Welcome to the

at MERUS Adventure™ Park

What is the TrailRecon Challenge?

The TrailRecon Challenge is an off-road/ overlanding challenge created by MERUS Adventure™ park owner Dirk van Reenen and Brad Kowitz of TrailRecon.

This is an incredible 3-day 2 night journey to test your skills and equipment in one of most beautiful canyons in North America, Palo Duro Canyon. The challenge can be run on one of two routes; The Challenge or the Extreme Challenge.

You will descend 850 feet into the earth and navigate through 4 geological layers of exposed dirt, sand, rock, stone, and the legendary “red dirt” and face more obstacles than you can count along the way with some of the most incredibly beautiful scenery in Texas through Palo Duro Canyon.

The prize!

When you complete the challenge you will receive your one-of-a-kind SERIALIZED Coin and Badge to show the world that you completed one of the most epic off-road challenges in America. These are high-quality metal and stand out compared to other badges in size, color, and quality.

This is also your chance to earn your challenge coin that you can pull out and throw down if you ever run across Brad on the trail:)

Watch Brad and Dirk's adventure

on the TrailRecon Extreme Challenge

Play Video

Things to See and Experience Along the Way

As you navigate the challenge you have opportunities to see incredible sites including a 120-year-old logging cable system, large pieces of petrified wood, hoodoos, purple dirt from the aquatic era when the canyon was underwater, and you can stop by and explore one of our caves along the route and see the spectacular earth below the surface of the canyon.

improving Your Skill and experience

One thing we constantly hear at Merus from visitors from across the country is how much their skill improves from running our trails for 2-3 days. We have designed and built these trails to be a fully engaging experience. Our trails have obstacle after obstacle after obstacle to keep the fun and adrenaline flowing and create a one-of-a-kind experience.

Both routes take 3 days and 2 nights to complete with a total trail running time of around 15 hrs for the Challenge and 19 hrs for the Extreme Challenge.

Running either one of these challenges will greatly increase your level of skill and experience due to the vast number of obstacles and challenges along the way.

Camping and lodging

You can choose to camp along the route overlanding style or you can stay at an RV site, Glamping site, or Cabin. If you don’t want to haul all your gear on the trails and run lighter, choose to set up a base camp on the Rim of the beautiful Palo Duro Canyon. We also have full hookup RV spots available on the rim.

We allow 10 rigs to run the TrailRecon Challenge each weekend on either a Thursday-Saturday or Friday-Sunday timeline. You can also opt to “run with others” and we can connect individuals together to run the routes together (which is recommended) to be able to spot each other, help with recoveries, and build some epic new friendships.

Available Dates

Booking Your Challenge Trip

How it Works

  • Book the available weekend you want to run the challenge. It’s a 3 day, 2 night challenge and you can either book a Thursday to Saturday or Friday to Sunday

  • Once you book we will send you an email with all the info you need to get prepped for your trip.

  • GAIA GPS will be required for this challenge! We will send out maps prior to your arrival.

  • You will be required to map your route on GAIA to prove your completion and adherence to the trail routes

  • Plan your route to MERUS Adventure™ Park

  • Show up by 9:30 AM on your first day to check in and get briefed

  • Get ready for fun and adventure

What's Included

  • Your park access

  • Off-road passes for 3 days

  • 2 nights of camping (glamping, cabins, or RV spaces are additional)

  • Your Serialized Badge and Coin if you complete the challenge

  • And 50% off park recovery should you need it

The Price

Ready to Book the TrailRecon Challenge?

Ready to Book the TrailRecon Extreme Challenge?

All ticket sales are final and refunds cannot be issued. Store credit can be offered in the event you cannot make your reservation.

Check Out More of TrailRecon

at MERUS Adventure™ Park

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.

Questions you might have

We limit the spots available every week for the TrailRecon Challenge to 10 rigs. To ensure you have a space available, registration is required.

The cost of registration includes camping fees at our designated camping locations that are part of the TrailRecon Challenge and TrailRecon Extreme Challenge. These locations will be marked on your map prior to you starting the challenges. Optional upgrades at one of our glamping sites, cabins, or RV hook-up slots are available for an additional cost. 

Part of both the TrailRecon Challenge and the TrailRecon Extreme Challenge is the overlanding experience. However, you will have the choice to set up a base camp or to overland and stay at a different location each night. 

Plan to bring as much water as you think you’ll need. Should you run out and need more, we can provide a few gallons.

We get it, there’s nothing better than gathering around the campfire after a day on the trails. However, MERUS Adventure™ is currently observing a strict fire ban. Propane cooktops are permitted and acceptable. NO WOOD, CHARCOAL, OR NATURAL BURNING FIRES ARE ALLOWED. 

In addition, we ask that smokers be prepared to distinguish their cigarettes/cigars in their vehicle. This park is precious to us and we work hard daily to protect it. If you are found to violate these rules, you will be reminded once then asked to leave the park on repeated instances. 

Absolutely! We love having pets and furry family at the park. The canyon does provide many natural hazards, in addition to the many vehicles at this event. So for the safety of the animal, we do require pets to be leashed and in your full control at all times.

Open alcoholic beverages and consumption are prohibited in off-road-vehicles during use on trails, in public parking areas. Alcohol consumption is allowed in designated camping and event areas only. Violators will be asked to leave the event.

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