mostly peaceful experience that it offers.

Most of Croom Trail is a sandy road except for the southwest part of the trail. The road is lumpy and can be difficult to maneuvre without a 4WD. This explains why the area is mostly used by ATVs and dirt bikes.

However, don’t let this scare you off. If you fancy the satisfaction of beating challenging trails, you should check out the challenging parts of CRoom Trail. If you prefer the easier way of life, Croom Trail has some paths you can use.

Croom Trail is open all season and offers an interesting view of wildlife and flora. If you explore far enough, you will discover the nearby ghost town that Croom Trail git its name from.

Croom Trail also has hiking trails that you can use if you are interested in exploring the area on foot. Overall, Croom Trial offers an enjoyable overlanding and off-roading experience that you will never forget.

 

3. Hardrock Ocala OHV Trail

Hardrock Ocala OHV Trail is a rather short trail that cannot make the whole of an overlanding trip. However, you can pass through this trail on your way to visit other trails on your Florida Overlanding wishlist or simply enjoy it as part of a short off-roading experience.

Hardrock Ocala OHV Trail is a 3.2 kilometer loop trail near Ocala, Florida. Although short, it is considered a moderately challenging route and takes about an hour to complete. Hardrock Ocala OHV Trail is the definition of a hidden gem because although it is a top choice when it comes to overlanding in Florida, you are unlikely to encounter many off-roaders on the trail.

Hardrock Ocala OHV Trail is open year-round, however, we recommend checking with the rangers before heading out on your trip to double-check what time the trail will be open. 

This trail has a rather high elevation so we recommend making the trip with a high-clearance vehicle. The elevation and decline (about 30 degrees) make the trip all more interesting. If you want a short trip that will get your heart pumping and body filled with adrenaline, Hardrock Ocala OHV Trail is a great trail to start with. 

 

4. Lazy Springs Recreation Park

For an unforgettable overlanding trip with interesting scenery and fun activities, Lazy Springs Recreation Park is the place to visit. With more than 375 acres of land, Lazy Springs Recreation Park has more than enough space to accommodate many of the activities on any outdoor enthusiast’s wishlist, including off-roading and overlanding.

It is not often that you come across family-friendly Jeep, UTV, ATV, MX, Wave Runner, and even Rock Crawler parks. However, Lazy Springs Recreation Park offers it all.

Lazy Springs Recreation Park has a mosaic of various terrains with different difficulty levels, from sandy 4x4 trails to mud bogs, motocross tracks, and hill climbs. Because of this, a wide range of vehicle types are welcome at the park.

Lazy Springs Recreation Park does nit require permits to be used. It is mostly open during the weekend and allows camping in some areas. If you plan to use Lazy Springs Recreation Park for a alone or family down-and -dirty fun, you will need to pay entry fees. However, these fees are a small sacrifice to make for the experience the park offers.

Lazy Springs Recreation Park can be accessed from Feld or Fort Myers. If you are coming in from Felda, the address is 9591 State Road 82. From Fort Myers, take the SR-82 east for about 20 more miles.

An overland trail in Florida

5. Loop Road Scenic Drive

Also known as Country Road 94, Loop Road Scenic Drive lives up to its name. It is a relatively easy loop trail located near Ochopee, and it is popularly used for outdoor activities such as overlanding, mountain-biking, and off-roading.

Loop Road Scenic Drive measures about 69.2 kilometers and takes about 15 hours to submit. The road is mostly rocky as it is made out of gravel, but it is paved in some areas. Although it is a relatively easy and moderately challenging trail, it is undoubtedly one of the best places to go overlanding or off-roading. On Loop Road Scenic Drive, you can feel free to make the trip with any type of vehicle, 2WD or 4WD.

Loop Road Scenic Drive is both scenic and mostly quiet. Although the area is pristine , it is surprising that you will mostly find a handful of motorists using the trail at the same time that you are.

This amazing trail is a part of the Big Cypress National Preserve, so you are bound to see interesting wildlife and flora. In fact, you will be treated to a front-seat view of gators and birds if you make the trip in the right season.

If you are looking for adrenaline-pumping, true off-road trails, you should keep Loop Road Scenic Drive off your list. Many off-roaders agree that Loop Road Scenic Drive is too easy to provide the satisfaction that comes with testing a vehicle’s strength and your will power on more challenging terrains.

 

6. Ladyslipper Trail

Located on the Myakkahatchee Creek Greenway near North Port, Florida, Ladyslipper Trail is an out-and-back trail that measures about 4.8 kilometers. It goes in bith directions, meaning you can enjoy the trip from either end. Although it is classified as a moderately challenging trail, Ladyslipper trail is quite short and takes less than an hour to be traveled from one end to the other.

Ladyslipper Trail might be a popular trail for activities like mountain biking, hiking, and bird-watching, however, you are unlikely to meet more than a handful of people on this trail. This is surprising because the trail is open year-round and offers pleasant scenery regardless of the time of the year. It is safe to say Ladyslipper trail is one of Florida’s best-hidden gems.

Ladyslipper Trail is a multi-use trail and allows ATV and truck riders to use its paths. Although the trail has little elevation, the roads are sandy and usually gets muddy when it rains, we recommend using hardy 4WD vehicles for the trip (check out our list of the best cheap overland vehicles).

Running along a peaceful creek, Ladysliper Trail is an easy trial with little to know distyrbances. Although the trail might be too short to offer the satisfaction of an overlandig trip, it offers a fun experience with nature.

 

7. Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge

Nestled along the southern part of the Big Bend Region located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge spans two counties. Unlike many other Wildlife refuges, Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge does not protect wildlife. Instead, it was established to protect the quality of the water in the historic Suwannee river. Regardless, the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge offers one of the most impressive views in Florida’s overlanding and off-roading scenery.

The Suwannee River feeds the Gulf of Mexico, habitat for the Gulf sturgeon, residents, and, of course, animals. Seeing how important this refuge is, if you decide to go overlanding or off-roading there, it will be best to respect the area and stick to the essential instructions, such as the Leave No Trace Principles.

Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge offers all-season recreation opportunities for its visitors. With each changing season, you are privy to a variety of habitats, wildlife, and scenery.

 

8. Clear Creek OHV Park

Located near Milton, Clear Creek OHV Park is a 56 kilometer loop trail that is considered slightly challenging. However, this beautiful trail caters to all overlander and off-roader experience levels. Driving through Cedar Creek OHV Park takes about 15 hours from one end to the other. However, this is faster or slower depending on the length of your exploration.

Clear Creek OHV Trails travels through dense hardwood forests and ravines. It is mostly used as an ATV track and by dirt bikes, but is also an excellent trail for overlanders.

 

9. Turner River Unit: Monument Road, Little Deer, and Boot Hill West

The Turner River Unit trail is a 61.8-kilometer loop trail near Ochopee. A multi-terrain trail, Turner River Unit is considered a moderately challenging route.

The trail is made up of rock, coral, and dirt roads, making it the perfect blend of ease and challenge that any experienced overlander craves. Although it might be a relatively short trail, it takes about 15 hours to complete the loop successfully. 

The trail is wooded in some areas and open in some, so you have diverse wildlife and flora to enjoy. The area is also peaceful, as you are unlikely to meet a lot of other people.

 

10. Sand Ridge Road

Sand Ridge Road might be an extremely short trail, but it undoubtedly belongs on our list. Measuring only 12 kilometers, Sand Ridge Road is a scenic route open in all seasons. Although it might not be long enough to offer a long overlanding trip, it is an excellent stop for longer trips.


Exploring The Sunshine State 

Florida is home to some of the most gorgeous trails there are. From trails in the Osceola National Forest to those spread across the state, Florida undoubtedly offers some of the best adventures you will ever experience. Are you looking for more trails to explore? Explore the best overland routes & trails on the east coast!

The Best Overlanding Routes & Trails In Virginia - Tuff Stuff Overland

The Best Overlanding Routes & Trails In Virginia

Virginia is home to breathtaking beauty and exquisite scenery. Blessed with many gorgeous natural sites to explore, Virginia offers a gracious blend of rich culture, eye-catching scenery, and enjoyable outdoor activities. This is precisely why it is one of the perfect places to go overlanding.

While it is possible to go overlanding anywhere you want in the world, only a few places offer the fulfillment of driving in a state as blessed with beauty as Virginia. To help you experience spectacular views and unforgettable overlanding adventures in Virginia, here is a list of the best places to go overlanding in Virginia.

 

Exploring The Outdoors Of Virginia

Virginia is a southeastern state in the U.S.A. and is considered one of the 13 original colonies in the country. Widely revered for being the home and largest producer of oysters (the state farmed a whopping 3.5 million oysters in 2019), Virginia is also famous for the delicious Virginia Brunswick stew and gorgeous places like the Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive. Whatever ingredients offer tourists a fun and memorable vacation in the state, Virginia has it all. This is why it comes as no surprise that Virginia is one of the best places to experience overlanding at its finest.

Virginia is blessed with everything from plains to mountains and plateaus. Its diverse scenery makes it one of the best places to enjoy a fascinating trip, undoubtedly one of the best that anyone can enjoy in the United States.


Are you interested in exploring the state of Virginia on wheels? Here are some of the best overlanding trails in the state.

