Guide to Arizona Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails
by Charles A. Wells (FunTreks)
© Charles A. Wells/FunTreks. All Rights Reserved.
This is one of my favorite trails. I did the trail on this date, and once last fall around this time in my lightly modified F-150. My trail partner has done it numerous times in years prior in his lifted JK and says it has been worked on and is not as hard as it used to be.
If you leave in the East Valley, you can head to the trail at first light and be home by lunch. We like to enter off the Apache Trail route 88 on road 1356, then connect with the actual Bull Dog route 10 near the Wolverine Gate, then turn into route 3554 towards Usery Pass, rather than finish 10 and end up at Bush Highway. I haven't been through the northern most part of the trail in a few years now.
The route I described is mostly rock crawling that most 4x4s shouldn't have any trouble with. There are a few steep grades where 4-Low is recommended, but i run the whole trail (except the sand) in 4-low comfortably.. Taking the 3554 to Usery Pass completely changes the style to mostly sand. The early part of 3554 is in a dry river bed with deep sand and plenty of room to play around.
lots of nice semi challenging hills with the occational holy Sh*t hill. Proud to say my stock jeep Grand Cherokee made it all the way through with no hesitations. It would get a 5 if there was any outstanding scenery
This trail is great fun. Easy for 4x4 and can be done with 2WD with good clearance. The views at the beginning of the trail are some of the best in the area. Here is a video of some of the trial highlights:
I took the north entrance in and turned right on the 3554. I have a 1/2 ton crew cab silverado w/33s and a level. I did not scrape once and I had no problems. Very fun and beautiful. Only reason not a 5 star is I did not take anyone with me and was worried about getting stuck otherwise experience was a 5.
Bulldog Canyon is worth the effort to get the Tonto Forest Ranger Station Pass (has combos for locked gates) as it has absolutely beautiful scenery with easy to moderately challenging trail riding (possibly very challenging for some stock SUV's. The Ranger Station has a map which shows some newly added trails. I took my Jeep Wrangler Rubicon along with my buddy’s Toyota FJ Cruiser. I started at the Usery Entrance Gate and followed trail 3554 which travels through some sandy washes and rocky hills along with some cool narrow canyons. At the T-point, we headed south. If you have lower slung running step boards on your stock 4X4, they probably will scrape on rocks, slow going but lots of fun. Now the best part, we took one of the new trails, 1356 to Cottonwood Entrance and I can’t say enough how beautiful and awe inspiring this trail was. I don’t want to spoil the surprise but you will see a spectacular view of Superstition Mountain and the Superstition wilderness on 1356, along with other scenery I’ll let you find out for yourself. I think starting at Usery Pass and then working south to Cottonwood entrance will let the scenery go from good, great, to a spectacular finish but of course, it’s up to you. Besides, everyone else was taking the southern direction so we never had any on-coming traffic on our ride. If you like Bulldog Canyon, then I highly recommend nearby Rolls OHV park for even more trails with very similar scenery and great views of Four Peaks, Weavers Needle and Saguaro Lake, you can also explore some of the Saguaro Lake coast, very fun, get the map at the Ranger Station while you are getting your Bulldog Canyon Permit. If you live in the Phoenix area, don’t miss Bulldog Canyon, and please respect the rules so they don’t close it down. Happy Wheeling!
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