1. Azusa Canyon
Dirty facts: Azusa Canyon is Southern California's only state-owned and -operated mud mecca. Located east of the city of Azusa, the park enjoys a steady flow of traffic on weekends and holidays. The bogging area is situated at the mouth of a large sedimentation basin near the entrance to Azusa reservoir. The bogs are deep and sticky, fed by the seasonal San Gabriel River, which transports a considerable amount of silt from the surrounding San Gabriel Mountains and making for an ever-changing plethora of gooey madness.
Hot setup: Street-legal rigs only. A snorkel-fed big-block and 54-inch Boggers will net you a crowd of enthusiastic onlookers. Underpowered rigs with small tires are usually confined to tacky fingers of sediment that divide soupy and sometimes bottomless pits.
When stuck, call: Randy's Off-Road Shop, 626/334-1676
2. Hollister Hills S.V.R.A.
Info: 831/637-8186, www.ohv.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=1179
Dirty facts: Hollister Hills is ground zero to our own Top Truck Challenge event, held each summer. Centrally located in the mountains dividing the city of Hollister from the agriculturally rich Salinas Valley, the park maintains 24 miles of trails that twist around century-old oak trees. During the rainy season, parkgoers are challenged by slippery clay and ultra-fine sediment in low-lying catch basins. A man-made obstacle course features a mud bog that always seems to attract crowds on the weekends. In mid-March, an organized event called Mud-N-Yer-Eye kicks off the 'wheeling season.
Hot setup: Hollister's gritty goop always seems to find its way into every nook and cranny of a rig. Plan on spending a considerable amount of time with a pressure washer after a day of fun. Deep bogs typically require big power and aggressive, self-cleaning treads. A winch is advisable but not required as long as you stick to the main routes. Four-wheel steering comes in very handy for some of the narrow off-camber canyons. Many routes are said to be impassable when wet, always a worthwhile challenge. A stout exocage will aid dent-free passage through canyons such as the Tank Trap and Bonanza Gulch.
When stuck, call: Jesse Bishop 4x4 Extraction Service, 831/638-9278
3. The Mounds OHV Area
Mt. Morris, Michigan
Info: 810/736-7100, www.geneseecountyparks.org/mounds.htm
Dirty facts: The Mounds, located just outside Flint, was originally an old sand and gravel pit area; as such, the terrain consists of soft, sandy soil. A large complex of three-dimensional berms gives the 1/2-mile-square park its name. Surrounded by woods and many small-to-medium-sized ponds scattered throughout, the park attracts everyone from OE manufacturers testing prototypes, to weekend warriors with purpose-built mud machines.
Hot setup: High horsepower is not required to have fun in The Mounds. A simple rig with 33-inch mud tires and waterproofed electronics will suffice. Be sure to bring a tow strap or winch.
When stuck, call: Genesee County Park Rangers, 810/736-7100
4. Twin Buttes Reservoir
San Angelo, Texas
West of San Angelo in Tom Green County, on the Middle and South Concho Rivers
Dirty facts: The Twin Buttes Reservoir features a plethora of muddy mayhem, thanks in part to the reservoir's ever-fluctuant waterline. The area is open year-round to 4x4s, ATVs and dirt bikes. Red-clay mud and silt sediment make for challenging bogs, even during summer months. Crowds typically form on weekends and camping is available nearby.
Hot setup: To do the bogs at Twin Buttes, we recommend 35-inch-or-taller tires, at least one locker and no less than two vehicles. Waterproofed electronics and solid extraction points are also advisable.
When stuck, call: Matt at West Texas Off-Road, 877/833-7464
5. Shiloh Ridge
Info: 800/432-3965, www.shilohridge.com
Dirty facts: The trails consist mostly of red dirt hill climbs and off-camber trails. Shiloh Ridge is located just North of Alto, Texas, about 30 miles north of Lufkin. The park offers plenty of room for RVs, pop-ups and travel trailers.
Hot setup: Cut Boggers, 1-ton axles and plenty of throttle application should get you through just about any of Shiloh's thick clay mud bogs.
