The Trans America Trail is a Coast To Coast Motorcycle Route across the USA
About the Trans America Trail
About The Trans America Trail: The Trans America Trail (TAT) is a transcontinental, coast to coast route across the United States. It is designed for Dual Sport and Adventure Bike motorcycles, but it also works well for 4x4 vehicles, such as Jeeps and SUV's. It consists mostly of dirt roads, logging roads, fire roads, farm roads, unimproved roads, and back paved roads. The route attempts to avoid pavement, but it travels into towns for gasoline stops and in the eastern states near the ocean, the route is mostly paved. The trail has evolved over the years and it now includes many options depending on conditions and the motorcycle or vehicle you are traveling in. But for sure, this is one of the great routes across America, and if at all possible, you should take all or part of the adventure.
You can view the trail up close by clicking on the map and zooming in
View Trans America Trail in a larger map
Updates for 2015: Includes important re-routes for closed sections and/or poor sections on the trail, 129 optional Green Routes choices tuned for riders wanting easier more scenic routes or on larger adventure bikes and 51 Red Challenging Route options including several singletrack sections for Tough Guys wanting a real challenge.
Self Guided American Adventure: The Trans America Trail is designed to be a self guided adventure. As GPS units have become both more powerful and easier to use, it has enabled anyone to be able to easily find their way along the trail. For many, this allows them to just experience the american trail without the burden of getting lost.
Navigation of the Trans America Trail: For sure the best way to follow the trail is by the use of a Garmin GPS unit. There are many types of Garmin units, almost all of them can work well. If you don't already have a Garmin GPS you can often get a new Garmin for under $100. Cell Phone GPS is starting to be used, but has trouble in the remote areas and doesn't take the abuse of the trail well. See our Garmin GPS recommendations.
Navigation now made easy for the Trans America Trail
Structure of the trail information: The original TAT is broken into 49 sections (from Cape Hatteras NC to Port Orford OR) At the end of an each section is a gasoline station. The 2014 New York Route added 11 new sections and the Los Angeles Route adds 14 sections. The sections vary in length from 66 miles to 161 miles. You will need a gas range of 161 miles. Each section has a printable map. Several sections can be ridden in a day, depending on your desires.
Studying the Route: Attitudes about studying the route vary greatly among travelers. Some prefer no study, just turn on the GPS and go and enjoy whatever the day has to offer. Others love to study the route in fine detail before starting. Below you will find some amazing resources that allow you to study the route in very fine detail. So for those that enjoy this sort of thing, well, Enjoy.
Daily Ride Maps: One can argue that with a gps you don't even need paper ride maps, and yes that is true. But there are several reasons that people like paper ride maps. First with a gps it is hard to see the day's ride as a whole. People like looking at a map in the morning to see what the day's ride will be like. Then during the day it is great to be able to have a discussion about what options the day might have. Paper maps are great for this. Many riders put the paper maps in a pocket in their tankbag and watch the map as the day unfolds. I highly recommend this but it is not necessary.
Evolution of the Trans America Trail: What is next for the Trail? Continued user feedback. Please send me your route improvement suggestions, your ride experiences. We still need camp spot waypoints! I update the gps files each year based on your ride experiences and feedback. Looking for more difficult route options too!
About Sharing the TAT: I believe in an open source ride world, so I give away all the info to share the ride in the hopes that others will do the same with other great rides. I have ridden the entire Trans America Trail, and studied it greatly and collected feedback from many sources and refined it.
Help by providing feedback and ride information: On each of the ride sections there is a User Comments Form that is designed so that riders can easily view comments form others who have recently ridden the section and riders can add their own comments just after riding the section. Please help us improve the trail ride experience by adding your ride comments after you ride each section. Have some fun with your comments along the way. It is kind of fun to see who may be chasing you along the trail. (link to the ride sections)
Bill from England on the trail navigation after his ride last year.
