Off-Road Trip Reports & Trail Descriptions


Off Road Trip Reports & Trail Descriptions

(I used to cringe every time I saw that sign, now I look forward to it:-)


Some places to get off the beaten track:

I currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area of northern California. I used to own an 1974 FJ-55 Toyota Landcruiser and only had a few chances take it wheeling before I had to sell it. After buying my 4Runner (in Dec. 1996), I vowed not to let this happen again. I began to collect information on how and where to get off of the pavement with it. I've organized the list by state, then by governing agency, then roughly in a north to south and west to east ordering.

Reading these web pages has been known to cause various disturbances, including itchy feet, unplanned vacations, wanderlust, and costly modifications to sport utility vehicles, ATV's, and other modes of conveyances that are designed for off-road use. These pages have been directly attributed to the recent rash of 4-wheel-drive vehicle sales increases.

Where to get off-road in the western US:

Here's some details on various trail rating systems:






Washington (where I grew up):

* Indicates places I've visited so far.

If you have any information on places I've not listed, please let me know.
If you find a broken link here, please try using your favorite search engine and try to find the new location, search for the old page name, description, etc. If you find the new page location, I'll be happy to update the link. If you are the owner of one of these external pages and you change its name or move it, please let me know as well. I don't have the time to keep hundreds of links updated the way the Internet changes these days. Also, if you contact me and expect a response, please include a VALID e-mail address so I can reply.


Trail Difficulty Ratings:

There are a few different trail rating system in use. You need to be careful to know what scale a given trail is rated on. A "4" on a 1-4 scale is a whole lot tougher than a "4" on a 1-10 scale. Here's some rating systems I've run across:

The 1-4 system:

The 1-10 system:

The Jeep Jamboree version:

Then there is the infamousYosemite Decimal System for those *really* hard core trails :-)
(I'd rate Surprise Canyon somewhere around a 5.6)


Information Sources:

Finding information on legal places to get off the beaten track is difficult. I've found the information available from the following sources:


USGS National Map Viewer:

Be sure to check out the various HillShade layers for finding old, abandoned roads!


Back to my 4Runner page.


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Visitor # 68304 since 10.OCT.2001

[Last updated: 16.March.2022 ]