Ben Ruddell

Mapping Crew - Arizona
Trail Reviews: 5700 points
Questions Answered: 100 points
Off-Road Experience:
6+ years
Off-Road Style:
Dirt Roads/Backroads
My Garage:
  • (2.5" lift, 33" tires)
  • 2000 Jeep Cherokee (3.5" lift, 31" tires)
  • 2019 Jeep Wrangler (4 door) (Stock lift, 33" tires)
Ben is an Engineering PhD and Civil Engineer living in Flagstaff with a family of seven. He grew up car camping in Michigan, and later in Southern Illinois. By way of Utah, Southeast Alaska, Michigan, Illinois, and for eight years in Phoenix, He now lives in Flagstaff, AZ and spends summers in Durango, CO. His favorite weekends are spent exploring a new trail or route, usually with the intent of scoring a nice day hike or short overnight car camp with his kids. He frequently finds that his maps are out of date or that roads are impassable without specialized equipment, and wants to create better information for himself and other enthusiasts in his backyard, the 4 corners region of AZ, CO, NM, an UT.

My Garage (3)

Lift Size: 2.5"
Tire Size: 33"
2017 NV3500 12 passenger 4x4 conversion (Advanced 4x4 in Salt Lake City), rear winch receiver, custom 12V power system, HAM radio, Awning and tent gear, high-output alternator and solar panel.

2000 Jeep Cherokee

Lift Size: 3.5"
Tire Size: 31"
2000 Jeep Cherokee 2DR manual inline-six with factory skids and rear positrac (was a forest service fleet vehicle), adjustable short arm lift 3.5" full suspension and steering replacement, Napier flares, tube sliders, KevinsOffroad cherokee roof rack, KC LED lights, front and rear receivers and flex mount winch, custom 12V front/rear power system, HAM radio, set up for a flat towbar.

2019 Jeep Wrangler (4 door)

Lift Size: Stock
Tire Size: 33"
2019 Wrangler 4dr Rubicon, white, hard top, stock. In Flagstaff and Sedona, an open top Jeep is a beautiful thing!

My Trail Reviews (13)

(within last 6 months)
Hart Prairie (06/01/2020)
@ Dave Kayser - a great spot, right? On the west side of the peaks :)
Elden Springs Road (05/17/2020)
Open and dry, in good condition.
Back Road to Lockett Meadow (05/17/2020)
The gate is open- although probably not for long with memorial day coming up. The road is in dry condition, but rough. I tried and succeeded for the first time to bring my van up here. It was a tight squeeze and there is plenty of new trail rash on it now. We found the conditions extremely windy on the east slope for camping- that may be typical for May.
FR552 Lockett Meadow (05/17/2020)
Still closed, possibly opening Memorial Day (COVID allowing...)
FR420 Schultz Pass (05/17/2020)
Open and dry, lots of camping going on in the lower areas.
Woody Mountain Road (04/23/2020)
The road is freshly graded in places- near the Arboretum where it was very rutted. Smooth sailing for the most part, and dry.
East Pocket Road (04/22/2020)
The road's in good shape, with only a little standing water. The season is open! Beware however- AZ Governor banned all fires starting the day of this visit.
Elden Springs Road (04/19/2020)
Open and clear, a little washboard
FR420 Schultz Pass (04/19/2020)
In good condition, no changes, dry and open.
Cinder Hills OHV (03/24/2020)
Cinder Hills is empty midweek in spring. It’s a great time to come here.
Broken Arrow (03/22/2020)
The trail is in good condition, unchanged from previous years. It was fairly busy midmorning this Sunday, but NO PINK JEEPS thanks to the quarantines.
Malapais Loop (01/18/2020)
The Forest Service has just permanently closed camping and campfires in part of this area. Stay tuned for new postings and restrictions. Some guide information may now be outdated. https://azdailysun.com/news/forest-service-spreads-camping-and-campfire-ban-to-communities-around/article_beb998f8-7e2a-56ee-b1fd-26b9a88304f0.html The map of closure areas is in this document: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd694026.pdf
FR301 to Fisher Point Trailhead (12/29/2019)
Still open, with excellent snow wheeling and access to great winter hiking. Do not attempt without 4WD.