Off the Road Again: America's Top 4x4 Destinations

Washington and Idaho

Washington's Wenatchee Forest
Some really hair-raising trails are found in the backwoods of Wenatchee Forest, which bristles with tricky sidehills, tough slopes, sheer ridgelines, and lots of rocks and streams. The Shoestring Trail near Cliffdell—route of the annual Northwest 4WD Jamboree—is said to be rougher and more challenging than California's Rubicon. The Devil's Gulch area is also a hot spot for off-roading. The trails are not as forbidding, but the scenery is exceptional.

Throughout the Wenatchee Forest, you should be prepared for rain any time of year—especially in the spring, when the snowmelt run-off can present some real problems. You'll therefore need all the ground clearance you can get.
Idaho: Owyhee County
With ghost towns galore, impressive canyons, rocky peaks, and even some sand dunes, Owyhee County 4WD paradise. Besides more good trails than you can count, you're right next to the Snake River, one of the world's best rafting runs. A great drive is the Owyhee Uplands, (also known as Mudflat Road) a national backcountry byway that travels 105 miles between Jordan Valley on the Oregon border along U.S. 95 past Juniper Mountain to the town of Grand View on Idaho 78. The route affords beautiful views of the north fork of the Owyhee River Canyon and the Owyhee Mountains. Wildlife, fishing, and camping abound. The nearby Leslie Gulch-Succor Creek Backcountry Byway Road winds through a spectacular canyon carved by centuries of erosion. Another favorite drive begins at the town of Murphy on U.S. 78: A rough but exciting old gold mining road threads the mountains west to the Oregon border where you'll end up at U.S. 95. You'll have about 50 miles of real wilderness off-roading over tough, wet, and rocky tracks—a real challenge for man and machine. Don't try this if you want to keep your 4x4 showroom-clean

Paul McMenamin is the author, editor, and photo director of the original Ultimate Adventure Sourcebook.

Published: 27 Aug 2001 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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