One of the fastest-growing hobbies in America is off-roading, which pushes a vehicle to its limits and allows you to experience the beauty of the great outdoors by venturing off the pavement to get a little mud on the tires. Whether you’re a newbie to the off-road realm or you’re a seasoned veteran with thousands of miles under your belt, there is no question that rigs like the Toyota Tacoma are staples on the trail. Known for its durability, versatility, and capability, the Taco is a premier off-road rig and is why you’ll want to head on over to your local Toyota Tacoma dealer if you’re looking for a truck that will take you off the beaten path.
With models like the 2021 Tacoma TRD Off-Road pushing the envelope of capability straight from the factory, we couldn’t help but wonder where the Taco would perform its best. This prompted our nationwide search for the best off-road trails in America. That search takes us from sunny California to the hills of Missouri, where the Tacoma’s limits can be tested, and its off-road prowess can truly shine as it navigates everything from muddy trails and water crossings to rocky terrain and everything in between.
#1 California’s Rubicon Trail
Off-roaders don’t like to start small, and that’s why we’re launching our list with the most challenging off-road course in the country and perhaps the world – California’s famous Rubicon Trail. Located in El Dorado County, the 22-mile off-road adventure trail travels across the Sierra Nevada to Lake Tahoe for breathtaking views complete with challenging obstacles. Dubbed the “Crown Jewel of All Off Highway Trails,” the Rubicon will not only test the Tacoma’s limits, but yours as well, thanks to its deep mud holes, rocky ascents, and narrow passages that make strategic planning vital to any off-roader’s success.
#2 California’s Mendocino National Forest
We can’t talk about off-roading without mentioning California’s Mendocino National Forest, which is the only national forest in the state without a paved road or highway crossing it. This makes it a great spot for off-roading and is why it’s a top destination among off-roaders. Aside from its gorgeous scenery and numerous trails that meander through the forest, the forest also has various campgrounds and over 31 miles of shoreline along the stunning Lake Pillsbury. This means that you can spend the day on the trail and the evenings around the campfire swapping stories with friends and family.
#3 Utah’s Moab
One of the most beautiful and historic trails you’ll find on the list is Moab. Located in Utah, Moab offers a variety of routes like the Chicken Corners, Gemini Bridges, and Fins and Things, all of which can be tailored to your vehicle’s capabilities. This versatility is what makes Moab exceptionally popular not only for Tacoma owners but also for mountain bikers, rafters, and hikers. You can even enjoy the beauty of the trails without a four-wheel drive vehicle, thanks to the available Jeep rentals or guided trail tours.
#4 Colorado’s Ouray
With names like Corkscrew Gulch, Governor Basin, and Yankee Boy Basin, it’s easy to see why Ouray is one of the most popular off-roading venues in America. Stretching through the San Juan National Forest and near Ridgeway State Park, Ouray offers breathtaking mountainous views and challenging trails designed for a variety of skill levels. With the trails rated by difficulty, you can pick the best route for your Tacoma and skill level to ensure you have the best and safest time on this gorgeous Colorado trail. Once you’re off the trail, be sure to check out the local hotels as well as the quaint bed and breakfasts that will take your Ouray experience to the next level.
#5 New Mexico’s Las Cruces
If you’re looking for one of the largest off-roading venues in America, then look no further than Las Cruces in New Mexico. Nestled north of the Mexico-America border, Las Cruces was made popular by Billy the Kid but is now known for its White Sands as well as its 45,000 miles of roads and trails. These trails, which vary with difficulty, give you a beautiful view of the nearby Organ Mountain National Recreation Area and offer a variety of obstacles from water crossings to rock crawling. You can even camp in the area, but beware that some camping areas will require you to rough it since they’re facility-free.
#6 Missouri’s St. Joe State Park
There might only be two official off-road trails in Missouri’s state system, but St. Joe State Park more than makes up for it. Offering 2,000 acres of trails, the park is absolutely breathtaking and features four lakes and two swimming areas, a bicycling and hiking trail, picnic areas, an equestrian trail, and several campgrounds. These many features make St. Joe State Park a popular destination for off-roaders in Missouri and the surrounding states since its many features make it a great spot for the entire family. There’s truly something for everyone to enjoy!
#7 Arkansas’ Superlift ORV
Located in the heart of Arkansas just outside the city of Hot Springs, the Superlift ORV Park is one of the best-kept secrets in the state. The privately-owned park stretches across over 1,250 wooded acres that beg to be explored. The trails, which are all marked with difficulty ratings, have something to offer off-roaders of all skill levels. Because of this, the ORV park is a great place to hone your skills on the trail or enjoy time away from the hustle and bustle of the city, especially if you rent one of the park’s cabins, haul your RV, or set up camp.
#8 Florida’s Ocala National Forest
If the Florida humidity doesn’t intimidate you, you’ll definitely want to test your Tacoma’s limits in the Ocala National Forest. As the most visited national forest in the state, the forest is breathtaking and offers a variety of wildlife and scenery from sand, pine, and scrub to over 500 lakes and ponds that give you a gorgeous view wherever you are on the trail. And, speaking of the trail, you can take your Tacoma or another licensed off-road rig down the Four Wheel Drive Way. This is an 81-mile system of Forest Service roads that allow you to take in the scenery without damaging the natural habitat.
Where Will Your Tacoma Take You?
Are you ready to hit the trail? Whether you’re new to off-roading or you’re a seasoned adventurer, there’s no doubt that a Toyota Tacoma can handle whatever the road has in store. Carrying Toyota’s reputation for reliability, ruggedness, and durability, the Taco is beloved in the off-road realm and for a good reason. Its capability can take you across, around, and through any obstacle, while its versatility means that you can easily navigate your weekday adventures and hit the trail on the weekend without giving the truck or its capability a second thought. Why? Because it’s made for adventure.
So, which of these trails will you choose as your next destination? From California and New Mexico to Colorado, Missouri, Arkansas, and south to Florida, there’s something for everyone. With the Tacoma, there’s no doubt that you’ll have an outstanding time. So, what are you waiting for? Your next adventure awaits.