There is nothing like being all packed up with nowhere to go, and it is a good thing to be ultra-cautious when you are picking out some of your first trails. Easy routes are always your best option for avoiding sudden obstacles on a trail that push your skills or vehicle beyond what you are ready for. You also want to make sure that you are on approved offroading trails any time that you are venturing into a public space such as the National Forest.
Finding an easy route for offroad adventures is simple when you know the best places to look and how to decide if it is the best one for your next trip into the wilderness. These tips will get you started so that you don’t waste valuable time that you could spend out on the trail.
Check Out a Few Popular Websites and Apps
Offroad enthusiasts have it easier than ever now that people can share their favorite trails online. You’ll find quite a few websites and apps available that can help you find trails that range from beginner level to advanced These are just a few of the most popular ones to help you get started finding the right one to help with planning your adventures.
•AllTrails-This site gives you an easy start on your search by allowing you to look for trails near you. It lists each trail as easy, moderate or hard. It also lets you look up national parks and other areas where you can find a great camping spot. The plan tab allows you to map out your route starting from your current location to the trail, and you can save your maps to make it easy to track your adventures.
•Washington Off Highway Vehicle Alliance (WOHVA)-This organization aims to promote responsible use of off road vehicles by offering an easy way to find approved routes within the Washington area. You can use their trail locator map to avoid awkward situations such as accidentally roaming on to private property. Their map also lets you check off which type of vehicle you drive so that you can find a trail that is open to your preferred way to travel.
•Jeep Badge of Honor-You might be tempted to shy away from this app, which tends to attract the more advanced overlanding enthusiasts. However, you should know that it offers some awesome easy to moderate trails in addition to those more courageous adventures. Check out the details on the Schnebly Hill Trail in Sedona, Arizona, or the Snake trail in the Hot Springs, Arkansas ORV Park if you happen to be in the area. While you might not earn a badge of honor on the easier passes, reading the various trail reviews helps you get a good idea of what’s out there while becoming a part of the community.
•TrailsOffroad-Speaking of communities, this is one of the best online ones that you can join for finding easy trails to get your tires wet while you learn. This app allows you the option of using it for free, or you can sign up for a low cost yearly membership. With over 1,900 trails available, you can find one near just about any place that you are currently at or planning a trip to in the future. You’ll also love the ability to store your maps with waypoints offline so that you can access them even when you are out of cell service areas.
Know How to Search on Google
One of the simplest search terms that you can use on Google is “offroad route finder.” This is especially effective for turning up trails that are perfect for you to get out of your four-wheel drive vehicle and go cycling for some extra fun. You can also use these terms along with your current location or type of vehicle to narrow down your options to the ones that will get you on a trail close to home that is designated for your favorite mode of transportation.
Join a Local Offroading Adventure Group
Most of your local trails should be filled with people who live nearby and love sharing their tips with people who are new to the community. You can meet other offroaders when you are camping in public areas, or you could check online to find a group in your city. Either way, be open about your beginner status so that they can offer you ideas for trails that help you develop your trail navigating capabilities.
Pay Attention to Reviews and Comments
When you find a trail that interests you, be sure to read through the latest reviews to find out what to expect. People who have been through the trail before often leave behind insights that let you know about their experience. For instance, certain trails are closed during the off-seasons or may be harder than the first person originally rated. Remember that one person’s idea of easy might not be the same as yours. Make sure that the comments you read are recent, and you can feel better about venturing out for the first few times.
Remember That Natural Trails Change
You’ll also learn that one of the rules of overlanding is to never expect a trail to be the same the second time you go down it. Even easy routes are prone to sudden changes due to things that happen in the environment. Trees fall over, rivers get full and even heavy traffic can alter a route. While reading someone’s review is helpful, you still need to take extra precautions to make sure that your new trail is within your skill and vehicle capabilities range. Be sure to pack extra emergency supplies, and pre-walk any parts of the trail that you are unsure of so that you have a safe and enjoyable adventure.
Finding the right easy offloading trail in your area is just the beginning of your adventure. As you check out the map and mark off waypoints, remember to take note of anything extra that you need to prepare. Carefully mapping out your route and double checking your safety supplies gives you confidence as you start navigating your way through your first trails.