Sky Islands Odyssey Project

Photo by  John Watson

Photo by John Watson

The Sky Islands Odyssey is a journey through the vast borderlands of the Wild West, featuring a diverse network of dirt, rocky, and sandy roads that traverse the ever-changing landscapes characteristic of the Sky Islands bioregion in the Sonoran Desert of Southern Arizona.

There is something for everyone, with three route options in the Sky Islands Odyssey: The West Loop and The East Loop range in distances from 125 to 170 miles. These route options were designed so that you could enjoy the Sky Islands Odyssey in two separate weekend parts. Or, you can complete the full route in one 230 mile loop, depending on how much time you have. Each route tells its own story of flora and fauna, land management, and the human and wildlife consequences of the US immigration policies.


Central Oregon Backcountry Explorer


The Central Oregon Backcountry Explorer serves as an introductory route to the Ochoco Mountains and the geologic wonderland of the John Day Basin. Ride twisty dirt, gravel and paved roads through old-growth ponderosa pine forests, past stunning volcanic landscapes, old pioneer mines and ghost towns, the Painted Hills, all the way to the friendliest hostel around. The availability of water, great camping, and fairly non-technical terrain makes this a great ride for all levels of experience, just watch out for goat head thorns!


Elkhorn Crest Trail


The Elkhorn Crest Trail runs along the Elkhorn Mountain ridgeline in the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon. This technical trail traverses sub-alpine forests and grasslands and offers panoramic views of Baker Valley and the Wallowa Mountains to the East, and the Blue Mountains to the West. Camp at one of the high mountain lakes, enjoy views of the rocky nearby peaks, and maybe even catch a glimpse of a herd of elk or resident mountain goats.


The Trans-America Trail (TAT)

Photo Sep 02, 5 29 23 PM.jpg

The Trans America Dirt Road Trail (also known as the TAT), is a transcontinental route that primarily uses unpaved roads. The routes origins are in the ADV community but, recently bicyclists have been making the journey. The GPS files included below are based on the route completed by Sarah and Tom Swallow in 2015.


The Buckeye Trail Bicycle Route


In the 1950’s, a foot-trail was created from the Ohio River to Lake Erie to encourage young people to slow down the pace of day-to-day life, and learn about their native land. An association was formed and the Buckeye Trail was built along the back roads and trails through some of Ohio’s most scenic terrain and historic locations. The Buckeye Trail Bicycle Route follows the paved and dirt roads of the original hiking trail and is 90% marked with blue blazes.


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