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Bulldog Canyon

3 Reviews
Location Mesa, AZ
Rating Moderate,
Length 13.3mi
Time 3hrs

Vehicle Types


This fun trail requires a permit, but it’s free.

A fun, scenic trail convenient to Mesa and Apache Junction. Trail requires a special permit, but it’s free. The permit gives you the combination to unlock the gates. Call or visit the Mesa Ranger District for details. Trail is open to non-street-legal vehicles. Use marked designated routes only. Great dispersed camping, especially on the north end if you enter as described here.


Trail Ratings Defined

Conditions vary from year to year depending on recency of maintenance. On our latest trip, we found enough steep, rocky sections to warrant a moderate rating.






High Point


Best Time To Go


Current Conditions

(480) 610-3300Tonto N.F., Mesa Ranger District

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Trail Updates

Submitted by Tom
Trail is still great, but:
1) There is now required permit of $6 (valid for 6 months) available ONLY on web page
Permit information.
2) Forest service banned camping on the trail, removed all the trailers camped there forever and fenced off the camping areas. See
Forest camping information.

Submitted by Tom
Very popular, a lot of pull-outs and camping areas. Beautiful views. The main trail Fr 10 is getting harder and harder. More erosion. A spotter is needed. But it is still moderate. I hardly recommend using the side road FR3554, which is an easy, funny sandy drive with great views. Real fun to drive! The best sandy road near Phoenix. Fr 1356 is easy too. We also tried FR12. I would rate this one as rather difficult, spotting was needed all the time. Fr 12 is not marked so navigation was also a challenge.

Submitted by Ryan
Really washed out on a few clubs and downhill sections. You’ll want a spotter. I took a stock Rubicon through and got some curb rash on one for the wheels.
A permit is now obtained online from for $6 and good for 6 months.

Submitted by Ron
We drove the section from Blue Point to Wolverine. Several well-rutted sections and rocky for much of the trail. We were in a stock Jeep Rubicon. I would not drive this in most stock SUVs. Great trail.

Submitted by Tom
There has been some major erosion. The hard parts are harder, lots of rocks and ruts. I needed a spotter in one area. I would say the moderate rating is more suitable now. Great track, beautiful views! We had a great time. Very close to Phoenix.

Submitted by Eric
The trail is washed out and rutted. Definitely a fun trail, but would rate it Moderate. 4WD definitely needed (or 2WD with locking diff). We drove from Blue Point off Bush Highway to Wolverine Entrance. Plan to drive Wolverine Entrance to Cottonwood Entrance at a later date.

Submitted by Laura

I ran the trail today starting at Blue Point FR10 then over to 1356 like in the book. This was my first off-road trip and I picked it because it was rated easy. I figured I could get an easy run-in. I am reporting that Easy is no longer the case, I would say that it is Moderate. It is very rocky, rutted and washed out. I wound up going over 3 steep hills which were pretty rough. Good trail and scenery though.

Submitted by Laura

Would rate this as moderate. The 2 miles from 3554 to blue point gate was easy, but from wolverine entrance to 3554 it is very rocky and rutted. Rear locker helpful to get up the steep hill as it was really loose. Looks like it hasn’t been maintained compared to the pictures in the book.

Submitted by Charles Wells

We will be changing the rating on this trail from easy to moderate. It was much more washed out and rutted than the last time we drove it. The rating often changes on this trail due to occasional maintenance. See notes from the update below.

I started this trail as listed in the book starting at the Blue Point entrance. My update is that this is in no way an easy trail. The trail should be updated. The sections between waypoint 1 and waypoint 3 are for sure not suitable for a stock vehicle. There are some spots near the end of the trail as you get closer to the Cottonwood entrance that is more difficult as well. I would rate this trail as Moderate. The most difficult parts of this trail are the most scenic. Amazing views on this trail and in my opinion really worth doing especially if you appreciate scenic beauty.



