4WD Trail Ratings
4WD trails are rated on a scale from 0 to 5 (0 being the easiest, 5 the most difficult). The ratings are based on those with an intermediate experience level and a stock, but capable vehicle.
Please use the ratings as a guide only. Trail conditions can change in a blink of an eye. One big storm can turn an easy rated trail into an almost impassible trail. Although we have attempted to have a consistent rating throughout, they are subjective by nature. One person's moderate trail can be another's nightmare. No guarantees are given or implied. Use your best judgment.
Rating: 0.5 (Maintained Dirt Road)
These roads are graded or maintained year round. Typical non-paved county roads. Dry, or less than 3" water crossing depth. Gentle grades. 2WD under all conditions except snow. No width problems, two vehicles wide. Example: the Rim Road.
Rating: 1.0 (Semi-Maintained Dirt Roads)
These dirt roads are occasionally graded or maintained. They may cross sandy washes and sections may be rough (washboards). Dry, or less than 3" water crossing depth. Some ruts. Slight grades, up to 10 degrees. 2WD under most conditions. Rain or snow may make 4WD necessary. Usually one and a half to two vehicles wide. Example: Dragoon Springs.
Rating: 1.5 (Easy 2WD/4WD)
Dirt road. Rutted, washes, or gulches. Features trails with obstacles that are easy to navigate. In optimum weather conditions, these trails may not require the continual use of four-wheel drive (4WD). Water crossings up to 6" depth. Passable mud. Grades up to 10 degrees. Small rocks or holes. 4WD recommended but 2WD possible under good conditions and with adequate ground clearance and skill. No width problems for any normal vehicle. Vehicle passing spots frequently available if less than two vehicles wide. Examples: the three and four number forest roads in the White Mountains and the Marble Mine adventure.
Rating: 2.0 (Easy 4WD)
Straightforward trails on which low range 4WD will be required. Rutted and/or rocky road. No shelves but rocks to 9". Water crossings usually less than hub deep. Passable mud. Grades moderate, up to 15 degrees. Side hill moderate up to 15 degrees. No width problems, vehicle passing spots frequently available if less than two vehicles wide. Example: Flux Canyon.
Rating: 2.5 (Moderate 4WD trail)
Moderately demanding trails on which 4WD will be required. Possible with stock 4WD vehicle, however, recommend traction device (limited slip) in rear differential, aggressive tread and low air pressure. Higher ground clearance and Off-Road tires are recommended. Rutted and/or rocky road. No shelves. Rocks up to 12" and water crossings up to 12" with possible currents. Passable mud. Moderate grades to 15 degrees. 6" holes. Side hill to 20 degrees. 4WD required. No width problems. Example: Fish Canyon.
Rating: 3.0 (Demanding 4WD trail)
Demanding trails on which 4WD is required. Quite rocky or deep ruts. Rocks to 12" and frequent. Water crossings may exceed hub depth with strong currents. Shelves to 6". Mud may require checking before proceeding. Moderate grades to 20 degrees. Side hill may approach 30 degrees. Moderate experience and driving skill helpful. Second attempts may be required with stock vehicles. Caution may be required with wider vehicles. Example: Chiva Falls.
Rating: 3.5 (Challenging 4WD trail)
Challenging trails on which 4WD is required. You will encounter a variety of more difficult challenges (loose rocks, large potholes, steep inclines, and large rocks) on these trails. Not recommended with most stock 4WD vehicles. Traction device (limited slip) in rear differential, aggressive tread and low air pressure recommended. Higher than stock ground clearance is advisable. Moderate experience and driving skill advised. Likely paint damage, possible rocker-panel damage. Rocks frequent and large, 12" and may exceed hub height. Holes frequent or deep (12"). Shelves to 9". Mud 8" deep and may be present on uphill sections. Grades to 25 degrees and side hill to 30 degrees. Water crossings to 18" and may have strong currents. 1-1/2 vehicles wide. Example: The Coke Ovens.
Rating: 4.0 (Difficult trail)
These trails traverse very rugged terrain. Higher than stock ground clearance is required. Aggressive tread and low air pressure are required. Traction Devices (Lockers or limited-slip) in the differentials (front and rear), lift, and larger tires are highly recommended. These trails require above average Off-Road driving skills. High-Lift jacks and winches would also be helpful. There will likely be paint damage and possible vehicle body and/or mechanical damage. Heavy rock and/or severe ruts. Rocks exceeding hub height frequent. Shelves to 12". Deep mud or uphill mud sections. Steep grades to 25 degrees and can be loose or rocky. Water crossings may exceed 30" in depth. Side hill to 30 degrees. One vehicle wide. Not passable by most stock vehicles. Example: Sutherland Trail.
Rating: 4.5 (Extreme trail)
These trails cross extremely rugged terrain with very steep inclines, large boulders, and potentially dangerous situations. These trails require modified vehicles, including lift, lockers, and over-sized tires. A High level of Off-Road driving skill is required. Extreme caution required. There will likely be paint damage, possible vehicle body and/or mechanical damage. There are possibilities of rollovers. Winches are recommended. Severe rock over 15". Frequent deep holes over 15". Shelves over 15". Mud bog conditions (long, deep, no form bottom). Over 30" water crossings with strong currents. Steep grades over 30 degrees. Side hill over 30 degrees. Example: Ajax Mine (from what I hear - I'm not crazy enough to go on this trail).
Rating: 5.0 (Impassable trail)
These trails are for the extreme four-wheeler only. Extreme caution recommended. These trails require highly modified vehicles, including lift, excellent articulation, lockers front and rear, large tires with aggressive tread, winches, high lift jacks. A High level of Off-Road driving skill is required. Paint damage is virtually guaranteed, body and/or mechanical damage is very likely. Rollovers will be more common on these trails. Impassable by stock vehicles. Winching required. Trail building necessary. May be impassable. Impassable under anything but ideal conditions. Vehicle damage probable. Personal injury possible. Extreme caution necessary. Example: Yeah, right. You're on your own.