New River Canyon

Location: North of Phoenix and Carefree, southeast of Black Canyon City.

Difficulty: Moderate.

Description: Steep rocky climbs and washed-out conditions. Suitable for aggressive stock SUVs with high ground clearance and good articulation. Skid plates recommended. New River is often dry but can be deep after heavy rains. Remote backcountry, don’t go alone.
This trail passes through beautiful high Sonoran Desert into the Tonto National Forest. State Trust Land permit is required.

Time & Distance: About 20 miles through New River Canyon, 13 miles of gravel road and 23 miles of pavement. Allow 5 to 6 hours.

Trail Conditions: Tonto N.F., Cave Creek Ranger District. Call (480) 595-3300.


Carefree WEATHER


Remember: trail conditions, fire restrictions, weather, and land ownership change constantly so everyone must take responsibility for themselves, both for their safety and complying with all laws. Please understand that means YOU.


Directions to the Trail: Get off I-17 at Table Mesa Road exit 236.


View New River Canyon in a larger map for even more DETAILS!


Get yourself and your rig ready for the trip: Make sure both you and your vehicle are prepared for your next adventure.

Before you venture out on your offroading trip you need to make sure you are prepared for emergencies. Even if nothing happens to you or your vehicle, you might come across someone who needs help. Short of having your full-on bug-out-bag with you, you should at least have some basic emergency items. It might seem obvious to some, but you should get yourself a tool box with appropriate tools and leather gloves, good first aid kit, fire extinguisher, set of jumper cables, emergency blankets (stored in heavy plastic bag – both are useful), flashlight, tow strap and some extra water. I would also suggest a recovery strap, a military folding shovel, heavy duty garbage bags, and a hand crank self powered weather radio. These items are not expensive, but they just might save your day.

Another thing you should definitely do before you leave is to save the number to Arizona 4×4 Off Road Recovery in case you find yourself in need of recovery in the middle of nowhere. Their number is (602) 697-8306.


If you’re ready for a next adventure and want to plan it right, check out some of these trail guides – Arizona has so many awesome destinations to explore!




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