West 1848

The Great Basin Rim

An overland route circumnavigating the Great Basin of the western United States by following the natural drainage divide as closely as possible.

The idea for this route has been with me for a while now and for one reason or another I have yet to accomplish it.  Basically this route is approximately 5,000 miles long and is a connecting loop.  John C. Fremont was the first to write about The Great Basin in the early 19th century.   The first European to cross it was Jedediah Smith but he did not write about it.  The Great Basin is just that.  Water flows in but not out.  The trail follows the divide or "rim" as closely as I felt like plotting it.  It goes from sea level to 10,000 feet - 3500 meters.  In some places it is over 100 miles to the nearest services and in other places it goes right down city boulevards.  Over 70% dirt or gravel.

The hydrographic divide or rim is just determined by which way the water flows.  THIS is the Gaia GPS page for the divide line and it can be downloaded in KML or GPX formats.

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Below is the map published from the expeditions of John Fremont.  This basically the map they used for the Oregon Trail.  If You click on the picture it will take you to a higher resolution jpeg picture.  Click HERE to download a high resolution TIF image of the Fremont expeditions.

These are notes from the above map:

The Great Basin: diameter 11 degrees of longitude: elevation above the sea between 4 and 5000 feet: surrounded by lofty mountains - contents almost unknown, but believed to be filled with rivers and lakes which have no cummunication with the sea, deserts and oases which have never been explored, and savage tribes, which no traveller has seen or described. Map of the exploring expeditions of the rocky mountains in the year 1842 oregon and north california in the years 1843 - 44 by Brevet Capt. J. C. Fremont of the corp of topographical engineers

This map was drawn with known  data and that from the Fremont expeditions to produce the basic guide to 19th century immigrants.

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I would highly recommend that the overland inclined people give Gaia GPS a try .  I broke loose $40 and got the premium edition but you can sample Gaia with the links below for sections.  Way more map layers than Garmin and much easier to use than Google Earth.  It makes both Basecamp and Earthmate look like ten year old programs.  In the section links you can change map layers from the USGS quads to aerial and satellite imagery.  There is a link on the section page where you can choose to download GPX or KML versions.  Also it integrates with Android Auto for turn by turn navigation in the car. That $40 puts it on your phone with as many maps as you can fit and the website on the desktop is super easy to lay out routes.

I have broken up the Great Basin Rim Trail into 22 sections with alternates as time goes on.

Help, comments, pre-runs, and pictures are more than welcome.

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The Files

The following links take you to an info page on Gaia GPS.  Be sure to check out the different layers from USGS topos tosatellite imagery.  Also there are many overlays like the wildfire one where you can see active fires on the route.    You can download a GPX or  a KML file there as well, so it will probably work with whatever gps unit you have.  Also Gaia GPS will work with Android Auto and the cell phone app gives turn by turn navigation.


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