In this answer at; I am lost, I found a trail, which way do I go? It claims

...logging roads These may extend many miles into the forest, with multiple branches, all ending in dead ends. There can be 10's or 100s of miles (or kilometers) of roads.

If I am hiking on public land in the US, and find a road, just how far might I walk in the wrong direction, before getting to the dead end and needing to turn around and go back?

Without considering all the dead end branch roads, how long is the longest dead end road on or crossing, US public land?

Clarify: Where dead end = ends in the forest without any services or civilization, at the end or along the route.

  • 3
    I assume you mean to exclude even facilities that are only available in a genuine emergency. Some roads only lead to remote oil facilities, for example, which may or may not be staffed and have nothing for the public. I'm sure I've seen an example recently though I can't find it and it's possible it's actually in Canada
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 5, 2018 at 17:24
  • 2
    Very closely related at travel. Not a dupe
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 5, 2018 at 17:25
  • 3
    ends in the forest. What about ends at the coast, ends in the middle of the desert?
    – user15958
    Commented Nov 6, 2018 at 9:53
  • 2
    This has one VTC as opinion based. This seems so off-base to me that I would be interested as to why someone thought it was opinion based. Does the OP have to specify to what precision he wants the answer ? Is the distance from earth to moon opinion based?
    – ab2
    Commented Nov 6, 2018 at 13:17
  • 4
    I personally would VTC on the grounds that it's not a question on a specific problem, with a practical answer. This knowledge will never be useful in the field, especially considering a lost person has no way to know on which road he is.
    – Gabriel
    Commented Nov 6, 2018 at 13:50

1 Answer 1


While the exact definition of a "dead-end road" is rather vague, here are a few contenders for the continental US. Based off my poking around, saying that a dirt road could dead end hundreds of miles into the woods is hyperbole---even tens of miles is a stretch for a pure dead end road. That being said, the western US has many areas that are mazes of dead end logging roads. While this gives roads that are far from civilization, each of the individual spurs is often quite short (several miles). Similarly, there are more desolate roads than some of my suggestions, but they connect through to civilization at both ends. I have excluded both of these cases, as they seem closer in scope to a question such as "what is the furthest one can be on a dirt road from the nearest paved road?".

  • Kelly Point Overlook on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, extending 28.0 miles from the nearest fork in the road. Even at that point, it is simply a maze of dirt roads in the desert, with another ~85mi to go to the nearest services in St. George, UT.

  • Paradise Campground in Idaho's Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, 11.7 miles from the nearest fork in the road and another 33.7 miles to civilization. Choosing poorly at the fork (Macgruder Crossing Campground) would instead involve 72 miles of dirt roads with perfect navigation. While there is a ranger station at Paradise Campground, it is only seasonally staffed. This is an interesting example as it defies the oft-repeated advice that "civilization is downstream," when it is in fact upstream (and over several passes). Going downstream from Paradise campground is ~60mi of mule trail to the next dirt road. Corn Creek Campground is similarly isolated.

  • Then end of FS 1013I at 44.627828, -109.785756, to the east of Yellowstone NP near Stinkingwater and Sunlight Peaks. Excluding a handful of exceedingly short spurs (mostly <.1mi, FS1013K the longest at 1.5mi), it is 23.7mi from the nearest fork and another 5.9mi to WY-296, a well-traveled paved road.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.