One of the reasons I always wanted a Jeep was to explore exciting new places others could only dream of going. (What can I say? Some people join the Navy; I bought a Jeep!)
As I look forward to, hopefully, completing the next stage of Smokey’s build this year, I can’t help but contemplate all the places to which I’d like to expedition. Below, in no particular order, is but a sample of my dream wheeling list. I’ll start with the more familiar and go from there!
In the good ole U.S. of A
– Moab: A Jeeper’s life just isn’t complete until he or she has wheeled the breathtaking terrain of Moab, Utah, home to Canyonlands National Park. This Jeep Mecca draws thousands of visitors each year to its annual Easter Jeep Safari. There’s simply too much to see and do here for just one trip!
– Ouray, Colo.: Called “The Switzerland of America,” this former mining town is home to a scant 830 or so people, and offers spectacular mountain vistas. Many trails are lined with the rusting remains of infrastructure cast off as the area’s mining operations shut down so many years ago.
– Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Calif.: Drawing its name from Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and borrego, Spanish for bighorn sheep, this off-road enthusiast’s dream also is the largest state park in California, with more than 600,000 rugged acres. As with so many great wheeling destinations, there’s plenty of terrain to conquer in close proximity, including Mojave National Preserve and (a little farther to the north) Death Valley National Park.
– Rausch Creek, Pa.: Nestled amid the rolling hills of Central Pennsylvania is picturesque Rausch Creek. The creek bed and surrounding territory offers a variety of topography, including a rock garden that will test the mettle — and metal — of even the most hard-core wheeler.
– Rubicon Trail, Calif.: This 22-mile county road (so designated to keep the trail open to the off-road community) offers the ultimate challenge for any Jeeper. The unmaintained trail portion of the route comprises only 12 miles, yet traversing its boulder-strewn path to Lake Tahoe can take the better part of a day — longer if one’s rig isn’t ready for the challenge.
– Denali National Park, Alaska: Perhaps nowhere in the United States offers such raw, incredible beauty as Alaska. And, no adventure could be so exciting as crawling atop the highest mountain in North America at Denali National Park. The park encompasses more than six million acres of unspoiled wilderness!
– Simpson Desert National Park: This stark, almost alien, landscape boasts wide-open skies and striking sunsets of vivid oranges and reds. It also offers isolation, sand dunes and wildlife.
– Lincoln National Park: Perched on the tip of Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, features many types of terrain and trails that snake along The Land Down Under’s Spencer Gulf Coast.
– Flinders Ranges/Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary: This region boasts some of the most impressive rock formations found on planet earth, not to mention some of the most interesting wildlife. It’s all situated at the northern end of Spencer Gulf in South Australia.
– Scottish Highlands: Could anything be so breathtaking as climbing the rugged cliffs of Scotland, overlooking ancient castles and lush, green valleys? From what I can tell across the Atlantic, off-roading appears to be a very minor hobby here, largely limited to purpose-built courses and offered under strict supervision. Ah, but one can dream!
– Western Europe: Again, four-wheeling is strictly controlled in the land of socialism, with free-range expeditioning a serious no-no. But, how exciting would it be to follow ancient Roman trade routes in Italy, conquer the peaks of the Alps or roll up to one of Moussolini’s imposing fortresses?
Is there more to see? Oh, to be sure! So, tell me, what are your dream wheeling destinations? Share your bucket-list off-road spots in the comments below!