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By CJ Rena Johnson

Boulder OHV Park near Phoenix AZ
A riding area you could really get stuck on!

Heading Into A Bottom Wash Out
Heading Into A Bottom Wash Out

Cacti of a different name pretty much all stick you the same!
Cacti of a different name pretty much all stick you the same!

Getting Ready To Go Down A Hill
Getting Ready To Go Down A Hill

Traversing Through A Ravine
Traversing Through A Ravine

Coming Into the Stage/Training Area From the Trails
Coming Into the Stage/Training Area From the Trails

View from one of the Higher Peaks in the Park
View from one of the Higher Peaks in the Park

I was lucky enough to attend the Kawasaki 2009 Teryx 750 FI 4x4 Sport Press Intro in Phoenix, Arizona in December, 2008. They treated us to a full day’s ride out on the Boulders OHV park system, near Pleasant, Arizona so we could fully test the Teryx in all the different terrains and riding conditions. I was as impressed with the OHV Park as I was with the Teryx.

In the Boulder OHV Park, there are approximately 200 miles of amazing desert trails at elevations ranging from 1700–3300 feet elevations. Most of the trails are considered easy and are marked quite well. There is even a novice learning area within the main staging area, where you can learn to ride or even take an occasional safety course. The wonderful trails in this park meander through the very scenic and awe-inspiring area of the Hieroglyphics Mountain Range.

Much of the surrounding vegetation is protected, so be very careful not to get off the trail. Not only will you endanger the protected plants, but you might also find yourself stuck on this new terrain, and I do mean literally. The area is covered with all kinds of cacti from the towering Saguaro Cactus, which are fairly easy to dodge, to the “Jumping Cholla Cactus” which I am convinced is called that because if you get anywhere near one of them, several of the tiny spines seem to jump out and attach themselves to you in a most determined, and sometimes quite painful way.

So as tempting as that hill climb in the distance might be, stay on the designated trails. You will find everything you could want from an awesome desert trail system if you just keep going through the park. As you wind past old windmills and corrals, which are typical of this beautiful southwestern area, you will find whoops, washes, rock-crawling areas, hill climbs, gullies, flat areas to test out those machines at higher speeds and even a cattle crossing or two.

Boulders OHV Park is open year round. Most of the land is BLM (Bureau of Land Management). Many of the trails stretch all the way into neighboring regions. You will want to carry a map and watch your signs so as to avoid any trespassing issues, as these trails do sometimes go through a mix of public land as well as state and privately owned property. Also, the trails are well marked; so if you just pay attention, there shouldn’t be any problems. There are a few sections that State Trust Permits are required to ride legally. Information about obtaining these permits can be found in the information section below or you can apply online by going to

Although quite flexible in a lot of ways with no restrictions on ATVs, 4x4s, jeeps, buggies, bicycles, horseback riding, hiking, night riding, and the use of flags, camping, or campfires, there are some rules that must be followed.

Spark arrestors are required and noise limits are enforced throughout the park. Firearms and fireworks are prohibited. Trail cutting in any form is strictly forbidden. There are dedicated rangers/officers, Jeep and SUV patrol that monitor this area to enforce these rules.

Camping is permitted in designated areas throughout the park. Even though this park gets very busy during the weekends, especially during the winter and spring, there are a large number of good camping spots, so you can usually find an excellent place to set up.

This is a very nice and well maintained riding area and well worth the trip to try it out for yourself. So consider it the next time you want to go out with your friends for a real adventure in ATVing or to host a riding event. This was the perfect location for the Press Event put on by Kawasaki. The weather was perfect, the trails diverse, and the staging area plenty big enough for an elaborate set up hosted by the Kawasaki team. There was also unlimited photo and video opportunities throughout the park.

So head on out and see for yourself. From Phoenix, AZ, you would take Hwy 17 north to exit 223 which is the Carefree Hwy exit. Turn left going west off the exit ramp and go 18.7 miles and take a right on a gravel road just past mile marker 12. It is not marked but you can see a kiosk for the park entrance. The GPS coordinates are N 33º 50.550’ W 112º 26.477' for the main staging area.

For up-to-date information on the trail system and permit applications/purchases you can contact either of the following:

Bureau of Land Management Phoenix Field Office
21605 N 7th Ave,
Phoenix AZ 85027
(623) 580-5500

Arizona State Land Department
1616 West Adams Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 364-2753

And remember safety first! As always, decide now to have an awesome day.

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