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As off-roading becomes more popular than ever before, we’ve created a list of ten trails in America that every 4×4 enthusiast should visit.

Off-Roading Across America

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com
2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com

Off-road and soft roading has never been as popular as it is today. People from all over the United States are getting into this pastime that provides incredible views, fun adventure, and space to all those who partake. Still, it can be difficult to determine where to actually go off roading around the country. Many trails are only known to serious off-roading groups. Well, today we’re going to break down ten of the best off-roading trails in no particular order, but we’ll start and finish with two of the most well-known.

Rubicon Trail, California

Rubicon Trail - TrailRecon on youtube.com
Rubicon Trail - TrailRecon on youtube.com

If you’ve ever wondered exactly where the hardcore Jeep Wrangler Rubicon trim gets its name, look no further. The Rubicon Trail is known to be stunning and scary at the same time. Falling trees, shifting rocks, and extremely challenging trails are all a part of the path. Unless you’re rocking a really serious off-road 4×4 with the right tires, don’t go chasing after the end of the Rubicon Trail. Even the Rubicon Trail Foundation warns drivers to expect exterior sheet metal damage during the journey.

Ouray, Colorado

Ouray Trail - ouraymountainadventures.com
Ouray Trail - ouraymountainadventures.com

For those who have never heard of Ouray, it’s very hard to explain just how breathtaking it truly is. There are roughly 40 miles of off-roading trails in and around the picturesque town. In fact, Ouray says that it’s the Jeep Capital of the World. What’s most amazing is that it offers every level of driver skill to enjoy the area. From class 1 trails like Last Dollar Road all the way up to class 5 trails like Black Bear Pass, there’s something for everyone and every rig.

Molokai Forest Reserve, Hawaii

Molokai Forest Reserve Road - alltrails.com
Molokai Forest Reserve Road - alltrails.com

From sea to snow, Molokai Forest Reserve road offers drivers the chance to see some of the most beautiful sights from around the globe in a single afternoon. From sea cliffs to plunge pools and waterfalls, the drive takes you all the way to Kamakou Peak some 5,000 feet in the air. During the drive, you’ll also catch glimpses of Waikolu Canyon, and upon finishing, campsites are available to sleep out among the stars.

White Rim Trail, Utah

White Rim Trail - Aperture Academy on youtube.com
White Rim Trail - Aperture Academy on youtube.com

Drivers with a fear of heights might want to avoid White Rim Trail, because much of it features a sheer drop on one side of the road or the other. Over the course of 100 miles, the trail switches back more times than we can count and offers views incomparable. Indian ruins, buttes, and sandstone arches are littered throughout the trail, and visitors will see the Green and Colorado rivers as well.

Magruder Road, Montana & Idaho

Magruder Road - SUV RVing on youtube.com
Magruder Road - SUV RVing on youtube.com

So there’s no getting around the fact that this road is named after a party that ended up losing their lives on this very trail back in 1863. If you can get past that spooky history, then the rest of the trail is something to behold and appreciate. The total distance from start to finish is 101 miles and expect to go no more than 15 mph on average. That means that, like many of our trails above, you’ll want to plan for two days of travel. The biggest draw of the Magruder Road is the fact that as you drive, you’re experiencing the frontier in much the same way that it’s been for hundreds of years. Stunning mountain vistas and valleys are all on the menu.

Uwharrie National Park, North Carolina

Uwharrie National Park - Campbell Offroad on youtube.com
Uwharrie National Park - Campbell Offroad on youtube.com

For those just getting into the off-road scene, Uwharrie National Park is a perfect place to get your off-road truck tires a bit muddy. At the base of a mountain that is said to have been some 20,000 feet tall at one point, lies this hidden gem. Now, the pinnacle of the park is Morrow Mountain, just 936 feet above sea level, but don’t let that stop you. Much like Ouray, Colorado, there are so many different trails to try here that every skill level will be happy. One of the biggest benefits for the well-traveled off-roader is the inclusion of very steep obstacles. They’re said to be some of the most challenging steep and rocky climbs this side of Moab, Utah.

Dalton Highway, Alaska

Dalton Highway - Lifestyle Overland on youtube.com
Dalton Highway - Lifestyle Overland on youtube.com

Soft roaders can take part in this off-road trail option. Dalton Highway, set among some of the most stunning scenes Alaska has to offer, still isn’t a laughing matter though. It’s important to have real four-wheel drive and be fully stocked with supplies. This is the same highway featured on Ice Road Truckers. That means that we suggest tackling it in the summer months when it’s nice and warm and the fear of frigid temperatures is very low. Also, be sure to stop for supplies every time you see another town, because most of them are far apart. It never hurts to top off when you’re on “the Haul Road”.

Imperial Sand Dunes, Arizona

Imperial Sand Dunes in Arizona - Jessica Munguia on youtube.com
Imperial Sand Dunes in Arizona - Jessica Munguia on youtube.com

Here’s another one that few think about visiting but should. The Imperial Sand Dunes in Yuma, Arizona are home to more than 40 miles of inland sand dunes. It’s actually the nation’s largest collection of dunes too. This is the perfect spot for a good pre-runner. Avoid this one during the summer months where temperatures regularly reach 120 degrees though. Camping is permitted too and thanks to the low light pollution, stargazing is among one of the favorite facets of this unique location. While you won’t find any of the big boulders of other sites featured here, the dunes offer their own unique challenge and reward.

Alpine Loop Trail, Colorado

Alpine Loop Trail - Code Brown Productions on youtube.com
Alpine Loop Trail - Code Brown Productions on youtube.com

Nestled southwest of Denver in Colorado, the Alpine Loop Trail has a lot going for it. First, even two-wheel-drive vehicles can enjoy it. 4x4s are still best to enjoy the most remote locations on the trail. Either way, the path leads visitors over two different 12,000-foot passes over the course of some 60 miles. Keep an eye out for seven different ghost towns as well. Like many trails in Colorado, plan to go during the summer or fall before the wet weather comes and they’re closed.

Moab, Utah

Hells Revenge Trail - trailsoffroad.com on youtube.com
Hells Revenge Trail - trailsoffroad.com on youtube.com

No list of the country’s best off-road trails can be complete without consideration of Moab, Utah. The site is so infamous that it’s just known for the general place, not just one or two specific trails. Still, some trails like the perilous Hells Revenge route are only for the most experienced of drivers in proper off-road rigs. The best part of Moab though, is that no matter which trails you pick, the views are simply incredible in every direction and from every elevation.

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Stephen Rivers

Stephen Rivers is a car enthusiast who loves all things built with passion, extending to nearly all car cultures. After obtaining an occupational studies degree in sports medicine, Stephen turned his attention to sports cars. He was employed as an auto shop manager, spent time in auto sales, and worked as a software developer for a racing company, but Stephen began writing about cars over 10 years ago. When he's not in front of a computer screen, he's racing his own Bugeye Subaru WRX in as many autocross and rallycross competitions as he can.

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