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Outdoor Adventures

Get Off Road to Enjoy Arizona's Rugged Beauty

Arizona is an off-roader's paradise. People come from all over to take advantage of the plentiful public lands and remote historic sites. Some of the best off-roading options are just a short drive from Ahwatukee, ideal for a day trip. Before you head out, even if it is only for a quick outing on a moderate trail, remember to always go with someone else, take plenty of water and a first aid kit, ensure your vehicle is in excellent working condition and have a paper backup for online GPS. 

These are four of our favorite off-road adventures close to Ahwatukee. You can find more off-road trails, along with details on each one online at

South Mountain Summit Road

The South Mountain Summit Road is an easy drive on a well-maintained paved road to Dobbins Lookout. To access the road, enter South Mountain Preserve from South Central Avenue in Phoenix. Dobbins Lookout has a stone ramada built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corp and you get spectacular view over the Valley. Note that the summit road is closed to vehicles on the fourth Sunday each month to honor Silent Sunday.

5.5 miles

10409 S Central Ave, Phoenix

Margie's Cove Drive

Margie’s Cove Drive begins off of Highway 85, about halfway between Buckeye and Gila Bend. This is a nice offroad drive with Margie’s Cove West Trailhead & Campground at the end of an 8-mile drive. Once you arrive at the campground, there is parking if you plan to do some hiking, along with three campsites, a vault toilet and picnic tables. This is a well-maintained road accessible in almost any SUV.

8 miles one way

Highway 85, about 15 miles north of Gila Bend

Box Canyon OHV Route

The Box Canyon OHV Route starts just north of Florence off Arizona 79 and crosses over the mountains, ending at US 60 near Superior. This one is well worth the attempt, even if you must turn around at one of the more difficult climbs. This is a challenging off-road trek that is open all year but note that the area occasionally closes for military exercises. Do not proceed if you see red flags flying.

26.6 miles

Between AZ 79 at Florence and US 60 near Superior

Belmont Mountain Trail

Belmont Mountain Trail is west of the Valley on I-10 about 40 miles. It crosses farmland before heading up and around Belmont Mountain, past old mines and ending at Vulture Mine Road. There are signs for Belmont Mine about 5 miles up the trail and can be a good place to stop, explore and head home. If you continue on, the 4WD trail becomes increasingly difficult over rocky washes. It eventually reaches Vulture Mine Road, and you can head back into Phoenix.

16 miles one way

North of Tonopah