Off-Roading in New England

Current mood: Determined

Currently listening to: The fan

I’m on a mission.

Go google for off road trails in Massachusetts (or any other state) and you’ll find lots of hits, and you’ll even find quite a few clubs.

But there’s one thing you’ll notice as you browse them – they’re all generally “hardcore” clubs that drive on “hardcore” trails. (See my classification of trails; most of these clubs use the top 3 types.) And they all generally drive modified vehicles – they call them “rigs.” Jeeps, old Blazers and Broncos, old Toyotas and highly modified pickup trucks.

And that’s all fine & dandy, except for one thing: I don’t own such a vehicle. And frankly, nobody I know does either.

So there’s the problem. These clubs cater to the hardcore off-roaders, while people with “regular” or “stock” SUVs and trucks are left without an option. (Many of the clubs are Jeep only, and even those have requirements like big, BIG tires & whatnot.) Let’s consider the types of vehicles I’m talking about:

Subaru Forester

Mitsubishi Outlander

Toyota RAV4

Honda CR-V

Honda Element

Chevy Blazer/GMC Jimmy

Chevy S-10/GMC Sonoma

Chevy Trailblazer

Chevy Equinox

Chevy Tracker

Toyota Highlander

Chevy Tahoe/GMC Yukon

Ford Explorer

Ford Escape

Suzuki XL-7

And that’s just a sample. Almost anything with 4WD or AWD as it comes “stock” from the factory is not qualified for those “hardcore” trails, but they are still quite capable dirt-roaders. People with these kinds of vehicles have no club of their own, no place to go off-road. (The reason for this is, for example, in Massachusetts, no vehicle over 1000 lbs is permitted on any state land – i.e. state parks. There are trails for small 4-wheelers across the state, but current laws forbid any cars, trucks, or SUVs on these trails.)

My goal is to create a club – with FREE membership, mind you – so that we have someplace to go. Hopefully members will own land that we can use, and people will know of trails or old dirt roads that we can use – not “hardcore” off-road trails, but moderate trails that, while they don’t require high ground clearance, still require 4WD or AWD and some skilled driving. I mean, we’re just trying to have some fun here after all.

I really want this to become reality, if for no other reason than I want someplace to go off-roading in safety. Trying to find trails on your own is hard, you never know whether the land is public or private, and if the trail has unexpected surprises waiting for you (like big rocks or a deep, muddy stream). Those kinds of things would stop most of the vehicles I mentioned above dead in their tracks (unless you modify them by spending thousands of dollars on big tires and possibly a lift kit).

So dear readers, let’s give this a go, okay? If you know of trails, please post them here. If you drive a small truck or SUV, let me know! Let’s band together & have some fun, okay?

See y’all on the trails (hopefully)…


By Keith Survell

Geek, professional programmer, amateur photographer, crazy rabbit guy, only slightly obsessed with cute things.


  1. Not all 4WD clubs in New Englnad are hard core. I’ve left two to start a new kind of Jeep club in 2002. PatriotJeepers, Inc min tire 31″ max tire is 33″
    We keep it simple We are a Jeep only club. Jeep is the main rig in most 4WD clubs.

      1. Not all Jeep clubs are hard core. 4wheeling in new England requires at least a 31″ tire.
        The low parts of vehicles such as oil pans can hit rocks.If you realy want to start a club
        contact me I can set up a light duty run for you and others I’ve got 22
        Years under my belt leading trails.

        1. I appreciate your reply, but my point was that if you have a more or less “stock” vehicle, nobody will have anything to do with you. 31″ tires are, effectively, “hard core” because of the modifications you typically have to do before you can mount such large tires on the sorts of vehicles I mentioned.

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