Cory W

26500

Mapping Crew - Arizona and Montana

My Profile

Year Started:
Off-Road Style:
Dirt Roads/Backroads
My Garage:
  • 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee (4.5" lift, 32" tires)
  • 1975 Jeep CJ (4" lift, 32" tires)
  • 2002 Toyota 4Runner (3" lift, 33" tires)
Cory grew up traveling the logging roads outside Durango, CO with his dad for his woodcutting business and fell in love with everything about the outdoors. He's moved around a lot since then, from several rural areas of Southern California to Montana, Wyoming to Arizona, even living on a commercial gold mine in Nevada in for several years. In all these areas he has explored several thousand miles of old dirt roads and trails, as well as many old mines and ghost towns. Located in the Mohave Desert of AZ in the winter and the Madison River Valley of MT in the summer.

My Garage (3)

1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Lift Size: 4.5"
Tire Size: 32"
Automatic, power steering Ac and heat! And windows! So this started as wanting a more family-friendly trail rig than the old Cj below. I set out on Craigslist with a $2500 budget to put together a Jeep the family could enjoy, found a running 4.0 for $1100 bucks and hauled it home. I wish I had the pics of how it started. It was mechanically solid but beat up. Different colored doors led to the rattle can paint job which I have grown to love but would have never done if it weren't a green Jeep with red and gray doors. Old Man Emu 4.5" lift, steel wheels and a set of Chinese mud boggers and off we went. All was said and done I ended up $2600 and change into it and wish I had switched to a coil spring ride long ago. After two years of beating it on the trail, I finally gave it some love this winter and fixed all the quirks before one of them could leave me stranded out on the trail. Next step is getting rid of the Quaddra trac transfer case as the VC has made some noses I've never heard before. I stick to the easier trails for now. Think it will be locker time and maybe some 4:11's at the same time.

1975 Jeep CJ

Lift Size: 4"
Tire Size: 32"
304 cammed v8, ported heads, aluminum intake. Manual 3 speed, ratcheting rear locker open front. No power steering, power brakes, windows, heat or Ac.... but it’s fun! This rig used to be a mud bog racer in West Virginia, the seller had inherited it and couldn't look at it because of the family memories it brought up for him. It appeared to be in pretty good shape when I bought it until the inches of caked mud were washed out of the nooks and crannies over the next couple weeks and I watched the floorboards disappear. This Jeep has been all over the desert within a couple hundred miles from home and a lot of fun.

2002 Toyota 4Runner

Lift Size: 3"
Tire Size: 33"
The Montana trail rig is pretty basic. It has a lift with tires and a rear bumper with swing-away spare. The roof rack is Gobu Stealth, holding a lockbox, a Tuff Stuff Overlander tent, and an LED light bar. The rear storage has drawers and a fridge freezer combo, and that's it. The drivetrain is bone stock, though it could use a set of 4:56 or 4:88 gears.

My Trail Reviews (47)

