Smiley Rock Trail will Challenge You

Submitted by Summit 4×4 Company

When looking for challenging trail systems in the Quad-City area, you’ll find there aren’t many requiring a decent set of skid plates or rock sliders. That is unless you decide to tackle the infamous Smiley Rock Trail.

On the edge of the Woodchute Wilderness area, this famous rock garden gets its name from a uniquely shaped rock you pass along the route. Featuring picturesque forests at the foot of Mingus Mountain and the Black Hills, this trail is certain to challenge your life choices.

While this trail can be accomplished with a set of 35-inch tires, we recommend 37 inches or larger if looking to keep your skids, sliders and wheels free of scuffs and scrapes. With a decent spotter to guide the way, this trail can be accomplished with little to no trail rash, and bypasses can be found before the more challenging sections should you prefer an easier route.

Be prepared for the possibility that your wheels may see some scraping.

This trail is best traveled during the spring and summer months as snow often increases the overall difficulty of certain sections, making them impassable. If you’re up to the challenge of navigating this rock garden during the winter months, it’s best practice to go with another person in the event you find yourself stuck or in need of a spotter.

The trail is best known for an oddly shaped rock that appears in the shape of a smiley face, hence its name, the “Smiley Rock Trail.” It can be found toward the middle of the trail and is often a great stopping point to stretch the legs and break for lunch.

The end of the trail offers the most challenging obstacle, a steep waterfall ledge that often is a fun place to test your rig’s capabilities and one-up your friends.

A beautiful and rewarding trail system nestled amongst mountains, oaks and pine trees, Smiley Rock Trail is a must-do trip if you’re in the Quad-City area. Its challenging terrain is both rewarding to conquer and excellent practice for those eager to hone their spotting and driving skills.

Stay safe and happy wheeling!