Image Gallery: Off-roading
Image Gallery: Off-roading

Image Gallery: Off-roading The landing page for Trail Tracker gives you a quick glimpse of the trails in the sites database. See more off-roading pictures.

Screenshot by HowStuffWorks.com

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After watching a few commercials for sport utility vehicles (SUVs), it's easy to feel the urge to go off-road driving. The ads depict rugged -- and sometimes luxurious -- vehicles journeying through environments ranging from deserts to frozen wastelands to everything in between. The commercials and the vehicles themselves appeal to the explorer inside each of us.

But purchasing an SUV doesn't guarantee weekends of adventure. The destiny of many SUVs involves more grocery shopping than trailblazing. Part of the challenge is that unless you're already knowledgeable about local trails, it's hard to find a place to drive your vehicle off-road. Most property owners and law-enforcement officials look down on drivers randomly picking a spot to test their vehicles' four-wheel-drive capability.

Now there are tools on the Internet that can help the burgeoning adventurer learn more about driving off-road and on trails. One of those tools comes to the Web courtesy of Toyota. It's called Trail Tracker.

Trail Tracker is a user-oriented community. Drivers share the knowledge they've gained from their own experiences. The site gives users the tools they need to search for trails appropriate for the vehicle they own as well as their experience level. Site members can upload information about the trails they've driven, share driving trips and pictures, too. It's part social-networking site and part wilderness guide.