An truck in the woods.

1. Spearhead Trails (Mountain View)

A glance at Spearhead Trails will show why it is referred to as a world-class destination.

Spearhead Trails is one of Virginia's most exciting diverse-use spots. This multi-use system of trails is primarily designed for ATV riders. However, because any capable vehicle used for overlanding or otherwise (do you need an off-road capable vehicle for your adventures? Check out our list of ten best cheap overland vehicles!), you can navigate the trails without problems.

Spearhead Trails is located in Coeburn. It is a network of ATVs, hiking, horseback riding, and biking trails with stunning mountain views of the area. 

The best thing- or one of the best things, as Spearhead Trails is filled with fascinating views- is the network of trails that come in varying degrees of difficulty. This system of trails offers a mix of easy and challenging routes so that there is a trail for every person, from easy dirt paths to heart-pounding ATV routes with twists and turns.

With more than 118 miles of trails enveloped with trees on either side and 20 miles of Single Track, there are many lands to explore at Spearhead Trails. Couple this with the trails’ diverse flora and fauna, and it is easy to see that Spearhead Trails offers one of the best overlanding experiences in Virginia.

Spearhead Trails is open year-round. This means you can experience the beauty of these mountain-side trails in all seasons. While this is great, it is essential to know that you will need a permit to use all trails.

 

2. Potts Mountain Jeep Trail

Potts Mountain Jeep Trail is also known as Forest Road 5036. It is located in Jefferson National Forest, near Paint Bank.

Overlanding is the act of seeing the world on on-road or off-road terrains. Next on our list is a trail that offers the off-road-terrain overlanding experience.

Although Potts Mountain Jeep Trail is popularly used as an off-roading route, a particularly challenging one at that, it is also fit for an overlanding experience. If you crave a little overlapping trip that will get your heart pounding and adrenaline levels up, Potts Mountain Jeep Trail is your best bet.

Potts Mountain Jeep Trail is a 24-kilometer point-to-point trail near Paint Bank, Virginia. Although it takes an average of 8 hours to complete the course, depending on how fast you're going, Potts Mountain Jeep Trail offers an unbeatable challenging overlanding experience, Virginia-style.

Potts Mountain Jeep Trail is deeply rutted in some areas and rocky in many other parts. To navigate this trail without any problem, we recommend taking the journey with a 4x4 high-clearance vehicle. This will increase your chances of completing the trail and avoiding unpleasant vehicle-related sticky situations.

If you are new to the overlanding scene, we recommend not visiting Potts Mountain Jeep Trail.

 

3. Peter’s Mill Run OHV Trail

Peter’s Mill Run OHV Trail (check out this trail on the official USDA website!) might not be a particularly long overlanding route, but it offers the close experience with nature that many overlanders crave.

Also fondly called Tasker’s Gap, Peter’s Mill Run OHV Trail is located near Fort Valley. It is a peaceful 13-kilometer trail that experiences little traffic.

Peter’s Mill Run OHV Trail might be short, but it is also moderately challenging. We recommend this trail only if you have quite an experience navigating relatively rocky routes. Due to how challenging the trails are for regular vehicles, we also recommend visiting the trail with a high-clearance vehicle. However, seeing that only the first few kilometers on the trail are rocky, if you are experienced enough, you can take the risk with any regular 4x4 vehicle.

Peter’s Mill Run OHV Trail is a blend of various terrains and scenery, from rocky roads blanketed by few trees to more accessible dirt roads flagged by trees on both sides. 

The trail can be added from three parking areas in the area. Going north to south on the trail means going down the hilly road. Flipping it around and going south to north means going up the hill, which is fun to some.

Regardless of your route, driving through Peter’s Mill Run OHV Trail is a fun Overlanding experience to enjoy. The trail is open from early April - early January, and you will require a permit to use it.

 

4. Coal Road

Coal Road is another short trail in the Old Dominion State. However, unlike Peter’s Mill Run OHV Trail, this trail is very easy to navigate and can be traveled using any road-legal vehicle.

Coal Road measures about 23 kilometers with an estimated elevation of about 637 feet. It is open all season and makes the perfect short overlanding solo or family trip. In fact, you can travel on Coal Road as a detour to other challenging trails.

Coal Road is like one of those short and sweet stories you read, those you will never end. It features a mostly-raved point-to-point route with little to no obstacles along the way. The only evident problem you may encounter on this trail is the presence of potholes, but even these are minor problems.

While traveling on Coal Road, you will see hiking and biking trailheads. These roads can get very busy with hikers and bikers, but the area is still relatively peaceful. Without any problem, you can explore Coal Road in under two hours, regardless of the level of activity on the road.

From Coal Road, you can easily access Bald Mountain Jeep Trail and Turkey Pen Trail. However, unlike Coal Road, both trails are seasonal.

 

5. Mid-Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route

Mid-Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route might not be solely located in Virginia, but part of the trail is situated in the state, and this deserves a part on our list.

Also called The Mid-Atlantic BDR, the Mid-Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route is a scenic, multi-use route that combines various terrains like dirt, gravel, and paved roads in remote locations. Measuring about 1740 kilometers, this trail meanders through Virginia (where it kicks off from Damascus) and Pennsylvania, starting from Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland before ending in Pennsylvania. 

Traveling on the Mid-Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route will take you through the breathtaking Appalachian Mountains, peaceful farming landscapes, and dense but beautiful forests. By combining a system of forest roads and country lanes, the Mid-Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route helps overlanders experience the beauty of nature in Virginia (and outside).

In an interesting blend of dirt and pavement, while traversing various scenery, the Mid-Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route takes overlanders through nine sections of adventure. It offers the perfect trail to remain busy compared to much shorter trails constructed to the state's borders.

If you are traveling to The Mid-Atlantic BDR, make sure you do so between early spring and late fall. Although the trail is also open outside this duration, it becomes quite challenging to ride when it starts to snow.

Nature in Virginia

6. Flagpole Knob

Flagpole Knob is one of the many trails in the George Washington National Forest. It measures about 21 kilometers with an elevation of 1330 feet. 

Flagpole Knob is nestled on the border between Virginia and West Virginia. It can be accessed from Switzer Lake Road, Union Springs or Briery Branch Gap, all which offer interesting sceneries to explore.

Because this trail is mostly dirt roads with little obstacles, it is one of the easiest trails you can travel on in Virginia. Flagpole Knob offers a panoramic view of the mountains in the area, combined with the majestic wooded areas and the beautiful streams in the area. 

Although Flagpole Knob is relatively easy to navigate, it is essential to keep the trail’s condition in mind. With more than 12 miles of road and more than a thousand feet of elevation, it is important to go prepared. This means traveling the route with a 4x4 vehicle with high clearance. This will ensure that you can find your way around steep areas and narrow trails without any problem.

Flagpole Knob is open in all seasons. However, to be on the safe side, it will be best to check ahead for the road conditions if you plan to visit in the fall or winter.

 

7. Reddish Knob Spur

Reddish Knob Spur is located in Dayton, North River. It can be easily accessed from Flagpole Knob. All you have to do is return 5 kilometers to the intersection with FR 924. Afterwards, continue going south past the intersection for about 3.2 kilometers until you arrive at a forked road. Take the left path and continue driving about 0.6b kilometers.

Reddish knob is a 31.2-kilometer-long trail with an elevation of about 1300 feet. It is a multi-use trail, making it not only fit for overlanders looking to enjoy a scenic adventure but also hikers and bird-watchers that crave the ultimate outdoor experience.

Although not many people know this, all parts of the Reddish Knob trail is a collection of George Washington National Forest backroads except the northern 4 kilometers. The roads are mostly gravel and dirt roads, with only a few tricky and challenging rutty parts. This makes the trail easy to navigate with any 4x4 vehicle.

On Reddish Knob, you will find amazing views of the area in ridge-line views, panoramic views of the forest, and various interesting wildlife, including the red-tailed hawks in the area.

 

8. Pocahontas OHV Trail

Pocahontas OHV Trail Virginia is not to be confused with the Pocahontas Trail System in West Virginia. While they bear the same name, they are two very different trail routes. Regardless, they both offer unique and fun adventures.

Pocahontas OHV Trail system is a system of about 120 kilometers of trail system.  A newly established trail system in Virginia, Pocahontas OHV Trail is open to ATVs, UTVs, and other off-road-capable 4x4 vehicles with high clearance.

The trails cater to all experience levels, from newbie overlanders to experienced adventurers looking for a challenging trail to add to their list of explored routes. Pocahontas OHV Trail system is a blend of easy dirt roads, challenging muddy tracks, elevated ledges, and everything in between. While the terrains are a huge part of the overlanding experience that this trail system offers, the scenery is a cherry on top as the system offers a wide view of spectacular views of the hills and mountains. 

Although Pocahontas OHV Trail is open to the public for use, it is essential to have a permit before venturing on any of the trails in the trail system. The permit prices range from 30 to 60 dollars.

Pocahontas OHV Trail, like many other trail systems, is guarded by regulations that help to maintain safety and orderliness. The trail is open in all seasons from sunrise to sunset.

 

9. Savage River State Forest

This Virginia state forest has a network of more than 54,000 acres of terrains of varying challenges. These terrains are multi-use and are open to everyone, including hunters, motorists, mountain bikers, and hikers. 

