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  1. #1

    Need local advice about Nevada, Utah or Arizona.

    Each year me and 8 of my mates from London hire 4x4’s and go camping in kilts for 2 weeks in remote areas of the world, we don’t use guides. So far we have done...

    1. Morroco (Sahara Desert)

    2. Gambia, Senegal, Mali (to get to Timbuktu)
    3. South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe (Kalahari desert & Makgadikgadi salt Pan


    4. Libya, Egypt, Sudan (Following the Nile)
    5. Namibia (Following the skeleton coast)

    This year (20th April) we are doing Nevada, Utah and Arizona. We plan to do a round trip starting in Las Vegas then Reno, Salt Lake City, Phoenix then back to Vegas obviously doing most of the trip off road, none of us have been to america before.

    My question is this:
    1. What remote places do you recommend we visit?
    2. What do we need to look out for? (Animals and People)
    3. With the gun laws how they are I take it we need to be careful straying onto someone’s land?

    I understand I can read this in a guide book but I would rather speak to you fine people.

    Thank you.

    EDIT: Current Route we are taking Link

  2. #2
    Going from Vegas to Phoenix you will go right by the Grand Canyon so that would be worth a quick visit at the very least. Sure it is a tourist hot spot but worth seeing all the same. You will be getting to Az just in time for snake season to start picking up in the southern half of the state and for the most part they are all you need to really watch out for in Arizona. Everything else is either small and not a big deal like scorpions or so rare you won't ever see them like bobcats and mountain lions. Then again I did run into a black bear last time I was camping, but that was the first time in 20 years of camping at least twice and year and more often ten or so times a year. If you get far enough southwest in the state there are tons of great sand dunes areas on the border of Az and California you might want to look at.
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  3. #3
    Brewmaster Gemini Sunrise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toccs View Post
    My question is this:
    1. What remote places do you recommend we visit?
    2. What do we need to look out for? (Animals and People)
    3. With the gun laws how they are I take it we need to be careful straying onto someone’s land?

    I understand I can read this in a guide book but I would rather speak to you fine people.

    Thank you.
    1. Petrified Forest is also a good place to see.
    2. Animals you should look out for are the various snakes (just for the love of god don't pet them...)
    3. I'd honestly doubt it, if you just stay on the tourist spots. Even then, most of the people who use em are fairly sane, despite the public's cries to the contrary.

    And as a side note, if you are worried about point 3 so much, have you ever thought about going to Yellowstone? Since it is a federal park, you really aren't supposed to carry there anyways...

  4. #4
    I live in northern Arizona and Las Vegas (kind of hop between the two) and I can tell you that you really won't much have to worry about #3. First of all, much of the land in the Mohave Desert is owned by the government so it is public land. People tend to clearly mark their land so you aren't likely to run into any trouble without warning. Besides that, the people in this area are quite nice so as long as you don't go breaking into their home I'm certain you will be alright. If anything, I'd be more worried about the wildlife in the area than people with guns because there are tons of venomous things out here. Be mindful of rattlesnakes, especially if you are near water.
    There is a huge off-roading population in this area and tons of very difficult trails to follow (that Toyota in the first picture probably wouldn't stand a chance on some of them). There are some really cool out of the way places around the Grand Canyon that are really hard to get to but totally worth it. Just stay away from the touristy parts and you are fine (sounds like that won't be a problem for you!). Overall, there is a lot of really beautiful desert out here to see and if I were to start listing places I'd just end up listing the whole area.

    edit: By the way, I'm not knocking Toyota at all. Some of these trails give my sister's Rubicon a bit of trouble!
    Last edited by chronocore; 2013-01-03 at 11:37 AM.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrven View Post
    Going from Vegas to Phoenix you will go right by the Grand Canyon so that would be worth a quick visit at the very least. Sure it is a tourist hot spot but worth seeing all the same. You will be getting to Az just in time for snake season to start picking up in the southern half of the state and for the most part they are all you need to really watch out for in Arizona. Everything else is either small and not a big deal like scorpions or so rare you won't ever see them like bobcats and mountain lions. Then again I did run into a black bear last time I was camping, but that was the first time in 20 years of camping at least twice and year and more often ten or so times a year. If you get far enough southwest in the state there are tons of great sand dunes areas on the border of Az and California you might want to look at.
    Hmm we didn't consider bears, in that case we might have to actually put our food waste in the 4x4 at night instead of leaving it in bin bags. We will definitely check out the Grand Canyon and the sand dunes in the south. The snakes could be an issue but that is something we didn't really consider.

