Top Off-Road Trails: Unveiling the Ultimate Off-roading Adventure

At onX Offroad, we are passionate about exploring untraveled trails and getting people out of their comfort zone and into new adventures. The onX Offroad App is built by off-roaders for off-roaders—we SxS, dirt bike, overland, rock crawl, and rip around with our friends and family. Because of this passion, we wanted to find out what trails off-road enthusiasts deem as some of their dream destinations for off-roading. Through a recent survey with approximately 300 total respondents made up of off-roaders, we present the following insights about their ultimate off-road adventure.

Top Bucket List Off-Roading Destinations

The Rubicon Trail, California

Technical Rating: 8

Meandering through California’s high Sierra, west of Lake Tahoe, the Rubicon Trail is situated 80 miles east of Sacramento and 35 miles east of Placerville. The roughly 22-mile-long trail is a popular 4×4 route that winds through the diverse landscapes and various terrain within the Eldorado National Forest.

Alpine Loop Scenic Byway, Colorado 

Technical Rating: 4

This trail covers over 60 miles through a network of historic 4×4 mining roads with a single four-mile stretch of paved surface. It is a rugged, high-elevation route that’s not for the faint of heart, with rough terrain and steep drop-offs that string together two elevated mountain passes, Cinnamon Pass and Engineer Pass, that reach as high as 12,800 feet.

Alpine loop off-roading trail

East Mojave Heritage Trail, California 

Technical Rating: 5

Developed in the 1980s as an alternative overland route to the more well-known but shorter Mojave Road, the East Mojave Heritage Trail (EMHT) offers over 700 miles of trails through the Eastern Mojave Desert and Mojave National Preserve regions. The route is divided into four segments, each featuring various points of interest, such as geological formations, historical sites, and incredible scenery.

White Rim Trail, Utah 

Technical Rating: 5

A 100-mile loop that wraps around the “Island in the Sky” mesa in Canyonlands National Park with epic views of the area. You’ll navigate through canyons that the Colorado and Green Rivers carved out over the millenia and discover cliff-edge viewpoints on this unforgettable route.

Hell’s Revenge OHV Trail, Utah

Technical Rating: 5

This 7.6-mile loop trail near Moab, Utah, is a challenging route popular with 4×4 and UTV enthusiasts that features long, steep climbs on slickrock terrain. Because of the rugged terrain, it is recommended only for experienced drivers. As one of the more popular trails in the Moab area, it rewards those who accept the challenge with unmatched views of the desert surroundings.

Off-Road Technical Ratings 

It’s interesting to note that for those respondents who provided their top off-road destination, 65% confirmed they navigate trails with a technical rating of Moderate.

The technical ratings for off-roading trails serve as a guide to what adventurers might face, ranging from easy, manageable paths to extreme challenges meant only for the most experienced and well-equipped. These ratings emphasize the diversity of off-roading experiences and help off-roaders navigate trails from gentle dirt roads safe for most 4WD and high-clearance 2WD vehicles to severe terrain recommended for heavily modified vehicles. However, conditions can change quickly due to weather or unforeseen conditions, so it’s crucial to use judgment and understand your vehicle’s capabilities. With this in mind, the team at onX Offroad always recommends that users check trail ratings before heading out for an off-road adventure. 

Off-the-Beaten-Path Destinations

Now that we went through the top five off-roading bucket list trails, we wanted to dive into some of the trails from respondents that piqued our interest but didn’t make it into the top five. 

Whipsaw Trail, British Columbia  

This 103-kilometer path of wonder nestled near Princeton, British Columbia, Canada, is a moderately trafficked trail with scenic views that can’t be missed. With an array of enchanting lakes, serene ponds, and breathtaking scenic vistas, it’s perfect for those who seek a blend of adventure and tranquility. Although the trail can be done in a day, it’s a haven for camping enthusiasts, scenic drivers, and off-roading adventurers who want a multi-day experience. The best time of the year to visit is July-Sept. During the winter months, it could be unpassable, and a 4WD with a high clearance is strongly recommended.

See it in the onX Offroad App

Atsion Lake to Batso Lake, New Jersey 

Embark on a beautiful journey through the Pine Barrens, navigating between Atsion and Batsto along trails that skirt the serene Batsto River and Lake, offering tranquil views and perfect spots for picnics or kayaking. The northern route is comfortable to navigate with a sand/gravel mix, while the southern Batsto River Road presents more of a challenge with its uneven terrain and potential for large puddles. Key sights include the historic Atsion Mansion, Church & Cemetery, and Batsto Village. While 2WD vehicles with proper tires can access this trail in dry conditions, wetter weather may be a bit trickier and require recovery due to sticky mud, with limited cell service adding to the remote feel.

See it in the onX Offroad App

Atson Lake Trail, New Jersey

Rausch Creek Offroad Park, Pennsylvania

This trail offers a unique opportunity to gauge winter readiness for traversing the Spider Lake area, with anywhere from 2-12 inches of fresh snow challenging even well-equipped rigs. Designed as a loop near groomed roads, it’s perfect for those looking to test out their snow wheeling skills, though the trail’s narrow path, suitable only for high clearance 4x4s, means passing or turning around can be difficult in deep snow. While manageable in summer for various off-road vehicles, winter conditions can change its technical rating, making it a true test for seasoned adventurers.

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Broken Arrow Trail, Arizona

Broken Arrow trail in Sedona is an iconic off-road adventure, known for its slickrock obstacles and stunning red rock panoramas, arguably offering the best views in Sedona. Popular among hikers, mountain bikers, and off-roaders, it provides an exciting yet safe experience with heart-pounding ascents, descents, and challenging cross-axle ditches. At a trail rating of 5/10, this trail features tight turns, narrow paths, and the notorious Devil’s Staircase, demanding high ground clearance and careful navigation. This is a real 4×4 trail that requires high-ground clearance in spots. 

See it in the onX Offroad App. 

From iconic routes like the Rubicon Trail in California to the serene and rugged paths of the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway in Colorado, each destination brings its own unique set of challenges and breathtaking views. The insights from our survey highlight a preference for moderately challenging trails, reflecting the adventurous spirit and skill of the off-roading community. The exploration of lesser-known trails show the diversity of off-roading trails available through the onX Offroad App. As adventurers seek out these top destinations and hidden treasures, the importance of preparation and understanding trail ratings becomes ever more crucial. 

Whether you’re a seasoned pro navigating extreme terrains or a beginner eager to explore easy trails, onX Offroad provides the tools and information needed to embark on your next adventure with confidence. The journey through these trails is not just about conquering the path less traveled but also about embracing the spirit of adventure that drives the off-roading community forward.

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Dale Spangler

Dale Spangler is a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast introduced to two wheels at the age of eight and began racing motocross at 12. After chasing his dream of being a professional motocross racer through the mid-90s, he moved on to a career in the powersports industry, where he’s spent the last 28+ years as a marketing specialist, writer, and content creator.