"The coolest moment was tackling some difficult rock ledges with a couple of people that had never been off roading with their Cherokee's before and seeing the confidence they gained in their rig and their abilities."
While expedition is defined as a journey with a purpose, overlanding sees the journey as the purpose. Overlanding is about exploration, rather than conquering obstacles. It's more a lifestyle than something that you're needing too much confidence prepared for. But getting into overlanding is difficult? Well, Chad might not think so. To give novice trail riders more confidence to go out, start their own trails and enjoy the journey, we've invited Chad as our guest with a wonderful softroad overlanding trail in the Ozark National Forrest to share his full experience with us! Let's meet Chad @mootskladventure and get started!
I got into overlanding/off-roading so I could spend extra time with my two sons out away from technology. We like to find places to go out and explore where you need more than just a regular car. Not extreme off roading but places that offer some challenges to getting to your destination. We started building our overlanding rig in 2018 and out of my 2015 Jeep Cherokee KL Trailhawk. After our trip to Canyonlands I was hooked. I enjoyed it so much that I started a trail group in order to share our experience with family and friends.
The trails we ran during the Moots KL Meet Up and Trail Run were a mixture of easy softroading on dirt roads with washouts to some pretty good rock obstacles. The trails were in the Ozark National Forrest near Ozark, AR. It was a great way to experience the scenery of the Ozarks in a way that most don't have the opportunity to do.
The coolest moment was tackling some difficult rock ledges with a couple of people that had never been off roading with their Cherokee's before and seeing the confidence they gained in their rig and their abilities. The only scary moment was when one of the drivers was grabbing some skittles and didn't pay attention to the trail. He ended up in a deep hole with one of his back tires high off the ground. He did manage to back out and saved it from going over.
Overall it's not a difficult trail. It has a few sections with technical rock ledge area's but as long as you take your time it's no where near extreme. The majority of it is fairly tame and as long as you have the ground clearance you'll have zero issues.
Yes I would. It's a great opportunity to get your feet wet and test your rig and driving ability without being extreme. It also shows you the type of places and the joy that comes with exploring our National Forests and National Parks.
My favorite trail I've been on is the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park. It's a 100 mile trek through Canyonlands with amazing scenery of the canyon's. During our 3 day trek we only saw one other vehicle way off in the distance. I enjoy being out for days and seeing no one else around and nothing but amazing scenery.
Depends on what your plans are with your rig. If you're planning on running trails in the winter time then lighting is a must. With the sun setting early in the winter I've personally found myself out on the trails after dark on accident and without some good off road lighting it can become dangerous. You also need to have some comm's gear in case you have issues on the trail and of course quality tires make a huge difference.
Most important part of having a proper lighting strategy for the trail is that you can clearly see any obstacles you are coming upon. If you can't tell what you are about to go over it can get dangerous. Just planning on not being on the trail at night isn't a good idea. I've ended up on the trail at night on accident many times. Good quality lighting saves you from making mistakes on the trail. Next is being visible to other rigs on the trail. Amber lights on the rear of your vehicle in dusty trail conditions can keep you safe from being hit from behind. Visibility can deteriorate quickly in desert areas and amber lighting can cute through that. Last would be the need of lighting while camping. It's great to have good flashlights but when you're setting up camp at night having some quality rock lights on you roof rack pointing to the sides of your rig can be very useful.
I would suggest starting with a lower pod light or light bar at grill level. It will really give you a great view of what is right in front of you on the trail. After that I would recommend some A Pillar pod lights for ditch lights. This will give you a better view of what is at the edges of the trail. After that I'd go with some pods or rock lights installed at the rear of the vehicle to help in case you need to back up on the trail at night. The last thing I'd recommend is that if you like camping to place some rock lights facing the sides of your vehicle for night time set ups.
Huge thanks to Chad for participating in "Lasfit Trail Ambassador Build" and sharing his experience with us! Really informative and helpful! Hope his passion can inspire overland-beginners to explore more of this wonderful world with their rigs!
Here's the detailed Trail Info Chad provided to us for anyone who gets interested in this trail as reference:
Name of the trail:
National Forrest Road 1533 and Forrest Service Road 1433
Ozark National Forrest in Arkansas
Best time of year to go:
Spring and Fall
Steep Rocky Climbs, Beautiful Pine forrest areas, High scenic views and a mixture of trail types that adds something for everyone. Fun for beginner to expert drivers.
Phone Numbers for local help:
Tire Pressure Advice:
I air down to 18psi on ever trail I run as much for comfort of the drive as anything.
You'll want 4x4 on a few sections of the trail. Lift kit isn't necessary but you might scrape a few times without one.
Other considerations you have about this trail:
This is a trail run you can do in a day. There are a lot of other trails in the area that you can add to these two trails. If you're looking to camp then dispersed camping is legal throughout the Ozark National Forrest. If you would like a camp site with some amenities then Byrd's Adventure Center is a great place for a home base.
Questions or Comment? Leave them below!