It can seem as if America’s suburban sprawl is never-ending. For evidence of this sprawl, look no further than Southern California, arguably the nexus of American car culture. Here, the discrete metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and San Bernardino-Riverside have all spread outward into one another, forming one massive conurbation. Look to the East Coast. Not content with merely being the “Boston-Washington” megalopolis, our Northeast Corridor has moved ever southward to arguably include Richmond, Virginia. To the north, Boston’s sphere of influence has inched up into southern Maine. Suburbia spreads like blobs.
Though it can seem as if our federal government has not exactly stood in opposition to the encroaching sprawl, they have, in fact, maintained a keen eye toward conservation. America’s national parks are one of our finest assets. Whether for camping, hiking, biking, or off-road driving, these federal lands preserve the breathtaking natural beauty of our continent before developers can encroach even further. Without further ado, here are five of the best national park off-roading trails in the United States.
Old Fall River Road – Rocky Mountain National Park
Like many of our national parks, Rocky Mountain National Park allows limited off-roading but is otherwise rather protective of its trails. Old Fall River Road is the crown jewel of Rocky Mountain off-roading, running along Big Horn Mountain for 10.5 at over 3,000 feet. Take in the views of mountains, forests, and even a waterfall.
Berdoo Canyon – Joshua Tree National Park
For over 30 years, U2’s landmark album The Joshua Tree has been part of the soundtrack of our lives. Here’s your chance to witness the beautiful landscapes that inspired that masterpiece. Drive where the streets have no name along the trails of Berdoo Canyon for over 20 miles of Southern California desert beauty. Because it can get hot, you may want the doors off for better airflow. Keep them stowed away safely with the Jeep door storage cart from TopLiftPros.
Cathedral Valley – Capitol Reef National Park
Zion National Park, the foremost natural attraction in Utah, forbids off-road vehicles. Capitol Reef, however, allows them on its Cathedral Valley trails, 71 astonishing miles of canyons, rivers, and rocky terrain. If you’re visiting southern Utah, it’s a trail worth conquering.
Old Ore Road – Big Bend National Park
Let’s move as far south as we can. Down along the Mexican border lies Big Bend National Park. Within that is the Old Ore Road, where you can ride till you can’t no more—or at least for 26 miles through ghost towns, gravesites, and other vestiges of a bygone era.
Echo Pass – Death Valley
Our list of the best national park off-roading trails in the United States concludes with the hottest and hardest challenge yet. Once you’ve experienced the highs of off-roading, conquer the lows—Death Valley, nearly 300 feet below sea level and scorchingly hot. What Echo Pass lacks in length, it makes up for in difficulty, with tough terrain and blazing weather conditions.