(within last 6 months)
Medicine Lodge Road (09/04/2022)
The road was in good shape, with county dump trucks, excavators, and a blade parked in one spot. There didn't appear to be any construction recently, and it'll be interesting to see what was completed when we make it back through next year. With the old stories of stagecoach robberies we've all heard, with loot being hidden in the hills and caves, it's fun to look at all the natural formations and wonder if any of them could have hidden the lost loot. There are many interesting features that would be fun to check out. It also makes you wonder, with all that we can see, how many can't we see?
Bannack Bench Road (09/04/2022)
We've never ventured off on any of the many dirt roads that lead off into the distance, hopefully, next year. There are many trails that lead over the hills and as far as we can see. The road was in good shape, and not much traffic.
South Fork Madison (09/04/2022)
There was road construction and a detour on this trail today. We were diverted onto another path at Waypoint 5, and an old trail that was long closed dozed open, rejoining South Fork Madison just before Waypoint 9. Not sure what the scope of construction was, but the bridge was recently replaced at Waypoint 4, which makes us curious about the extent of improvements. Still a pretty drive, but we certainly missed our river views.
Big Sheep Creek Road (09/04/2022)
Today was a lot of fun, hiking at Bannack State Park, down Bannack Bench Road, Medicine Lodge, and Big Sheep Creek Road. Today was the first time we saw sheep on this trail! We sat and watched them for a while, then, as always, drove back toward Dell checking out the unique rock wall formations. This is one of our favorite trails in this area, and look forward to our trip next year!
Bannack Road (09/04/2022)
We were skeptical about making the trip out this year with the Moose Fire not too far away, but we were pleasantly surprised by the light haze, blue skies, and great temperatures. The park was full, so we hiked up the overlook before heading south on Bannack Bench Road, Medicine Lodge, and the Big Sheep Creek Road and home through the Red Rock Lakes Wildlife Refuge. I love walking along Grasshopper Creek, imagining what this place must've looked like in its prime.
Soap Creek (09/03/2022)
The trail was in good shape. We waited til late in the year to do this trail because of the depth of some of the mud holes, and the trail was mostly dry today. Our highlight was a couple of sandhill cranes and ripe thimbleberries, an excellent way to end the day!
Freezeout Creek (09/03/2022)
The trail was in good shape and had no obstacles. Hard to beat a day in the mountains.
Flatiron Mountain (09/03/2022)
We love the views of the Centennials along this trail. We were met with a downed tree across the road and no way around, so the wife and I took turns with a hand saw and pulled a section out of the way. Big thanks to whoever started to cut through it. Fortunately, we only had to cut the other half.
Contour Road (08/27/2022)
The late winter snow and rains into the summer helped the brush overtake a lot of this trail. However, we did forge through to Waypoint 12 as before, and I was less than thrilled to back up with zero visibility out the side mirrors at one point. I recommend parking around Waypoint 8 and walking if you are out foraging for wild berries. The thimbleberries were starting to ripen and were plentiful.
West Fork Denny Creek (08/14/2022)
The trail was fine; the clouds over the lake made the view from the top even better. What a gorgeous sight to sit back, relax, and watch the clouds go by.
Hebgen Lake Road (08/14/2022)
The clouds were low with poor visibility in the morning after a recent drizzle and light rain the night before. What a treat to have no dust and the clouds give way through the day to bluer skies. Hebgen Lake is at 95% capacity. The late winter and rains well into summer certainly helped with the lake levels. The stumps along the shoreline are usually 15 feet from the water this time of year.
Trapper Bay Road (08/14/2022)
The water level on Hebgen Lake is quite high for this time of year, still at 95% from the late snow and rain well into the summer months. There is not much shoreline to walk on, but great lake views, and always very peaceful.
Hebgen Lake Observation Point (08/14/2022)
With the low clouds this morning, we didn't expect any views throughout the day. What a difference a couple of hours made! By the time we made it back down Contour Road, most of the clouds had burnt off, revealing the partly cloudy beautiful blue sky.
Tepee Creek (07/31/2022)
This road is always in good shape for a dirt road. There are logging operations along the Tepee/ Skyline Hiking Trail. The crews were off today, so we could not find out if there would be any closures to the hiking trails while they operated- FYI, if you are one of the many that frequent these trails for hiking opportunities. The green grass and wildflowers are beautiful this year.
Led Zeppelin (07/31/2022)
