Description: Allow plenty of time to see historic Jerome. The town is a major tourist attraction offering an array of gift shops, art galleries, museums and restaurants. If you’re into mining history, plan a stop at the Gold King Mine and Ghost Town along the route or take a short side trip to Jerome State Historic Park. Both of these attractions require a small fee. Once in the backcountry, you’ll enjoy your secluded adventure through Martin Canyon, which follows the southern border of the Woodchute Wilderness. Hike and camp at various points along the way. Some of this trail is officially part of the Great Western Trail. Difficult rating applies to the portion of the trip through Martin Canyon which is narrow and rocky. Skid plates and good articulation are recommended. Brush is tight in several places. Much of the route is an easy gravel road.
Time & Distance: About 23 miles of off-pavement driving. Allow about 4 hours.
Trail Conditions: Prescott National Forest, Chino Valley Ranger District. Call (928) 777-2200.
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: Follow Hwy 89A through Jerome and turn north at the fire station. The station is located at a tight turn along a switchback that winds through the center of town. You can’t miss the fire station if you stay on 89A.
View Smiley Rock 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 ready 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 always 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 Joe’s number in your cellphone in case you find yourself in need of recovery in the middle of nowhere. Joe is the owner of Arizona 4×4 Off Road Recovery and has become a real hero to many in the Arizona offroad community. His 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!