Trail difficulties are listed as a number based on how we feel how diffcult this trail is. Below are the descriptions:
1-2: These trails are very easy. Easy enough for a passenger car except after periods of heavy rain. Roads are usually hard dirt and are plenty wide enough for two cars.
3-4: These trails are still pretty easy however they may have a few rough spots. These trails will have rocks and bumps and should be wide enough for cars to pass.
5-6: These trails are moderate. They will usually be wide enough for a vehicle but may require a short period of backing to pass. Trails also will have moderately steep hills and will have many rocks and ruts. May be difficult to pass after heavy rain and may have water crossings.
7-8: These trails are considered moderately difficult. Trails in this category will have large amounts of rocks as well as steep hills and sharp turns. Experience is needed for these trails as they may be rough. Water crossings, if present should be less then 8 inches but may be more after heavy rains. The trail may become impassable after heavy rain as well
9-10: These trails are considered difficult. Trails in this category will have narrow, tippy, and/or steep roads. Rocks and ditches will be present heavily. Water crossings along this trail may be anywhere from 8+ inches. This trail may become impassable during seasons of heavy rain. Finally, trails rated 9-10 are not for the weak-hearted or novice riders.
Water!: Water is extremely important on any trip through out Arizona. It is best to pack at least 1 gallon per person per day. Without water, any unexpected event can turn your trip into a disaster.
Pack Light: It is best not to bring too much with you on a trip. However, it is better to over pack then under pack on supplies. Make sure expect to stay overnight on a trail, just in case.
- Fuel Limitations: Always know how much fuel you have. Plan accordingly to the length of your trip. Without enough fuel, you will be stuck until someone helps.
-Stay together: Always stay with your party. If you become separated, wait for them or meet at a designated meeting spot.
-Travel with someone: It is a very good idea to travel with someone. Your chances of getting stranded are significantly reduced when you travel with another vehicle.
- Clay surface roads: Roads with a clay surface can become a real problem during a rainy period. With lots of rain, they become soft making driving on them difficult.
-Mines, tunnels, caves, and primitive structures: Never enter a mine! Although it may appear safe, deadly gases may be present. Primitive structures such as mining remnants should also not be entered as they may be unstable. While you should use caution, still enjoy exploring these neat areas.
-Water crossings: Crossing water should only be done at designated points, such as along a trail. Also, analyze the situation. Try to find out the depth of the water by using a long stick. When crossing, allow the most advanced rider to go first, then if they are successful, follow their path. The key is to just keep moving. By doing this, you create a small wake in front of the car/quad allowing you to cross deep water. Turn back if the water is quick moving or too deep as it could result in danger of everyone in the vehicle.
-Hills: Hills can be tricky. When going up steep hills, make sure you take the path of least resistance in order to successfully make it up the hill. Make sure you also know the type of trail it is. Loose dirt and rocks can make climbing a hill difficult. If you are on a quad, lean forward and even use a cable to ensure safety climbing a hill. Going downhill can also be a small challenge. Try not to over-use the breaks. Use engine at times to slow the vehicle down. If you begin to slide, turn into the direction of the slide in order to correct it. Use extreme caution when climbing rocky, steep, and narrow shelf roads!
-Washboard roads: Washboard roads are a natural part of off-roading. While the bumps cannot be avoided, they can be reduced. Try slowing down or speeding up. If this does not help, then just tough it out.
-Tippy conditions: Tippy trails should be used with caution. While it may seem you are on the verge of tipping, you would be suprised at how far your vehicle can actually lean without rolling over.
-Blind curves: Blind curves are tight turns in which you cannot see the other side. Use caution by going around these by sticking toward the right side of the trail. Also, expect the worse, there could be a truck moving quickly around the curve, but nine times out of ten there isn't. Be careful around these turns and listen for ATV's and motorcycles (which can usually be heard).
-Washouts: Also refered to as ditches on this site, washouts are points on the trail in which it has literally 'washed away'. These are the result of heavy rain or rockslides. Stay as far away as possible from these areas especially when on high roads.
-Large obstacles: Large obstacles can be a challenge, however, if you take your time manuvering, you can make it over it. With large rocks, simply stack rocks to make the obstacle not as high. Again, pick the path of least resistance and you can make it over nearly anything.
-Sand: Sand is frequent all across trails in Arizona. Trails inevitabely cross numerious washes. However, by maintaining a somewhat high speed, you can easily pass through a gravely wash. Airing down your tires and steering back and forth will improve your ride through a sandy wash.
-Stay on existing roads and trails: It is very important to stay on roads and trails that exist and not make your own. Park on wide spots of the trail. Also, go over, not around obstacles (if possible). Tread Lightly! strives to get this message out, that way, we can all enjoy these trails.
-Wilderness Areas: While some guidebooks say that riding through a Wilderness Areas is a serious offence, it is actaully okay. However, if you do ride through a wilderness area, it MUST be on a designated trail and there must not be signs saying otherwise. The only trail on AZOFFROAD.NET that goes through a wilderness area is the Big Horn Mountain Trail. In this case riding through two wilderness areas is okay.
-Private Property: Many trails throughout Arizona cross through private property, however, the road is considered public. Do be courteous and pass through private property quietly; don't distub anything!
-Gates: Gates are pretty frequent on trails in Arizona. Unless otherwise, posted, it is okay to pass through them as long as you close them when you are done. Gates usually mark boundaries in private property and keep cattle out (or in).
-Trash: Pack it in, pack it out. Make sure you leave no trash behind. This is one of things that causes trails to close. It is a simple, 3 - second procedure that helps keep Arizona beautiful. If you feel ambitious, also pick up others trash.
- Camping: Camping is a great way to extend your ride/trip. However, try to stick to used camp grounds. When you make a fire, try to keep it in a ring or on someone else's campfire. Always take out all trash.
-Archaeological Sites: When looking at these ancient sites, make sure to take ONLY pictures and leave ONLY footprints. It is a federal crime to take anything, enter, or disturb in any way a archaeological site.
-Human waste: When nature calls, it is hard to continue riding. It is recommened to bury human waste 300 feet away from sources of water, off of trails, and at least 4 inches deep. If you can't carry a portable toilet, at least carry a small shovel.
-Cryptobiotic Crust: Cryptobiotic, which literally means 'hidden life', is a black crust that is seen in desert of Arizona (and around the world). In its early stages, it is, like it's literal meaning, hidden. It takes decades to form and should be avoided when you see it. It is important that this plant base survives in order to control erosion.
-OHV Decals: As of January 2009, Arizona Law requires any OHV vehicle be equipped with a OHV Sticker. This law is needed because since 1998 OHV use in Arizona has seen a 347% increase. To cope with the large numbers of riders, a $25 sticker needs to be purchased to ride. Note: this does not make your OHV street legal.
Closing a gate on the Wickenburg Mt. Trail An OHV license plate and decal