History of the Trans America Trail: The Trans-Am Trail was first organized by Sam Correro some time in the early 1990's. Sam conceived and organized the route from Tennessee to Oregon and built roll charts and maps to enable Dual Sport Motorcycle riders to navigate the route. You can still buy Roll Charts and original maps from him at his web site: http://www.transamtrail.com Thanks to Sam for starting a great route. Since the beginning, the route has expanded to complete the Coast to Coast desire by starting out in the Atlantic Ocean in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and continuing to Oregon. The route now includes many improvements and options for likely issues that people encounter along the way, like alternate routes around mud holes, snow in the Rockies, frustrated farmers, high water river crossings, and improved gas stops. In 2014, new trail sections were added to allow riders to select a route between New York and Los Angeles. These routes turned out to be equally spectacular.
Downloads: Download the GPS Map Files for free
Buy the GPS Maps and Paper Maps:
I get that some people do not like to do this computer GPS stuff themselves, or they are unsure that they know how to do it correctly and they would just like to buy the card for their GPS unit and the paper maps. So for those people, I have decided to help. You can also order a complete PAPER MAP SET of the entire trail. The map set is 74 sections and is printed in color on 8.5 x 11 paper. The maps are two sided and have information about each section printed on the back side. These maps are great daily references as you attack each section.
Note some riders like to carry a backup card.
Shipping to North America is included.
Stories or Lessons Learned from people that have ridden the trail
Q: How long does it take to complete the trail?
A: Some riders do it as fast as 2 weeks, but at a comfortable pace of 7 riding hours per day riders it take about 26 Days
Q: How long is the route?
A: New York to Los Angeles is 5139 miles (8270km) and Cape Hatteras NC to Port Orford OR is 5174 miles (8326km)
Q:Can I ride the trail from West to East?
A: Yes you can, however there will be a few spots where you will have to take the easier options due to one way roads. And it is as simple as riding the arrows "Chevrons" backwards.
Q: What must my gas range be?
A: There is one day that is 161 miles between gas stops, however, I would recommend a 120 mile range on a tank and to carry a little bit in a bottle for the longer days.
A: What bike would you recommend?
Q: I would say any bike that you are comfortable on. The nicer ones would be a WR250R or a DRZ400 if you were trying to do all the hard single track options but the route can still be done on a big 1200cc adventure bike however you probably would want to take the green options. So there is a wide range of bikes that can go on the trip but the bike you take will determine the options you can do.
Q:Do I have to ride from Tennessee to Oregon?
A: No, I have created options that can start in New York and end in Santa Monica. These will have a little bit of a different route but will still do much of the original trail.
Q:What tires do you recommend?
A:You could do the route on any good dual-sport tire however you might want more aggressive knobbies for the hard options in the West but that all depends on your vision of how you want to approach the ride.
Q: What is the recommended ride length per day?
A: I have separated it based on gas stops and would suggest 2-3 gas stops a day however, you can veer off the trail or go at a slower pace if you want and cover 1 gas stop a day.
Q: Where should I get bike maintenance done?
A: There a a few good options and often several places that you could go to if you have an issue that are a little way off the trail. Richfield, UT at Jorgensen's Honda, Beebe, AR at Sunrise Yamaha, Las Vegas at Yamaha of Las Vegas all have good size motorcycle shops where you could get help. You could also go to Tulsa, OK or Colorado Springs, CO but they are a little way off the trail.
Q: What is the best GPS for the ride?
A: Almost any will work, but if you want to buy a new one see my GPS Recommendations:
Sidebar: Some people want to know how I create so many great rides; the answer is simple. It's explained well in this 7 min Ted video: KirbyFerguson: Embrace the remix. Wow! Yes, I copy, transform and combine, come up with new ideas and remix. Then frankly, I give it away so that others may do the same. OK, so join in on some of these rides and let’s make them OUR rides! Share the world, make it a better place. Open source rules in life!
Other fun TAT stuff
News: If you are looking for a back paved Transamerica Route you might want to check out the development of the "Scooters Across America" route.