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Ozark Overland Adventure Trail

Matt McClellan's flagship route for his home stomping grounds in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. Come see why people from all over the country are exploring the beauty of Arkansas.

Route Overview

Trip Length & Season

Adventure Rating: Epic Trip Length: 4-8 days, 309 miles. Season: The shoulder

Digital Maps & GPX Files

Technical Ratings & Terrain

Recommended Vehicle / Moto / Adventure Vans

Fuel, Provisions, and Recommended Gear

Alternative Routes

Camping Recommendations

Discovery Points

Land Managers & Other Resources

Permits & Papers


Route Details

The Ozark Overland Adventure Trail winds through the rugged terrain of the Ozark-St Francis National Forest and the surrounding area, nestled in the heart of Arkansas. Far from the towering peaks of well known mountain ranges out west, the Ozarks hold their own unique charm and beauty, making them a perfect destination for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path overlanding experience.

To truly appreciate the allure of the Ozarks, it's essential to understand the rich history and geological significance that define this region. Formed over millions of years, the Ozark Mountains boast a landscape shaped by ancient rivers and weathered by time. The unique geological composition of the Ozarks, characterized by limestone and dolomite, has given rise to its distinctive rugged terrain, characterized by steep cliffs, deep valleys, and winding rivers.

Throughout history, the Ozarks have been home to various indigenous peoples, including the Osage, Quapaw, and Caddo tribes, who thrived in these fertile lands long before the arrival of European settlers. In the 19th century, the area saw an influx of settlers drawn by the promise of fertile soil and abundant natural resources. Small communities sprang up, dotted across the landscape, and remnants of their existence can still be found scattered throughout the forest.

Today, the Ozark-St Francisco National Forest encompasses over 1.2 million acres of pristine wilderness, providing a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers alike. From dense hardwood forests to picturesque waterfalls, the Ozarks offer a diverse array of landscapes waiting to be explored.

The Ozark Overland Adventure Trail, conceived by Ozark Overland Adventures, serves as a gateway to this untamed wilderness, guiding travelers through some of the most breathtaking scenery and challenging terrain the Ozarks have to offer. Spanning five days, the trail promises an unforgettable overlanding experience, combining scenic drives with technical challenges and opportunities to immerse oneself in the region's rich history.

As you traverse the trail, you'll encounter historic cabins and schoolhouses, remnants of a bygone era that offer glimpses into the lives of the early settlers who called this rugged landscape home. You'll navigate through pristine rivers and streams, their crystal-clear waters reflecting the verdant canopy above. And you'll tackle rugged terrain, testing both your driving skills and your vehicle's capabilities as you forge ahead into the unknown.

One of the defining features of the Ozark Overland Adventure Trail is its numerous water crossings, which range from gentle streams to roaring rivers depending on the season. These crossings add an element of excitement and challenge to the journey, requiring careful navigation and a willingness to embrace the unexpected. During the rainy season, from March to June, these crossings can become particularly treacherous, with heavy rains turning shallow streams into raging torrents. It's essential to exercise caution and be prepared to adapt your plans accordingly, as conditions can change rapidly.


Terms of Use: Should you decide to travel a route that is published on, you do so at your own risk. Always take the appropriate precautions when planning and traveling, including checking the current local weather, permit requirements, trail/road conditions, and land/road closures. While traveling, obey all public and private land use restrictions and rules, and carry the appropriate safety, recovery, and navigational equipment. The information found on this site is simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. In spite of the fact that this route, associated GPS track (GPX and maps), and all route guidelines were prepared under diligent research by, the route accuracy and current conditions of roads and trails cannot be guaranteed.

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