Smiley Rock

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4.5/5 (27 reviews)
Jerome, Arizona (Yavapai County)
Last Updated: 07/09/2021
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Trail Information

Highlights

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.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

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Check out our Vultee Arch (24.95 mi away) trail guide for an All-Access Preview!

Trail Reviews

4.5/5 (27)
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1700
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 10/25/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

The trail description is accurate. Unskilled drivers and stock SUVs should avoid this trail. But not trying to be overly scary about this. Martin Canyon is very scenic and feasible with the right skills. We ran this in SxS’s with a Rzr and two Talons, all with extra lift. We made it through easily for us as skilled drivers. We went slow through the rock garden using spotters are careful tire placement. We all got out several times to assess/plan the best path through rock obstacles. I had some minor cosmetic damage to wheels and rock slider bars. We broke nothing and never got stuck or needed a tow. We did a big loop from Cottonwood, up Mingus Mountain, through this trail and around to finish in Jerome. You can combine this with Mingus Mountain trails from Cottonwood (see Copper Chief and Allen Spring). You can complete a loop around Woodshute Mountain via FR 318A and CR 72 (Perkinsville Road). The added loop trails are easy.
Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 09/30/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

This is a very fun trail. Fun obstacles. If you have a long wheelbase this may not be the trail for you. There’s a section with a tight negotiation of a large boulder the size of a VW bug with smaller boulders h you have to navigate. It’s fun but would be very tight with a long wheelbase. I’m in a Jeep JLU 35s with a 3.5 inch MetalCloak lift.
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1400
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/21/2023

I haven't done this trail before so I can't say if 'spot on' or 'harder'.....it was more than challenging for me and my wife....Jk 2dr with AEV2.5/33 and Bronco Sasquatch 2"/35. Bronco actually has a little less clearance than JK but both made it through with slight trail reminders. Good for experience and plenty of scenery. No photos/video as I was focused on not getting either stuck/ damaged ; ). Total time for us was about 4 hours from airing down just north of Jerome mine to finishing the trail at the campground toilet.
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/03/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

Having not run this trail in a few years, I found it more difficult than I remembered. It was a bit difficult getting 3 stock Gladiator Mojave’s through, but we carefully made our way with some minor undercarriage battle scars. I would recommend a small lift for JT’s.
Trail Review: Smiley Rock - Bobby Rumbaugh
Trail Review: Smiley Rock - Bobby Rumbaugh
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Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/03/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

We did the trail with https://valleygladiators.com Club on September 3rd, 2023 driving UP to Jerome which is actually a little easier going that direction but not by much. We had 5 Gladiators in our group, including 3 stock Mojave's and a small trailer. It rained the night before so the trail leading up to Martin Canyon was wet and muddy but easily passable with a 4x4. The obstacles in Martin Canyon are a solid five and not recommended for those without proper equipment and experience. There are also OPTIONAL obstacles running in parallel with the trail in the wash that can easily reach 7 to 8 for those that are more adventurous. This trail is all about high clearance, the two Gladiators on 37’s and 4.5-inch lift had zero issues. The remaining stock Gladiators had to be spotted over 8 or so obstacles and made it through the Canyon with only minor scratches to the rock sliders. It took us 6 hours including a 45 minute lunch stop. Overall, this is a fun, scenic, and challenging trail and is a perfect escape from Phoenix scorching summer temperatures.
Trail Review: Smiley Rock - Russ TGN
Trail Review: Smiley Rock - Russ TGN
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