6. Brick's 4x4 Farm
Poplar Bluff, Missouri
Info: 573/718-7388, www.bricks4x4farm.com
Dirty facts: This is what happens when the family farm land is passed down to the 4x4 enthusiast of the family. Essentially, Jay Brickell took his family's farm and turned it into a giant 4x4 playground. The rolling hills in which the venue is situated features creeks and wavy fields saturated by nearby fresh water springs. Truly a mud-boggers paradise, the park is open to all types of vehicles and primitive camping is available for $20 per night per vehicle. Currently the park is only open on the first full weekend of every month.
Hot setup: The proper way to do Bricks is with a big-block full-size on 40-inch or larger mud tires. Be sure to seal up those electronics and always bring a friend to help tow you out. ATVs and side-by-side riders can also have fun on the rocky hill climbs in the densely wooded areas.
When stuck, call: Jay Brickell's Tractor Extraction Service, 573/718-7388
7. Truck Night at Yankee Lake
Info: 330/448-8361, www.trucknight.com
Dirty facts: The Yankee Lake Truck Night features some of the most challenging mud bogs in the nation. Among other 4x4-related attractions, the location is home to the Truck Night season opener and an event called Trucks Gone Wild. Each event features trail rides, mud pits and a circular mud track where participants can rack up some serious miles in the mud.
Hot setup: The Yankee Lake events attract huge crowds looking to watch high-horsepower mud trucks compete for supremacy. Bring big meats and a beefy drivetrain.
8. Puddin' Creek Mud Bog
Info: 850/371-2525, www.puddingcreekmudbog.com
Dirty facts: Thanks to significant development of the grounds at Puddin' Creek, the small town of Perry, Florida enjoys a steady flow of mud bogger traffic year-round. Every skill level from beginner to expert is covered in the variety of holes at Puddin' Creek. A do-it-yourself truck wash is available to remove the muck before you head home.
Hot setup: The bigger, the better. Puddin' Creek challenges any rig from factory Jeeps all the way up to monster trucks. Though larger tires cover more ground, visitors in stock SUVs and pickups typically have fun, too. We recommend a big-block and 44-inch-or-larger tires for serious bog fun.
9. The Cliffs Insane Terrain Off-Road Park
Info: 815/795-5200, www.thecliffsinsaneterrain.com
Dirty facts: The Cliffs has many miles of trails, created for the beginner all the way to the advanced enthusiast. Heavily wooded areas, fields, creeks and one very treacherous mud hole (ask park personnel where it is) offer plenty of challenges for a full day of muddy fun. 4x4 vehicles pay $22 per day and no camping is available on site.
Hot setup: Any high-clearance 4x4 with decent approach and departure angles should have no problem negotiating the densely wooded backcountry of The Cliffs Insane Terrain Park. Watch out for deep holes disguised as easy mud puddles.
10. J-N Entertainment Off-Road Park
Info: 573/483-3373, www.custom-differentials.com
Dirty facts: Owned by former TTC Competitor Jeremy Naeger, this venue features three acres of mud pits ranging in difficulty, and an assortment of fast mud jumps surrounded by rolling hills that make for great spectator parking lots. The venue is not open to the public year-round but can be rented out for club parties and special events. Three or four mud-bogging events are held each year to satisfy the cravings of those with dirt on the mind. (To see one, turn to page 22.)
Hot setup: Typically, any truck sporting 46-inch rubber or less can be stopped quite easily by the bottomless bogs at J-N Entertainment Off-Road Park. A supple suspension will aid those who choose to attempt any of the successive jumps arranged by grounds keepers. Wicked horsepower and solid attachment points are highly recommended.
More Places To Wheel
Looking for public mud (or rocks, or sand) in your area? Here are the phone numbers of BLM and Forest Service field offices around the country. You can also get a lot of good information about wheeling opportunities at each agency's Website, and each office can keep you apprised on any trail openings, and seasonal restrictions or closures, too.
Bureau of Land Management
U.S. Forest Service
Rocky Mountain region
Pacific Southwest region
Pacific Northwest region