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Off-roading in Payson

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

If exploring nature is your thing, but you don’t feel up to a hike, consider getting your truck a bit dirty and taking it on one of the many off-road trails in the area! Many of the dirt forest service roads lead to random off-road spots, but there are also designated trails that you can try.

Before we begin with recommendations, it should go without saying that to participate in this type of activity, you really need to have a 4-wheel drive vehicle with proper suspension and tires. Please don’t take your Honda Civic out on the bumpy dirt roads, folks!

We haven’t personally done a whole lot of off-roading (it’s on our list, though), we took some time to ask around and research the best trail options to share with our guests. Here’s what we found out!

Our friend Kristen Keogh explored a bit up here recently, and shared her experience along with info from an expert on her blog. Check it out here!

Cracker Jack Mine OHV Trail is located south of Pine-Strawberry. You enter the trail off of Highway 87 just north of Payson, and exit on 87 close to Pine. The road will take you up nearly 2,000 feet in elevation gain, with scenic boulder ranges and river crossings. The trail is difficult in spots, so if you’re new to off-roading, you might want to consider doing something a bit more moderate. Which leads us to…

Pyeatt Draw OHV Trail. This trail is located on the north end of Payson off Houston-Mesa Road. It’s rated easy-moderate. There is a waterfall too, and a high likelihood of seeing wildlife, especially this time of year.

If you have young kids, off-roading can be rough on them. The bumpiness can agitate some kids. Little babies should not be in a car while off-roading, because their heads aren’t stable enough to handle the bumps. If you’re traveling with kids or babies, consider opting for one of the maintained dirt forest-service roads instead! Control Road (NF-64) to Houston-Mesa Rd. is a great option for that, and you’ll even get the chance to traverse a few water crossings too.

We look forward to seeing your muddy trucks and SUVs at the Inn after your adventures!

(Photo Credit: Kristin Keogh & AllTrails)

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