Maybe you’re new to owning a 4X4 truck or offroader, or perhaps you’ve been a lifelong mudder and are simply looking to find some new routes – whatever your reason, the fact remains the same: having a capable offroad vehicle is motivation enough to want to get out and use it to its fullest extent.
If you’ve just purchased an excellent offroad vehicle, like the new 2016 Chevy Colorado 4X4 truck, you are probably on the lookout for some of the country’s best spots to get out and prove what your new truck can do. To help out with that goal, here’s a quick look at some of the best offroading spots around the country where you can push your offroader to the very limits of what it can handle.
Mojave Road, CA
Known worldwide for its astounding views and challenging terrain, the Mojave Road in southern California offers one of the best 4X4 experiences in the country. Originally an Indian trading route turned gold rush road to the west coast, this punishing course zips through the arid Mojave Desert and over features like the Soda Dry Lake.
This rough, sandy route stretches 140 miles, starting near at the Colorado River near the northwest corner of Arizona and ending on the west bank of the Mojave River near Newberry, California. Visitors will pass through notable landmarks like the Joshua Tree State Forest and Cedar Canyon along the way, with plenty of sand dunes and steep-walled canyons for your offroading and 4X4 fun.
Alpine Loop, CO
Leave the pavement for the sedan drivers and hit the back trails on the Alpine Loop Trail in the heart of Colorado’s spectacular San Juan Mountains. This scenic byway stretches for 65 miles across alpine landscapes, including 2 high alpine passes and 7 ghosts towns scattered throughout the trail.
While many of the Loop’s historic mining roads are now paved or dirt covered and accessible by regular vehicles, visitors like you will need the full strength of a 4X4 to power up the Cinnamon and Engineer alpine passes – each over 12,000 feet high. Aside from these breathtaking views, expect pristine mountains, historic landmarks and a close look at Colorado’s rich past – all from the comfort and power of your supremely capable 4X4 truck.
Arizona Backcountry Discovery Route
Doubtless, there are some offroaders looking for a challenge who won’t back down after a hard day’s driving- instead, these are those who are looking for an exhaustive test of what their vehicle can do, and who aren’t afraid to make a several day trip out of it. For these offroaders, there is the Arizona Backcountry Discovery Route.
Stretching a mammoth 750 miles from the border of Mexico in Arizona to the southern border of Utah, this high-intensity trail. And, much like other tails found out west, this route features plenty of ghost towns, scenic vistas, and modern stops along the way to offer a brief distraction from the rocky canyons and pine-covered mountains.
Although notably less intense than other trails on this list, and more suited for motorbikes and ATVs than other trails, the Arizona Backcountry Discovery Route offers a long, scenic drive that makes up for its lack of difficulty with its expansive reach and full lineup of scenic stops along the way. For the truck lover looking to push his or her vehicle’s endurance to the limits, there might not be a better trail than this one.
Moab Trails, Utah
There are, of course, those looking for the most extreme, difficult trails to really see how well a 4X4 can take the toughest rocky roads. Offering some of the hardest trails available in the country, the Moad Trail in Utah is just that place – renowned worldwide for its challenging layout and beautiful natural scenery.
Although normally popular with high-suspension Jeeps (as per the yearly Moab Jeep Safari, which draws Jeepers from the world around to participate in a group climb each Easter weekend), this trail is manageable for any well-outfitted vehicle with offroad tires and high-clearance suspension systems. Rock rails and underbody protection aren’t necessary – but may be highly recommended, depending on which trails you’d like to hit.
Boasting everything from sand dunes to rocky outcroppings, the Moab trails offer a route for 4X4 riders of all skill levels. Whether you’re simply skating around the dunes or taking one the legendary Moab Rim – suitable only for the toughest, most skilled offroad drivers – you’ll find just about all the offroad fun you’ll need right here at Moab – so long as you don’t mind having some company while you do, since this spot is exceptionally popular in the summer months.
Johnson Valley, CA
For those looking to experiment with many different kinds of terrains, the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle area in the Mojave Desert offers a varied landscape sure to delight just about every offroader out there. Boasting everything from moderate, flat sand dunes where you can really open up – including Soggy Lake, a flat open area often used for speed testing – to the famed “Hammers” section in the Southeast, which features one of the most difficult terrains available, the Johnson Valley OHV is one of the best places in the country to test out your new or your well-used 4X4 vehicle.
Home to the King of the Hammers annual race week, this offroad trail system is mighty popular among expert offroaders and becomes a veritable party during race week. However, due to the remote nature of the location, campers should plan to bring most of their supplies – including food and water – into and out of the park themselves.
Other than that, and except for some basic rules about what kind of equipment you must have on your vehicle – like function headlights, proper registration, the right suspension, etc. – and basic camping rules, the Johnson Valley OHV is notoriously unregulated, allowing visitors to test, drive, and explore with almost total freedom for weeks at a time. Just be sure to watch out – Johnson Valley is home to the federally protected desert tortoise, so keep an eye out for these little guys.
Big Cypress National Preserve, FL
For those looking for a little offroad fun close to home, the Big Cypress National Preserve near Miami offers miles of extensive Off Highway Vehicle trails for you to take on. Although relatively mild in terms of ascents and difficult terrain, these trails can only be undertaken with the help of a reliable 4X4 and offer some of the state’s most excellent natural settings for pristine nature viewing.
Although visitors will have to work through a four-step licensing process to secure a permit for offroading at Big Cypress, the work will be well worth the effort. Boasting some of the most extensive offroading trails in all of Florida, this preserve is the perfect spot to test out your first serious 4X4 or to simply make sure your old dependable offroader stays fresh in the off season.
For those looking for a serious offroading challenge right here in the United States, there are more than a few great places to test out the full capabilities of your 4X4 vehicle. While these are just a few of the options available to you, they offer some of the most difficult and scenic sites in the nation and are great destinations for those really looking to push the boundaries of what their beloved vehicles can accomplish – so load up and get going today, before the crowds get wise and decide to follow.