Texas is the second largest state in the United States by geographic area, yet compared to other large western states, there are relatively few public lands due to the history of private ranching farming and oil extraction.
That said, on the public lands that are available the state is friendly to off-roading and overland adventure and there are a number of Texas overlanding routes worth checking out.
These include the Texas Hill Country, Big Bend National Park, and the Bolivar Peninsula to name a few. There are a variety of landscapes and ecosystems to explore, from rolling hills and rivers to beaches.
Texas has also set aside a number of areas for more technical off-roading, and these off-highway vehicle areas will appeal to those looking to test their rigs and off-road driving skills.
Texas Overlanding Destinations and Routes
Below are a few highlights for overlanding in Texas. The state offers many other possibilities, but these are some of the standouts destinations that are popular among overlanders.
Texas Hill Country Overlanding
The Texas Hill Country refers to a region of central Texas on the Edwards Plateau and Balcones Escarpment that is west of Austin and north of San Antonio. The Texas Hill Country overland route is around 150 miles long and passes through rolling hills bordered by grasslands.
The road, while dirt for long stretches, is mellow and passes through several small towns along the way. There are a number of rivers, rocky bluffs, and caverns to explore along the way.
If you are looking for a developed campground, check out Inks Lake State Park, where you can hike, bike, boat and fish, among other activities.
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park, located along the Mexican border in a remote region of southeastern Texas, is a superb example of Chihuahuan Desert along the Rio Grande. The park, which encompasses over 800,000 rugged acres of rivers, mountains and desert, offers some of the best overlanding in Texas.
This national park offers 64 primitive campsites along backcountry roads in the most remote desert portions of the parks. These sites include a gravel pad. Take note: these roads require high-clearance at a minimum and in some cases 4-wheel-drive rigs.
If you are looking for a technical route that requires 4-wheel drive, check Black Gap Road.
Also, trailers and RVs are prohibited from using the primitive sites. The national park website offers in-depth information on exploring these backcountry routes and camping in the area.
Northwest of the national park, aslo along the border, is Big Bend Ranch State Park, which offers a 30-mile stretch of backcountry travel with several primitive campgrounds. Together, the state park and national park offer plenty of solitude, wilderness, and backcountry adventure.