Keywords: Heart of Arizona, Arizona overlanding, Arizona offroad trails, best overland routes
We've made some major updates to the Heart of Arizona route!
The first draft of the Heart of Arizona route went up the west side of the Tonto, Prescott, Coconino, and Kaibab National Forests, came down through Flagstaff and Sedona, up and around Mormon Lake, and then back down the East side of the forests.
It was a great route, but the more I worked on it, the more I realized it had one major problem: Sedona. Don't get me wrong, I love Sedona. It's one of the most beautiful places on earth. However, it's a popular and well-developed area, so I wouldn't exactly call it "backcountry." Everyone should visit Sedona, but that doesn't mean it needs to be part of this particular overland route. So, instead of trying to force the route down through Flagstaff and Sedona, it now cuts over to Winona and heads straight down to the middle of the Mogollon Rim.
The new Heart of Arizona is almost entirely dirt and gravel roads, and the biggest town it passes through has a population of maybe 1,000. It skips areas anyone can easily visit in favor of more adventurous backcountry exploration, bringing it closer to the original intent of this route.
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Heart of Arizona overland route
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We're still working on pre-running the route (some portions are closed during the Winter), so it isn't not finalized yet, but we wanted to get this update out to those who might be interested in helping with the exploration effort. If you take any of these segments, we'd love to get your report on road status, difficulty, and so on. You can reach reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you on the trails!