All trails in the Savage River State Forest offer a peacefully quiet experience with nature, especially because the areas do not experience high traffic. With every change in season, you experience a whole new burst of colors and experiences. In every season you visit the Savage River State Forest Trails, you enjoy a delightfully unique experience.

Some of the trails in Savage River State Forest include Meadow Mountain Trail, Monroe Run Trail, Negro Mountain Trail, and Backpacker Loop 24. Each trail varies from 7.4 kilometers to more than 38 kilometers.

 

10. Big Levels 4×4 Trail – Blue Ridge OHV Route

Big Levels to the Blue Ridge OHV Route is a 27.4-kilometer point-to-point trail near Stuarts Draft. The trail’s north entrance is on Coal Road while the south entrance can be accessed from the Blue Ridge Parkway. As a point-to-point trail, the Big Levels to the Blue Ridge OHV Route can be run from either direction without any problem.

Being a trail with some narrow paths, hairpin switchbacks, obstacles in various areas, water runoff, and an elevation that increases when driving from north to south, Big Levels to the Blue Ridge OHV Route is classified as a moderately challenging route. To travel this route, you will need a 4x4-capable vehicle.

 

Seeing Virginia On Wheels 

Virginia is undoubtedly one of the most exciting places you can explore in the United States of America. With vast land area and diverse scenery, it is easy to see why anyone will love to travel the various trails in Virginia.

Regardless of the trails you travel on, it is essential to remain prepared for each trip. Don't forget your basic overland gear on your quest for adventure. Always remember to practice the Leave No Trace Principles and stay safe wherever you go.

Are you looking for other interesting trails to explore in the USA? Check out the best overland routes and trails in the Midwest.

The Georgia Transverse Trail What You Need To Know - Tuff Stuff Overland

The Georgia Transverse Trail What You Need To Know

Georgia is the 24th largest and 8th most populous state in the U.S. Popularly known for being the birthplace of wine and Martin Luther King, Georgia is also home to the famous Georgia Traverse Trail.

The Georgia Traverse Trail is a popular scenic trail that offers epic outdoor experiences for outdoor enthusiasts. Perfect for activities like camping, hiking, overlanding, or off-roading, Georgia Traverse Trail is a multi-use traverse trail that should be on any outdoor lover’s list of top trails to visit. Below, we have compiled everything you need to know about the Georgia Traverse Trail.

Getting Familiar

The first thing you should know about the Georgia Traverse Trail is it does not exist as a single trail. Instead, this trail is a collection of county, state and Forest Service roads that offer different scenery as you drive through.

The Georgia Trail is an extremely popular trail among experienced outdoor enthusiasts. This is not surprising, mostly because it offers everything from forest experiences to tours through Villages.

When you think about Georgia, it is easy to think about quaint little towns and forget what amazing opportunities the state has to offer. However, aside from picket fences and charming neighborhoods, Georgia is also a hot spot for tourists, many of whom are looking to enjoy the natural views that Florida has to offer. In fact, in 2018, Georgia welcomed a record 111.7 million visitors in 2018 and generated $36.9 billion revenue for the state. Although there are more than 57,000 square miles of land to explore in the state, the Georgia Traverse Trail is one of the most visited trails in the state.

But what exactly is the Georgia Traverse Trail, and why is it so popular?

The Georgia Traverse Trail paves the way for overlanders, off-roaders, and campers to explore the wonders of nature in Florida on the road. Encompassing various counties, while traveling the Georgia Traverse Trail, you enjoy the satisfaction of gravel crunching underneath your tires and the beautiful scenery of nature around you.

Designed to be traveled from east to west, Georgia Traverse Trail begins at Burrells Ford Road along the Georgia/South Carolina border. It meanders through the breath-taking Appalachian mountain, passes through the dense Chattahoochee forests, and stretches from one small town to another. Finally cutting off at the Georgia/Alabama border, the Georgia Traverse Trail measures a whopping 390 miles of both paved and unpaved roads with alternate off-pavement sections left for enthusiasts to explore.

A truck with a tent.

Why Was The Georgia Traverse Trail Created?

The Georgia Traverse Trail has not always been in existence.

As previously mentioned, Florida was blessed with vast lands, all which offered almost limitless adventures through natural leisure activities and scenery. While this was great, the northern portion of the state was riddled with thousands of miles of backroads that usually laid unused. These trails were mainly isolated routes wasting away as they were barely used and almost unnoticed unless they were seen from the highways that they interrupt.

As a result, David Giguere spent the last decade developing and connecting the backcountry byways to create one developed trail with alternate routes. He did this to give outdoor enthusiasts the chance to explore the backcountry and the mostly deserted routes.

 

What Is The Georgia Traverse Trail Like?

Although the Georgia Traverse Trail features almost 400 miles of road, the road is not uniform. There are about 226 miles of unpaved routes and road surfaces. These paths feature gravel, dirt, rocky, and muddy roads, while the other half of the trail is mostly paved. Regardless, the trail is developed and can be navigated without problem.

The trail also includes several marked off-pavement sections. These sections are perfect for off-roaders looking to explore the less-travelled sections of the great Georgia traverse trail.

About 164 miles of pavement connect the off-tarmac sections. Over 40 percent of the paved areas that stretch on for miles are located west of the Cohutta and Big Frog Wilderness Loop. Each section of the Georgia traverse trail can be found on any updated map of the area as the traverse trail is a published trail stretch of adventure.

Scattered in various parts of the trail are more than 500 waypoints with diverse details that are unique to the Georgia traverse trail. These waypoints include everything from possible dispersed camping areas to hiking opportunities and other details.


Is The Georgia Traverse Trail Difficult?

Although the Georgia Traverse Trail is wide and stretches on for miles, it offers one of the easiest drives in the state. However, this might change with weather conditions that deteriorate the road conditions. 

Since the trail is made up of several roads, if is essential to check the current condition of the foads before leaving as some parts of the trail can be dangerous after bad weather. The trail is especially dangerous when it is slick with mud. When the area get muddy, it is a great idea to wait before venturing out in your adventure.

Contrary to popular opinion, Georgia traverse trail is an extremely easy route that is perfect of explorers of different experience levels. It is easy enough that beginners can enjoy a scenic drive without ending up in sticky situations, and complicated enough (at least the off-pavement portions are) that experienced adventurers will still have a blast with a drive that raises the heart rate a few times without boring them.

However, it is essential to note that although the Georgia traverse trail might offer an easy ride, it is in no way conquerable in a few hours. If you are going to go from one end of the trail to another without any problem while enjoying the scenes, it is best to dedicate two or more days to your journey. This will ensure that you safely explore the area while enjoying as much of the scenery as you can.


What Can You Do On The Georgia Traverse Trail?

As an outdoor lover, the Georgia Traverse Trail is a dream come true for many reasons. A blend of different terrains, wildlife, and flora, it offers a great deal of opportunities for outdoor lovers to experience Georgia at its finest while enjoying intimate moments with nature.

But what exactly is the Georgia traverse trail good for?

The Georgia Traverse Trail is a multi-use trail that is perfect for several activities like overlanding, glamping, camping, off-roading, and even hiking if you are up to a challenge. There is no limit to what you can enjoy on this state treasure.

Georgia Traverse Trail is perfect for all these activities because of the diversity of the complexity of its terrain. With some areas easier than others and some more challenging than the rest, outdoor enthusiasts can always find an area that is suitable for the activities they want to enjoy.

When it comes to exploring the world, there is no better way to see nature than going overland camping. With the ability to see the world on wheels, you can experience nature whenever and however you want.

For example, overlanding is an activity that involves seeing the world on wheels. It involves traveling long distances for a long time on a self-sufficient journey where the aim is to enjoy the experience gained during the journey. The Georgia Traverse Trail offers a great stretch of route with varying difficulty intensity and scenery for overlanders to enjoy. 

It also offers a chance at off-roading activities with its unpaved terrains that goes off-roaders the challenge that they are looking to experience. 

Even activities like camping (do you know the difference between overlanding and camping? Check out the differences here) can be enjoyed here as there are several dispersed campsites scattered around the trail in both directions.

Essentially, the Georgia Traverse Trail is a hot spot for nature enthusiasts looking to indulge in various activities.

The Georgia Traverse also offers various side attractions like the towns along the trail. These towns offer unique cultures, food, and experiences that any nature enthusiast will enjoy. One of those many towns is Helen (check out the official Helen page here). Helen is famous for its Bavarian-style aesthetics, delicious foods, unique festivals, fly-fishing activities, and many other attractions. In these towns that can be easily accessed from the Georgia Traverse, you can get rest stops to enjoy civilization before continuing your journey on the rural trail in the Peach State (Peach State is Georgia’s official nickname).

A trail in the woods

What Should You Know Before Visiting Georgia Traverse Trail?

Venturing out blindly to the Georgia Traverse Trail is an easy way to set yourself up for trouble. Before starting your ignition, it is essential to know all you need to know about visiting the trail.

One of the most essential things to do is to ensure you have the right type of vehicle. Although the Georgia Traverse Trail is easy to navigate, the tricky areas might make it difficult to enjoy your trip if you do not have a capable vehicle.

