Overlanding has become a popular lifestyle in many parts of the United States of America, and the East Coast is not left out. Although it shares proximity with the Atlantic Ocean, the East Coast of the United States boasts several exciting overlanding routes for adventurous souls planning an overland trip.

Although overlanding routes on the East Coast might not be easy to find, like in the North, these places do exist. Knowing what trails to travel on and where these trails are will play a significant role in having a successful and exciting overland trip. To help, we have provided some of the best overland routes and trips to check out on your next adventure.

Overlanding the East Coast.

Best Overland Routes And Trails On The East Coast

The East Coast Of The USA is the Atlantic coastline of the United States of America. Also known as the Eastern Seaboard or Atlantic Seaboard, the East Coast includes the farthest parts of the country that touches the Atlantic Ocean up to Canada.

The East Coast is made up of fourteen states which include:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia

West Virginia, Vermont, and Pennsylvania are also considered members of the East Coast, even if they do not touch the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.

The East Coast is a beautiful collage of different cultures and exciting landforms like their famous Appalachian mountains. Although the states on the East Coast are smaller and more compact than the states in other parts of the United States of America, there are still many interesting things to do and places to visit.

Each state on the East Coast boasts unique experiences that will leave any visitor in awe. It has everything from estuaries to small lakes, wetlands, bogs, islands, and even lush coastal habitats. Thanks to these unique and different geological features, overlanders have interesting and scenic places to visit and make memories.

From mountain routes to thick forest trails, here are some of the best overlanding trails fit for different overland experience levels.


1. Pachaug State Forest

Pachaug State Forest is a picture of nature at its finest. An area with everything from the famous Green Fall Pond to the gorgeous forest and the rocky hills it cradles, Pachaug is a dream come true for any overland enthusiast.

Pachaug State Forest is located in Connecticut, Voluntown. It is the largest State Forest in the state, spanning over 26,477 acres.

Although Pachaug State Forest is described as being located in Voluntown, it passes through six towns which are Voluntown, Sterling, Plainfield, Griswold, North Stonington, and Preston.

The Pachaug State Forest is divided into the Chapman Area and the Green Falls Area. Both areas have interesting trails waiting to be explored.

Pachaug State Forest has everything from four well-maintained hiking trails at different parts of the State Forest to a wheel-chair-accessible Rhododendron Sanctuary Trail and other unnamed routes of gravel and dirt roads that are accessible by vehicles.

Here, you will enjoy more than 58 miles of off-road trails in the Enduro trail used by motorcyclists, snowmobilers, and even hikers. These trails are perfect if you plan to go overlanding with your dirt bike or motorcycle.


2. Cape Cod National Seashore

If you have always wanted to go overlanding on a picturesque sandy beach area, the Cape Cod National Seashore is perfect for a solo overlanding trip or one planned with friends and family.

Cape Cod National Seashore spans almost 45,000 acres of land along the peninsula, extending to the coast of Massachusetts. It comprises six swimming beaches with interesting historical sights and towering lighthouses that are the cherry on top of a magical view. 

Although no words can describe how beautiful Cape Cod National Seashore is, ‘exquisite’ is a great way to start.

Because the Cape Cod National Seashore sits atop the peninsula and overlooks the oceans, you will enjoy an easy view of the dazzling Ocean at all times. The Cape also offers easy access to salt marshes, uplands, ponds, and interesting rock formations like the Doane Rock (which also happens to be the largest glacial boulder on the Cape, and possibly, in the entire Southeastern New England.

Vehicles are permitted in the Cape from Race Point Light to Long Nook Beach (south of Coast Guard Beach) most of the year. So, if a drive along the pristine sandy beach sounds like something you might be interested in, along with exciting scenery, then you should add Cape Cod National Seashore to your list of places to go on an overland trip.


3. Pulaski State Park

Pulaski State Park is located near the village of Chepachet in Glocester, Rhode Island. It is a 100-acre park within the 4000-acre George Washington Management Area. 

Established in 1939, the Pulaski State Park is a ‘day use’ facility that offers guests the opportunity to enjoy an unforgettable outdoor experience through interesting outdoor activities.

There are a lot of activities explorers can explore in Pulaski State Park. From fishing to having picnics or even an overland trip to the area, you can never run out of exciting things to do in this park. More importantly, Pulaski State Park has some attractive and scenic trails that serve as quick (although you will definitely wish they last longer) and scenic routes for an adventurous overland trip.

Pulaski State Park is well-maintained, so you will have an easy ride. There are lots of activities to indulge in, so you should remember to enjoy the moment you find yourself in this State Park.


4. Assateague Island National Seashore

Assateague Island National Seashore is a protected area off the coast of Maryland and Virginia. It sits on a long barrier island and is extremely popular not only for the beach but also for its fantastic trails and scenic views of dunes and pine forests.

Assateague Island National Seashore is described as the largest natural barrier island ecosystem in the Middle Atlantic states region. Easily accessed within a three-hour drive from Richmond, Washington (are you in Washington? Check out our list of twenty best dispersed camping spots in Washington, The Evergreen State!), Baltimore, Philadelphia, the National Seashore offers a breathtakingly dreamy experience that feels almost surreal.

Although there are many rules put in place to protect the National Seashore, the Assateague Island National Seashore features an Over-Sand Vehicle Zone (OSV zone) for people to explore the beaches. However, to gain access, you will need to purchase a permit with fees that range from $110 to $200.

Although this is quite expensive, it is worth the experience you will enjoy on the untouched and unspoiled natural landscape.

