Most people don’t want to beat up their brand-new SUV on the trails––at least, not on rough ones. Finding a good, older, off-roading model is a great reason to type “used car dealer near me” into your preferred search engine. Once you find the used off-roader you’re looking for, whether it be a Jeep Wrangler, a Toyota 4Runner, or anything in between, it’s time to start road trippin’ your way to the trails.
There are many impressive off-roading trails across the United States to choose from; to keep it exciting though, you want to find the most difficult trails that are also worth the drive when it comes to events and entertainment. Ready to find these ideal off-roading vacation locations? We’ve got you covered.
#1 – Fins and Things (Moab, Utah)
Like most trails, there are beginner trails available at the Moab 4-wheeling area. In fact, you can even go on 2-wheel drive-capable trails just for the scenery. If you’re ready to tackle the hardcore stuff, but some friends and family just aren’t ready, Moab offers the perfect balance so you can all have fun.
There are three particular trials here, one is easy, one is moderate, and one is difficult. The “difficult” trail is called “Fins and Things.” It is a one-way trail, meaning that you come out at a completely different area and do not loop, so make sure to bring everything you need along with you! The 4WD part of the trail is only 9.4 miles; however, this trail’s minimum completion time is 3 hours. This is due to its difficulty level.
You’ll encounter such rough terrain that ATV usage is not recommended until you get past the first section that ends with the Fox Campgrounds. Expect to tackle deep, sandy declines, rocky hills, and other difficult obstacles.
Looking for the best time of year to visit Moab Protect & Preserve? Check out the Moab Jeep Jamboree in the fall. This event is usually held in October, occurring October 27th-29th during the 2022 meetup. This particular Jamboree does not allow Jeeps with tires 40 inches or over, and the maximum lift is no more than 6 inches. GMRS portable two-way radios are required due to the Jamboree’s difficult trails. The Moab Jamboree can take you across more dangerous potential trails, such as Poison Spider, Hell’s Revenge, and the most difficult trail, “Behind the Rocks.” The exact trail lineup is subject to change and is different with each Jamboree.
#2 – Fordyce Creek (Soda Springs, California)
Got a rock-crawling machine like the Wrangler Rubicon? Then Fordyce Creek is the trail for you. This 11-mile trail is filled with large boulders and multiple water crossings. If you want to tackle this trail, it is recommended that you have at least 35-inch tires on your off-roading SUV. It’s important to note that there is a government-controlled water crossing that may not be safely passable, depending upon whether the water flow is restricted or not. The good news is that if you visit during the Sierra Trek annual ride, the water is guaranteed to be passable. After the first water crossing, you’ll come upon “winch hills,” which are exactly what you think they are.
The best time to visit Fordyce Creek is in August, during the Sierra Trek four-day ride. The 2022 Sierra Trek event occurs August 11th-14th. As far as the atmosphere goes, we recommend this event for family-friendly off-roaders; but keep in mind that when it comes to safety and anxiety, this one may pose a challenge. Despite the family-oriented climate, this trail is still incredibly technical. Even the lighter trails require at least one locker.
It’s possible to participate in other “runs,” such as the Saturday Historic Run or the Signal Peak Run, for example. These specific trails are designed with stock vehicles in mind for easier off-roading. The challenge definitely lies in the rock-crawling Fordyce Creek trail, which virtually demands a modified used SUV. The Sierra Trek trailing event lasts four days and includes optional camping, a cornhole tournament, live music, and vendors.
#3 – Redneck Mud Park (Punta Gorda, Florida)
Nothing screams “challenge” like an off-road park with the name “redneck” in it. We’ve talked about West Coast rock crawling, but what about East Coast mud bathing? Redneck Mud Park offers four large mudding holes for drivers to play around and get stuck in as they please (this is definitely a great place to bring a winch). There are several different trails and mudding areas here at the Redneck Mud Park, but SUVs will want to mainly stick to the wider Gator Slough area.
This one is worth visiting because it houses entertainment and mudding all in one location. During the season, you can purchase a pass and access camping, live music, and other seasonal events. You can participate in (or simply watch) mud races, pulls, and even side-by-side races. You’ll definitely want to load up the trailer and take your ATV and your off-roading SUV to this one.
Redneck Mud Park offers several different events throughout the year; however, our favorite is the Fall Classic. The 2022 Fall Classic happens November 10th-13th, celebrating the park’s 13th year. Known as the “Biggest Mud Party in the South,” this event includes Mud Bogging, Trail Riding, and more. There will also be vendors, live shows and music, and camping.
#4 – Morrison Jeep Trail (Park County, Wyoming)
Sometimes, “difficult” isn’t a strong enough adjective to describe a trial’s difficulty level. This is certainly the case for Morrison Jeep Trail. In other words, visit this complicated trail at your own risk. While you don’t have to have a modified used vehicle to take on this treacherous terrain, it is recommended that you own something that’s at least as capable as a Wrangler Rubicon. Even if you’re confident in both your ride and your off-roading skills, it’s important to remember a few things; this trail is so rough that it’s dangerous, you won’t have cell phone services here, and there are bobcats and bears lurking around in the surrounding wilderness. Piqued your interest yet?
It gets better. Oxygen is less-than-satisfactory on parts of the trail due to the high altitude level (10,000 feet). Tackling this trail during any wet conditions (mud, rain, snow, or ice) can get dangerous quickly and is not recommended. Put simply, this trail is essentially for rock-climbing off-roaders who have little to no fear of, well, anything. It’s also not for anyone who has a breathing problem.
The Beartooth Adventure event is coming to Morrison Jeep Trail from August 17th-21st in 2022. This Jeep Jamboree-ran event requires that your lift is no higher than 6 inches, and no tires over 40 inches are allowed. It is also recommended that you have prior off-roading experience, at least 33-inch tires, and rock rails. Just like the other Jamboree in Moab, two-way radios are required for safety purposes.
This specific event requires you to become one with nature, as it’s a 3-day/3-night event out on the trails. You’re required to bring cooking and camping equipment, recovery gear, 10 meals worth of food, and much more, all outlined in the official itinerary.
#5 – Gulches ORV Park (Waterloo, SC)
Want to stick with the East Coast? Gulches ORV Park is a great option. There are over 50 different trails, including over 15 “extremely difficult trails” and over 15 “difficult” and “more difficult” trails. If you’re going with some rookie friends or family members, there are plenty of easy and intermediate trails available as well. The trail key will show you each trail and its type, along with any water crossing and primitive campsites.
The best part? Unlike the Morrison Jeep Trail, help is available if you get stuck. All you have to do is call or text, and help is on the way. There’s also an available RV park with water and electricity and several available restrooms spread throughout the park. If you don’t own a camper or a tent, you can rent one of the park’s off-site cabins, located less than a mile from the park.
While you’d assume that off-roading is common in South Carolina, Gulches ORV Park claims to be the only “legal” place you can go off-roading in your SUV. Your friend’s farm may technically count, but it’s likely not as safe or as challenging. The trails here can definitely be rough, but with 24/7 support, you can trust the park to be your best bet at having a good time off-road.