This doesn't necessarily mean you have to purchase a new vehicle for the trip (although you can purchase any vehicle off our list of cheap off-road vehicles if you really need to). However, you do need to ensure that your car is capable of traveling the majority of the trail. For this, we recommend any capable 4WD with high clearance.

Next, it is essential to prepare by traveling with the necessary gear and planning the duration of your trip, if you are going overlanding on the trail, it is best to pack up your essential overlanding gear and kit. If you are going camping or any other activities, it is equally important to have your survival kits.

It is also vital to ensure that you know the rules of the trail and abide by them. The rules are simple: practice the Leave No Trace principle. This principle is designed to protect you and the Georgia Traverse Trail, ensuring that you remain safe, protect other nature enthusiasts using the trail, do not damage your vehicle, and do not have wildlife


Has The Georgia Traverse Undergone Any Major Changes Recently?

The Georgia Traverse Trail was last updated years ago. Maps of the area are up-to-date as the area is fully published without any drastic changes in the last few years.

Seeing The World On The Georgia Traverse

The Georgia Traverse Trail is undoubtedly one of the biggest natural treasures in Georgia. It offers miles on miles of unique scenery created from the combination of unique flora and fauna. Are you planning to visit the great Georgia Traverse Trail? We hope this article tells you all you need to know about this beautiful route.

How To Pick A Rooftop Mattress And Topper - Tuff Stuff Overland

How To Pick A Rooftop Mattress And Topper

Rooftop tents are a fantastic way to elevate your regular camping experience. Although they offer a highly comfortable night's rest under the stars, their comfort cannot be thoroughly enjoyed without the best rooftop tent mattresses.

Like regular mattresses, rooftop tent mattresses come in different types and sizes. To help you sleep better under the stars, here’s a guide to picking out the best rooftop mattresses and toppers.

 

Getting Comfy In Your Rooftop Tent

Rooftop tents are already made to be incredibly comfortable, or at least more comfortable than regular floor tents. After all, they are built to be set up easily, brought down as easily as they are set up, and used on the go. 

However, to maximize the comfort that your rooftop tent offers, you have to put in some effort. One of the many things that you can do to make your rooftop tent camping experience more delightful is to invest in the right mattress or topper.

Rooftop tents are any camper’s dream. These durable structures were built to offer a better outdoor experience while offering the luxury that regular ground tents cannot.

Rooftop tents, like conventional ground tents, are designed to offer shelter outdoors. However, their contemporary design allows the structures to be fitted on the roof of a car and not on the floor.

Being installed on the roof of vehicles offers a vantage point that being on the ground cannot. Being on the roof of your vehicle means it is easier to bring your rooftop tent with you wherever you go. This means you can camp on any terrain you find yourself in, especially if you can find a safe spot to park your vehicle comfortably.

Being off the ground also means you are away from the inconveniences of camping outdoors, like a muddy tent when it rains and the creeping insects and animals that come out to play at night (while you're here, check out the U.S. National Park Service’s tips for staying safe outdoors).

Although these are great, rooftop tents, like regular ground tents, have essentially accessory needs that you cannot do without, primarily if you aim to be extremely comfortable in your rooftop tent. This ‘essential need’ is a comfortable sleeping area.

In any camping tent, rooftop, or otherwise, you will need a mattress and other sleeping accessories. However, while a hard pillow can be managed for the duration of your camping trip, the mattress you choose can make or break your camping trip.

Rooftop tents are light enough not to weigh down on and ruin vehicle roofs. However, they are heavy enough to hold the occupants’ weight along with other essential sleep gear like mattresses, toppers, bedsheets, blankets, and pillows (does the rooftop tent weight impact your vehicle’s gas mileage? Check out your answer here!).

Like the rooftop tents, the mattresses come in different sizes and types, all of which have varying effects on the quality of a person’s camping trips.

Many rooftop tents come with custom mattresses. Although this helps to save money that will otherwise be spent on purchasing a mattress separately, it is important to note that not all custom rooftop mattresses are end game to ultimate camping comfort.

A tent on a truck.

Does Rooftop Mattress Type Matter?

Among the many rooftop tents frequently asked questions that campers have, one prevalent one is ‘does rooftop mattress type matter?’. 

The short answer is yes.

Just as you won’t be comfortable in a lumpy or overly hard mattress at home, you should not have to deal with uncomfortable beds outdoors. After all, you will only be able to enjoy your outdoor life when you feel refreshed every day, and you can only achieve this with a good night's rest.

Although rooftop tents eliminate the inconvenience of feeling bits of rocks and sticks poking through your camp mattress when you use ground tents, it doesn’t mean that it immediately solves all inconveniences that come with sleeping on a hard surface. The floor of a rooftop tent might be made of the strongest materials, and flat and smooth, but they are also hard and can be uncomfortable to feel through bad quality mattresses.

Although it might look like an easy solution to bring a regular thick home mattress into the tent, it is never a good idea to do so. While regular mattresses are comfortable, they are too bulky to fit into a rooftop tent. They will make the rooftop tent too heavy and will not make it easy to close the tent when it is not being used. 

Additionally, regular mattresses will often not fit a rooftop tent’s dimensions. Although you might think cutting up an old traditional mattress for your rooftop tent is an economical option, it is not always the best option.

The best option will be to get a rooftop tent mattress built for rooftop tents. These tents come in different types (memory or air mattresses) and make it easier to use your rooftop tent.

Rooftop tents often come with mattresses. These mattresses come customized in the size of the rooftop tent you purchase. They are easy to fold up when the tent is not used as they are the proper dimensions and often made in the right thickness. However, they are simply not as comfortable as you need them to be. Or they have been used so much that they are starting to sag in places.

When this happens,  the only other option will be to purchase a mattress separately or get a mattress topper.


What Is A Mattress Topper?

A mattress topper is a layer of memory foam, latex, or other materials that go on top of mattresses. It is a great way to make mattresses more comfortable to sleep in.

Mattress toppers are an excellent option for uncomfortable or old mattresses, as they make inconvenient mattresses immediately more plush and comfortable. They can also be put on top of comfortable rooftop mattresses to add more comfort without altering the firmness level.

Mattress toppers can also function as temporary rooftop tent mattresses when necessary. They are multi-functional and are a simple way to make sleeping in rooftop tents more convenient. They are easy to use and cost-effective for uncomfortable rooftop tent mattresses.

However, like rooftop tent mattresses, not all toppers can be used in rooftop tents. Although they are a general solution to making mattresses more comfortable, rooftop tent mattress toppers need to be more than just relaxing.

So, how do you pick rooftop tent mattresses and mattress toppers to make you more comfortable while you enjoy outdoor camping experiences?


How To Pick A Rooftop Mattress And Topper

Choosing the right rooftop tent mattress and toppers for you and your tent is your best bet for enjoying an extremely comfortable sleep on the road. Investing in high-quality rooftop tents will help you maximize the true comfort that rooftop tents offer. To pick a rooftop mattress and topper:

 A truck with a tent on it.

1. Know the Difference

Rooftop mattresses come in different types. The materials vary and offer varying extents of comfort, durability, and, of course, disadvantages. Essentially, not all beds are the same.

If you are trying to replace your old mattress or purchase a new one for your tent, it is essential to know the differences between each mattress. 

  • Air mattress

Wouldn’t it be fun to sleep on your own air cloud? Air mattresses are a standard and affordable mattress option among campers, both rooftop tent and ground tent users alike. These mattresses are one of the easiest ways to make camping comfortable without breaking the bank. Typically filled with air, air mattresses are not bulk and are, therefore, an excellent option for many rooftop tent users. However, they come with disadvantages.

Because air mattresses can be inflated to reach any firmness you like, you can control the comfort your mattress offers. The air offers a welcome buffering and cushioning effect that keeps your body from feeling the friends of the aluminum flooring in your tent. They also come in varying sizes, making it easier to find an option that works for your rooftop tent. The best part about using inflatable air mattresses is they can be used outside rooftop tents.

Although they are an excellent mattress option, you may want to skip air mattresses for insulation and durability problems.

When it gets cold, the air mattress can also get cold. As the air in the mattress loses heat, you will get increasingly chilly. This is not a great experience if your rooftop tent lacks the insulation to keep you warm. Conversely, inflatable mattresses are also non-breathable and can become hot and unpleasant in hot weather. Either way, there is no winning in extreme temperatures.

Although this can be resolved by adding extra insulation between the mattress and the floor and the mattress and yourself, it also means you have more sleep gear to carry with you.

There is also the constant worry of inflatable mattresses popping on leaking. What happens when you arrive at the campsite only to find a hole in your mattress? 

  • Foam Sleeping Pad

Typically made from closed-cell foam (here’s what closed-cell foam or CCF means), foam sleeping pads are also fondly called camping mattresses. They come in various sizes and types, and play essential roles in the quality and warmth of a camper’s sleep.

Sleeping pads are usually lightweight, although they can be bulky, especially if they come in bigger sizes. They can be rolled up or folded to make it easier to pack them into smaller sizes. They are also easy to set up and are one of the simplest bedding any camper can enjoy while exploring the outdoors.

