New River Canyon

4.8/5 (25 reviews)
New River, Arizona (Maricopa County)
Last Updated: 01/24/2022
Zoom in to see trails...

Trail Information

Highlights

When you think of rugged off-road trails, you typically conjure up images of a trail in a land far away and not right near a major metro area such as just Phoenix, Arizona. New River is rugged and will have you feeling like you are in a remote part of the world rather than a quick drive from the Valley of the Sun. Stretching over 19 miles long across the New River Mountains and Mesa, you will feel enveloped inside the mountains and surrounded by saguaro and other cacti of the area. On a good day, you can cross the New River several times when it is flowing.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

FR 41 is a 19-mile trail that very loosely follows the New River from I-17 to FR 24 through the Tonto National Forest. The road begins as West Table Mesa Road on the west side before turning into FR41, New River. It can be driven from either east to west or west to east as mapped here. Technical obstacles at Waypoint 21 and 23 will require your attention. The obstacle at Waypoint 23 does have a bypass forming around it, but there is no guarantee that it will remain the "easier" option after any given rain. Overall, the trail is very rough and requires driving over loose rocks, boulders, and deep ruts throughout the entirety of the trail. Hill climbs, and descents are also a regular occurrence along the trail. On top of all that, anticipate washouts that can happen after any rain. This trail will push the limits of a stock SUV. Better suited for pure off-road vehicles such as the Wrangler, Tacoma, 4 Runner, Bronco, with a mild lift. River Flow The New River can be trickling or raging depending on the season and the weather. Always double-check the weather before adventuring in the desert. Using Gaia GPS, you can check flow rates through the USGS Streamflow layer. Alternatively, you can find streamflow directly from the government here.
Heavy side-by-side traffic on the weekends and flash flooding during weather events, in addition to mud forming when wet.

Trail Reviews

4.8/5 (26 reviews)
CF
300
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/24/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Easier

Good trail, some fun spots, good views. In one spot I can see anyone on 35s or smaller wanting to take the bypass. The washed out area listed would be very tight for a full size truck in its current condition. Otherwise, anyone on 32s+ who drives safely and uses the bypasses available should be able to complete our
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 07/03/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Drove this trail today with a group of 5 Broncos. The rock obstacles are daunting but we all made it through with zero issues. No water running at this time. Great run took about 4 hours from the trail head to Cave Creek. Highly recommend, but make sure you have decent clearance.
Status: Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 05/15/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Easier

I had a really fun time on this trail! I probably would have gave it a higher score if there was more water. Most of the water was dried up, so I will be coming back after some rain finally hits phoenix! I wrote that this was a little easier than a 5/6. I would put it at a 4/5 in my opinion. I have done other 5/6 trails and they are much harder. Overall though, this is a great trail with lots of variety. There is water crossings, hill climbs and rock bolder sections. The valley views are fantastic as well!
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 04/18/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Fun trail but be aware it is very rough and rocky. The going will be slow. Of not the mountain Mesa just before hitting the big uphill climb has prehistoric indigenous peoples ruins on its top. Warning there’s some major scrambling on top but if you’re so inclined take this in. Option 2 would be send a drone up for a video capture.
rob
1200
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 03/26/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Went West to East; the trail does have it's challenges! Conditions similar to what's already reported. Water is flowing right now but I'd expect it to dry up as summer comes. We chose to use bypass at WP23 due to clearance concerns and vehicles are our daily drivers....if using bypass, look to left near log corral and you'll see drop-in for the wash. Trail was dry and dusty, especially towards the end of this trail and heading south on Seven Springs; not an issue for lead vehicle but more gap space needed to see the trail.

From the Community

Start a free trial and get this level of detail on every trail guide
Go All-Access