By John Kuells
Arizona can seem like one big playground. It’s the sixth largest state in total area and it’s made up of mostly public land. That leaves a lot of room for exploration. One of the best ways to take advantage of Arizona’s vast, sprawling land is by going ATV off-roading. There is diverse terrain and trails that can please all sorts of ATV riders. Here are five great off-roading spots that stand out from the rest.
Broken Arrow Trail has it all—beautiful views, daring turns, and rocky terrain. This four-mile trail gets heavy traffic because it’s part of Sedona’s Pink Jeep Tours. Experts can avoid those tourists by taking an ATV off-roading. This difficult drive is comprised of slick sandstone and a few sharp, narrow turns. It’s a thrill ride with some of the best views in the state. Broken Arrow is a one-of-a-kind way to experience Sedona’s acclaimed natural beauty. You’ll be surrounded by its famed red rock formations and panoramic views. Don’t forget your camera.
No, Four Peaks isn’t just a famous local brewery. It’s also a landmark on the Mazatzal Mountains in the Tonto National Forest. ATV riders can do their own exploration of the mountains by taking the 26-mile Four Peaks Mine Trail. This trail is accessible year-round and offers some of the most immaculate views of the Mazatzal Mountains. While not the most challenging trail, it offers a bevvy of options for a day of exploration. Four Peaks Road climbs over 5,000 feet up the Four Peaks Mountain Range and has many opportunities to stop and take in the beauty.
Sycamore Creek is a well-known off-roading spot among locals. Sycamore Creek offers over 100 miles of area to play around on your ATV. The trails include cuts through everything from creek banks to steep hill climbs. Sycamore Creek is located along the northern side of the Four Peaks Region near Fountain Hills. You’ll be greeted with epic desert views and wide-open roads. Sycamore Creek is also famous for the difficult Widowmaker hill climb. Don’t let the name scare you. It’s a large desert wall that makes for a heck of a thrill ride.
Take a loop through the mountains on Sunflower Mine trail. This 20-mile ride features a variety of scenery through the Tonto National Forest. This remote trail offers a more isolated ride and less traffic than some of the more popular off-roading options. That’s because it lacks an easy access point. However, it’s worth it for those up to the task. The trail weaves through the forest, crosses boulder fields, and along a creek bed. The trail eventually leads you to the main attraction—the Sunflower Mine. It’s a defunct mercury mine from the early 1900s and a crucial landmark on your journey.
ATV riders looking to escape the heat of the Valley can take the Backway to Crown King. Crown King is a small town elevated 4,000 feet above Phoenix. It offers cool weather and a reprieve from city life. Starting at Lake Pleasant, ATV riders take the steep ride up to Crown King. This trail has steep drops, incredible scenery, and even remnants of old mines. Erosion has made this a more difficult ATV ride, especially for the last couple miles. But it’s a great option for you to spend a day out in the open in the Prescott National Forest.
*Note: Age restrictions, special licenses, and other requirements for off highway vehicles vary from state to state. Before heading out on your OHV, please consult your local regulations.