Off-Road Academy

Lean how to really use your vehicle off road and get the confidence to unlock your best adventures yet

What is


STAGE5 is an off-road academy built to help people really understand how to use their vehicles effectively and safely off road. 

Whether playing, vacationing, or working off the beaten path, we are here to help you gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to create your best adventures yet.

Get started with our
"Intro to Off-Road and Vehicle Recovery" Course

Our signature course, “Intro to Off-Road and Vehicle Recovery” provides you with the learning and fundamentals of off-road driving and safe vehicle recovery.

This course will give you the knowledge and skills you need to safely explore the outdoors with confidence.

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In this 2 day course you'll learn:

  • 4WD vehicle components and features and understanding how and when to use them
  • Basic off-road driving techniques
  • Trail etiquette and sharing the trail with others 
  • Driving your vehicle off-road in different terrain like sand, mud, dirt, and rock
  • Safe vehicle recovery for when you get stuck
  • Basic on-trail vehicle repairs
  • The right mindset and knowledge to become a competent off-roader
  • And more…

Build your skills and be able to:

  • Choose the best driving line on the trail 
  • Approach hill climbs and descents confidently
  • Driving side slope and off-camber safely 
  • Drive in cross axle articulation situations
  • When, where, and how to use lockers 
  • How to rig recovery gear for high energy pulls 
  • Choosing the safest methods of recovery
  • Trail and backcountry communication  
  • Learning basic in-field vehicle repairs  

By the time you complete the course you'll be confident to drive Blue Level Trails at MERUS Adventure or Level 4-5 Trails like Fins and Things in Moab. This will give you the confidence to run 80% of all public access off-road trails in America.

As a BONUS You'll also get:

  • Your own STAGE5 Swag pack with t-shirt, patch, and cap
  • A signed certification for completing the course
  • Special discounts on recovery gear and accessories through our partners. 

Upcoming Course Dates

November 17th & 18th (Friday-Sat)             SOLD OUT 

December 1st and 2nd (Friday-Sat)             SOLD OUT 

February 23rd & 24th (Friday-Sat)              SOLD OUT                       

April 18 -20th (Friday-Sat)                              Tickets Available Now

What to expect coming to STAGE5

Learning a new skill like off-roading can feel intimidating.
We are here to make it an amazing experience for you

At STAGE 5, our mission is to create amazing experiences to help people become more knowledgable, confident, and skilled in outdoor vehicle based adventure. 

Off-roading and overlanding is an amazing outdoor adventure that changes so many lives. It creates lifelong bonds that bring friends and families closer together. 

No matter your skill level, at STAGE5 everyone is treated equal. We want to help you learn and grow to build your skills, experience, and confidence to go out and have your best adventures yet.

– Dirk van Reenen 

STAGE5 Founder and CEO  


Don’t have an off-road vehicle but want to learn how to drive off-road?

No Problem!

You can rent one of ours! 



No vehicle modifications or expensive gear are required to come to our “Intro to Off-Road and Vehicle Recovery” Course. 

We’ve got you covered! 



Pricing & Tickets

Build your skill, experience, and confidence with STAGE5


STAGE5 Off-Road Academy is powered by MERUS Adventure™. 

MERUS Adventure™ has quickly become one of the premier off-road and overland destinations in the country. 

Through STAGE5, we are bringing together the best off-road instructors, world class facilities, and an incredible playground for you to build your skills and confidence. 

Our home base is in beautiful Palo Duro Canyon, just outside Amarillo TX. Giving you access to some of the best terrain for off-road driving in the United States.

With 5,500 acres of land and 54 miles of trails with ever changing topography, you’ll encounter all the obstacles and challenges to prepare you for off-roading anywhere else. 


We have hosted thousands of off-road enthusiasts at MERUS, from those who have never put a vehicle in 4WD to life long experienced adventurers.

The ONE thing they all had in common, an EPIC adventure with lifelong memories made at MERUS. 

Based on 283 reviews
Chris Smith
Chris Smith
October 17, 2023.
We had an amazing time exploring Merus. Molly was wonderful in directing off-roading novices with kids to the best parts of the park. My kids (ages 3 and 6) had a blast both in the car and exploring Elon's Mars on foot. We will definitely be back and plan to stay longer next time!
Eric Fink
Eric Fink
October 16, 2023.
I did an intermediate tour and it was fantastic. Lots of interesting and challenging obstacles in a beautiful location. Our tour guide Jeff was very helpful and knowledgeable. We stayed in one of their cabins and everything about the cabin was great. Comfortable bed, great shower and bathroom, and it even has Heat and AC. Would definitely stay here again and do the intermediate tour again.
Grace Marie Meléndez Fernández
Grace Marie Meléndez Fernández
October 16, 2023.
AMAZING place! My husband and I went to camp out of our truck bed and do some off-roading. The guided trail tour was the highlight of our trip. Whether you are experienced in technical trails or just a beginner, these tours are a sure way to have an awesome day with others who love adventure and challenges as well! The Merus community is kind, helpful and fun, made the trip up from Houston totally worth it!
Cass Robinson
Cass Robinson
October 11, 2023.
Great camping spot! The views to the canyon from our site were gorgeous. Got to see sunset and sunrise. The staff was super helpful with making our reservations and moving it up a day. Definitely recommend this camping spot. You do not need to off road to enjoy it. We will be coming back.
Blythe Sitton
Blythe Sitton
October 1, 2023.
Have been coming out to Merus since 2021. Every time has been an absolute blast. They are adding new amenities and making it even better. Highly recommend.
Louise Hayes
Louise Hayes
September 25, 2023.
We stayed in an Arch Cabin at MERUS Adventure for the first time and what a wonderful stay we had. The cabin was well equipped with everything we needed! The staff provided 5 star service and nothing compares to the views of Palo Duro Canyon from the large deck!! Could NOT ask for a BETTER experience!!
Delletta Adams
Delletta Adams
September 25, 2023.
I brought my son and 3 friends for his 17th birthday. We camped at site F on the rim of the canyon and the view was breathtaking!!! The office staff were so friendly and informative. There are two bathrooms behind the office that are like legit home bathrooms, wonderful shower head, super clean. We will definitely be coming back and we have several friends and family members who will be visiting as well!
Callen Pinkerton
Callen Pinkerton
September 25, 2023.
Great place to go off roading. Great staff beautiful landscapes. The tours are awesome and the guides are super helpful and informative. No better place in the state to visit.

Hundreds of off-road drivers have trusted us to help them learn, gain experience, and build their confidence. Now it’s your turn.

Stay in the know.

Be the first to hear about upcoming classes, school updates, gear specials, and more. 

Fun and connection at STAGE5

School will never be the same!

We love creating an environment that allows you to have fun, make new friends, learn, and become more experienced as an off-roader.

Along with world class training, you’ll experience amazing hospitality, great food, and many laughs with your class mates and new friends. 

We also offer cabins, glamping sites, an RV park, and overlanding & tent sites with bathrooms & showers available for accommodations 

Everything you need for an amazing experience is right here and it’s all turn key.