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Archive for October, 2015


One of the best things about living in the metropolitan Phoenix area is that it doesn’t take long to get out of town and begin communing with nature. Whether you head up to the Mogollon Rim or take one of the trails surrounding the city, you can be far from the hustle and bustle of civilization in less than an hour. The Chapman Payson Auto Center is just a little more than an hour’s drive from Phoenix, offering some of the best deals on four-wheel drive vehicles capable of taking you anywhere you want to go.

Four Peaks Trail Delivers Scenic Vistas

If you want one of the best places for expansive views close to the Valley, head north on Route 87 just past the Saguaro Lake turnoff to Forest Road 143. The first part of the trail has plenty of room to park if you have ATVs to unload, but if you’re in your Jeep or other 4X4, continue on past the FR 11 turnoff. Stay on FR 143 and you have a number of choices depending on how hardcore you want to be. The views to the west are phenomenal so make sure you bring a good camera. If you continue on you’ll intersect with Highway 188, which will either take you to Roosevelt Lake or you can head back through Apache Junction. This is a very popular spot on weekends, so drive carefully.

General Crook’s Trail Heads Across the Rim

If you buy your 4×4 at Chapman Payson Auto Center, one of the first places you should head is up through Pine and Strawberry until you get on top of the Mogollon Rim. At well over 7,000 feet high, the Rim is at least 30 degrees cooler than the Valley in the summer and a great place to camp and explore. General Crook’s Trail, named after the Apache fighter of the late 1800s, traverses the edge of the rim. Much of it has been replaced by FR 300. Also known as the Highline Trail, this path is 51 miles of pretty well maintained dirt road that runs from Highway 87 all the way to Highway 260 near Woods Canyon Lake. There are some challenging spots and plenty of side trails to test your mettle.

Take Back Way to Crown King for Real Excitement

Although most of this route is fairly well maintained, there are some challenging portions and steep drop offs that will raise the hair on the back of your neck. You start by heading past Lake Pleasant on Highway 74 and turning right on a paved road just past mile marker 19. From there you can expect to spend 4 or 5 hours to conquer the 34-mile trip of switch backs, steep climbs and sharp descents. Be careful on the weekends for motorcycles and ATVs coming around blind corners. Once you get to little mountain town of Crown King there are places to grab a burger and a drink before heading back to Phoenix on I-17.

Put Your Rubicon Through Paces to Desoto Mine

One of the most difficult off-road trips is the trail to the Desoto Mine near Prescott. This roller coaster ride of boulder fields and narrow ridges is why Jeep made the Rubicon, but it is not for inexperienced drivers. It’s a good trip to take with a four-wheel drive club who can help if you get into trouble. Take the Senator Highway south from Prescott and get onto FR 89. Although the trip is just 12 miles, it takes more than 4 hours due to the complexity of the terrain. Beware that this is an area that suffers from flash flooding.


Trail Rated Not Just an Accessory

The badge on each Jeep that says “Trail Rated” is an accomplishment that shows the Jeep can traverse the rough Rubicon Trail. Every turn, slope, crevice and stump demands ability in clearance, traction, water fording, maneuverability and articulation for which the Jeep brand is famous. Although the Wrangler is the iconic off-road vehicle, all the Jeep four-wheel drive brands have trail-rated models that you can be comfortable in tackling off-road conditions. For the complete line-up of vehicles, see your Payson Jeep dealer, Chapman Payson.

Traction and Water Fording Make Tough Trails Possible

Start off with traction, or the ability for the Jeep to grab a foothold where other vehicles might fail, and you find the Trail Rated 4 x 4s have the ability to climb some of the toughest trails on the face of the Earth. Different Jeep vehicles have different capabilities which are tested on trails, slippery roads and steep grades. The Wrangler Rubicon has the best traction of all the Jeeps, followed closely by the Cherokee Trailhawk and surprising Renegade. Jeeps aren’t made out of sugar and aren’t afraid of a little water. Extra body sealing and electrical wrapping team up with a high air intake to let your cross streams that others wouldn’t dare attempt. The Wrangler Rubicon can drive in water up to 30 inches deep with no problems.

Maneuverability and Articulation Help Navigate Voids

With the ability to dance through rough terrain like a gazelle with a hot foot, the Jeep gives you the ability to crawl up trails that have others looking for a way around. Large dips, big rocks and emergency movements are all part of a day’s work for a Jeep because of precision steering and wheelbases that are optimized for off-road duty. The Renegade Trailhawk features a turning radius of just 17.7 feet, allowing for quick maneuvers when trouble arises. Ground clearance on all the Jeeps lets you climb over logs and boulders without ripping apart the underbelly. Test the vehicles for yourself by taking a drive at your Payson Jeep dealer, Chapman Payson.

Jeep Badge of Honor Awards Those Who Dare

The Jeep Badge of Honor program celebrates people who take their Jeeps where they were meant to be driven. By completing more than 35 trails across the United States, you earn recognition for your boldness and trusting in the Jeep brand. Use a smartphone app to find the trails and check off your achievements for a badge you can truly wear with honor.