    I've been told that theses still Indian settlements wouldn't mind checking them out, as long as they are welcoming.

  6. #6
    Brewmaster Gemini Sunrise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toccs View Post
    I've been told that theses still Indian settlements wouldn't mind checking them out, as long as they are welcoming.
    They are not much to see anymore... run down little places that one would hardly confuse with em, if they are the ones I think you are talking about.

    I mean, the people may be nice, but it's not like you are going to a paradise on earth.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Toccs View Post
    Hmm we didn't consider bears, in that case we might have to actually put our food waste in the 4x4 at night instead of leaving it in bin bags. We will definitely check out the Grand Canyon and the sand dunes in the south. The snakes could be an issue but that is something we didn't really consider.

    I've been told that theses still Indian settlements wouldn't mind checking them out, as long as they are welcoming.
    Depends entirely on which ones you go to. There are still places you can see the indians had carved settlements into the sides of canyons and whatnot. I would echo the person who said Yellowstone. It is amazing and as a federal park you aren't supposed to have firearms on it.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini Sunrise View Post
    1. Petrified Forest is also a good place to see.
    2. Animals you should look out for are the various snakes (just for the love of god don't pet them...)
    3. I'd honestly doubt it, if you just stay on the tourist spots. Even then, most of the people who use em are fairly sane, despite the public's cries to the contrary.

    And as a side note, if you are worried about point 3 so much, have you ever thought about going to Yellowstone? Since it is a federal park, you really aren't supposed to carry there anyways...
    Never thought about Yellowstone, but I’ll definitely chalk that one op for another tip. The petrified forest sounds amazing definitely one not to miss that’s for sure thanks for that!


    Quote Originally Posted by chronocore View Post
    I live in northern Arizona and Las Vegas (kind of hop between the two) and I can tell you that you really won't much have to worry about #3. First of all, much of the land in the Mohave Desert is owned by the government so it is public land. People tend to clearly mark their land so you aren't likely to run into any trouble without warning. Besides that, the people in this area are quite nice so as long as you don't go breaking into their home I'm certain you will be alright. If anything, I'd be more worried about the wildlife in the area than people with guns because there are tons of venomous things out here. Be mindful of rattlesnakes, especially if you are near water.
    There is a huge off-roading population in this area and tons of very difficult trails to follow (that Toyota in the first picture probably wouldn't stand a chance on some of them). There are some really cool out of the way places around the Grand Canyon that are really hard to get to but totally worth it. Just stay away from the touristy parts and you are fine (sounds like that won't be a problem for you!). Overall, there is a lot of really beautiful desert out here to see and if I were to start listing places I'd just end up listing the whole area.
    We will be spending a few nights Mohave Desert good to know it’s all public land, thanks for telling me about the rattlesnakes, we have a tendency to just go running into water to cool off. We really pushed the Toyota in the picture to its limits that for sure, the clutch broke while we were in the middle of the Sahara before being found and toed by a Latvian TV crew that we ran into by chance, fun times.

    I would be grateful if you could list a few places (5 or so) we want to soak in as much as we can while we are there.

    ---------- Post added 2013-01-03 at 11:45 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini Sunrise View Post
    They are not much to see anymore... run down little places that one would hardly confuse with em, if they are the ones I think you are talking about.