Unlike inflatable or air mattresses, foam sleeping pads have a shorter set-up time, are less noisy, are cheaper, cannot be punctured, and are easier to use. They are also more durable and less prone to insulation problems. However, some people argue that sleeping pads are not as comfortable as some air mattresses. Worse, they can get wet in the rain and take longer to dry. Sleeping pads are also bulkier yet thinner (not a great idea if you have a bad back) and do not have adjustable firmness.

  • Memory Foam

The best thing about purchasing a memory foam mattress for your tent is choosing the degree of hardness or softness you want. Nothing beats being able to sink into the comfortable cocoon that memory foam offers out in the wild and being able to enjoy every second of your sleep.

While this is great, many people admit that memory foam mattresses get hard in the cold. This means the support and comfort that the mattress offers might reduce in the cold. In the heat, the foam gets exceptionally soft, so soft that it may become uncomfortable for some.

Inflatable mattresses, memory foams, and sleeping pads are all great options. However, it would be best to weigh the pros and cons before choosing one.

 

2. Choose a Thin Topper

You may be tempted to choose the thick mattress toppers you want, thinking they will offer more comfort and better insulation. However, thicker toppers are not always the better option.

When choosing a mattress topper, opt for a thinner one with your preferred hardness or softness. They are cheaper, cost-effective, and easier to use. However, the topper's thickness can vary with your preference, as long as you remember, the thinner, the better.


When choosing a mattress topper, focus on using the mattress size, tent size, and preferred thickness as a metric for purchasing a topper. This will ensure you are comfortable without compromising the ability to fold up your tent. 

 

3. Mattress Thickness Matters

Unless you plan to feel the car panel and aluminum flooring whenever you sleep in your rooftop tent, you should pick a mattress that is at least 2.5 inches thick. This will offer a barrier to keep you comfortably off the floor.

 

4. More Important Aspects

Other than your mattress, some ways you can make your rooftop tent more comfortable include:

  • Insulate against cold

In extremely cold temperatures, you need all the heating you can get. One easy way to do this is to insulate your tent to trap heat. You can do this by adding sleeping mats under your mattress as a form of floor insulation, using thermal blankets, and using inner insulation tent layers. For more tips on keeping warm when the temperature drops, here are our tips for surviving outdoors in the cold.

  • Promote cooling

Sometimes, it will get so hot that you will need to mask the heat and humidity. You can invest in breathable bedding like bamboo sheets, eucalyptus, and Tencel to help you sleep better in the heat.

  • Invest in anti-condensation mats

Anti-condensation mats are an easy way to get rid of moisture problems in your rooftop tent. Because high humidity might make your mattress seem softer and impact your sleep, keeping the moisture out of your tent is an investment that will make your bed feel better and last longer. With anti-condensation mats, you can keep your internal environment fresh while eliminating moisture and condensation.

Getting Comfy In Your RTT

While choosing the right rooftop tent for you and your vehicle matters, choosing the best beddings also plays a crucial role in your comfort. After all, a comfortable rooftop tent won't matter much if you own RTT mattresses that give you sleepless nights.

Want to learn more ways to keep your RTT cozy? Let's start by helping you create your very own diesel heater for less than $150!

The Best Overland Trips & Trails In Oklahoma - Tuff Stuff Overland

The Best Overland Trips & Trails In Oklahoma

Blessed with ten various geographic regions, Oklahoma’s breathtaking landscape is an outdoor lover’s dream. The state offers everything from spectacular plains to sights of intimidating mountain peaks, all of which are waiting to be explored by adventure enthusiasts.

Are you planning to go on an overlanding trip to Oklahoma? Here are some of the best overlanding trips and trails you can visit in the Sooner State. Pack up your essential overland gear and get ready to explore!

 

Overlanding In Oklahoma

When anyone thinks about Oklahoma, their brain immediately conjures images of busy cities and small towns where everyone wears boots, drives trucks, and lives on postcard-wordy farms with rolling grasslands. While this is true in some areas of the state, it is a common misconception that causes people to overlook the vast and diverse beauty of the Sooner State.

Although Oklahoma boasts lush grasslands, as many people assume, the grasslands are not the only thing the state has to offer. From high plains to arid landscapes, Oklahoma has different regions with unique and various ecological importance. 

Oklahoma might be known for its cowboy culture and Native American heritage history, but it is also popularly known for its beautiful natural attractions encouraging tourist activities. However, families looking to explore Oklahoma attractions like the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum during the holidays are not the only people you find exploring the vast land area of the state (Oklahoma is the 20th-largest state in the United States of America). In Oklahoma, it is also common to find overlanders and off-roaders looking to explore the different landscapes, terrains, and wildlife in the state.

When it comes to overlanding in Oklahoma, you can never run out of trails to explore. This is unsurprising as the state measures about 70,000 square miles. Overlanding is seeing the world on wheels, and Oklahoma caters to this by offering several ecoregions with unique climates and terrains, including pine-covered mountains and rocky mountain foothills. 

While Oklahoma is an overlanding-friendly state, interested overland adventurers must become familiar with the trails in the state. This essential part of the preparation for overlanding Oklahoma not only ensures your safety as an overlander but also the safety of others.

 Overlanding in Oklahoma.

1. Little Sahara OHV Trail

If you imagine a red stretch of land that glistens when the sun comes out when you hear “Little Sahara OHV Trail”, you are not wrong.


Little Sahara State Park, also popularly known as Waynoka Dunes, is located in Woods County, Oklahoma. Named for its semblance to the famous Sahara Desert, this natural and picturesque park is made from remnants of history and, of course, decades of terrace deposits. Although Little Sahara State Park stretches on dusty upon dusty acres, the Little Sahara OHV Trail is only a tiny part of the Park.

Little Sahara OHV Trail is a 14-mile loop trail nestled near Waynoka. It is sandy, meaning you should visit the trail with a 4WD vehicle sporting solid tires.

Little Sahara OHV Trail is considered a mildly challenging trail, making it the perfect trip for solo overlanders and family groups.

Although the trail takes about 6 to 7 hours to complete and is relatively short for the average overlander, Little Sahara OHV Trail is worth every brief second of your trip.

While there, you can also explore every part of the park, even the sand dunes that appear to be the main attraction for many tourists.

Little Sahara State Park is open year-round and can be navigated by all vehicles, including SUVs, ATVs, and dirt bikes.

 

2. Beer Drinker

No, this trail isn't set aside as a major attraction for pub businesses.

One thing about Beer Drinker is it is a concise trail. Measuring only 1.5 miles, it does not offer the long journey many overlander's hope for. However, it makes an incredible addition to any overlander’s list of trails to visit. In other words, Beer Drinker offers one adventure for the road, a fantastic experience for much longer routes.

Beer Drinker is a rocky trail that makes a fine challenge for any overlander interested in testing their road capability. It's a great way to get the adrenaline pumping without entering extremely rugged terrains.

Beer Drinker measures 1.5 miles with an elevation of 252 feet. It is a rocky dirt trail flanked by sparsely arranged trees and shrubs that break through the rocky surfaces. It is close enough to the main road that you can quickly detour and pursue other attractions. Beer Drinker is a short but excellent Overlanding trail in Oklahoma.

 

3. Wichita Mountains Scenic Byway

If you are more interested in a peaceful and almost ethereal drive in Oklahoma, Wichita Mountains Scenic Byway is one of the best trails and routes to visit. If you do decide to travel down this road, remember to bring your camera. This awe-inspiring and enthralling scenic road will have you so fascinated that you will wish to have pictures.

Wichita Mountains Scenic Byway has everything from low-grass roads to rocky lowlands. However, its uniquely beautiful prints are all this scenic byway has to offer. 

Wichita Mountains Scenic Byway offers an exquisite mixture of a rich history embedded in historic communities. The scene you enjoy during the drive depends on the time of year you visit. That's right, the wildlife and flora change with the seasons. With a chance to experience the sheer beauty of nature in its different forms, you will never run out of the pleasant scenery you leave on your overland trip on Wichita Mountains Scenic Byway.

Since Wichita Mountains Scenic Byway passes through lakes, mountains, and other wide ranges of terrain, this trail offers an array of recreational activities you can enjoy as you go overlapping. Wichita Mountains Scenic Byway also passes through southwest Oklahoma's historic towns like Medicine Park, Meers, and Apache, meaning you can visit these towns and experience their prehistoric culture if you fancy.

 

4. Route 66

Route 66 is a historical path that passes through Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and some other small communities in Oklahoma. It runs west to the northeast in the state, with the west end being US-66 at the Texas state line and the east end being US-66 at the Kansas state line.

U.S. Route 66, as it is so fondly called by many, is also popularly known as the Will Rogers Highway. It was named after an Oklahoma native named Will Rogers.

Route 66 passes through Commerce, Miami, Alton, Chelsea, Claremore, Tulsa, Stroud, Chandler, and Arcadia to Oklahoma City. From Oklahoma City, it continues to Yukon, El Reno, Hydro, Clinton, and Elk City, before being cut off at Texola. It measures a total of 400 miles.

If you crave a long, scenic, and easy drive, Route 66 is your best shot at getting exactly what you need. Traversing across multiple cities, Route 66 offers some of the best scenic drives in the state.

Route 66, like many other trails in Oklahoma, offers exciting activities to keep you busy during your journey. Just because the long stretch of road is not bordered by dense forests or covered in rocks does not mean it deprives travelers of the connection to nature that they crave on overlanding trips. With its many environment and diverse city, U.S. Route 66 is a dream come true for any overlander.