There are logging operations on this trail, which significantly improved road conditions on the first half of the trail. In the second half of the trail, the dirt has been ground into a fine powder several inches deep, creating a massive dust trail driving through it. Pretty views, and always in awe of the modern machinery for logging.
Cave Falls (07/24/2022)
Since we've been visiting the area, Cave Falls Road was in the best shape we’ve seen this trip. Little washboard along most of the road, but nothing major. Cave Falls campground has reopened, and we took a drive through and didn't notice any improvements to justify the year and a half closure. Most of the wildflowers are gone except for some in the trees shade. The grassy fields are dry; smoke season must be near. Was pretty warm out, an the water at the day use area below the falls felt great.
Horseshoe Lake (07/24/2022)
The trail today was dusty, dry, and busy. However, the trails are in decent shape, and tire placement may be necessary with low clearance vehicles. The lake access at the trail's end was pretty busy, so we backtracked and checked out trail 374 and found another public lake access. There was a nice parking area near the water and a decent shoreline. Next time, we'll try this spot at the south end of the lake first.
Warm Springs Creek (07/23/2022)
Warm Springs Road is closed due to the Clover Fire. Clover Fire Closure Order Clover Fire Closure Map
Johnny Ridge (07/23/2022)
Johhny Ridge Road is closed at Gravelly Range Drive due to the Clover Fire. EDIT 8/16/2022 Johnny Ridge has been reopened, allowing traffic through Gravely Range Road. Warm Springs Road remains closed. Forest Service Website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd1054731.pdf
Gravelly Range (07/23/2022)
Gravelly Range Drive is closed from approximately Waypoint 43 through 49 due to the Clover Fire. EDIT: 8/16/2022 Gravelly Range Drive is open, and Warm Springs Road remains closed. Forest Service Info: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd1054731.pdf
Call Road (07/16/2022)
Today we went up Johhny Ridge and Gravlley Range to Call Road and back into Ennis, a windy but beautiful trip. Wildflowers were at their peak, occasional sprinkles with clouds racing across the sky and enough wind to keep the bugs at bay. Hard to ask for a more enjoyable drive, but I'll gladly try again in another week or so!
Johnny Ridge (07/16/2022)
This trail doesn't disappoint in the view category. Our only complaint would be not being able to catch Waypoint 17 empty for the last couple of years; certainly a popular spot. We did stop at Waypoint 19 and walked around for a bit, but the wind was fierce. The wildflowers on this trip were fantastic.
Gravelly Range (07/10/2022)
Second trip up this year, this time from Waypoint 32 to 49. An absolutely gorgeous trip, with snow on the northern slopes and wildflowers in the fields. Unfortunately, about a week before the peak of wildflower bloom, we'll have to make a trip next weekend too!
Warm Springs Creek (07/10/2022)
This was our first time driving down Warm Springs towards Centennial Divide. We have always traveled in the direction the trail guide is written, and I have to say we enjoy the views more driving this trail to the west. The views stretch out over several mountain ranges, covered by blue skies and clouds. Unfortunately, we were about a week early of peak wildflower bloom. II guess we'll have to come back next weekend!
Continental Divide Road (07/04/2022)
The snow was still high on the mountain peaks, white clouds scattered on a deep blue sky, green grass, wildflowers, and a cool breeze in July. What a great way to spend the day.
Antelope Basin (07/04/2022)
No changes to note on this trail. Amazing to see in the previous review the amount of snow in mid-May. It snowed much longer into spring than usual, that combined with a lot of rain, the wildflowers were gorgeous this year.
Henry’s Lake Overlook (07/04/2022)
Beautiful skies, cool breeze, green grass, and wildflowers. Break out the chairs and chips and salsa while enjoying the lake views, this spot is great.
Conklin Lake (07/04/2022)
The wet winter and spring eroded more of the obstacle at Waypoint 7. Plenty of traction, but quite a bit rockier and rutted than the previous year. Tall green grass, gorgeous wildflowers, and lake views- we love this trail.
Lone Tree Pass (07/04/2022)
We parked and walked through the tall green grass and wildflowers in the shade of the Aspen trees with leaves rustling in the breeze and a deep blue sky and clouds above. The wildflowers this year are amazing, and the trail was fun too.
Gravelly Range (07/03/2022)
First trip this year, we went up Standard Creek and followed Gravelly Range Road from Waypoint 34 to 18, continuing onto Eureka Basin, into the Red Rocks, and eventually to Monida and the I-15. What a beautiful drive, graupel, hails, and thunderstorms with bly skies in the distance behind snowy mountain peaks. We were about a week early of the wildflower bloom in the high grounds and will take the northern route of Gravelly Range next weekend. The roads were pretty slippery in some spots, throwing sticky mud all over the vehicle. However, some fields were covered in flowers between waypoints 18 and 20. Always a beautiful drive, looking forward to the next trip!
