We found 6 Reddit comments about Guide to California Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.
A big second for Adventure Motorcycling Handbook. I'd also recommend California Coastal Byways, California Desert Byways, and California Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails if you're going to be in Cali—or the equivalent for the states you'll be in if they exist.
I highly recommend joining ADVRider, they have lots of useful info.
Finally, get a book on ultralight camping, many of the principals are useful for motocamping as well.
I recommend getting:
New trails guide
Older Trails guide
As /u/UnbridledHedonism said hungry valley is ok. Lots of motorcycles. I prefer Rohwer Trail off Boquet Canyon in Santa Clarita and Drink water off San Franquito Canyon in Sant Clarita. Big Bear has Cleghorn and John Bull which are fun. All of the trails are very challenging technically and require high clearance.
If you want real beauty head north on 395, Last Chance Canyon in Mojave, Lorel Lake in Mammoth, and Kavanaugh Ridge outside of Lee Vinning.
Nothing on the west side my friend.
I'm in CO and not familiar with CA wheeling outside of the Rubicon and the trails there.
I have the CO and UT versions of this:
But sometimes it's frustrating because they only have a 3 level rating system: easy, moderate, difficult.
For example in the Moab edition they list Finns & Things as difficult. And they also list Prittchet Canyon as difficult.
But there is a wold of difference in difficulty between those.
In other trail rating systems Finns & things is rated as a 4/10 and Prittchet a 9/10.
So it can be hard finding trails that match your level with only an easy/moderate/difficult rating system.
But the books can be good to give you a general idea of where the trails are and if they are suitable. You can augment with google searches to get a more precise idea of difficulty.
We bought this guide which has been really handy. I especially liked having a physical map when out in the rural areas where these trails are.
The book Guide to California Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails is a great beginner book. You will want to get a GPS and input the coordinates from their website. It has Anza Borrego, Death Valley, the Mojave Road and tons of others. It organizes by location and difficulty. I have a modestly upgraded FJ cruiser and my brother has a stock Xterra both with 4low and rear lockers with smart driving can do anything but difficult rock crawling.
Once you get good at route finding you must do the Mojave Road it the the quintessential socal overland trip and can be done in a stock Jeep.
Terrain isnt bad at all, couple slightly steep spots, think I only needed to even use 4wd twice. Pretty much any stock 4x4 with decent ground clearance should be fine, you just might have to be careful about your lines.
I didnt even take my gps when I went, get a paper map if you can. The forest service map is better than the delorme for this area. And
this book lists the trail as well, would recommend getting it if you dont have it already.