    I mean, the people may be nice, but it's not like you are going to a paradise on earth.
    I think that it, seeing run down places and meeting people whose lives are radically different to yours puts some perspective on your life. Its nice to spend a night with people like that share some food and talk about all manner of things.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Toccs View Post
    Hmm we didn't consider bears, in that case we might have to actually put our food waste in the 4x4 at night instead of leaving it in bin bags. We will definitely check out the Grand Canyon and the sand dunes in the south. The snakes could be an issue but that is something we didn't really consider.

    I've been told that theses still Indian settlements wouldn't mind checking them out, as long as they are welcoming.
    There are ruins and still active settlements and reservations. For the bears you would have to be in the mountains and any place that would have them will be clearly marked. I always thought the bear proof trash cans were a joke, turns out I was wrong. As far as snakes go they aren't really an issue durring the day time at night you might stumble on to some they will let you know with a rattle well before you step on or near them though. Black Walnut Canyon has some decent camping and great indian ruins and is also on the way between Phoenix and Vegas. Most of the larger indian areas are in the northeastern part of the state with a few others scattered throughout the state. Best thing about coming to Arizona is it has every climate zone you can find in the contiguous states.
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  10. #10
    Brewmaster Gemini Sunrise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toccs View Post
    I think that it, seeing run down places and meeting people whose lives are radically different to yours puts some perspective on your life. Its nice to spend a night with people like that share some food and talk about all manner of things.
    Long as you understand that, it's fine. Just didn't want you to go there expecting... well, something entirely different than the pot they are in now (course, this was true of the Indian settlements up North (like all 10 of them we passed through were like that). May or may not be true down South).

    Of course, you could also look them up, and find out what the ones around are like before you go.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Toccs View Post
    We will be spending a few nights Mohave Desert good to know it’s all public land, thanks for telling me about the rattlesnakes, we have a tendency to just go running into water to call off. We really pushed the Toyota in the picture to its limits that for sure, the clutch broke while we were in the middle of the Sahara before being found and toed by a Latvian TV crew that we ran into by chance, fun times.

    I would be grateful if you could list a few places (5 or so) we want to soak in as much as we can while we are there.
    Well, the Mohave Desert actually spreads over southern Cali, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico. It's pretty darn big so I imagine that is where you will be spending most of your time if you are off-roading in those 3 states.
    A few places to recommend... The area around Prescott is amazing and there is no shortage of great places to see there. When you are heading back from Phoenix you should go through there. Don't hesitate to stop and ask the locals to point you to some good trails. You may have heard of Sedona and it's kind of in that area. Since it is in a bit higher elevation you might not think you are still in the desert due to all of the pine trees and such. If you run into bears while camping, that would likely be the place. If you are interested in the flora of the area, there is a Joshua Tree national park somewhat near Prescott as well. Certainly a... unique... looking tree. (I think they are ugly as hell but you won't see them anywhere else than in the Mohave Desert).
    I know you said nothing about planning to go into California but since you are headed up to Reno that takes you very close to Yosemite and Death Valley, both worth a look. I mean, I don't think a trip to the Mohave is really complete without seeing Death Valley and you get to tell your family you went to DEATH Valley! haha

  12. #12
    Visit Death Valley...I think that's pretty remote. Then you can also get another bleak landscape shot for your next SUV commercial...I mean trip.

  13. #13
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    I can't say with experience, but if you are looking for a proper "Off Road" experience I'm not sure about the American West. Sure there are deserts and stuff you can drive around in, but for the most part to get from one place to another I'd imagine you'd mostly just stick to roads.

    So on a complete side note, you should look into Australia for a future trip. A few years ago four of my friends went to Australia, started near the top (Lets say like Darwin), and rented 4x4s and drove straight down through the middle of continent and then east along the southern coast. It was pretty much ALL off-road, which a bunch of cool stuff to see long the way. That seems like a proper offroad trip akin to your African excursions.

    I just hope you aren't too disappointed by the American west. It's not exactly Morocco out there.