 

5. Cherokee Hills Byway

Cherokee Hills Byway is another on-road overlanding trip route you can enjoy in Oklahoma. Will you be willing to travel this gorgeous byway? Here is a detailed map of the area.

Cherokee Hills Byway is cradled in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. It offers a breathtaking view of Oklahoma’s one-of-a-kind natural and cultural beauty. Even if you are not fully aware of the area’s Cherokee culture, the historic remnants of the Cherokee heritage are in the architecture, Museum, and the area’s daily operation. Essentially, Cherokee Hills Byway is the perfect way to display Oklahoma’s diversity.

The byway is open every season, which means you will be liable to witness all the color shifts and landscape changes that happen year-round.

Cherokee Hills Byway passes beside Lake Tenkiller’s shores, Cookson Hills, and the lush green forests of the lower Ozark Mountain range.

 Wichita Mountains

6. Wichita Mountains OAT Trail

Also known as Wichita Mountains Oklahoma Adventure Trail, Wichita Mountains OAT Trail is a 95-kilometer trail located on the north side of the historic Wichita Mountains. It is cradled between Granite and Medicine Park and passes through several old ranches in the state the further you travel.

Wichita Mountains Oklahoma Adventure Trail is undoubtedly one of the best and most accessible trails in Oklahoma. With over 90 percent of the trail rid of ruts, runoffs, potholes, and many obstacles that plague various nomadic trails in the state, overlanders find it easier to travel with any pickup or SUV, regardless if it is a 2WD or 4WD vehicle.

Wichita Mountains OAT Trail has an elevation of about 543 feet, which means the trail can be incredibly steeped in some areas. However, with careful maneuvering, you should have no problem navigating the area.

Depending on the season of the year you make your trip, you get to experience different scenes of the area. You might even get to see cattle ranging or migrating from one area to the other. Regardless, Wichita Mountains OAT Trail always offers interesting scenes to admire and unforgettable memories.

 

7. Bee Creek And Dyer Mountain Trail

Bee Creek and Dyer Mountain Trail are located in the Ouachita National Forest near Broken Bow. It is a 22-kilometer-long point-to-point multi-use trail that welcomes curious overlanders and their dogs (as long as they remain on a leash).

Bee Creek and Dyer Mountain Trail is a relatively easy, moderately difficult trail that can be completed with any dedicated 4x4 WD. Although the trail can be tricky for the first few kilometers, the mud puddles and rocky obstacles even out and contribute to the fun nomadic experience that many overlanders crave.

The best thing about traveling on Bee Creek and Dyer Mountain Trail is the peace and tranquility you enjoy on your overlanding. You are less likely to meet many trail users, even during peak season. This way. You can enjoy a seemingly personal and personalized overlanding experience.

Over all, traveling on Bee Creek and Dyer Mountain Trail is a great way to enjoy a chill overlanding experience and a spectacular view.

 

8. Gruber Off-road Vehicle County Park

Also called the Gruber ORV trail, the Gruber Off-road Vehicle County Park is located near Fort Gibson in Oklahoma. It might not be one of the longest trails in the state, but it still offers one of the most memorable drives you will experience.

Gruber Off-Road Vehicle County Park is a 15-kilometer loop trail that is considered to be moderately challenging. Although off-road adventurers often use it, it is also open to hikers and, of course, adventurous overlanders.

The area is dotted with lightly-wooded sections and riddled with rocky parts that contribute to the challenge on the trails. There are some steep hill climbs, tight-wound woody areas, and some creek crossings, but these can easily be maneuvered with careful driving.

This trail is open year-round and permitted to dirt bikes, SUVs & Jeeps, UTVs, and ATVs. Although you will need to buy a permit before using the trail, every dollar spent is worth the breathtaking view and experience you will enjoy.

 

9. The Harold F. Miller Auto Tour Route

The Harold F. Miller Auto Tour Route Is located near Amorita. It is an out-and-back trail that is relatively easy to navigate and offers one of the shortest trips you will enjoy in Oklahoma.

The Harold F. Miller Auto Tour Route is a multi-use trail that is not only perfect as an overlanding route but is also an excellent location for off-road driving, road trips, and bird-watching. However, it is highly unlikely that you will come across more than a handful of people when you use the trail.

The trail is only 8 kilometers long and nestled in The Salt Plains National Wildlife refuge. It begins near the Wildlife Refuge headquarters before connecting to State Highway 11. The Harold F. Miller Auto Tour Route offers an expansive view of the area, including the colorful flora, marshes, and wildlife. The route is best traveled from south to north.

Although The Harold F. Miller Auto Tour Route is relatively easy to navigate, it can get trickier after it rains. Regardless, this trail offers a unique yet painfully short overlanding experience that you will wish never to come to an end.

 

10. Tsalagi Trail East

Tsalagi Trail East is an 88-kilometer-long route with an elevation of about 400 feet. It offers a peaceful and scenic drive that can be enjoyed as solo travel or even as a group overlanding trip.

Tsalagi Trail East can be completed using any road-legal vehicle, whether it is a 2WD or 4WD. The trail is an easy trip that is accessible year-round and in all weather. However, it is essential to drive carefully when it rains, or snows (in all inclement weather) as the roads can quickly get flooded, usually leading to them being closed down.

Regardless, Tsalagi can be enjoyed in all seasons, allowing overlanders to enjoy a different scene for every season.

 

Ready, Set, Explore

Overlanding is about seeing the world on wheels, and there is no better place to begin than Oklahoma! With various sceneries ranging from gorgeous plains to breathtaking mountains, you can never run out of interesting places to visit and things to see in Oklahoma.

Are you planning to continue exploring the South Central region of the United States? Check out the best overland routes and trails in Texas!



How To Find The Best Dispersed Camping Spots Near You - Tuff Stuff Overland

How To Find The Best Dispersed Camping Spots Near You

For many, camping is an activity nest done within the enclosure of a designated campground. For others, the nomadic option of dispersed camping offers more thrill.

Are you interested in going dispersed camping? Here is all you need to know about this leisurely activity before trying it.


What Is Dispersed Camping?

Have you ever tried to set up your tent outside of a designated camping area? Maybe you find yourself exploring somewhere out in the wilderness and think maybe, just maybe, you do not have to go looking for a designated campsite or holiday lodge. So, you do the next best thing of looking for the closest camping area, maybe just a secluded spot, to rest your head for the night.

If you have done this spontaneous act of looking for a campsite without making prior reservations, you may have just touched upon one of the most popular leisure activities on the camping scene. This activity is known as dispersed camping.

Also known as boondocking, dispersed camping can briefly be defined as the act of camping outside a designated campsite. However, there is more to this activity than simply picking a spot on your map to erect your tent.


When people go camping, they make plans that their experiences revolve around. These plans often include means of transportation, feeding, necessary amenities, and, of course, the location of the accommodation. After all, after spending time exploring nature, it is essential to have somewhere to return to for a good night's rest.

To understand what dispersed camping is, it is essential to understand what it isn’t or does not involve. While many camping expeditions involve campers making reservations in campsites, dispersed camping does the opposite.

Dispersed camping does not involve camping in designated campsites. It does not include camping in places with amenities such as electrical, water, shower, sewer, and trash setups. It does not involve hosts, reservations, or lodges.

Dispersed camping is a type of camping done outside a designated campground, usually on public land. Separated from all forms of civilization, dispersed campers usually resort to several nomadic survival practices to make the most of their adventure and enjoy basic survival.

Dispersed camping might sound extreme, especially to unfamiliar ears. The thought of being out on your own away from the support and luxury that designated campsite amenities may be scary to some people. However, some campers specifically prefer dispersed camping for the thrill that its solitude and primitive experience offer.

Essentially, dispersed camping is a step ahead of regular camping trips. It represents a form of camping without services and with more responsibilities than regular camping trips require.


Where Can I Go Dispersed Camping?

It is easy to visualize dispersed camping as a form of camping where adventurous campers pack up their survival kit, turn the ignition, and drive out to the wilderness while keeping their eyes peeled for a great place to set up camp. While many people approach dispersed camping as a spontaneous activity like this, many others prefer to do their background checks to figure out the best place to set up their tents.

Knowing where to go dispersed camping can be one of the trickiest parts of enjoying the activity. This is because although dispersed camping offers the flexibility of camping wherever you set up shop for the night, it does not mean you have the freedom to camp anywhere you like.

While most designated campsites are built on privately-owned land or public lands set aside for the pure purpose of hosting holiday campers, dispersed campsites are mostly found on public land. Even at that, not all public land legally allows campers on their ground.

So, how do you know where dispersed camping is legal?

Dispersed camping has become popular in recent years, especially following the decline in COVID-19 restrictions. Although this is a result of many reasons, one major reason is how cost-efficient it is. 

Unlike camping in designated campsites, dispersed camping is usually free, making it perfect for campers on a budget. This is because dispersed camping is mostly done on government or federally-owned lands. It is also because these places usually lack basic amenities that require little to no management.

