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This is a trail rating guide that my 4x4 club uses and many others. Hope it is helpful in rating some of the trails you recommend to the AZ chapter.

2WD

1.0 All-weather high speed paved or graded dirt or gravel road, regularly maintained, with excellent drainage. 4WD not needed, even in wet weather. Speeds of over 40 mph can be achieved. Passenger cars acceptable.

1.5 Maintained graded dirt road. 4WD not needed except in wet weather. May have potholes, dips, and sharp curves. May drain poorly in wet weather. Speeds of over 10 mph possible. Passenger cars can do, but will have to slow down considerably on washouts, etc. due to lack of ground clearance. No grades over 10 degrees.

EASY 4WD

2.0 Unimproved or rarely graded dirt road; 4WD and/or extra clearance occasionally needed at times, with no special driving skills required. Passengers cars NOT acceptable, due to insufficient ground clearance. 2WD & 4WD trucks with stock clearance are acceptable. Street tires are acceptable. Day runs are typically 20 miles in length.

2.5 Dirt road graded rarely, if ever. 4WD low range and good clearance often needed, with some extra care and a bit of driving experience useful. Suitable for novice drivers. Speeds often under 10 mph. Street tires are acceptable. 2WD trucks NOT acceptable, due to lack of low range gears. No grades over 20 degrees.

MODERATE 4WD

3.0 Ungraded road in difficult terrain, rarely maintained. 4WD low range and clearance required., with some driving skill and daring useful. Challenges for novice driver. Suitable for stock 4WD vehicles. Street tires are not recommended. No 2WD vehicles, due to lack of traction. Speeds often under 5 mph.

3.5 Road or trail in difficult terrain, probably maintained only by occasional users. Considerable driving skill and daring needed. Not recommended for the novice driver. Surface may include wash beds, sand, cinders, lava rock, snow, mud, water, etc. Vehicles with long front or rear overhang (beyond the axles) may scrape front or rear bumpers on wash crossings, etc. Street tires not acceptable. Approaching the limit of what a capable stock 4WD vehicle (with capable driver) can do. Stock 4WD vehicles usually not recommended. Upgrade to 31” tires, mild lift (1” or 2”), and rear locker or limited slip is highly desirable. Equipment failure is usually limited to flat tires. Grades may exceed 20
degrees. Occasional off camber situation may exceed 20 degrees. Water crossings should be 2 feet or less in depth. Spotting may be required on the more difficult sections, especially for long, wide vehicles. Average speed is 3 mph. A day run is typically around 10 miles in length.
This is the most common numerical rating given to 4WD trails. Suitable for mildly modified 4WD vehicles & moderately experienced drivers.

HARD 4WD

4.0 Trail badly eroded. Off camber situations likely and may exceed 25 degrees. Grades may exceed 25 degrees. Water crossings can exceed 2 feet in depth. Stock vehicles NOT recommended. 31” tires minimum, (33” preferred), mild lift & hard locker, (not limited slip), in the rear probably required. Front locker or limited slip recommended. Speeds often under 3 mph. Spotting probably required on the more difficult obstacles to avoid body damage. Recommended for experienced 4WD drivers only. Body damage possible, but unlikely. More likely on long, and/or wide vehicles. Equipment failure possible, but unlikely.

4.5 Trail is TOUGH. Big rocks, grades exceeding 30 degrees. Off camber situations exceeding 30 degrees. Sometimes, but not always, best suited for short wheel base vehicles. (under 105”) 33” Tires minimum, (35” or larger preferred). 2” to 4” of lift and gearing of 40 to 1 (20 to 1 for automatics) or lower in first gear, low range probably required. Hard locker in the rear and limited slip or hard locker in the front probably required. Speeds often under 1 mph. A day run will usually be 1-3 miles in length. Body damage likely, but usually can be avoided by very careful driving and good spotting. Typically 10% of the vehicles on these runs will experience major mechanical failure, i.e. driveline or steering failure. (u-joints, axles, pitman arm, drag link, tie rods, etc.) Usually, but not always, these failures are due to improper and insufficiently tested vehicle modifications or poor (sloppy) driving technique. (Too much gas or steering pressure) An experienced driver with a properly setup vehicle can usually avoid most breakage.

5.0 Trail CANNOT be driven the whole way. Winching is required in at least 1 point on the trail. Water crossings may exceed 2 1/2 feet in depth. Grades exceeding 40 degrees. The biggest rocks with off camber situations exceeding 35 degrees. Rollovers possible. Usually only suitable for short wheel base vehicles. (under 105”) Winch, 33” minimum tires, (35” or larger preferred), 3” to 5” of lift, gearing of 60 to 1 ( 30 to 1 for automatics) or lower in first gear, low range, and hard locker in both front and rear axles probably required. Axle upgrades highly recommended. Speed continuously under 1 mph. A day run is typically 1 mile in length. These trails are typically very hard on tires. 1 spare probably required, 2 spares recommended. Plug kit and/or tubes recommended. Tires with sufficient sidewall protection (Boggers, Swampers, etc.) recommended. 50% or greater chance of body damage. 50% or greater chance of major mechanical failure. Breakage is usually due to excessive torque or torque spikes on axles or steering components. Only world class, experienced (5 years +) drivers with extra money , parts & energy to repair broken vehicles need apply.
 

