New River Canyon

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4.7/5 (39 reviews)
New River, Arizona (Maricopa County)
Last Updated: 04/07/2023
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Trail Information


Camping Category Icon Camping
Desert Category Icon Desert
Overland Category Icon Overland
Rock Category Icon Rock
Wash Category Icon Wash

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


Trail Reviews

4.7/5 (40)
Rated 4/5
Visited: 02/05/2024
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Did this trail yesterday because we wanted to check it out and complete all three "Jeep badge of honor" trails in AZ. Crazy mix of Jeep brothers. Our highly modified JLU, a bone stock JK, and some folks who were checking out the start of the trail in a WL (new version of a WK2 Grand Cherokee). Since we didn't know the trail we said "sure your welcome to join us). This trail is a challenge for the latter two vehicles with the rock step just short of the creek (west to east), and the rock gardens with no bypass. Had to do some rock stacking and some expert spotting, but only damage was a plastic fairing on the WL from an approach angle misstep. Note: It took right at 5 hours to complete from west to east with the additional "trail grooming" time so plan accordingly. The scenery on the eastern half is just spectacular..... giant stacked rocks! Would do it again. Spot on for modified vehicles. Difficult for stock.
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Visited: 02/03/2024
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Nice fun trail.
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/23/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Took my recently purchased ‘23 Rubicon out for its first run. The trails first mile is a grated dirt road with the only real obstacle being high construction vehicle traffic. Once past that there are a few steep climbs, rocky trail and some great views. The creaks were mostly dry so they were not an issue. The trail has several secondary trails to explore we kept on the main trail. The two tough parts of the trail have work around it you want. It was a great first trail for a beginner. I will do it again.
Rated 5/5
Visited: 05/16/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

On May 7 our group made this one west to east. 2 of us have bone stock JK Sports and with help from the rest, we both made it. Some were saying the new challenge might be to revert to stock and see if you can do it. Fun trail for sure.
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Rated 5/5
Visited: 04/07/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Beautiful scenery, diverse off-roading from water crossing to rock crawling and everything in between. The big rock wash was too big for my solo situation. One of the best trails I’ve ever drove. We did make it to the other side.

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