Travel Time

We calculated travel time based one Jeep traveling non-stop along the trail at a safe speed. If you intend to travel in a group, picnic or camp along the way, or are in a hurry to complete the trail, your time will be longer or shorter than ours. Difficulty is Relative The idea behind the creation of the Great Western Trail was to make it open to novice and expert drivers alike, and you can even drive short sections of some of the trails in a Cadillac.

But if you are an inexperienced off-road driver, avoid the four most difficult trails: Dugas (GWT 5), Smiley Rock (GWT 7), Interstate 40 to US 180 (GWT 9) and House Rock to Jacob Lake (GWT 11). Driving skill, experience, and vehicle modification are different among those who will drive this trail, and what is difficult for one driver may not be for another. Before driving any of these trails, know, and do not exceed, neither your vehicle’s limitations nor your driving skills. We base our ratings on the most difficult part of the trail. Therefore, if it is gravel for its entire length except for one obstacle you will need 4-WD and lockers to overcome, we rate the entire trail as difficult. Most trails are easy, which means they are gravel, washboard, or packed dirt and sand.

We rate a trail as moderate when is it washed out, rutted, or rocky. Remoteness On a scale of 1 to 4, “1” suggests you will have company on the trail, especially on weekends and holidays. “4” suggests you will have only wildlife for company, although even these become busy during the hunting season. Services Available There are no services along the trails. Most end or begin near a town or city where you can get food, supplies, and fuel, but some do not. Refuel before driving the longer trails, especially in the remote areas of northern Arizona. Road Information and Restrictions The Forest Rangers are your best source for up-to-date information about trail closures, changes, and seasonal restrictions, such as those regarding campfires.

Floods, forest fires, and other natural disasters, may cause rerouting or even closure of a trail. Arizona is known for its hot deserts, but it has a rainy season, and snow can be meters high in its northern region. At those times the forest roads are impassible. Check for restrictions and closures online or at the ranger stations before setting out. Their addresses are in Appendix B.


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