This premium service -- which uses the GPS navigation system for accurate guidance -- facilitates customizable overland journeys by travelers in SUVs, or on dual-sport and adventure motorcycles.
Updated for the '22 season, H.o.W. (banner photo, above) remains an adaptable, GPS-guided 2,800-mile loop along backcountry roads through some of the American West's most iconic landscapes. We've also chronicled optional routing that can extend the experience far beyond H.o.W.'s original six states. Using supplementary routing, the backcountry travelers can journey from Canada to Mexico, and from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean for a fraction of the cost of guided trips.
A wildland roundabout
Heart of the West Adventure Route is our flagship product and service. As a web of interconnected loops, it immerses overland travelers in the wildlands of six states in the American West:
- Utah, and
- updates included at no additional cost;
- convenient connectors to Backcountry Discovery Routes; and
- optional connectors (with additional fees) that extend to Northern and Southern California.
|Heart of the West Adventure Route's primary track|
|Heart of the West (green loops) and optional routing|
An exhilarating wildland experience by itself, this connector ascends deep into the rugged and surprisingly verdant mountain ranges and canyons of the Silver State's northernmost reaches.
Heart of the West ADV Route extends deep into the Great Basin, one of the most remote and sparsely populated regions in the Lower 48. There, it follows the tracks of the Pony Express, Overland Stage, Transcontinental Railroad and Lincoln Highway.
|Heart of the West Adventure Route|
Along the Continental Divide (a.k.a., Great Divide), long, lonely segments of the historic Oregon Trail enable travelers to sample the 19th-century emigrant experience.
The licensed H.o.W. package (pricing is below) includes:
- our proprietary, highly detailed, plug-and-play GPX (a.k.a. GPS Exchange) track file (similar to a Google Maps track);
- the H.o.W. e-booklet (printable and available online 24/7);
- personal consultations, even as you travel;
- re-routing as you travel when circumstances warrant; and ...
- built-in links to the Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Utah Backcountry Discovery Routes.
|H.o.W. Map Packs ($60 ea., shipped)|
Optional ($60; available only to licensed H.o.W. clients) is the H.o.W. Map Pack. This includes: a detailed, color, wall-mountable 36 in. x 43 in. (91.44 cm x 116.84 m) folded-paper map with each track numbered and highlighted to match the track file; H.o.W. stickers; and a weather-resistant roll-top pouch. The map is produced in partnership with Benchmark Maps, America's leading publisher of high-quality recreation and travel maps and atlases. Shipping is included within the contiguous USA.
Depicting highways, surface waters, paved and unpaved backroads, public lands, national and state parks, campgrounds and a great deal more, the H.o.W. map is an important companion to GPS-guided travel. It provides a "big-picture" perspective and exceptional detail. It even includes H.o.W.'s convenient connectors to the Colorado, Idaho, Utah and Nevada Backcountry Discovery Routes.
Perhaps best of all: Heart of the West includes rewarding, field-tested options to shorten, modify and adapt the full, ~2,800-mile (4,500 km) primary loop to accommodate time-limited or changed itineraries.
So no matter what your schedule, Heart of the West ADV Route (click that link!) can be adapted to your needs -- even as you travel.
We do not hold fundraisers. We don't solicit advertising, memberships and corporate sponsorships. This keeps us free of conflicting obligations that can interfere with focusing objectively on the interests of our clients. H.o.W.'s superior documentation and traveler support is funded solely through license fees, which support our research and service.
The fee schedule for personal use of the copyrighted, non-transferable H.o.W. GPX track file is:
For larger groups, a second license is required according to the same fee schedule thereafter. PayPal is the most commonly used method of payment, but other forms may be accepted. Contact us for details.
The total fee for the complete package (detailed track file; map pack; e-booklet; consultations) for 1-2 vehicles: USD$259.00.
The base license fee (1-2 vehicles) for H.o.W.'s connecting routes are:
Northern California-Nevada connector: $129
Southern California-Colorado connector: $129
Sierra to the Sea Adventure Route: See separate S2S post.
Another benefit: Our clients are eligible for substantial discounts on premium motorcycle gear and map products.
So ... start planning now! Contact us using this site's contact widget (helps to avoid spammers), and we'll get you on your way.
'Trip of a lifetime!
Time and again, those who've traveled Heart of the West find one phrase to describe the experience: "Trip of a lifetime!" And you don't need to be an enduro champion or veteran rock-crawler to enjoy it. You just need a good adventure motorcycle, 4x4 truck or SUV, the knowledge to travel in the backcountry safely, and the ability to follow the detailed GPX tracks we provide.
We do the work. You live the dream.
Our detailed, plug-and-play GPX data file will guide you accurately along every mile of the route. With the routes that Backcountry Byways LLC develops, you get data that is researched, documented and monitored by wildland-travel specialists with decades of on-the-ground experience in both adventure-motorcycle and SUV-borne overland travel.
Instead of only the basic GPS-guided tracks and a handful of location markers (waypoints) so typical of free routing, H.o.W. includes almost 1,000 waypoints for verified campsites and campgrounds, lodgings, fuel stops, difficult sections and more. Each is pinpointed using Global Positioning System coordinates, by direct on-site observation.
