How to Find Off-Road Trails: Top Resources and Apps
Planning your next off-road adventure takes time, preparation, and research. If you’re not looking in the right place, chances are you’ll be missing out on crucial information about potential trail closures and conditions. Quantum Fuel Systems is here to get you squared away with our guide to how to find off-road trails.
We get out on the trail as much as we can. We want to help anyone getting into the hobby so we’ve compiled a list of resources for anyone planning to off-road while using their ATV, motorcycle, UTV/Side-by-Side, or four-wheel-drive vehicles.
From family-friendly Jeep trails to black diamond-rated routes, the resources listed here give you access to information listing legal off-road trail systems throughout the United States and outside the continental U.S. in some cases. Bookmark this page and download these apps while you gear up for your next off-road excursion.
QFS specializes in direct OE-replacement components for a wide selection of Powersports and automotive applications. Be sure to check out our extensive catalog before hitting the wilderness. Stocking up on dependable fuel pumps and fuel system components could save your trip.
Off-Road Trail Resources — Websites
The U.S. Forest Service is an invaluable resource for anyone planning their next off-road trip that lives near or plans on passing through a national park. Off-roaders can find a comprehensive list of Off-highway vehicle (OHV) routes and recreation areas in every national park across the country.
In addition, there is plenty of important information regarding camping, camping restrictions, road conditions, closures, and weather or general hazard warnings. Other apps and services may offer the same information, but these are the people providing that information to the public regarding national parks.
Beyond that, the U.S. Forest Service website provides detailed outlines as to what vehicles are suitable on any given trails. Some OHV parks and certain trail systems may have specific regulations that need to be followed, all of which will be stipulated here.
In addition, the USFS is responsible for maintaining these routes and provides contact information for district offices, where you can speak with USFS Rangers, who often have up-to-date information available. We strongly encourage readers to take down relevant field office phone numbers in an emergency.
The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service serve similar functions in that both agencies manage public lands, keeping them maintained and suitable for multiple uses. Their websites offer helpful information, including a database of all OHV recreation areas and trails managed by the BLM.
Camping information, including amenities, restrictions, pricing, and more, is readily available for those interested. Not unlike the U.S. Forest Service website, all this information is free and constantly updated. Once again, contact local field offices for the most up-to-date information. BLM staff have a wealth of knowledge regarding the areas they serve, including closures and poor trail conditions.
Off-Road Trail Resources — Apps
AllTrails is available on Android and iOS and is one of the best free resources for route planning available today. We should note that there is a $29.99 Pro service plan, but the free account is more than enough to plan a route and search for trails by location. Pro does unlock helpful features such as downloadable maps and offline access, lifeline features to alert your whereabouts, an off-route alert system, and real-time map overlaps with (air quality, weather, light, and more).
Many readers may associate AllTrails with outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking, or bicycling. However, users can search for OHV trails specifically. Even more helpful is the detailed user-generated information such as reviews, difficulty ratings, trail length, time estimates, and photos.
This information is invaluable as popular, regularly trafficked trails receive regular updates and can provide quality insight regarding your upcoming journey. Trust us; nothing is worse than hitting a path you and your vehicle aren’t entirely ready to manage.
Gaia GPS has quickly taken over the off-road scene. It has become especially popular with 4-wheel-drive owners and even more so with ADV, dual-sport, and enduro motorcyclists since it has comparable functionality to standalone GPS units.
Much like AllTrails, Gaia has a thriving community and user-generated trail data. You can isolate off-road tails, ensuring that you aren’t taken down standard hiking routes. Difficulty ratings and mileage are reference, too.
As with many GPS apps, these are multifunctional tools that allow users to always remain on legal trails, providing accurate campsite, park, and forest locations in conjunction with weather overlays. Gaia is no different in that regard.
Gaia has grown in popularity within the off-roading community because it allows users to create custom waypoints and develop off-roading routes. There are also detailed layers of information providing elevation, grade, and much more. Users can also import premade GPX files, which are often distributed for rallies and other off-road events. Lastly, Gaia GPS supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, seamlessly integrating with a modern dashboard.
Premium Membership is $19.99 per year and unlocks numerous features that hardcore off-roaders deem worthy. Some of the best features include mass-download maps for offline use and access to the worldwide map database. That database includes: ESRI World Satellite Imagery, NOAA weather forecasts, U.S. Private Land Ownership (including owner names and addresses for parcels), US Hunting Layers, U.S. Public Land (BLM, Forests, more), and most importantly, U.S. Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs), and more.
The main downside of using your mobile device instead of a standalone GPS unit is that they are not as pinpoint accurate. However, they’re unlikely to get you off course and unless you need absolute precision in your route tracking, using your smartphone is more than adequate.
OnX Offroad is one of the few apps designed for offroad navigation specifically. Unfortunately, it is the only app on this list that doesn’t have a free membership. The yearly service fee is $29.99.
The upshot is that OnX Offroad is geared toward anyone looking for off-road trails and prevents users from accidentally combining non-off-road trails into their lists . It does not list standard trails. OnX Offroad boasts a massive database with 985 million acres of public land and over 550,000 miles of roads and trails, with specific information such as open dates and width restrictions. 4WD owners will appreciate that.
Reference countless topographic and satellite maps to create routes and custom waypoints that can be shared with friends in your group. More importantly, what sets it apart from other mapping apps is that it caters to the off-road community in more ways than one.
The map interface allows users to filter trails and display routes into specific categories. Categories include: Dirt bike trails, 50-inch trails (dirt bikes and ATVs), high-clearance 4×4 trails (Jeeps, Side-by-Sies, ATVs, motorcycles), and full-width roads. Again, no other app in this article accommodates those features, giving you unparalleled route planning knowledge. Need to create a loop and keep it dirt bikes only? You can do that. Want to make sure that your ATV or Side-by-Side buddies can join in? Well, you can map that out as well.
Lastly, OnX Offroad supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Stock Up on Spares Before Your Next Trip
Quantum Fuel Systems offers high-quality fuel pump and fuel system components that meet and exceed OEM specifications. If you’re planning on hitting some major major off-road trails, bring spares that could save an expensive tow. We are available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. P.T. Have technical questions? Contact us via phone or email.