We recommend going fully prepared with a vehicle recovery kit, as vehicle breakdowns are not uncommon. Drivers are told to explore the area without the necessary preparation at their own risk. In fact, the National Park Service staff cannot winch or pull the vehicles out or recommend a towing company.


5. Allegheny and Shenandoah Overland Trail

Although it might not be popular among overlanders, the Allegheny and Shenandoah Overland Trail no doubt deserves a shout-out as one of the best overland trails on the East Coast. This 700-mile loop cuts through Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland states, offering a wide range of breathtaking scenery as you go.

When you go overlanding on the Allegheny and Shenandoah Overland Trail, you pass through fascinating places like the George Washington National Forest, Flagpole Knob, Reddish Knob, Lake Moomaw, and Green Ridge State Forest. While this is exciting, it also means you deal with irregular terrain ranging from rocky paths to muddy roads, dirt roads, and even paved roads in some areas.

Because the trail is moderately difficult, we recommend exploring it with a capable 4x4 vehicle with high clearance.

Because of the distance, you can expect to explore the Allegheny and Shenandoah Overland Trail for three days and even up to a week, depending on how many hours you spend exploring the trail daily. Thankfully, there are free dispersed camping areas that you can make use of.

Regardless, we guarantee that as long as you go prepared, you will have fun exploring the Allegheny and Shenandoah Overland Trail.

 

Overlanding the East Coast.

 

6. King Knob Motorsports Park

King Knob Motorsports Park is located in Philippi, which is just an hour outside of Morgantown in West Virginia. This park is a must-visit for every adventurous overlander and should be top of your list if you find yourself in West Virginia.

King Knob Motorsports Park measures about 1,300 acres and is popularly used by off-raiders looking to explore the area. However, the park is not always open, so it is essential to check before setting out for your trip. King Knob Motorsports Park is often available in the Summer and select weekends for the rest of the year.

The park has 200 miles of trails with varying terrains. From rocky paths to steep hill inclines and mud pits, the King Knob Motorsports park is perfect for overlanders with varying experience levels from amateur to expert.

King Knob Motorsports Park also has a few campsites along the trails that you can use as rest stops. However, you will also need to call ahead to confirm their availability.


7. Beartown State Forest

Beartown State Forest is located in Monterey, Massachusetts. It is a publicly owned forest that measures more than 12,000 acres which are spread across Monterey, Great Barrington, Lee, and Tyringham.

Beartown State Forest is a four-season recreational, natural site that is also the third-largest state forest in Massachusetts. It is home to diverse flora and fauna, offering the ultimate outdoor experience to campers, off-roaders, and overlanders.

The forest is home to several fun activities. It features trails for horseback riding, mountain biking, snowmobiling, and vehicle use. Although off-roaders mainly use the trails, they are open to overlanders as well.

Beartown State Forest is open from sunrise to sunset. However, you will need to buy a permit to gain entrance. When you do, you get to enjoy 16.4 miles of challenging rocky trails, mud paths, and hilly roads. 

We recommend going overlanding in Beartown State Forest with a capable 4x4 vehicle.


8. Bald Eagle State Forest

Bald Eagle Forest is a State Park located in Pennsylvania. It is named for the famous Native American Chief, Bald Eagle, and includes 194,602 acres spread across Snyder County, Union County, Centre County, Mifflin County, and Clinton County.

This State Forest is located in the ridge and valley section of Pennsylvania state. It features mountain streams, high and sharp mountainous ridges, and the lush green growth of the forest.

Along with exciting trails that can be explored with a high-clearance vehicle, Bald Eagle State Forest features dispersed campsites, hiking trails, and swimming and picnic areas that contribute to an unforgettable experience.


9. Hunter Mountain

Located in New York, Hunter Mountain is a ski resort in Greene County. It is three hours northwest of NYC. Although the Hunter Mountain trail is inarguably one of the most beautiful trails any overlander will set their eyes on, it is also one of the trickiest routes.

If you haven't guessed, the Hunter Mountain trail is a high mountain pass with an elevation of about 4000 feet. It gets crowds, mostly tourists looking to enjoy several activities such as skiing, camping, and hiking. However, it is also primarily sought-after by overlanders.

Hunter Mountain trails are pretty rugged. We recommend using a capable 4x4 vehicle for this trip.


10. Green Mountain National Forest

Green Mountain National Forest is located in Vermont. It is one of two Vermont's and New York's only public, federally managed national forests (the second being Finger Lakes National Forest).

Green Mountain National Forest might be known for its breathtaking panoramic view, but it is equally famous for its amazing trails. It is a four-season adventure fight that offers a wide range of flora and fauna to tourists’ delights.

Because the Green Mountain National Forest seems to change every season, you will be treated to a unique experience when you drive through its trails. From Long Trail to Highway 100, we guarantee you will have a swell time exploring Green Mountain National Forest’s numerous trails.

With more than 400,000 acres. Green Mountain National Forest is undoubtedly any overlander’s dream.

Are You Ready To Go Overlanding On The East Coast?

The East Coast might be made up of compact states, but we guarantee there is no shortage of places you can explore with your trusty overland vehicle. From Pachaug State Forest to Green Mountain National Forest, the East Coast is a treasure chest of excellent trails to create overlanding memories you won't forget.

So, what are you waiting for? Pick a trail off our list and go have an overlanding experience you won’t regret. As a bonus, we have created a list of essential overland camping gear to help you make the most of your overlanding trip! 

November 02, 2022 — Russ Hennings