Eureka Basin (07/03/2022)
The trail is in great shape, with some scattered patches of wildflowers. Relaxing drive with great views, and we saw one deer. Always wonder how many critters saw us...
Cottonwood Creek (07/03/2022)
This trail is still closed due to a severe washout at Cottonwood Creek due to the late spring runoff. A date for reopening has not been provided.
Standard Creek (07/03/2022)
This trail never gets old—still some snow on the ground and plenty on the peaks. We had a thunderstorm blow in today, followed by hail and graupel. Wildflowers were starting to bloom, and blue sky patches with snow-covered mountains in the otherwise gloomy sky made for great views. Someone was busy clearing trees from the road, the late winter snow took down a lot of trees.
Horse Butte Lookout (06/26/2022)
The road has been improved, making it much easier for vehicles to pass. Great lake views as always, snowy covered mountains, blue skies with puffy clouds.
Whiskey Bar (06/26/2022)
A beautiful drive today, but also quite busy. With Yellowstone National Park reopening after the flooding, the nearby trails have a lot more traffic of those that were unaware of the new vehicle restrictions. Lots of puddles, tall green grass, snowy mountain tops, blue skies, and scattered puffy clouds make for pleasant views driving along the lake.
Whits Lake Road (06/26/2022)
Snowy mountain tops, blue skies, scattered clouds, green grass, wildflowers, and views of Hebgen Lake are always a nice little detour this time of year. With the ongoing logging operations, the nice sheltered campsite at Waypoint 3 has changed quite a bit. The road was in good shape, but we opted not to hike to the lakes today with the mosquitos out in force.
Horse Butte Peninsula (06/26/2022)
The road has been improved up to Waypoint 7, but there are still some obstacles that could hang up the grocery getter. After Waypoint 7 is still high ground clearance only, with mandatory bug spray. The skeeters were terrible at the end of the trail—all in all, a beautiful drive along the lakeshore.
Ghost Village (06/19/2022)
The Madison River is also flowing high on its banks, with water nearly up to the road's surface. Just upstream, the Hebgen Lake Dam has water going over the spillway. The road has a lot of potholes, as usual, but it doesn't seem to reduce the number of people driving down to check out the houses off in the distance or fishing. Today a Bald Eagle was circling over the river looking for his next meal.
Beaver Creek (06/19/2022)
Beaver Creek is flowing well above its banks, carving new waterways from the once dry grassy plains. Accessing the actual creek was not possible today with the overflow of water along the road. Still, a beautiful drive and usually great access to hiking trails.
Cliff Lake Bench (06/19/2022)
This is one of those trails you rarely see anyone else on, which is a good opportunity for spotting critters. Today and elk hung out and watched as we drove by. Later in the year, there are usually large herds up here.
Jackknife (06/19/2022)
The views from this trail always catch me by surprise. The snow-covered mountains, green grassy fields with wildflowers, and the aspens in their fresh, bright green color. Also saw some flowers that we hadn't seen before, these purple bell-looking things. They were all within a 20-foot area.
East Bench (06/19/2022)
The road is in good shape, with the forest coming back to life after the fire. Green grass growing below the burnt trees, and many people out hiking through the burn towards Goose and Otter Lakes.
Jackpine Gulch (06/19/2022)
Great day for cruising the dirt roads. Green grass, wildflowers, and still snow on the peaks. There were a lot of small trees leaning over the road, like limbo for cars. The hiking trails at the end of the road were pretty popular today.
South Bench (06/19/2022)
Last years fire thinned the understory, expanding the views of this secluded seldom used campsite. There are some precariously burnt trees leaning towards the road waiting for a good windstorm to block the only access.
Elk Lake (06/18/2022)
The snow on the mountains and flower covered fields made for a beautiful drive. We hiked to Hidden Lake and caught a couple of nice rainbows, but left early due to the incredible amount of flying insects. The trail is is a bit more rutted than previous years, but still easily passable.
Sawtelle Peak (06/18/2022)
The road was dry and in good shape and a beautiful drive above the snowcapped mountains. We were hoping to see the Tetons but couldn't see them today. The views are fantastic in every other direction though. The road was also quite busy today.
West Fork Madison (06/11/2022)
Some parts of the road are certainly more rutted and potholed than last year, but all in all still a fun drive and great scenery. The river is flowing high above its banks and carving new paths through the trees with a lot more downed tress across the water than usual.

My Trails (70)