Easy Off Road 4X4 Trails In Southern California

Easy Off Road 4X4 Trails In Southern California

Are you new to off roading and looking for some easy 4×4 trails to get started on? This is the NotaRubicon’s list of favorite easy and beginner offroad trails. All of these 4×4 trails can be completed by any stock 4×4 vehicle and most are short enough that they can be completed in just a few hours.
If you have questions about any of these trails please leave a comment and we will do our best to answer.
Additional photos provided by: Peggy Marty

Number 10 – Rainbow Basin
The very first trail that The Notarubion ever went on was Rainbow Basin . So easy, it can hardly be considered a trail, it’s a great dirt road for first-time off-road driver. Rainbow Basin is a colorful geologic formation in the Calico Peaks mountain range, about 8 miles north of Barstow just off of Ft. Irwin Road. The Rainbow basin is known for it’s beautifully colored rock formations.

Number 9 – The Red Canyon Jeep Trail
The Red Canyon Trail is a scenic trail that starts at Interstate 10 runs through the hills to Summit Road near Salton Sea. This trail is mostly flat easy road but there is one large, steep and intimidating hill to get up but any stock Jeep can make it easily.

Number 8 – The Bradshaw Trail
The Bradshaw Trail runs from Salton Sea to Blythe and is mostly flat, easy road with just a few sections of sand. There are several interesting things to see along the way including the abandoned Eagle Mountain railroad bridge.

Number 7 – Rattlesnake Canyon
Rattlesnake Canyon goes from highway 247 in Johnson Valley up into the mountains near Big Bear. There are a few sandy areas, a few narrow rocky spots, and usually mud in the winter months but any 4X4 Jeep or truck can complete this trail easily. Most times of the year you will find dozens of cows roaming free throughout the entire area

Number 6 – Burns Canyon Road (2N02)
Burns Canyon Road is an flat, easy dirt road that connects Pioneertown to Baldwin Lake near Big Bear. The Burns Canyon trail offers great views and also connects you with several other nearby trails such as Rattlesnake Canyon or harder trails such as Marble Canyon, Heartbreak Ridge and the Garden of Eden Jeep trail.

Number 5 – Lytle Creek Ridge
The Lytle Creek Ridge Trail is an easy trail composed mostly of fire roads and power line roads which cross the San Bernardino National Forest near the Cajon Pass. The trail runs from Lytle Creek to Lone Pine Canyon and offers beautiful views of the Inland Empire and Cajon Pass.

Number 4 – Old Dale Road
Old Dale Road in Joshua Tree runs through the Pinto Basin and into the Pinto Mountains, where it becomes Gold Crown Road. The route ends at Highway 62 not far from 29 Palms. There are dozens of abandoned mines and historic mining camps lining the route making it one of the NotaRubicon’s Favorites. There are a few rocky spots and shallow water crossing in winter months, but any stock Jeep or high-clearance 4×4 vehicle can travel this entire road easily.

Number 3 – Phillips Loop near Calico Ghost Town
UPDATE 2019 – Phillips Loop has become a bit washed out and may now be too difficult for some beginners! Drive at your own risk and don’t go alone!
Phillips Loop is a beautiful scenic drive in the historic Calico mining district not far from Barstow. The loop takes you through the beautiful mountains and landscape of the Calico Mountains and takes you to Kramer’s Arch – an amazing natural structure large enough to drive your Jeep through.

Number 2 – Cajon Bypass  (3N45)
Cajon Bypass (3N45) also known as Old Rt 66 is a short, rough, dirt road that was part of the Historic Route 66 over 100 years ago.
Starting at the summit of Cajon Pass behind where the Old Summit Inn once stood, it winds its way through the hills offering beautiful views of Cajon Pass before it connects to Highway 138

Number 1 – Cleghorn Trail (2N47)
The Notarubicon’s favorite trail! Cleghorn is a 14 mile long trail that is actually a flat dirt road but it has several optional offshoots that range from easy to difficult – perfect for practicing your off-road and 4X4 skills. Many of the offshoots on Cleghorn are steep, off-camber and full of deep ruts but if you stay on the road instead, it’s flat and easy making this the perfect trail for beginners to practice on.


