Best Off-Roading Trails in Arizona
When someone mentions Arizona, what image pops up in your head? Like most people, you’d probably say the iconic Grand Canyon or the scenic red buttes that have made the Copper State such a destination for outdoor enthusiasts. With Arizona having a lot of sunny days and mild winters, access to many off-road trails and activities is a year round opportunity! We’ve compiled a list of off-road trails that would make the perfect adventure destination for your family and friends whether it is peak tourism season or off-season, Arizona has a little something for every season.
White Pocket Trail
To start the list we go into the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Northern Arizona and follow the trails of White Pocket. Stunningly beautiful, the white Navajo Sandstone is splashed and speckled with oranges and reds that provide perfect photo ops. Having an elevation of around 6000 feet, the trail makes for a cool hike, so you can spend your time admiring the view. However, it is recommended that you use a 4×4 with high clearance, because reaching the trail does have tricky sand tracks and deep ruts where the inexperienced can get stuck.
Broken Arrow OHV Route
Next on our list is the dramatically named Broken Arrow. Found in Sedona, Arizona, this four-mile trail is one of the more popular ones and will have a bit of traffic. But don’t let that discourage you from visiting. The route is popular for a very good reason; it offers amazing views and slick rock, and is widely regarded as one of the best trails Sedona has to offer. The red roads make for an extremely fun, albeit challenging, trip as you pass popular spots such as The Stairs, Submarine Rock, Mushroom Rock, and Chicken Point. Similar to White Pocket, this trail is a bit of a challenge and will best be traversed using a 4×4 with high clearance, with someone experienced behind the wheel.
The Coyote Buttes are a section of the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness that offer breathtaking views of Navajo Sandstone formations including the very popular and picturesque Wave. The area is divided into Coyote Buttes North and Coyote Buttes South, with North being more popular. With a distance of about eight miles north to south, there are countless buttes, canyons, and arches that you can see as you follow the trails. If that’s not enough to make this into a go-to destination, there’s an actual dinosaur trackway featuring dinosaur footprints as old as 190 million years! But just before you head out and follow the dinosaur footsteps, be sure you’re getting the right permits and follow regulations.
Bulldog Canyon OHV
Located near Mesa, Arizona, the Bulldog Canyon features scenic views, moderately challenging rocky sections, and areas to camp if you’d like to spend the night outdoors. Stretching for about 20 miles, the trail offers many opportunities to explore, including access to the Sonoran desert and views of the nearby Goldfield Mountains. As long as you stay on trails marked on the map, this will make for a very relaxing and fun adventure. However, the area is locked behind gates, so be sure that you get the right permits to access the trail.
Arizona Peace Trail
So far, we’ve been talking about shortstops for an afternoon adventure. However, this next one is for those who’d like to take their time to really take in nature. The Arizona Peace Trail, found in Mohave, La Paz, and Yuma counties in Western Arizona, is a 675-mile OHV loop that’s perfect for adventurers who’d like to spend more time on the road. Whether you’d like to do some camping or stay indoors in motels and at restaurants, there’s always something for you. Due to the sheer length of the track, you’ll come across scenic views, rock formations, open spaces, wild animals, abandoned mines, and so much more. The choice is yours — go through the whole loop, or explore portions of the trail. One thing’s for sure is that you’re up for a good time.
Schnebly Hill Road
It’s no wonder that Sedona, Arizona will pop up multiple times in an off-road list, the place is amazing. Schnebly Hill Road offers one of the best trails in Arizona with its red buttes, unpaved winding routes, and picturesque vistas. The trail goes for about 12 miles, and descends about 2000 feet, but is rated to be easy to moderate so bring your ATVs. Don’t be afraid to explore as you are very likely to see wildlife, views of Munds Mountain, Bear Wallow Canyon, and several rock formations.
Devil’s Bridge Trail
While you’re already in Sedona, after you’ve conquered Schnebly Hill Road, head west to Devil’s Bridge Trail. Fairly short, the 1.8-mile trail is more of a pit stop, but it is totally worth it. Surrounded by the red buttes that Sedona is famous for, the Devil’s Bridge rises 50 feet high and 45 feet long and is a natural wonder. Keep in mind that although it’s going to make for a great photo, the place can get a bit crowded, and it is recommended to bring a 4×4 as the trail can get moderately difficult. There are choices on how to get to Devil’s Bridge and you don’t have to cross the actual bridge to enjoy the scenic drive.
Backway to Crown King
Located near Peoria, Arizona, this trail is rated more on the moderate to difficult side. Going on for about 34 miles, the trail is very accommodating in that there are bypasses to the more challenging obstacles, so you get to choose how difficult your drive will be. However, no matter the route you choose, it is recommended that you use 4×4 with high clearance as the road can get bumpy and rocky. It’s all worth it as you take in the views, wildlife, old mines, and the famous CK rock.
Castle Hot Springs
One of the easier trails on this list, this 27-mile trail is county-maintained and takes you through the Sonoran Desert and low mountain foothills. The trail features beautiful views, wildlife, and a lake at the end of the trail. It is important to note that it is an unpaved road and can get difficult when it rains, so be sure to check the weather before making the trip. Other than that, enjoy this relaxing Arizona trail.
Box Canyon OHV Trail
If going through a maze-like canyon, with high rock walls and narrow passages, head on down to Box Canyon. This 29-mile trail in Florence, Arizona is a very unique experience and is on the moderate side when it comes to difficulty as certain areas of the canyon can get narrow and require some skill in maneuvering. It’s definitely worth the visit as there are a lot of trails to choose from and the views are excellent. Note that the place can get crowded as it is a popular destination.
Bonus: The Great Western Trail
If you’re making a list of go-to destinations for off-roading, it wouldn’t be right to not mention the Great Western Trail. Connecting Canada to Mexico and going through five western states, this trail is over 4455 miles long and is an adventure waiting to happen. In Arizona, it goes through both sandy deserts and rocky mountains, so there’s always a challenge waiting for you. Depending on where you start, you’ll see different wildlife, varying elevations, and lakes along the way. You don’t have to go through it end to end, but if you’re looking for adventure and want to take your time outdoors, this one should really make it on your list!
Explore these Trails with DayTrail
Check out DayTrail for equipment rentals near you. If you want to try ATVs or UTVs, DayTrail has a catalog of outdoor recreational equipment that you can rent and ride. So, what are you waiting for? Pick one or two (or ten) trails to explore and head straight to the Copper State!