7 Of Our Favorite Overland Trails in Arizona in 2024

Arizona Overland Trails, Overlanding -

7 Of Our Favorite Overland Trails in Arizona in 2024

In a previous post we talked about the allure of Arizona and what are the best times of year to come. Here are 7 of our favorite overland and off-roading trails in Arizona.

Some of these trails are listed in our "Favorite Trails of 2023" but we kept some secret to share with you this year.

Arizona, with its diverse landscapes ranging from vast deserts to lush pine forests, offers some of the most spectacular overlanding adventures in the United States. Overlanding, which combines off-roading with camping, provides enthusiasts the opportunity to explore remote terrains while being self-reliant. Here, we delve into the top 7 overlanding trails in Arizona that promise breathtaking views and exhilarating challenges.

What is Overlanding?

Overlanding is about exploration. Unlike traditional camping, overlanding is undertaken with motorized off-road capable vehicles where the journey is the primary objective. The activity is not only about conquering obstacles but also about enjoying and immersing oneself in the natural world for extended periods, often in a self-sufficient manner.

Top 7 Overlanding Trails in Arizona

1. Apache Trail (State Route 88)

  • Location: Northeast of Phoenix
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Highlights: The historic Apache Trail offers stunning desert landscapes, twisted canyons, and spectacular views of the Salt River. This trail includes both paved and unpaved sections, suitable for beginners who want a taste of overlanding without committing to more technical routes.

2. Schnebly Hill Road

  • Location: Sedona
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
  • Highlights: Schnebly Hill Road is renowned for its red rock scenery and panoramic vistas of Sedona and the Verde Valley. This trail is quite rocky and requires a high-clearance, 4x4 vehicle, especially during the rougher patches.

3. Mojave Road

  • Location: Western Arizona, Mojave Desert
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Highlights: Stretching approximately 140 miles, the Mojave Road is an historic trail that will take you back in time, crossing the Mojave National Preserve. This trail requires careful planning as it features long stretches without any services and has numerous historical landmarks along the way, such as old forts and ancient petroglyphs.

4. Backway to Crown King

  • Location: North of Phoenix
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Highlights: The trail climbs from the desert floor in Phoenix to the mountain town of Crown King, with elevations topping 5,770 feet. This challenging route requires a 4x4 vehicle and offers experienced drivers thrilling rocky ascents and descents along with lush forest scenery once near Crown King.
  • AZ Off-Roading Trail Challenges 

5. El Camino Del Diablo

  • Location: Yuma
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Highlights: Known as "The Devil’s Highway," this historic 250-mile trail traverses harsh desert landscapes in the southwestern part of the state. It’s recommended for the most seasoned overlanders due to its remote nature and the extreme conditions typically encountered.

6. Broken Arrow Trail

  • Location: Sedona
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Highlights: Famous for its striking red rock formations and as a filming location for many Hollywood movies, Broken Arrow Trail offers some of the best off-roading experiences in Sedona. The trail includes moderate climbs and descents, and spots like Devil’s Dining Room Sinkhole add to the adventure.

7. The Great Western Trail

  • Location: Statewide
  • Difficulty: Varies
  • Highlights: This vast trail system covers over 800 miles within Arizona and is part of a larger network that stretches through Utah, Idaho, and Arizona. It offers diverse terrains to conquer, from desert lowlands to snowy mountain passes, providing a comprehensive Arizona overlanding experience.

Tips for Overlanding in Arizona

  1. Vehicle Preparation: Ensure your vehicle is well-equipped for off-road conditions with all necessary repairs and modifications.
  2. Water and Supplies: Carry ample water and supplies as many trails lack services.
  3. Navigation Tools: Use GPS and traditional maps for navigation, especially in remote areas where cell service is unavailable.
  4. Environmental Awareness: Practice Leave No Trace principles to preserve the natural environment.
  5. Safety Gear: Pack emergency supplies including a first aid kit, extra food, and clothing.

FAQs about Overlanding in Arizona

What is the best time of year to go overlanding in Arizona?

The best time to go overlanding in Arizona is during the fall and spring months when the temperatures are more moderate. Summer months can be extremely hot, especially in desert areas.

Do I need a permit for overlanding in Arizona?

Some trails and public lands might require permits for access or camping. It’s best to check with local land management agencies before planning your trip.

Are there any restrictions I should be aware of?

Many areas, especially desert habitats, are sensitive and might have travel restrictions during certain times of the year to protect wildlife. Always adhere to trail signs and regulations.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram as we are often times heading out to some of the trails to adventure, we'd love to see you on the trail if you're heading our way!


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