  1. owadog on July 15, 2019 at 11:47 pm

    Great info! Watched the cleghorn video and I can’t wait to tackle all these trails.

    Keep the videos coming 🤙🏽

  2. Jim Doss on July 15, 2019 at 11:47 pm

    #10 doesn’t qualify.  If  a car can drive it, it’s not a 4X4 trail.

  3. Evan Burke on July 15, 2019 at 11:47 pm

    Lol I did rattlesnake canyon with my 2wd truck, got stuck in snow but did not expect snow to be at the end of the trail.

  4. Jr Razo 209 on July 15, 2019 at 11:48 pm

    Nice video 👍👍

  5. Richard Castillo on July 15, 2019 at 11:49 pm

    Great info! Thanks! I will have to check these out….just as soon as I get the CJ7 smogged LOL!

  6. Jose Romero on July 15, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    Will be taking my yj to all these this summer!

  7. 9663mu on July 15, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    Thank you. Great video

  8. nightdrv on July 15, 2019 at 11:52 pm

    @NotaRubicon Productions: What editing software are you using for the drone work and others?

  9. Nick Di Staulo on July 15, 2019 at 11:52 pm

    Having trouble finding the red canyon trail

  10. Christian f4i on July 15, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    Are any of these 2wd friendly?

  11. OngsterA on July 15, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    Great info! As far as the more local trails to the LA area for day trips, which do you recommend? Is 3N45 scenic enough? How about Lytle Creek, is it open? Nissan Xterra 4×4 lifted 2.5” w skids and sliders. Thx!

  12. B3N751 on July 15, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    Awesome video! Just wondering, I have a stock 2012 RAV4 (4WD, V6). Could I do any of these trails and if so, which ones? I’ve done the Rincon Shortcut OHV if that helps as a point of reference. Thanks in advance!

  13. Garvin on July 15, 2019 at 11:55 pm

    Thanks so much for making this video! I really want to take advantage of the trails that I can with my Nissan Rogue to hold me over till I can get a truck

  14. Cristian M on July 15, 2019 at 11:56 pm

    Have u guys tried Santiago peak, I recommend it

  15. 1ironbelle on July 15, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    Thank you! I haven’t taken my Jeep out in a while and was looking at some trails to dust off my driving. Very nice, very well communicated.

  16. Jose Roca on July 15, 2019 at 11:59 pm

    Would i be ok on these trails in a 2wd stock tacoma

  17. jean-pierre luna on July 15, 2019 at 11:59 pm

    so how about a Nissan rogue? would it make it threw these trail’s?

  18. ripcalifornia on July 16, 2019 at 12:01 am

    anyone know if Lytle creek ridge is still open

  19. Jason Abadie on July 16, 2019 at 12:03 am

    Do you think a 2wd Tacoma TRD Offroad with a locking rear can make some of these?

  20. mike stroup on July 16, 2019 at 12:03 am

    Great video… I hope to eventually do each one of these!! Thanks again!!

  21. Armando Soria on July 16, 2019 at 12:03 am

    Are any possible in a 2wd 4runner?

  22. The Savages on July 16, 2019 at 12:04 am

    Awesome list. How about a novice/intermediate trail vid??

  23. Jeremy Glenn on July 16, 2019 at 12:06 am

    Just did cleghorn road on black Friday and it was a blast! Watched your videos on it. Thanks!

  24. GARRETT FOSTER on July 16, 2019 at 12:06 am

    I don’t have small wheelbase jeep. I have a f150 raptor, would I be able to make it along all or some of these trails?

  25. Samuel AP on July 16, 2019 at 12:07 am

    u think an f150 4×4 could do the #1 trail?

