Scouting Arizona

Posted on: March 19th, 2019

Scouting Arizona

A field report from author Charles Wells

Matt Peterson and I are in Arizona driving trails to update our Arizona 4×4 book. We are hoping to have our 3rd edition Arizona book ready for sale early next year. This follows completion of two new 4th edition Colorado books, which are available for pre-order on our website. Take a look at the new spiral binding and design, we hope you’ll love the changes we’ve made.

I don’t think many people fully understand what it takes to gather trail information for a new book. It requires being away from home for long periods and driving as many trails as possible as quickly as we can since the cost of being on the road is very high. When we tell people what we do, we often hear “how do I get your job?” The reality is that when you drive a hundred or more trails in a couple of months, it really is hard work, as my 73-year-old back keeps reminding me. Still, it beats pounding sand.

We’ve been surprised by a lot of bad weather here in Arizona, so far. A few days ago I attempted to drive Montana Mountain, Trail #56. I was stopped at 4,880 ft. by heavy snow. Yesterday, a cold hail storm moved in while I was driving Reymert Mine, Trail #59. The normally hard-packed trail became a muddy quagmire within minutes.

We did have good weather last week while in Tucson. We were out with the Tucson Rough Riders 4-Wheel-Drive Club. They’ve been absolutely fantastic over the years helping us scout trails. They took us on 5 great new trails that we will be adding to the new book.

We are sometimes asked why we go to all this trouble and expense. Isn’t most of this information available on the internet? We are familiar with much of the online information because we often use it ourselves when doing trail research. Sometimes the information is helpful, but often it’s incomplete, misleading, inconsistent or just plain wrong. We have found the only way to really know a trail is to drive it ourselves. We think it’s the main reason customers have stuck with us for all these years.



  • Love your books and app! Please know that a lot of us appreciate your dedication and hard work. Will there be an update for the app? I use it more than the books nowadays.

    • Thanks for the support and we’re glad to hear you’re enjoying our products! The app will be updated when the new book releases so you’ll have all the current information that will match the 3rd edition.

  • That’s great! Keep up the good work. We have driven a lot of AZ trails since Mar 2018, including 16 of those in your guide. Didn’t see any major differences from the descriptions except for Backaway to Crown King.

    While your post is from Mar 19, I bet the picture with snow was taken a couple weeks earlier 🙂 Or was it three weeks? There was snow even on Bloody Basin Rd for a couple days.

    • That picture was taken the end of February, so yes about three weeks before this post. Things should be drying out!

  • Could you post a short update on Walnut Canyon and Coke Ovens (closed, but will you keep it as a trail to where it is open?). Would you consider including the Massey Battleaxe Trail that connects Walnut to Coke Ovens, maybe as a Coke Ovens replacement that links Walnut to Box Canyon?


  • When you fix the names and number of trails in the new edition, would you mind sharing which other trails from the current edition did not make the cut?


  • Love your books, been using them for years. Live in AZ and that weather that came through was quite something else for our area. Unfortunately without a Jeep now, but restoring a 1978 Jeep Cherokee Chief for the offroad trips, and hope to have it running a in a year or 2 if I’m lucky and life doesn’t get too much in the way. Happy trails!

  • I forgot! Would you please consider having the trails within each category arranged from easiest to hardest at the start of the book like the first edition featured them (easiest on top, hardest at bottom for each of the three categories)? I think only the Moab book maintains that extra feature.

    Sure, it is approximate and subjective, but it is a FUN section to have!

    We re-drove Broken Arrow today in our stock 4Runner (well, it is well armored underneath), enjoying wonderful weather. I find it interesting that though the Devil’s Staircase looks bad from underneath, the wheels “naturally” fall where they need to due to where the bigger rocks and holes happen to be in relation to the width of the trail.


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