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Best Bet: Early Fall

The Fall equinox is just over three weeks away, and as the nights become longer than the days, brisk nights await those heading into the bush. For those seeking a quick weekend get away, or perhaps you have a week or more off, these are just a few ideas to get you started for your early fall adventure.

Kofa Wildrness

The Desert

As the daytime temps begin to drop, our favorite desert routes once again become viable-- at least for those of who prefer to avoid the triple digit heat that plagues much of the desert in the summer months.

Kofa Pioneer Trail (AZ) The 243 mile long track is the perfect embodiment of the Sonoran desert-- towering saguaros, cholla cacti, and picturesque red bluffs and mesas around every corner. Located in the southwestern corner of Arizona, the Kofa Wilderness is the perfect place to spend an overnighter at, or a week exploring its hundreds of miles of trails. El Compadres Loop (Baja)

The 141 mile el Compadre loop is the perfect 3-day weekend get away for those who are coming from SoCal or Arizona. This loop travels through some of the more popular dirt trails in the mountains of northern Baja. If you're looking for fish tacos and beach camping, we recommend checking out the Baja T.S.E. Trail.

Located just outside of greater Las Vegas, Gold Butte National Monument is a diamond in the rough. Start by exploring Valley of Fire State Park, and then head deep into Gold Butte visiting geological wonders like little Finland, Devil's throat sinkhole, and the Beehives just to name a few. You'll think you're in southern Utah with the exquisite red and orange rock around every corner. And if exploring old mines are your thing, Gold Butte is littered with them! Sedona Backcountry Trail (AZ)

The Sedona Backcountry Trail is easily one of our favorite routes in the American Southwest. Over the course of 250 miles, lucky travelers will explore the mesas several thousand feet above Sedona, affording some of the best views and dispersed campsites in all of Arizona. You'll also have the chance to wheel some of Sedona's most famous 4x4 trails upon dropping back down into Sedona's red rock basin.

For those of you with a good chunk of time on your hands (we recommend at least 4 nights), the North Rim is a fantastic place to visit in early fall. If the 547 mile North Rim Grand Traverse isn't on your bucketlist, it needs to be! The track visits a number of well known lookouts at the north rim, along with many lesser known locations as well. You'll need an auxilliary tank or plenty of extra fuel if you plan to tackle the entire route!

Guadalupe Mountains Adventure Trail (TX, NM) The GMAT is a fantastic option for folks that live in or near Texas. This 296 mile track kicks things off at Guadalupe Mountains National Park, featuring the highest point in Texas. The track heads northward into New Mexico, where you'll get the opportunity to explore the wide open spaces of the Chihuahuan desert.

The Mountains The mountains are a fantastic place to witness the changing colors, especially east of the Mississippi, and in the Rockies. California Crest Trail - Segment 1 We recommend picking up segment 1 in Big Pine and heading north. You'll be blessed with a variety of terrain and scenery as you explore the lower elevation California Desert, the basin and ranges, and north of Mono, you'll get to explore Bodie Ghost Town and the Sweetwater Range, which features the highest drivable mountains in California. You'll want to check the local weather on this one, as any early season storms may close the passage over the Sweetwaters. Mendocino Grand Circuit (CA) The Mendocino Grand Circuit is a 300 mile track in the Coast Ranges of northern California that explores darn near every corner of Mendocino National Forest. While nowhere near as impressive as the aspens of the eastern Sierra, Mendocino NF does feature and impressive array of fall colors, especially along M1 from Hull Mountain to the Black Butte and Eel Rivers. Hells Mountain Adventure Trail (OR, ID) The HellCAT is one of OTG's newest tracks. Early fall is a fantastic time to visit Hells Canyon, but the weather can be highly variable, which tends to keep the crowds at bay. We recommend heading out in early October if you can, but be sure to pack the rain gear and some extra layers just in case!

East of the Mississippi So you don't live out west, no problem!! As the humidity and heat begins to dissippate, fall is a fantastic time to explore these tracks: Kentucky Adventure Trail

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