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5 Beginner Off-Road Trails for Jeeps That You Should Try

Updated: Feb 14, 2023

two-door Jeep about to go airborne off an off-road trail

If you love adrenaline-pumping drives and the allure of nature, why not give off-road driving and rock crawling a try? This hobby is not as intimidating as it sounds, as you can find different obstacles according to your skill level and the capabilities of your ride.

Take a break from paved roads and city driving, and bring your trusty Jeep to different off-road trails with various challenging obstacles. You can check out easy off-road trails to get yourself started, and see how you like it.

This blog lists five must-try off-road trails for Jeeps. Put your skills to the test and try these beginner-friendly routes.

Washington Backcountry Discovery Route, Washington State

First on our list of easy off-road trails is the Washington Backcountry Discovery Route. This is a long course full of alternate sections and stretches with varying difficulty. This route is perfect for beginners looking to try out off-roading. This location also has great camping spots and different hotels and accommodations for comfortable overnight stays.

This 575-mile course begins at the Cascade Mountains in Stevenson, WA, and makes its way to the Canadian border at Night Hawk. While it would take an average of five to six days to explore the entirety of WBDR, there are awe-inspiring views at every turn. For instance, its southern portion provides beautiful views of mountains and dense forests.

We recommend taking this route from June through September as snow may block some passages, and you’ll have to change your itinerary.

Arizona Backcountry Discovery Route, Arizona

While the Arizona Backcountry Discovery Route was designed for motorcycles, its public roads are still passable by your Jeep. This 750-mile trail takes you north of the Arizona-Mexico border, leading to the border of Utah. The trail is full of deserts, grasslands, Saguaro cacti, and deep sand.

The Arizona BDR is divided into nine sections and offers an incredible variety of terrain. It has something for every kind of driver, from rock-covered mountain slopes to steep inclines. It’s best to come prepared, as this route can be challenging, especially with the remoteness of the roads and Arizonian temperatures. Invite your friends and pack recovery gear, just in case.

Make the most of your expedition by including the historical sites in your itinerary, such as the Empire Ranch, Sierra Ancha Cliff Dwellings, and the Mogollon Rim. You can detour to the popular tourist destination, the Grand Canyon, where you’ll find vantage points most travelers don’t see before you head into the Navajo Nation.

Pro-tip: Before you get on your Jeep and make your way to the Arizona BDR, ensure you get all the necessary documents, such as an AZ Recreation Permit and Navajo camping and riding permit. You should also avoid traveling here from July to August as temperatures can get very high.

Rubicon Trail, California

Located west of Lake Tahoe and east of Sacramento lies this 4x4 wonderland. Jeep’s most formidable and off-road capable model gets its namesake from this famous trail. The contemporary love of 4x4 drivers and dedicated groups has kept the course open. Otherwise, it would have fallen back into the wilderness.

While only 22 miles long, the Rubicon Trail boasts challenging terrain, cutting through the El Dorado and Tahoe National Forests, home to diverse fauna, including porcupines, coyotes, mule deer, and bobcats.

According to the foundation that manages it, only specialized 4x4 vehicles should attempt the trail as you can expect some metal damage to your ride. We recommend reinforcing your ride with skid plates, bumpers, and axle lockers for the tough road ahead.

It’s best to hit the Rubicon Trail during the warm and dry months of the Sierra Nevada summer. Winter can cause the route to be much more challenging, and often deem it impassable during severe snow.

Saddleback Mountain Lookout OHV, California

This trail cuts through northern Orange County and the south end of Riverside County. You can expect Saddleback Mountain to be an exciting route as it has an elevation of roughly 5,600 feet above sea level. It is close to most places around the area, making it an easy day or evening trip for a brief getaway from the busy city life.

When you reach Santiago Peak, you can enjoy a breath of fresh air as you gaze in awe at sunset over the Pacific Ocean and sometimes even Catalina Island. Many spectacular views await you wherever you look, and it’s one of the perfect places to recharge from busy city life.

Hatfield-McCoy Trail System, West Virginia

The Hatfield-McCoy Trail System is a paradise for off-roaders as it’s just a stone's throw away from towns such as Matewan, Delbarton, and Williamson. Its 600 miles of marked paths go through the natural beauty of West Virginia. This route gets its name from the region in the southern portion of West Virginia where the famous Hatfield-McCoy Feuding took place.

This trail system is one of the largest off-highway vehicle routes in the world and offers something exciting for drivers of all skill levels. For instance, Rockhouse Trails is one of the original HMT systems and is popular for off-roaders looking for a more extreme experience. It provides scenic mountain views and lush forest scenery. Other trails available include Devil Anse, Buffalo Mountain, and Cabwaylingo.

Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota

The Black Hills National Forest boasts 3,600 miles of open road, with over 650 miles of land designated for off-highway vehicles. It has many looped trails that will take you through the best nature offers. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled, as there are hidden gems around every corner.

This national forest and its off-road trails for Jeeps will take your breath away. There are 11 reservoirs and 1,300 miles of streams, while landscapes include canyons, gulches, and over 10,000 acres of wilderness.

There are a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking. Black Hills National Forest is also known as Island in the Plains, with its hills rising out of the prairie. Many off-roaders enjoy the Ditch Creek trails and its scenic open meadows. You can also opt for leisure driving in Bear Mountain, where aspen groves await you. But if you like a more bumpy ride, head on to Hell Canyon area trails.

Embark on an Epic Outdoor Adventure

It’s not always the destination that makes a trip memorable; it’s the journey on how you get there which makes it worth your while. Get behind the wheel and travel to these five easy off-road trails. Take your time and enjoy the beauty of nature and all it offers, from lush woodlands to rocky crawlings.

Visit the Joiiio blog for more off-road routes to include in your bucket list.

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