General Cook National Recreation Trail (FR 136) is part of the Verde Trails system - developed with the help of the Arizona State Parks OHV Recreation Fund - as a multi-use road not just for all kinds of motorized vehicles, but also for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Most of the connecting trails are only meant for ATVs and smaller vehicles, hikers and horseback riders making this a multi-use dirt road roughly parallel to I-17 from Camp Verde at the North to FR 732 / Highway 169 at the south. This is also a popular place for hunting and has a good number of dispersed primitive camping spots.
7 day forecast for General Cook National Recreation Trail
From the north you'll enter the trail near the Copper Canyon Trailhead - a hiking and ATV trail found in the southwest part of Camp Verde. Take Highway 260 from I-17 heading east. Turn right onto Oasis Rd. where you'll head down a hill then turn right onto FR 136; just look for the Copper Canyon Trailhead signs. The Copper Canyon Trailhead staging area is only open for daytime use but can be bypassed.
From the south, you'll start at I-17 exit 287 (Dewey-Humboldt / Highway 169) which connects you to FR 732 (also marked on some maps as 68D). From FR 732 (which also heads to Squaw Peak, but not the one in Phoenix) you can access a number of dirt roads and ATV trails including FR 136 which is on the left less than a mile east of the freeway.
Agree with my colleague Warren Keith on this one. I think it is a more difficult trail than as described. It is a beautiful hidden canyon, but the trail is rutted, rocky and steep in several areas. I absolutely would not take a 2WD drive vehicle up this road even with some clearance. It is also very narrow in many areas and you are guaranteed to get Arizona pinstripes (AKA scratches) across your paint job. It is unavoidable as there are no alternative routes. Most 4WD vehicles should be OK, but a lift and slightly oversized tires would go a long way. A completely stock 4WD (primarily street vehicle) would be better avoiding this trail.
This trail is rated Easy-Moderate. IMHO, this trail should only be run by a vehicle with 4WD, 2.5" lift and 31s. I ran it NE-SW in a Jeep Rubicon with 4" and 35s but still used 4 low and rear lockers on the steep, slow, rocky climb out (mile 5.6 - 6.2). A 2WD vehicle would have a very difficult time with this trail even with clearance, due to large loose rocks and washouts that require accurate wheel placement and 4WD to negotiate at low speed.
It was dry today, but would definitely be a thrill when wet!
Nice relatively easy trail through some interesting and varied terrain. First off, it's called the General Crook trail, and we started on the southside by Flower Pot Ranch in a stock JLU. The first part of the trail was rocky, and some of the descents into the canyon required a spotter, but well worth it. There are wild raspberries and grapes inside the canyon. It was mostly dry when we went, only saw mud when you cross through the creek. The I-17 is above the trail most of the time, so you can hear highway noise. Gorgeous areas to camp, but the highway noise is a factor. We came out on the Camp Verde side, got some lunch in town, and then spent the rest of the afternoon at the BullPen swimming hole which is only a few miles down the highway from here.
The trail was fairly dry for most of the run, but still had some unavoidable mud. Some of it was obviously from the recent rain storms, while others are part of Copper Creek runoff. Some parts of the trail are slightly more eroded and if allowed to continue will likely make for some more challenging four-wheel drive off-road fun; especially on the big hill that is getting looser and rockier.
I also had to move a few Prickly Pare Cacti out of the way to avoid driving over them. They seem to line the side of the skinny long hill, leaving you with not choice but to go over the larger of the loose rocks.
Splashing through the water and mud was lots of fun, but spraying it out of the fenders and wheel wells was not.
I've been writing for TrailsOffroad since August 2015. Before that, I had been off-road in places like central and northern Utah, east and west Texas, and central and northern Arizona. I've even driven off-road on an island in the Caribbean (the one time I've driven a Jeep off-road).
I joined TrailsOffroad because it combines my three favorite hobbies: Off-roading obviously; I've also been blogging for most of my life - even before it was done on the internet (ever heard of a dial-up BBS?) - and even wrote a political column for Examiner.com for a few years; I also have experience with building websites and promoting on social media. These experiences made writing for Trails Offroad a good fit for me, and I've been enjoying it very much.
When I'm not working at my IT job, or playing with my kids, I go on runs with a group of people who like to collaborate on [AZFJ.org](http://azfj.org), and run my own online marketing and web content company (my wife calls it my hobby business) [The Rotisory Foundation](http://rotisory.spaldam.com) (named after a BBS I used to run back in High School and College before the Internet became overwhelmingly popular).
I'm a big Toyota fan. I've owned two 4x4 Tacomas, an older 4x4 Toyota pickup, and I'm now on my second FJ Cruiser (the first was a TRD SE 6 speed, that I got rid of after my twins were born).
You can learn more about my adventures at [SJsAdv.com](http://sjsadv.com).