    ---------- Post added 2013-01-03 at 02:32 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by obdigore View Post
    It is amazing and as a federal park you aren't supposed to have firearms on it.
    Just want to note here that it is completely legal to carry your firearms in a federal park (Source). Not really germane to the conversation since the OP was concerned with private property owners and their personal defense, but just wanted to point his out.

  14. #14
    The Insane Reeve's Avatar
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    I'd say that most of the most beautiful places in Utah, which is a beautiful state, are reachable on ordinary roads, so not that remote. If you really want a good back-country experience, you should go backpacking in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. A good trip is starting from Onion Valley, heading up Kearsarge Pass, then Forester Pass, and Finally up Mt. Whitney (tallest mountain in the contiguous 48 states), then down and out through Whitney Portal. The whole trip takes about a week, and there are times when you're 3 days hike from the nearest road.

    That is, of course, if you're really looking for something remote.
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by chronocore View Post
    Well, the Mohave Desert actually spreads over southern Cali, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico. It's pretty darn big so I imagine that is where you will be spending most of your time if you are off-roading in those 3 states.
    A few places to recommend... The area around Prescott is amazing and there is no shortage of great places to see there. When you are heading back from Phoenix you should go through there. Don't hesitate to stop and ask the locals to point you to some good trails. You may have heard of Sedona and it's kind of in that area. Since it is in a bit higher elevation you might not think you are still in the desert due to all of the pine trees and such. If you run into bears while camping, that would likely be the place. If you are interested in the flora of the area, there is a Joshua Tree national park somewhat near Prescott as well. Certainly a... unique... looking tree. (I think they are ugly as hell but you won't see them anywhere else than in the Mohave Desert).
    I know you said nothing about planning to go into California but since you are headed up to Reno that takes you very close to Yosemite and Death Valley, both worth a look. I mean, I don't think a trip to the Mohave is really complete without seeing Death Valley and you get to tell your family you went to DEATH Valley! haha
    Just did a little Google search on ‘Sedona’ that place looks amazing definitely adding that to the list without a doubt, Death Valley is now part of the route too.

    Thanks for the suggestions mate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemons View Post
    Visit Death Valley...I think that's pretty remote. Then you can also get another bleak landscape shot for your next SUV commercial...I mean trip.
    Commercial indeed! It’s just what me and my mates do for a holiday, better then laying on a boring beech for 2 weeks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Porcell View Post
    I can't say with experience, but if you are looking for a proper "Off Road" experience I'm not sure about the American West. Sure there are deserts and stuff you can drive around in, but for the most part to get from one place to another I'd imagine you'd mostly just stick to roads.

    So on a complete side note, you should look into Australia for a future trip. A few years ago four of my friends went to Australia, started near the top (Lets say like Darwin), and rented 4x4s and drove straight down through the middle of continent and then east along the southern coast. It was pretty much ALL off-road, which a bunch of cool stuff to see long the way. That seems like a proper offroad trip akin to your African excursions.

    I just hope you aren't too disappointed by the American west. It's not exactly Morocco out there.
    Out of all the holidays I disliked Egypt the most due to most things having been made public and easier to get too due to roads etc, the best part out it is looking at the sky at night, with no light pollution you really get a sense of being on this lone ball of rock looking out to space. Australia or Madagascar will be our next trip either that or South America.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reeve View Post
    I'd say that most of the most beautiful places in Utah, which is a beautiful state, are reachable on ordinary roads, so not that remote. If you really want a good back-country experience, you should go backpacking in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. A good trip is starting from Onion Valley, heading up Kearsarge Pass, then Forester Pass, and Finally up Mt. Whitney (tallest mountain in the contiguous 48 states), then down and out through Whitney Portal. The whole trip takes about a week, and there are times when you're 3 days hike from the nearest road.

    That is, of course, if you're really looking for something remote.
    That actually sounds like a great idea Reeve, we could do part of it by parking up near it, hike in for a day or two before heading back to the 4x4 we can get part of the experience by doing that. Either that or drive in if we are allowed.

