3 Top Off-Roading Destinations in the U.S.

Have the need to test your Jeep Wrangler's supposed "unbreakable" polycarbonate LED lens against a rock while enjoying a rugged yet scenic view?

Here are Wide Open Road's top three picks for best off-roading destinations in the United States.

3. Johnson Valley, California

Home of the prestigious King of the Hammers off-road race, this area is comprised of dry lakebeds, rugged hills, and trails ranging in all levels of difficulty. Plus, its only 100 miles east of Los Angeles, making this a perfect day trip.

2. Moab, Utah

Moab is an off-roading paradise, with a mix of roads and trails covering scenic rides, offroad trails, 4x4 paths, and more. Its specialty lies in its versatility, with tons of backcountry trails for two-wheel and for-wheel enthusiasts, along with specialty trails with colorful names such as Secret Spire and Chicken Corners.

Its mainstay feature is its unique rock composition known as slickrock, part of the touristy Sand Flats Recreational Area. According to Moab visitors, riding slickrock is akin to driving on sandpaper. For a more intimate experience, stick to the dedicated trails or cover nearby Canyonlands and Arches National Parks with a scenic half-day drive.

1. Rubicon Trail, California

This 22-mile, hybrid road/4x4 trail is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. Its terrain includes large boulders, granite slabs, sharp drops, and plenty of campers enjoying the view below.

It's such a popular off-roading destination that the Rubicon coined the phrase "Crossing the Rubicon," which means reaching a point of no return. Don't forget Jeep adopting its name for one model and its continued use as a testing ground for 4-wheel drive vehicles.

No fees or permits are required, camping is free, and the trail can be completed in three to four days. Look for annual Rubicon events, usually organized in the summer.


This post was originally published on January 2, 2020.