Dispersed camping is usually done in:

  • National Forests: There are many national forests spread across the United States of America. These forests are protected and managed by federal forest areas under federal supervision to protect or preserve their natural resources, typically protecting water supplies and timber production. Other than being a haven for wildlife and exotic flora, national forests are tourist hotspots that enhance biodiversity and positively influence a state’s economy. There is at least one national forest in every state in the USA, excluding ten states which are Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Rhode Island. National forests are great places to find dispersed camping spots. 
  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM) areas: The Bureau of Land Management is an agency in the United States Department of the Interior. This agency is responsible for sustaining the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands in the United States of America. The Bureau of Land Management caters to hundreds of millions of acres of public land, playing a significant role in protecting resources such as timber, mineral, oil and gas, and wildlife. The agency also manages activities such as outdoor grazing and, of course, outdoor recreation such as dispersed camping. There are BLM lands in 12 western states, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
  • Wildlife Management Areas (WMA): Wildlife Management Areas are areas protected and set aside for the conservation of wildlife and recreational activities. These areas protect important wildlife and are sometimes open to tourist use, and are spread across various states in the country.
  • National Grasslands: National grasslands are areas protected and managed by federal lands in the United States. They generally operate like National forests, with the major difference being that grasslands are areas primarily consisting of the prairie. There are national grasslands in 13 states, with 82 percent or about 3,161,771 acres located in the Great Plains states (Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming). Many of these grasslands are legally dispersed camping areas. 

Dispersed camping can also be done in places such as:

  • Some County Parks & City Parks
  • Some trailheads 
  • Some parking lots and truck stops

 

Dispersed camping.

How Do I Find Dispersed Camping Spots?

Seeing that there are many public land options where campers can go dispersed camping, it can get very confusing when trying to find the perfect free dispersed campsites.

Contrary to popular opinion, dispersed camping does not involve driving around to find the next best legal spot to can't on. Like regular camping, the best-dispersed camping experiences, either on a weekend-long camping trip or a month-long overlanding trip, come from excellent preparation. This means ensuring that you find your camping spot before setting out.

But how exactly do you find dispersed camping spots?

There are various resources you can use to figure out the perfect dispersed campsite location for your next camping trip. One of these includes the internet.

Government agencies manage public lands, and many of these agencies have unique websites that hold specific information that can make the process of finding dispersed camping spots easier. The Bureau of Land Management, for example, has guidelines and regulations listed on its page to help campers enjoy a legal and adventurous dispersed camping experience on its land. 

Other camping websites also offer information on their pages to help campers find dispersed camping spots close to them. Many of these websites feature pictures, directions, descriptions, and reviews of campsites from around the nation to help people locate these sites easily.

Another easy way to locate these dispersed campsites is to visit Forest Service offices or stop by ranger stations while exploring the area. Forest rangers know the areas in and out and are often the best people to offer information about where dispersed campsites are located in the area, what roads are open or closed, and what paths on the maps will be best for your trip.

However, if you feel adventurous, you can explore the area on your own to discover dispersed campsites. Although this isn't practical if you are not familiar with the area, it is an excellent way to enjoy the thrill that comes with expeditions. In cases like this, you may or may not run into other campers. However, if you do, remember to stop by and ask questions about campsites in the area.


Benefits Of Dispersed Camping

If you are used to camping in regular, designated campsites, it is easy to wonder why anyone would want to forfeit the luxury that comes with regular camping. After all, why would anyone want to experience nature so far from civilization and without electricity, water, toilets, shower hookups, and even trash services?

Sure, there are no bathroom facilities and other amenities, but dispersed camping offers advantages that some other forms of camping (such as Glamping) do not offer. 

Dispersed camping offers a raw, unspoiled experience with nature. Because the area is mostly nomadic and untampered with, you enjoy nature at its finest and in its rawest form. If you are interested in the wilder side of outdoor activities, dispersed camping is one activity you will not regret trying.

There is also the financial benefit of choosing to go dispersed camping. Dispersed camping requires no reservation and no payment. It is usually free of charge, with the only cost being that campers respect the area and abide by the rules that come with using the area. If you are required to make a payment of any kind, it is usually considerably cheaper than camping in designated campsites.

Although dispersed camping has grown increasingly popular over the years, it is not as popular as regular camping. This means there are typically no crowds on dispersed campsites, a benefit that offers serenity and peacefulness. Dispersed camping is a great activity to enjoy, especially if you need a break from distractions and the overwhelming feeling of living in a civilized area.

The best part remains that there are tons of dispersed campsites waiting to be discovered. This means you are most likely to find a dispersed campsite regardless of where you are in the USA.


Is Dispersed Camping Safe?

It is essential to note that no camping adventure offers a 100 percent chance of safety. A lot of things could go wrong, and the best way to ensure nothing does is to put in the effort to ensure your safety.

That said, it is also equally important to note that dispersed camping is an extremely safe activity, especially if you follow the necessary guidelines and stay prepared. 

There are a lot of concerns about dispersed camping, especially from people looking to try the activity out for the first time. This anxiety is understandable, especially because dispersed camping is a step further than regular camping. For one, anything could happen when you're so far from other campers. Another concern is life without the necessary amenities can be, well, difficult.

However, these factors are what contribute to an extremely fun experience. To ensure your safety, remember to follow the rules of the area, always be on alert, and put your safety first.

 

What You Need To Know Before Going Dispersed Camping

Are you planning to go dispersed camping? There are numerous things you need to know before setting out.

Firstly, it is essential to prepare for no amenities. Everything you use will be made from scratch. You will need to adopt a nomadic lifestyle that will include activities such as:

  • Building your fire pit if there are no existing ones at the campsite
  • Depositing your waste properly if there are no toilets in the area (some dispersed campsites have pit latrines)
  • Disposing of your trash carefully
  • Fetching water from lakes or springs if you have no water reserve

It is also essential to be familiar with the rules of the area you are camping in. Thanks to more traffic due to the increase in popularity of dispersed camping, more and more camping rules have been put in place over the years. Although rules may vary depending on the public land type and state, some of the most common rooms and regulations guiding dispersed camping areas include:

  • Campers are required to abide by the Leave No Trace principles
  • Many public lands have a 14-day limit. Campers are required to move from a dispersed campsite after 14 days
  • After moving, campers are required to go to another dispersed camping spot no less than 30 feet away from the spot they are leaving
  • When campers leave a spot, they can't come back for the next 30 days
  • Campers are required to set up camp at least 100 feet away from any water body
  • Campers are required to set up camp at least 150 feet away from a roadway
  • Campers should not block roads
  • Campers are required to pick up after themselves
  • Campers are required not to set up tents on vegetation.

Knowing which regulations protect the dispersed camping spot you intend to set up a tent in will play a significant role in helping you protect the environment and yourself.


What Will I Need To Go Dispersed Camping?

Going dispersed camping means several basic amenities are going to be out of range while you enjoy the outdoors. To continue camping safely, you will need to have essential survival gear. Some of these include:

  • Shelter. This can be conventional ground tents or contemporary solutions like rooftop tents (not sure what rooftop tents are? Here are some RTT frequently asked questions to tell you all you need to know about this popular camping gear!), an RV, or your truck.
  • Sleeping gear, such as bedding
  • Food
  • Clean water
  • Water filter
  • Cooking equipment and cookware, including a camper gas, pots, pans, a kettle, and utensils
  • Clothing fit for the weather
  • Food storage 
  • Vehicle utility devices 
  • Communication and mapping devices
  • Miscellaneous items such as chairs, tables, and portable towels
  • Sanitary items
  • First aid kit
Dispersed camping.

Ready To Go Dispersed Camping?

Going dispersed camping is an amazing way to see the world. With dispersed camping spots strewn in the most scenic locations all over the world, it is almost impossible to run out of options for the camping spots to visit.

Ultimately, when going dispersed camping, it is essential to become familiar with the rules of the activity. Ensure you do your research and find the most suitable dispersed camping location for your trip, familiarize yourself with and adhere to the rules of the area, and always go prepared. This will help you protect yourself and nature as you enjoy one of the most fulfilling outdoor activities today.

Are you ready to go dispersed camping? Let us help you get started with our list of the ten best free dispersed camping spots in Utah.

The Best Dispersed Camping Spots In Michigan - Tuff Stuff Overland

The Best Dispersed Camping Spots In Michigan

Going camping on a budget can be a difficult process for many outdoor enthusiasts, especially if there are unavoidable costs like gas, food, and, of course, camping fees. However, if you find yourself in Michigan, you can easily strike off unnecessary lodge fees by going dispersed camping and adopting a fun nomadic lifestyle.

Are you planning to go camping in Michigan? Let us point you to the best dispersed camping spots in Michigan.


All You Need To Know About Michigan 

Fondly called sobriquets such as Great Lake State, The Mitten State, and Water Winter Wonderland, Michigan is a state located in the Great Lakes region of the upper Midwestern United States. It is the only state in the United States of America to be split into two large land segments.

Although it spans a total area of about 97,000 square miles, Michigan is only the 22nd largest state in the United State. This is because the state only measures approximately 56,539 square miles in land area. This makes sense, especially since the state has 40,175 square miles area of water, making it the second-ranked state with the most water by area in the country.

Regardless, Michigan is one of the most beautiful states in the country, coming on top of the list of any camper’s dream. It is also uniquely known for various reasons, one of them being the only state that touches four of the five Great Lakes.

