Cory W

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 (33)

(within last 6 months)
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.
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.
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.
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.
7422 (02/21/2022)
We usually take this trail after leaving Rockhouse, just north of the trailhead off Alamo Road, and stop by Sheeps Mount Well for lunch. Unfortunately, it was too windy for lunch at the well, with the tank overflowing and bees and flies enjoying the moisture. So instead, we opted for a secluded spot in a wash along 7452. The Joshua trees are coming into bloom, and ocotillo are beginning to leaf out, with a few showing some of their bright red blooms.
7361 (02/18/2022)
This is a pretty trail but lacks the boulders and picnic spot from 7366. However, we enjoyed the scenery along this trail and will drive it with 7366 or 7365, depending on the destination every time, eliminating the need for backtracking along a trail.
7366 (02/18/2022)
This trail was quite a surprise, we usually don't wander off Alamo Road until we get past Signal Road or Old Alamo Road. The Joshua trees were beautiful, but the picnic and crawling all over the boulders for hours was a blast.
Chicken Springs Road (02/18/2022)
Not a trail that I would drive to for the sake of driving since I live in the desert, but it's beautiful for a connector road and handy to know when concerned about having enough fuel to make it back to I-40 after a few days out playing. Some pretty spots along this trail, but I prefer the one-lane secluded tracks.
7463 and 7465 (02/07/2022)
I was happy to find this trail connecting all the workings of McCracken Mine. It was nice to make a loop out rather than backtracking since the road on the west side of the mountain washed out ten years ago or so.
McCracken Mine Road (02/06/2022)
We've been coming up to McCracken Mine for 15 years. It's a nice drive and get away from the city. The roads getting there are easy, and the views and breeze are nice enough to set up the chairs and break out the chips and salsa, enjoying the shadows from the occasional cloud racing across the landscape.
7460B (02/06/2022)
Having driven by this trail many times over the years, I was surprised to find what I had been passing by in an everyday hurry. It's a short trail but deserves some attention. So much of McCracken has been picked over or is on private property, this little presumably mom and pop mine is a neat stop.
Maggie's Slot Canyon (01/29/2022)
Always such a beautiful drive through the slot canyon. I was surprised just how tight Waypoint 15 was for Wade's 4Runner, only a few inches to spare between the rock slider and the front bumper. It certainly feels tighter through those turns running south to north. Thanks to Keith and Karna from Minnesota for stopping to say hi. We hope to see you out on more trails!
Rockhouse Cabin (01/29/2022)
I've only been here a few times because I didn't care to backtrack on trails. So it was quite a surprise to find the road skirting the eastern edge of the mountain to McCracken Mine. After stopping here, I took the connector to McCracken, enjoyed the view for a while, and returned to Alamo with minimal backtracking. Beautiful day in the desert.
Through the Bucks (01/27/2022)
Another pretty afternoon drive. We spotted a deer near Ideal Mine, which was a first on the west side of the Bucks for us. Quiet day on the trails and great weather.
Buck Mountain Connector (01/27/2022)
We walked the high ground above the washes up towards the base of the mountains as the sun went down. There a quite a few old stacked rock campfire rings nestled away back there. Interesting to picture prospectors scouting this area while the San Francisco Mining District and Oatman just north of here were booming.
Spirit Ridge Road (01/27/2022)
Great little connector road to access the east side of the Bucks from Franconia.
Northern Foothills of the Mohave Mountains (01/18/2022)
The washouts and dropoffs mentioned in another review were knocked down and easily navigable today. The only road change is a slightly rougher approach into the wash at Waypoint 11. The gate at Waypoint 16 has stretched a little too. It's much easier to open and close now.
Dutch Flat, Northern Mohave Connector (01/18/2022)
Still connecting the two trails and an easy way to find the Dutch Flat Road trailhead. Nice drive and no changes.
Franconia Wash Overlook (01/18/2022)
Always a great view.
Arizona Yucca Mine (01/18/2022)
Beautiful day and an easy cruise up the wash to the mines. I hiked around the Chemehuevis Prospects for a while. The road to get there is rarely traveled, one of the reasons I like to explore there.
Franconia Road (01/18/2022)
The road is a little rougher every year. There weren't any washouts or rutting at the wash crossing mentioned in a previous review. However, the rocks after Waypoint 20 are rough and slow going.
Blacksmith Canyon (01/18/2022)
A pretty day, we watched the rain clouds over the Hualapai's and enjoyed the blue sky and spotty sunshine closer to Havasu.
Scott’s Well (01/18/2022)
I didn't notice I had passed Waypoint two with the denser overgrowth until I turned out of the wash at Waypoint 4. The trail has been well-traveled, and no changes in the difficulty. There is evidence of a brush fire at Waypoint 24 since my trip last winter.
Franconia Wash (01/18/2022)
Easy drive up the wash today. After going up Franconia Wash Overlook and wondering what was at the end of the two-track seen to the southwest, I decided to give it a try. At the last Waypoint, you can see the road traversing halfway up the mountain, and I followed the only path I saw and ended up one ridge east of the road I thought I would be. The climb was very steep and was pretty much my Jeeps limit due to the loose baseball-sized rock. The view down the wash was great, though. The white roof seen in the wash is the water guzzler at Waypoint 11.
Palo Verde Mine (01/06/2022)
Today was a nice and quiet, 70-degree day. With the rains this year, the water runoff has taken a little more of the road at Waypoint 9, plus the tree widened, forcing those who would instead not acquire some more desert pinstripe closer to the washout. I went straight at the trail's end past Ideal Mine and north back to National Old Trails Road. The rains reset the washes into a nice strip of smooth sand, and I was the second set of tracks in the wash since the rains.
Ideal Mine (01/06/2022)
I ran this trail backward after driving up Palo Verde Mine, it's always interesting to see what you missed when you usually run the other way. The wash was smooth and a nice drive. With the sun low to the south, one of the rock faces glimmered with what appeared to be pyrite crystals. The wash was nice and smooth so far, so I followed it back to National Old Trails Road and popped out just 100 feet east of Waypoint 8. The tree just past Waypoint 3 is starting to droop pretty low, there is a lightly traveled bypass to the west weaving between the bushes.
National Old Trails Road (01/02/2022)
This stretch of dirt road was pretty busy for New Years, with more people camping along Franconia Road than I recall seeing before. This area has grown considerably, and the condition of some of these roads shows the wear.

My Trails (70)