The Best Off-Road Trails In California

Off-roading is a popular adventure activity in California due to the diverse terrain and scenic roadways. California offers a wide range of off-road trails ranging from beginner to expert levels. Whether you are seeking to explore desert dunes, forested mountains, or rocky terrain, you will find plenty of options in California. Here are some of the best off-road trails to explore in the Golden State.

Rubicon Trail

The Rubicon Trail is one of the most iconic off-road trails in California, stretching 22 miles from Georgetown to Lake Tahoe. The trail offers a challenging terrain, consisting of rocks, boulders, and steep climbs, making it suitable for experienced off-roaders. The breathtaking scenery along the way includes the crystal clear Rubicon River, granite cliffs, and alpine forests.

Mojave Road

The Mojave Road is an off-road trail that covers 140 miles of desert terrain through the Mojave National Preserve, offering stunning vistas of sand dunes, ancient lava tubes, and historic sites. The trail boasts several challenges such as rocky terrain, soft sand, and rocky hills. The trail is perfect for experienced off-roaders seeking a unique adventure in the desert.

Dusy-Ershim Trail

The Dusy-Ershim Trail is a challenging off-road trail that loops through Sierras’ breathtaking wilderness, stretching 32 miles from Kaiser Pass to Lake Thomas Edison. The trail comprises high elevation climbs, steep descents, and rocky terrain. It offers breathtaking scenic views of alpine lakes, jagged peaks, and pristine forests. The trail is recommended for experienced off-roaders.

Johnson Valley OHV Area

The Johnson Valley OHV Area is a renowned off-road destination covering 96,000 acres of desert terrain. The area boasts challenging trails suitable for experienced and adventurous off-roaders. The trails feature steep climbs, sand dunes, and rocky hills, providing a one-of-a-kind driving experience. The area also hosts several off-road events, including the prestigious King of Hammers race.

Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area

The Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area is one of California’s most popular off-road destinations, covering five miles of pristine beaches along the Central Coast. The area provides a unique off-roading experience on sand dunes, with challenges such as steep hills and deep crevasses. The area also features beach camping and picnic areas, making it a perfect family destination.

Cleghorn Ridge Trail

The Cleghorn Ridge Trail is a challenging yet enjoyable off-road trail covering eight miles of mountainous terrain. The trail is suitable for intermediate and experienced off-roaders, with features such as rocky terrain, washed-out roads, and narrow trails. The trail offers stunning views of the Inland Empire and the San Bernardino Mountains.

Deer Valley Trail

The Deer Valley trail is a breathtaking off-road trail covering 15 miles of mountainous terrain, featuring steep climbs, narrow trails, and rocky terrain. The trail offers stunning views of wildflowers, creeks, and wildlife. The trail is suitable for experienced drivers due to its challenging terrain.

Cow Mountain Recreation Area

The Cow Mountain Recreation Area covers 52,000 acres of mountainous terrain, featuring challenging trails suitable for experienced off-roaders. The trails range from mild to wild, with features such as rocky terrain, steep climbs, and rolling hills. The area also offers primitive camping sites, making it a perfect weekend destination.

Sunflower Flat Trail

The Sunflower Flat Trail is a scenic and enjoyable off-road trail covering 12 miles through the Sierra National Forest. The trail offers challenging terrain, including steep hills, rocky terrain, and narrow passages. The trail also offers stunning views of wildflowers, alpine meadows, and granite outcroppings.

Foresthill Divide Trail

The Foresthill Divide Trail is an enjoyable off-road trail suitable for beginner to intermediate off-roaders. The trail covers 20 miles of mountainous terrain, offering vistas of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the American River Canyon. The trail features light rock crawling and steep ascents, making it a great introduction to off-roading.

In conclusion, California offers a diverse range of off-road trails suitable for all levels of off-roaders, from novice to experienced drivers. Whether you are seeking to test your driving skills or enjoy breathtaking scenery, you will find plenty of off-roading adventures in California.

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