New for 2022: The number of waypoints is limited to 1,000. This will accommodate users of the Gaia GPS map-and-routing app.
Importantly, H.o.W. isn't just a product; it's a service.
That service and support begins when you sign up, and ends when your adventure is done. Going far beyond typical crowd-sourced routing ("You get what you pay for!"), we provide prompt, professional and personalized support.
Our clients have exclusive access to the person most knowledgeable about the route, someone who can provide advice that is prompt, convenient and authoritative.
This means our clients don't have to spend hours mining social-media forums for credible input from strangers.
We get to know our clients. Many become friends and return year after year. So we often can tailor our products and services to suit their interests and circumstances. We're available when they need us, just a phone call or text message away from start to finish ... even as they travel!
Perhaps you're the do-it-yourself type, willing to risk your group's vacation to save a few bucks ... spending hours scouring websites and fielding suspect responses on social-media forums ... ordering maps (USD$10 to $15 ea.), atlases (USD$25 ea.) and guidebooks (USD$20 ea.) ... consuming hours of cell-phone time ... struggling for weeks to build a GPS track following roads across unfamiliar terrain -- only to learn the hard way that a road no longer exists!
Or, perhaps you're willing to spend thousands of dollars to eat the dust of a half-dozen riders on a tour that follows the same routes as everyone else.
Given H.o.W.'s adaptable design, you can do it your way!
Heart of the West Adventure Route takes overland travelers through some of America's last-remaining, least-populated and most spectacular wildlands that remain motor-vehicle accessible.
You will be immersed in the:
- Continental Divide;
- Rocky Mountains;
- Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem;
- Colorado Plateau; and
- Great Basin Desert.
Access is easy!
Other backcountry routes run east-west or north-south, and so must omit a great deal. More important, they pose logistical difficulties, e.g., getting to the beginning and returning from the end. They require arranging a shuttle or return bike shipment; or enduring massive "slab" time on backtracking.
It's efficient and convenient.
That's because it's comprised of a main, grand loop with optional interconnected loops already woven in. Begin and end anywhere that works for you. If you can't break free for the 15 or so days the full loop typically requires, travel it in segments, over time, at a pace that's right for you.
The loop is intersected by two interstate U.S. highways: north-south I-15 and east-west I-80. Connecting to I-70 -- a major access route to Utah's canyon country -- is convenient as well. So travelers from every point on the compass are saving precious vacation days with fast and direct access.
Major airlines serve cities at logical entry/exit points, e.g., Denver, Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; even Idaho Falls, Idaho! Connections are available as well to Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada; Moab, Utah; and Grand Junction, Colorado.
Vehicle storage is often available at local airports and motels.
You can camp, stay in motels, or pause for a relaxing evening at a mountain lodge.
What do travelers say?
Visit ADVrider.com to read the growing list of ride reports and reviews. A sampling:
"... the greatest western U.S. adventure of all." ADVrider.com member
"In my opinion should go down as one of the great Overland Adventures in North America." Tragic Overlander
"Tony's constant attention to detail, updates, emails, and obvious true desire to insure the client has the experience of a lifetime is just tremendous." Sir Dave
"... the best route we've ever ridden, period. And we've ridden a few." Dockingpilot
"UN-FRIGGIN-BELIEVABLE RIDE!" slowpoke69
"For people who have one shot at it, this service is great." Pantah
"Any part of the route is fantastic. You will love it." johnpitts01
"I am very happy with the depth and quality of the resources as well as excellent input and customer service from byways, it will be hard to go back to my usual personal planning from scratch in the future." -- Somber
Contact us today!
Just use our "Contact Us" tab in the right-side column. We will connect you to a web gallery of images so you can see what to expect.
We'll provide payment details (most clients use PayPal.) Then you'll receive the advantages of the 30 years we've spent chronicling the wildland roads of the American West for guidebooks, magazines, automotive manufacturers, web publishers ... and busy people like you.
How to get H.o.W.
Here's how travelers acquire a H.o.W. license and GPS data:
1. Connect with us via the contact form on this site's sidebar.
2. Schedule a telephone visit. This enables us to acquaint you with the H.o.W. experience further, and to answer your questions.
3. We provide payment details.
4. Once payment is received, we deliver the H.o.W. track file via email.
5. USPS Priority Mail delivery of the optional ($60) map pack, if you choose to purchase it.
6. Adding you to the list of H.o.W. travelers who will receive exclusive news alerts or revised data that we sometimes send out during the travel season for which your license is acquired. These emailed alerts can involve updates on road conditions, closures, wildfires, new routing and more. If warranted, they also may include a revised or supplementary track that can be downloaded to your GPS device and added to the route.
- the potential to adapt the route to your interests and needs*
- helping you identify your best start/end points
- updates as you travel, based on live reports from current H.o.W. travelers
* Additional fee and at least 90 days advance notice required.
Still have questions? Send us a note using the "Contact" form in the sidebar.