Smiley Rock

Jerome, Arizona (Yavapai County)

Last Updated: 06/15/2017
4 /5 ( 2 reviews )
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Permit Information: Permit Required - Click Here
Difficulty: 5-5
Length: 8.6 miles
Highest Elevation: 7191 feet
Duration: About 2 hours
Shape of Trail: Connector
Best Direction to Travel: South
Nearest Town: Jerome
Nearest Town w/ Services: Cottonwood
Official Road Name: 9701V, 103, 9710W, 106E, 106D
Management Agency: Prescott National Forest
District: Verde Ranger District
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles


Highlight: Smiley Rock

Just outside of Jerome, one of the most famous and ghostly mining towns in all Arizona, sits a rock that never stops smiling. Smiley Rock is one of the more famous off-road trails in the State and for good reason. The drive is challenging, but not overly difficult and provides inspiring scenery as you travel along the south edge of the Woodchute Wilderness Area inside the cool and shaded Martin Canyon. The main attraction is the rock with a smile set in stone. It sits there smiling at you and this is the type of trail in which you could honestly smile back.



7 day forecast for Smiley Rock

Route Information

Advanced Rating System (BETA)

Recommended Vehicle:
Lightly Modified 4X4 (Small Lift and Larger Tires)

Technical Rating: 5-5

Rocky or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 24" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 24" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 54" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep and off-camber.

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The off-road route described here is comprised of several Prescott National Forest Roads which include 9710V, 103, 106E, and 106D. It connects Jerome Perkinsville Road (Forest Service Road 318A) to 89A. Most of the road is part of the Great Western Trail. The majority of the trail will follow the southern boundary of the Woodchute Wilderness Area. While not technical, the trail is mostly forested and is comprised of small boulders and can be very narrow in spots causing it to be rough on the southern half.


1. Trailhead (0.00 mi)

As you come in from Forest Service Road 318A and reach the power lines turn southeast onto the well-marked road numbered 9701V towards an APS electrical substation.

2. Smashed Phone Hill (0.90 mi)

Continue uphill. The easier option being on the right and the harder option being on the left.

3. Go Left/East at FR103 Intersection (1.70 mi)

Turn left/east. Note seasonal gate which may be closed during inclement weather conditions.

4. Cross the Wash (2.20 mi)

Continue across the wash. This is the first of many wash crossings.

5. Cross the Wash (2.30 mi)

Continue across the wash.

6. Cross Wash and Uphill (2.50 mi)

Follow the trail uphill after crossing the wash.

7. Cross Wash and Uphill (2.60 mi)

Follow the trail uphill after crossing the wash.

8. Cross Wash (3.00 mi)

Continue across the wash.

9. Smiley Rock (3.30 mi)

The famed Smiley Rock is on the north side of the road. There is room here for plenty of vehicles to park.

10. Continue Straight (4.20 mi)

Continue straight. From this point for the next 1.5-miles, the trail will become considerably rougher.

11. Rougher Section Continue Straight (4.30 mi)

Continue straight through this narrow and rough section. Spotting may be required depending on vehicle build.

12. Hill Climb (4.80 mi)

Continue up the hill; as you crest, the trail dips, curves, and obstructs the driver's view.

13. Turkey Tank Continue Straight (5.80 mi)

Continue straight.

14. Left/South at 9710W Intersection (6.00 mi)

Turn left/south onto 106DE. 9710W is a dead-end. From this point forward there are many dispersed camping opportunities.

15. Left/Southeast at 106E Intersection (6.60 mi)

Turn left/southeast at 106D. 106E quickly dead-ends at a tank.

16. Left/East at 106D Intersection (6.80 mi)

Left/East at 106D. The remaining spur of 106D goes off the south to Mingus Tank.

17. Gate (7.60 mi)

Continue through the gate and be sure to shut the gate after you have passed.

18. Kiosk (7.80 mi)

Follow the wide and well defined road past the kiosk.

19. End (8.60 mi)

Turn right/southeast to reach 89A.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 34.763204, -112.231347

Starting Point: Cottonwood, Arizona

From State Route 260 turn south onto State Route 89A. Follow 89A to Jerome. Turn left on Main Street which turns into West Jerome-Perkinsville Road. Travel approximately 7.7 miles to Forest Service Road 318A. Turn left/south and travel the shelf road for 6.7 miles to Forest Service Road 9701V.



There are plenty of dispersed camping opportunities within Prescott National Forest and this route is no different. Most of the prime locations are from Waypoints 13 to 17. Improved campgrounds can be found in the area operated by the National Forest Service with the closest area being near Mingus Mountain.

Camping: Smiley Rock

Trail Reviews (3)

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
This is an alternate answer to "Can you get there from Prescott?". You can go through Chino Valley, then east on Perkinsville Rd CR70, to FR318A. This goes the the trail head as well. I've run this trail many times and enjoy it. Nice write up Todd! A big rainfall will jumble up the rocks in the "Rougher Section". Then they get stacked and packed as groups wheel through it.

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
I attempted this in a stock F150 4x4 and wasn't able to make it all the way.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
This is a fun trail with several challenging stretches. Additionally, you get some nice long stretches in the shade to knock the heat down. There is a lot to do in this entire area, so making this trail part of one your summer adventures would be a good idea.

Questions & Answers (2)

Q: Can I get to the starting point of this trail coming from Prescott?
–Jason Barton (05/07/2019)
A: Hi Jason, I am not sure exactly what you are looking for in terms of starting point if you need trailhead the trailhead or actual directions to the trail. I will give you some additional info to hopefully answer your question. The trail can be run in either direction of how we list here. If you are looking to start at Waypoint 1, the way we have it described above, you can click the blue button labeled "Directions to Trail" and your phones navigation will take you right to it. If you are looking to run it in reverse and start at Waypoint 19, those coordinates are 34.707683, -112.155259. If I didn't answer your question, just ask another :)
–Todd (05/08/2019)
Q: Can a Honda Pioneer 500 successfully follow this trail?
–GEORGE FIGURSKI (04/11/2019)
A: If it’s stock, I would anticipate it being very challenging around Waypoint 11. If your modified at all, it would then be a little easier. Waypoint 11 area is fairly rocky with rocks 12” or more. Hope that helps!
–Todd (04/11/2019)

Writer Information



Todd is an avid wheeler who loves to explore new trails whenever and wherever he can. They say necessity is the mother of all invention and that holds true for Todd. His want and desire to find passable trails and new nooks and crannies of the Great American West to explore were his reasons behind starting On any given weekend you can find Todd on some obscure 4x4 trail or using his legs to hike to an alpine lake.
For individual use only, not to be shared.