Off-Roading Arizona Escapades

If ever a state was designed for off-road adventures, this is it. Endless sunshine, wide-open spaces and rugged terrain ranging from cactus-studded desert to red rock canyons to fragrant pine forests make Arizona an irresistible playground for exploring in off-highway vehicles (OHV), all-terrain vehicles (ATV) and motorbikes.

Tucked away in the desert hills of Peoria, Boulders OHV Staging Area offers access to the Hieroglyphic Mountains and Lake Pleasant. A massive network of trails includes easy and moderate routes as well as advanced single-track. With 10 acres of dispersed camping, you don’t have to miss a minute of bouncy, bumpy fun.

Alto Pit OHV Area sits at the base of Granite Mountain in Prescott and includes 20 miles of motorized trails, campground and a designated children’s area. The numbered trail system makes this a perfect spot for new and novice ATV riders.

Off-Roading Arizona Escapades
Credit: @thefortmann

Looking to rent? Time to Ride AZ in Cave Creek is the closest self-guided ATV rental shop to Tonto National Forest. Guests ride straight from the shop to a spectacular trail system that sends them across the Sonoran Desert, through sandy washes and up craggy hills with a stop for a swim or picnic at the Verde River.

Unlock Sedona’s incredible backcountry at Red Rock ATV Rentals. Trails fan out in all directions providing options to riders of every skill level. Ride the swooping roller coaster of the Diamondback Trail, discover the weathered remnants of the ancient village of Honanki or climb the steep traverse of Schnebly Hill Road for panoramic vistas of a red rock wonderland below.

Off-Roading Arizona Escapades
Red Rock ATV Rentals, Seonda. Credit:

Tucson Adventure Rentals offers both self-guided and guided tours. Weave through the saguaro forests and climb through rugged mountain passes on your own. Or let a knowledgeable guide show you some of Southern Arizona’s most astounding scenery.

Canyons and cliffs are on the menu at Epic Adventure Rides in Page. Here amid the wildly eroded plateau country overlooking Lake Powell, these small or private guided tours venture into a land like no other. Travel among sand dunes, over red rocks, through slashing, broken country to reach edge-of-the-world mesa top views.

This article was originally published in the 2023 Arizona Official State Travel Guide.

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About the Author

Roger Naylor

Roger Naylor is a travel writer who hates to travel. At least anywhere beyond his beloved Arizona. He specializes in lonely hiking trails, twisting back roads, diners with fresh burgers sizzling on the grill, small towns, ghost towns and pie. He has contributed to Arizona Highways, USA Today and Route 66 Magazine, and he is the author of Boots & Burgers: An Arizona Handbook for Hungry Hikers and Arizona Kicks on Route 66. He lives in Cottonwood, Arizona, and can be reached through his website,

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