Rock Crawling

Rock crawling is an extreme form of off road driving using vehicles anywhere from stock to highly modified to overcome obstacles.

The goal of rock crawling is to overcome the largest, most difficult obstacles using any four wheeled vehicle. These obstacles can be anything from a collection of boulders to steep cliff faces. Vehicles can range from stock trucks right off the assembly line to custom hand made machines made specifically for off road terrain.

In order to successfully rock crawl, a capable vehicle is required. Most commonly a brand name truck or four wheeled vehicle will be outfitted with custom parts to make it as powerful and maneuverable as possible. These custom parts can include:

1. locking differentials
2. taller off road tires
3. upgraded suspension
4. four wheel steering
5. roll cage for driver protection
6. engine modifications for increased performance, mostly torque
7. lowered gearing in either or all of the transmission, transfercase, or axle differentials
8. winches
9. body armour (rocker panels, fenders, etc.)

These additions can turn any vehicle into a respectable rock crawling machine.

Generally speaking, these vehicles always have 4x4 transmissions in order to gain the most traction in difficult conditions. Oversized, low-pressure, knobby mud-terrain tyres are frequently used for this reason also. Likewise, most vehicles have a low-geared transfer case to make the most power in the low speeds used for rock crawling. Suspension-wise, rock crawling vehicles often have after-market lift-kits installed, raising the chassis and increasing suspension flex, making it easier to drive over larger obstacles without risk of damage to the vehicle. Most suspensions are made to be highly flexible, allowing for the maximum amount of tire area to contact the ground in any adverse situation found. Due to the conflicting nature of the dynamics and needs of rock-crawling and highway-driving vehicles, it is not unusual to modify a vehicle solely for offroad recreational usage.

Once a vehicle is deemed "offroad only" ie. not driven on the street and trailered to trails or OHV parks (Off-Highway Vehicle), then the limits are sky high.

On the extreme side, those with more financial resources can build their own rock crawler to suit their needs. There are many benefits to this method. The biggest is that the owner has complete control over what their vehicle is capable of. Each part of the vehicle can be custom designed to specifically suit their needs. In this way a vehicle can be optimized to only have the parts that are required. Also, they do not have to be limited by the vehicles exterior and can design anything they want with no restrictions. The downside is that doing this is a much larger investment of both finances and time. Acquiring sponsors can help to cover some of these costs.

The terrain used for rock crawling can vary just as much as the vehicles. Most commonly, rock crawling will occur where there are plenty of rocks, but any other steep or abnormal surface will do. Other obstacles may include mud, sand, water, brush, large hills, and even trees. Preferably one should have enough good terrain to make a path with plenty of variation among the obstacles. The more difficult the path the better, but one must also take into account safety and the likelihood that they might not be able to make it. While a challenge is good, it is not good to blindly take on any challenge even if it means impending damage.

The American Rock Crawling Association (ARCA) and the United Rockcrawling & Off-Road Challenge (UROC) are a series of competitions that are held at different sites throughout the nation.


* Rubicon
* Fordyce creek trail
* Johnson Valley


* Moon Rocks
* Prison Hill


* Moab

Central U.S.

* Ozarks

East Coast

* Tellico (North Carolina/Tennessee border)
* Black Mountain Recreational Park (Harlan, KY)
* Bad Lands (Attica, IN)
* Paragon (Hazleton, PA)
* Rausch Creek (Camp Hill, PA)Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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