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Excellent, AZRC! {cool}
 

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Cool, thanks...
 

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cool. the only trail i have been on in az yet is "box canyon". just to get an idea, how would the canyon rate? (probly going out there tommorrow morn. actually)
 

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We've done box canyon a few times and its only got a couple spots that you may need a spotter on. Other than that its a real fun trail. The Coke ovens is also a nice one and its in the same area.
 

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My buddies and i go out every weekend or every other weekend hitting trails all over AZ.  we've been doing the same few for a a while but ill let you in on what we've done so far.

Butterfield Stage Route 1.5 - 2.0
Its the closest thing to a paved road you can get but one or two points MIGHT need 4WD... clearance is NEVER a problem unless you are driving a Miata... No spiderwebs, relatively straight shot. Plan 1-2 hours for the trail.

Bulldog Canyon 2.5
Decent trail that we run frequently, my buddy in a stock Cherokee made it with careful line picking and some helpful spotting but my IH Scout II with a 1" body lift and 31's did fine.  Not too difficult unless you're stock... few places you'll need 4WD.  Lots of spiderwebs and enjoy the lack of cell phone service... bring a friend in a vehicle. Plan 1.5 - 2 hours if your not dicking around... if you screw around and take the offshoots and charge up a few of the "go-nowhere" hill climbs you can spend around 3 hours there.

Martinez Cabin 1.5 - 2
Very easy, scenic, beautiful fun trail for the family.  Day long trail with many offshoots including but not limited to: Box Canyon, Axle Alley, Coke Ovens, and Martinez Canyon.  Easy trail 2WD is completely possible.  2 - 2.5 Hours without dicking around.

Box Canyon 3.5 - 4.0
Fun stuff.  Wandered in here on accident and had a blast. Great trail that will take you out of Martinez Cabin and back on the freeway.  Not scenic, your in a canyon.  Random dead end partway through hope your not in a fullsize and wander up that.  Lots of quads (try not to run them over).  1 - 1.5 Hours.

Sycamore Creek - 2.5 - 3.0
Massive area. Lots of quads. Lots of spiderwebs. Don't get lost. Busy place on the weekends lots of little quads and dirtbikes running around.  As hard as you want it to be, the particular offshoot we picked got progressively harder and we just deposited vehicles as they were unable to continue.  Fun area to explore, take the family spend a day.

The Four - Peaks Area / Saguaro Lake 2.5 - 3.0
Nothing massive or scary, i don't want to say Four Peaks because there is a Four Peaks trail and this is NOT it.  This is the spiderwebs surround Four Peaks.  Fun stuff, lots of spiderwebs, lots of quads and bikes, nothing too difficult, can easily spend the day there.

Cinder Hills OHV Park 2.5 - 3.5
As hard as you want it to be.  We have never seen so many quads and bikes before.  What a blast, cold up there in flagstaff though.  Huge park, we've been twice for 3 days at a time and still have not uncovered the entire park.  Great scenery, great place for camping and hauling the family along... watch out for the  craters... i dove my Scout into one.  Most fun we've ever had.

I'll add more as they come to me.  I highly recommend Guide to Arizona Backroads and 4-Wheel Drive Trails by Charles A. Wells available at any bookstore, amazing trail guide i always keep it with me.
 

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There is a trail called Smiley Rock in that book.Fun stuff once you get to the boulder fields.
 

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boulder fields? that sounds sick i'll look into that.. i know we're doing either sycamore creak or four peaks this saturday or sunday, anyone interested? mid-morning to late afternoon trip? Name is Mike you can contact me at 480-824-8960
 

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Yeah ,they're fun.Especially in a stock Jeep :D .
Wish I could go with you guys on the trip ,never been to Four Peaks or Sycamore Creek. Maybe next time. Hubby get's back from Iraq in January and he wants to go wheelin REALLY bad. So I want to plan a fun run when he returns. He got real jealous that I went to Box Canyon with AZ members.Well,not jealous, just really bummed.
Sandy
 

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Martinez Cabin 1.5 - 2
Very easy, scenic, beautiful fun trail for the family.  Day long trail with many offshoots including but not limited to: Box Canyon, Axle Alley, Coke Ovens, and Martinez Canyon.  Easy trail 2WD is completely possible.  2 - 2.5 Hours without dicking around.


I read your post above, and I'm wondering if my 2wd trailduster can make it to the coke ovens in Florence. I am (at best) a novice off road driver, but my 360 makes plenty of power and my trans is in good shape.
 
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