Coming in behind Alaska, Michigan is home to the second-longest coastline. It also houses the longest freshwater coastline of any U.S. state.

However, gorgeous shorelines are not the only thing Michigan has to offer.

There are many things Michigan is known for and fishing activities thanks to its extensive shoreline, blooming agricultural economy, and its automobile history is not all the state has to offer. One of the many reasons Michigan remains popular, especially among outdoor enthusiasts, is its abundance of landforms, natural resources, wildlife, and adventure.

Michigan boasts of lots of natural attractions that are a beacon to tourists within and outside the states. From the Great Lakes bay to National Parks and Wildlife areas, Michigan is home to many interesting places for campers to explore. This explains why, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation, millions of people visit Michigan annually in search of fun outdoor experiences. If the many different types of tourists that visit the Great Lake State, campers and overlanders make up a large percentage.

Michigan’s terrains feature mildly rolling low hills and swamps in the east, occasional flat topography, and rugged high hills. This not only makes it a great camping location but also a perfect part of overland routes and trails in the Midwest. From mountains to hills, valleys, plains, and coastlines, Michigan has it all. However, the best part remains that many of these landforms are situated in publicly owned lands that are open to adventurous campers who seek the wilder side of the state.

Michigan has a system of publicly owned lands that are secured for wildlife habitat, wildlife watching and hunting. In fact, the Department of Natural Resources in Michigan records an approximate state-wide ownership of 4.6 million acres of public land that offer ample opportunities for numerous outdoor activities. Although public land measures just about 10 percent of the total land area in the state, these lands offer lots of potential, including a large number of places to enjoy and free areas to pitch one’s tent child enjoying an intimate experience in nature.

While Michigan might not be a camper’s immediate choice when it comes to dispersed camping, particularly because the state is a lot smaller than places like Utah, Oregon, and California. However, the state offers a surprising number of areas where campers can enjoy free dispersed camping during their expedition.


The Best Dispersed Camping Spots In Michigan

While Michigan might be welcoming to dispersed campers, it is essential that campers do not simply turn on their ignition and lay their tent in any park in the stare. Just as much as it is essential to learn the rules of dispersed camping in Michigan, if is important to become familiar with areas where dispersed camping is legal and allowed in the state.

Basically, dispersed camping in Michigan is permitted on public land that the United States Forest Service manages. Unless stated otherwise, dispersed camping is legal in these public areas, as long as campers make the proper inquiries from Ranger District Offices or by consulting Forest Service road maps.

Other than the United States Forest Service lands, there are numerous State Forests that permit legal dispersed camping. These areas are a blessing to campers, especially because Michigan is one of the Midwest’s best camping destinations.

 Camping in Michigan.

1. Ottawa National Forest

Consisting of almost one million acres of land, Ottawa National Forest is located in Michigan’s Western Upper Peninsula. It crosses most of Gogebic and Ontonagon counties, and other counties including Iron, Houghton, Baraga, and Marquette counties. Ottawa National Forest and it's resources is managed by the United States Forest Service.

Ottawa National Forest spreads from the south shore of Lake Superior to the Wisconsin border. Former home to clans of the Ojibwa people, this National Forest is rich in exotic flora, interesting wildlife, and lots of interesting recreational activities. 

The Ottawa National Forest is made up of three designated U.S. wilderness areas which are McCormick Wilderness and the Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness near Kenton, Michigan, and the Sylvania Wilderness near Watersmeet. The forest is open year-round and offers extensive areas for activities such as swimming, camping, hiking, and OHV riding. The views are spectacular and breathtaking with rolling hills, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and trees, all which seem to be unique with every change in weather.

However, other than interesting places to explore, Ottawa National Forest also offers remote areas for campers exploring the forest to set up their tent. These dispersed campsites are often isolated and sprinkled all over the forest, offering accommodation to campers regardless of the area in the forest they find themselves.

Although some of the dispersed campsites in Ottawa National Forest have minor amenities like campfire rings and pit latrines, some are completely nomadic and will require campers to make the most of the little resources available.

While dispersed camping in Ottawa National Forest is legal, campers have to abide by several regulations. Some of these are:

  • Adopting the Leave No Trace principles
  • Not spending more than 16 days in one location
  • Moving to a site at least 5 miles away 

2. Hiawatha National Forest

Whether you are overlanding with family or enjoying a camping trip alone, Hiawatha National Forest has some of the best dispersed camping spots you will enjoy in Michigan.

Hiawatha National Forest is located in Michigan's scenic Upper Peninsula. It measures approximately 895,000 acres and is also managed by the United States Forest Service.

Hiawatha National Forest is divided into two subunits, which are Eastside and Westside. Both sides sprawl across several parts of the Chippewa, Mackinac, Delta, Alger, Schoolcraft, and Marquette counties, the first two counties lying in the East Unit.

The topography in Hiawatha National Forest is a wild collage of sandy areas, forest, and intimidating rocky paths. More interestingly, the National Forest is home to several wildlife species, including coyotes, bobcats, lynxes, minx, and even wild turkeys.

Hiawatha National Forest is perfect for several fun activities such as scenic viewing, hiking, and camping. It is also one of the best places to enjoy legal dispersed camping in Michigan.

When it comes to dispersed camping in Hiawatha National Forest, there is a wide variety of dispersed campground options to choose from. This includes Minerva Lake Dispersed Campsite, Ewing Point Dispersed Campsite, Ironjaw Lake Dispersed Campsites, and many more.

Although camping is marked dispersed campsites in Hiawatha National Forest is legal, there are regulations campers need to follow. These regulations are similar to those in Ottawa National Forest and include:

  • A stay limit of 16 days after which campers are required to move
  • Not restricting any access road
  • Following the Leave No Trace Principles
  • Not camping within fifty (50) feet of a body of water

3. Huron-Manistee National Forest

The Huron-Manistee National Forest is not one but two National Forests. These forests are the Huron National Forest and the Manistee National Forest that were combined as one in 1945 due to administration purposes.

The Huron-Manistee National Forest measures about 978,906 acres of public lands, including 5,786 acres of wetlands. It lies between the shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, and extends across the northern lower peninsula of Michigan.

This National Forest offers year-round leisure opportunities, including motorized activities and unmotorized ones such as camping and hiking. With the diverse flora and fauna in the area and interesting topography, it is almost impossible to run out of things to do in Huron-Manistee National Forest.

Tourists can also enjoy the dispersed campsites in the area. Although these sites are mostly nomadic, they offer an enjoyable outdoor experience with nature.

To go dispersed camping at Huron-Manistee National Forest:

  • You do not need a permit
  • Camping is allowed everywhere unless there are “no camping” markers
  • Prepare to go boondocking as there are no water, sewage or electric amenities.

4. Au Sable State Forest

Au Sable State Forest is located in the north-central Lower Peninsula of Michigan. It is a State Forest operated and managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Au Sable State Forest was created as a result of the lumbering boom in Michigan that occurred in the late 19th century. The area was consumed by forest fires that drastically led to a decrease in its economic value. As a result, the lands were either sold to subsistence farmers or returned to the state in lieu of unpaid property taxes.


Now, Au Sable State Forest is a prosperous area used for wildlife game management, especially to protect endangered species. The area also has two essential landmarks that attract tourists.


Au Sable State Forest is one of the best locations for motorized and unmotorized activities in Michigan. It is also a great place to engage in primitive camping adventures.


Dispersed camping spots in Au Sable State Forest are spread across the area. Although the primitive camping areas in this State Forest require payment (unlike many other dispersed camping spots on this list), Au Sable State Forest primitive camping spots are great places to enjoy the nomadic way of life.

 

5. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

If you crave an area with scenic and colorful views, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is the area for you. Nestled along the south shore of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore offers jaw-dropping views ranging from rocky formations to the crystal waters of the lake.

A hidden gem, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is surprisingly not as popular as other natural attractions in Michigan. However, if you find yourself here, you will never want to leave.

There are lots of interesting things to do at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, including hiking the many trails, enjoying the gorgeous sunsets, exploring the beach, going kayaking, and, of course, going dispersed camping.

There are many backcountry campsites in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Although visiting the area requires a permit, and a diverse selection of these sites need to be booked, the dispersed campsites undoubtedly offer one of the best experiences in Michigan. In Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, you can enjoy nature, dispersed camping, and everything in-between.

 

6. Green Road Dispersed Camping

Although it is located in Manistee National Forest, Green Road deserves a shoutout on its own. Totally free and extremely beautiful, Green Road Dispersed Camping is any camper’s dream. 

Snug in a beautiful evergreen forest, Green Road has more than 15 dispersed camping spots that accommodate tents and vehicles alike. These sites cost nothing, have no amenities, but offer an unforgettable camping experience.

Camping in Michigan.

Enjoying The Michigan Dispersed Camping Experience

Being adequately prepared is the only way to enjoy dispersed camping in Michigan. One of the best ways to do this is to research the best dispersed camping spots in the state and prepare ahead.

From Ottawa National Forest to Green Road, Michigan has some of the best camping pots you can find in the US. However, before setting out, it is essential to know the rules of the area and prepare for the nomadic lifestyle these places offer.

For more interesting yet free dispersed camping options, check out our list of best free dispersed camping spots in Oregon.