Rate this trail on a scale of 1 to 5.


Paul A. says

I entered the route at the Blue Point Entrance. Easy grit surface, as shown on your 3 photos, constituted half or less of the road surface from quite soon after the start. More typical was exposed embedded rocks, loose rocks of significant size, and gouges and ruts, requiring constant assessment and vigilance. I found an optimum speed to be about 8-10 mph or less. Rocks of sufficient projection to be able to damage the underside of the vehicle were constantly present. About 3 miles in, I came to a steep heavily rutted short hill with numerous seriously projecting rocks, loose grit – difficult to even keep your footing – and deep gouges and holes – traction robbing. A party of 3 jeeps coming towards me, had stopped at the top to assess the hill. Still at the bottom, I backed up to let them pass. They then proceeded down carefully, one by one, then stayed to help me to get up the hill. It took me 8 attempts over 20 minutes to conquer this hill, and I consider myself lucky to have pulled it off, though experience played a big part. My considered opinion is that there is no way this could be described as “EASY”, it was more properly describable as “MODERATE”. An average driver, in say a standard 4WD Ford Explorer, would never have got up this hill, and if by chance it made it, would almost certainly have sustained serious damage. I therefore suggest that it should NOT be classified as “EASY”. The rest of route 10 to the 7.5 mile mark T intersection, continued to be challenging, requiring constant weaving and careful driving, and stopping a few more times to assess optimum routes, but nothing that worried me too much, compared with that earlier hill, and nothing that I thought would stop me for long. However, I would still classify much of it as “MODERATE”. To me “EASY” means not needing much experience, few worries about vehicle damage, and conditions allowing you to divert your eyes occasionally from the road surface - this was not Route 10. After the T at 7.5 miles, the dirt road was comparatively a piece of cake, definitely “EASY”, at least as far as the Wolverine Gate, where I exited.

Traildale says

January 24, 2018 I drove the trail starting at the Wolverine entrance heading north on #10 to the Blue Point entrance. Total time was 2 hours and 15 minutes for 8.4 miles including time to unlock and unlock the gates. The moving average speed was 4.4 mph in a Jeep Wrangler with a 2.5 inch lift. I would not have wanted a less capable vehicle. Sections of the trail were definitely Moderate in difficulty, especially the steep uphill approximately 2.5 miles north of the wolverine entrance. I barely made it up the hill with careful tire placement and significant tire slippage and side slippage. The southern 2/3 of the trail was very rocky and line and tire place was critical to avoiding body damage or bottoming. This is now much closer to moderate than easy, base on my trips on the many othe trails rated as easy by the authors. As stated in the book, this trail was previously rated as moderate, prior to grading and the authors trip in 2012. It's my opinion the the trail has now eroded to its previous moderate rating state. I plan to run this trail again soon in a UTV (Can Am Maverick 1000 with 14" suspension travel). Based on my experience, and watching RZR's on this trail during our Jeep ride, this trail will be really fun in a UTV and the the loose steep uphill section much more fun and not much of an issue for a UTV in 4WD.

Craig W says

Drove this from Usery Pass all the way including the optional side trip on 1356 at the end. 2020 4Runner TRD Pro with a 2" lift on a 32" tires. Overall, it's definitely moderate and borderline difficult in a few spots on FR10 which is honestly in pretty rough shape from the 2.2 mile mark until about 6.5 miles in. The descent around 5.7 miles into the wash was even worse than the last time I drove this a few years ago. I was able to find a path down that tested the articulation of my vehicle and was definitely a bit tippy, but got down with minimal drama. Skid plates definitely are a good idea even though I think I only briefly touched one of my front ones in one spot. 4WD Lo is a must. Aggressive stock SUVs/midsize pickups can probably make it, but definitely be ready to get out and walk in a few spots to scope out paths or bring a spotter (I was on my own so definitely did a few rounds of scouting to see what I was getting into). Good scenary overall.
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