  26. Wyatt Grau on July 16, 2019 at 12:08 am

    I have a 2 wheel drive Chevrolet Colorado with all terrain tires. Can this hold up to these trails?

  27. Josue Monroy on July 16, 2019 at 12:08 am

    Is there online any place that I can get the map for these trails.?

  28. Airside Productions on July 16, 2019 at 12:09 am

    This is an awesome list of easy courses. I didn’t even know half of these existed. Definitely on my to-do list now!

  29. Arturo Uribe on July 16, 2019 at 12:11 am

    #7 😍 the cows

  30. Macarius freestyle on July 16, 2019 at 12:11 am

    Some of these look like good moderate prerunner trails. I live in TN, not alot of good prerunning places here, more 4×4 trails than anything else.

  31. patriottexan on July 16, 2019 at 12:12 am

    Hi, which one will you recommend for my stock 2018 Ford Expedition 4×4?

  32. Joeff Villar on July 16, 2019 at 12:13 am

    Can u do this on an CRV all wheel drive lol just asking

  33. himmet singh on July 16, 2019 at 12:14 am

    Any of these ok for a 3rd gen (rear wheel drive) Tacoma to handle? Or just 4×4 stuff?

  34. Aurora on July 16, 2019 at 12:16 am

    Do you think a 4×4 slightly lifted f150 could do all of these trails?

  35. 1833 AN on July 16, 2019 at 12:19 am

    Great video! Just bought our first rhino 660. Can’t wait to hit these trails with my family! Can a SxS go to any of these trails? If so, what are the top 3 you could recommend? Thank you in advance !

  36. Lorrie D on July 16, 2019 at 12:20 am

    Would a 2019 Subaru Forester be able to tackle these trails?

  37. Yuki Hatae on July 16, 2019 at 12:20 am

    Which is Possible for 2011 Ford Edge AWD?

  38. JIM WILDER on July 16, 2019 at 12:21 am

    Where can I find maps of these areas

  39. Leo Garcia on July 16, 2019 at 12:23 am

    Do you guys know of any places that sells or that I can get maps

  40. Kevin Geraldez on July 16, 2019 at 12:24 am

    Cleghorn Trail was fun.. just got to know which sections are the obsticals vs main road or you’ll end up having a heart attack like I did down a few sections hahaha.

  41. Manny Quezada on July 16, 2019 at 12:25 am

    I wonder if a rwd truck can do it lol

  42. rex Lee on July 16, 2019 at 12:28 am

    Can these trails be accessed by utv’s and atv’s?

  43. Fernando Gonzalez on July 16, 2019 at 12:33 am

    Can I hit any of these trails with my 4×2 Tacoma ?

  44. Yeep Life on July 16, 2019 at 12:34 am

    Hello, do you have a GPX with waypoints i can follow for Rainbow Basin? Would like to get out there tomorrow. Thanks in advance.

  45. Mike on July 16, 2019 at 12:34 am

    Are these doable with a 4×2 09 stock Chevy avalanche?

  46. CReePzSTaR on July 16, 2019 at 12:39 am

    Can a Renegade 4×4 do these trails?

  47. Alan Gallardo on July 16, 2019 at 12:39 am

    How about a stock 2018 Jeep Compass 4×4?

  48. Daryl Romano on July 16, 2019 at 12:40 am

    Excellent review

  49. nyann cat on July 16, 2019 at 12:40 am

    Hi! Question here.

    I just got my 2019 Subaru Outback and I’m thinking of taking on some trails. I have no experience off-roading and want to go on the Cleghorn Trail, do you think this is doable? I’m not going to go on any difficult or intermediate offshoots and only want to get my feet wet with some fun easy level off-road to start off. Your reply is appreciated!

  50. Edward Brown on July 16, 2019 at 12:42 am

    Could a 2wd 1/2 Ron make it on these trails?