    So far I’ve got…

    Death Valley
    The Petrified Wood
    Sedona
    Onion Valley via Mt. Whitney route
    Grand Canyon
    Hoover Dam (May as well while we are near)

    Might be missing some.

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    Dreadlord Hurax's Avatar
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    I suppose the danger of random gunmen in Libya and Northern Mali was bigger than in the USA, even before the revolution and civil war, so as you survived that

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Hurax View Post
    I suppose the danger of random gunmen in Libya and Northern Mali was bigger than in the USA, even before the revolution and civil war, so as you survived that
    Believe it or not i'm actually more worried about the USA blame the media if you like but its true.

  18. #18
    The Insane Reeve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toccs View Post
    Just did a little Google search on ‘Sedona’ that place looks amazing definitely adding that to the list without a doubt, Death Valley is now part of the route too.

    Thanks for the suggestions mate.



    Commercial indeed! It’s just what me and my mates do for a holiday, better then laying on a boring beech for 2 weeks.



    Out of all the holidays I disliked Egypt the most due to most things having been made public and easier to get too due to roads etc, the best part out it is looking at the sky at night, with no light pollution you really get a sense of being on this lone ball of rock looking out to space. Australia or Madagascar will be our next trip either that or South America.



    That actually sounds like a great idea Reeve, we could do part of it by parking up near it, hike in for a day or two before heading back to the 4x4 we can get part of the experience by doing that. Either that or drive in if we are allowed.

    So far I’ve got…

    Death Valley
    The Petrified Wood
    Sedona
    Onion Valley via Mt. Whitney route
    Grand Canyon
    Hoover Dam (May as well while we are near)

    Might be missing some.
    Most of those places on your list are highly reachable by interstate highway. If you're inclined to visit beautiful places that are easy to get to like that in the southwestern US, you should definitely google the following places:

    Yosemite (most beautiful place I've been to in the world, and I've been to a lot. There's also a lot of backcountry hiking available from the more touristy main valley.) - California
    Honestly, the whole state of California could be it's own trip, as there's soooo damn much to see there.

    Zion National Park - Utah
    Bryce Canyon - Utah
    Glen Canyon - Utah\
    Sedona - Arizona

    Most of Nevada is a giant desert, so if you want a bleak landscape, that's a good place to get it.
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  19. #19
    Some places I haven't seen yet on here:
    Moab, Utah - Where most of the film 127 hours was shot.
    White Sands, New Mexico - While I'm not sure how much camping/exploring you can do, it is a pretty place.

    And yeah, you shouldn't have to worry about #3 much. Just make sure if you do see any fences that say "Trespassers will be shot, survivors will be shot again" to take a picture, but do not cross that fence ;-)

    Edit: Just realized New Mexico isn't on your list, so never mind :-)

  20. #20
    The Insane Reeve's Avatar
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    Oh, I didn't notice the questions at the end of the OP.

    Animals:

    Rattlesnakes are the big one, but hard to miss. They're pretty defensive snakes, so if one starts rattling at you, just back off slowly and you should be fine. If someone does get bit, it's generally not fatal, just really painful, but take them to a hospital nonetheless.

    Black Widow spiders are around, but you're less likely to get bit by one of those than you are to get struck by lightning, so I wouldn't worry about it too much.

    There are black bears in the Sierra Nevada mountains if you go there. If you're in the area and sleeping overnight, bag sure to put anything that smells of anything into a bear bag (a bag hanging from a tree limb or something. DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING WITH A SCENT OR ANYTHING THAT LOOKS LIKE AN ICE CHEST IN YOUR VEHICLE Bears WILL rip open a car like a sardine can in order to get at something that even looks like it MIGHT have food in it. I have seen this happen because somebody had been eating corn nuts in the drive up to the base camp, and left a half-full package in the back of the SUV. The door was nearly ripped off its hinges when we got back to the car.

    Watch for poison oak in forested places. You can look up what the plant looks like online before you go.

    Don't wander onto fenced properties. People don't generally take kindly to people on their property. If it's not fenced, you're probably OK.
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