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5 Overland Routes in Utah You Need to Experience

Updated: Mar 18

Utah has long been a mecca for outdoor recreationalists, offering a plethora of activities including hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and off-roading. In the world of overlanding, Utah stands out as a top destination for adventurers, and for good reason. Its breathtaking red rock Navajo sandstone canyonlands create landscapes unlike any other in the world. Whether you're seeking iconic tracks like the White Rim Trail, technical challenges, or off-the-beaten-path adventures, Utah has an overland route for you. These are the top five must-experience overland routes in Utah for every off road enthusiast! All photos courtesey of AdventureTaco

White Rim Trail A classic Utah track perfect for novices

By far, Utah's best-known overland route is the iconic 125-mile loop through Canyonlands National Park, better known as the White Rim Trail. Given the trail's popularity, Canyonlands NP now requires visitors to obtain a permit to camp along the route. The White Rim Trail epitomizes everything Utah is famous for— incredible views, red rock canyons and mesas, and spectacular camping. Moreover, a stock 4x4 can easily navigate what is generally a mild trail. Just keep in mind that you'll encounter exposure on certain parts of the route. While we've seen pictures of Sprinter 4x4s taking on the White Rim, it's recommended that you're comfortable with mildly technical terrain before bringing your adventure van down to Canyonlands.

If you have the opportunity to explore the White Rim, we highly recommend setting aside time to venture out of the vehicle. Some of the best places to explore on foot include the short hike to the Gooseneck overlook, Musselman Arch, Mesa Arch, the White Rim Overlook, and the trail to Fort Bottom, which leads to a beautiful bend along the Colorado River.

The White Rim is famous for its endless views.

Grand-Rocker Loop A 500-mile loop destined to become a Moab Classic

The Grand-Rocker Loop connects several renowned trails in the Moab area while exploring lesser-known local favorites. This 509-mile track traverses sections of the RimRocker, Kokopelli, and Tabeguache trails, venturing into areas like the Dolores Triangle. Unlike the White Rim Trail, the Grand-Rocker features numerous trails that require a high-clearance 4x4. Adventurers who appreciate Utah's breathtaking scenery along with moderately technical trails will relish the challenge of the Grand-Rocker Loop.

Highlights along the route include the Kiva Historical Site, Uncompahgre Plateau, Geyser Pass, Porcupine Rim, Fins-n-Things, Top of the World, Kokopelli Trail, and Grand View.

Campsites like this aren't hard to find along the Grand-Rocker Loop.

Cedar Mesa Heritage Trail History buffs will love Cedar Mesa's Native American heritage sites

The Cedar Mesa Heritage Trail spans from Moab to Mexican Hat, offering a captivating exploration of Utah's iconic landscapes and the rich heritage of the Ancestral Puebloan people. This 264-mile track begins in Moab and winds south through Bears Ears National Monument, culminating at Mexican Hat.

The initial stretch features renowned trails and landmarks like Elephant Hill, the Squeeze, and Devil's Lane, showcasing the rugged beauty of Canyonlands National Park. As travelers progress, they encounter remote landscapes such as Beef Basin and Horse Mountain, where solitude and spiritual resonance blend amidst ancient civilization remnants.

Despite its technical challenges, the trail offers unparalleled opportunities to explore numerous cultural sites like the Moon House and House on Fire ruins. A visit to the Edge of the Cedars Museum in Blanding provides further insight into the region's complex history.

Just one of many well preserved Native American heritage sites in Cedar Mesa.

San Rafael Swell Adventure Route The Utah track for those who like challenging trails and solitude San Rafael Swell GPX & Route Guide The Swell, often overshadowed by Moab's popularity, showcases diverse geological formations, including buttes, mesas, and gorges adorned with petroglyphs and pictographs reflecting the region's rich indigenous history. Visitors will find the terrain and scenery equally spectacular to Moab but with fewer crowds.

Spanning 207 miles, the track requires a high-clearance vehicle to navigate rockier trails like Eva Conover, Behind the Reef, and Eagle Canyon. Adventurers seeking a challenge may opt for the aptly named Devil's Racetrack. Highlights in the Swell include Wild Horse Window, the Wedge, Little Grand Canyon, Eagle Canyon Bridges, and Black Dragon Canyon.

There are plenty of opportunities to explore bumpy jeep tracks in the Swell!

Grand Staircase Adventure Route

For those that want to get way off the beaten path

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument sprawls across nearly 1 million acres in Utah, embodying the rugged charm of the Western frontier. The Kaiparowits Plateau, a monumental uplifted rock formation within the park, remains one of the last mapped locations in the contiguous United States. Offering an array of geological marvels—from monoliths and slot canyons to mosaic badlands—the monument is renowned for its diverse landscapes, ranging from desert plains to coniferous forests. Dubbed "the Science Monument," Grand Staircase-Escalante boasts numerous dinosaur excavations and fossil discoveries, including a fossilized dinosaur footprint along Left Hand Collet Canyon Road.

The 246-mile track is suitable for both stock 4x4s and Sprinter 4x4s alike. Highlights of the loop include Hole-in-the-rock Road, Zebra Slot Canyon, Devil's Garden, Left Hand Collet Canyon, and Alstrom Point overlooking Lake Powell.

Left Hand Collet Canyon.

BONUS 6th Route

The St George Super G (The Super G Track)

OTG's newest Utah route is destined to become a Utah class

The St. George Super G offers a 437-mile adventure loop around the scenic landscapes of southwestern Utah, beginning near downtown St. George. Travelers traverse through Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, passing by the stunning Glass Knoll and Snow Canyon State Park, where lava fields and ancient lava tubes await exploration. Signal Peak, towering at 10,364 feet, offers panoramic views before descending into the historic Silver Reef mining district, a remnant of Utah's silver rush era.

Continuing on, the route ventures towards the popular Toquerville Falls, a picturesque spot where you can drive across the falls for a memorable photo opportunity. Hurricane and Smith Mesas reveal breathtaking canyon vistas and overlooks Zion National Park, while the journey onwards to Kolob Terrace Road unveils scenic viewpoints like Lava Point and Hornet Point. Kanarraville beckons with the enchanting Kanarra Falls hike, known for its red rock slot canyon and cascading waterfalls.

Further along, the route winds through Little Pinto Valley, passing by remnants of the Page Ranch House and the historic mining town of Old Irontown. Continuing southward, travelers encounter the rugged beauty of Cougar Pass and the Goldstrike Mine, a testament to Utah's mining heritage. As the journey nears its end, the landscape transitions through the Mojave Desert, Woodbury Joshua Tree forest, and the captivating Bloomington Cave. Finally, adventurers navigate through Sound Mountain OHV area, encountering geological marvels like the Waves of Color and fossilized dinosaur tracks, before concluding with awe-inspiring views from Sand Mountain and a glimpse of ancient Paiute rock art.

View from Lava Point.

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