The right tires offer exceptional traction on challenging rock faces

Rock crawling tires are a special breed.

Sure, every tire out there has its own individual strengths and weaknesses; tires optimized for hard pack trails will never take the place of mud tires, and a simple turf tire will be absolutely useless in the sand. But finding traction over hard, slick rock faces, consistently, takes a particularly unique set of attributes. The best rock crawling tires for ATVs and UTVs tend toward big, aggressive tread blocks with large void areas, and plenty of biting edges to “grab” onto the rock. Mud-terrain tires often tend to excel here, their compliant, well-spaced tread blocks effectively able to “grab” onto the rock like a rock climber’s fingers.

Of course, in order to be any good, any set of tires also has to be designed to hold up, with durable casings to resist punctures, tough rubber compounds that aren’t prone to shredding or tearing, and preferably, big shoulder lugs to keep the sidewalls protected.

Thankfully, there’s a whole world of all-terrain and mud-terrain tires out there with exactly those attributes, making them perfect rock crawling tires for your ATV or UTV. Here, we take a look at the best ones available on the market today.

Maxxis Roxxzilla

No list of rock crawling tires would be complete without featuring the apex predator in the segment: the Maxxis Roxxzilla. The 8-ply radial Roxxzilla benefits from Maxxis’s unequaled tire design know-how, with a high center void ratio and a double-layer shoulder to promote grip and ward off punctures, a multi-layer sidewall with fantastic sidewall traction, and a soft, compliant compound concocted specifically for rock crawling. If it’s outright rock crawling performance you’re after from your side-by-side, you’d be hard-pressed to find better than the Maxxis Roxxzilla.

Pro Armor Crawler XG

One of very few special, purpose-built rock crawling tires on the market, the Pro Armor Crawler XG is our recommended option for those who have graduated beyond rock-capable mud-terrain or all-terrain tires. It offers very limited sizing, but if you can manage to find a set to fit your UTV, you’ll be rewarded with some of the best rock crawling performance money can buy. The Crawler XG boasts 8-ply-rated bias construction, resulting in almost unparalleled levels of ruggedness and durability. It’s a highly puncture-resistant tire, ready to be aired-down for optimal performance, and it features more biting edges per square-inch than any mud-terrain we’ve ever seen. More biting edges means more grip, making the Pro Armor Crawler XG an outstanding performer.

Kenda Bearclaw EX

A cross-terrain tire with excellent rock crawling acumen, the Kenda Bearclaw EX is an outstanding option if you’re just cutting your teeth on rocky terrain and you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on rock crawling tires. It’s available in a wide range of different sizes covering some of the most popular ATV and UTV models, and its versatile design means you’ll have no trouble getting to and from the rocks whether you’re driving on hardpack, through mud – basically any terrain. It features plenty of biting edges at all different angles for grip, a tough 6-ply-rated carcass for durability, and even a built-in rim protector to save your wheels.

Sedona Mud Rebel

An excellent mud-terrain tire from one of our favorite tire manufacturers, the Sedona Mud Rebel also works a treat on rocks. Who knew? The tire features numerous deep, grippy angled tread blocks, providing plenty of biting edges, and beefed-up sidewall strength for puncture-resistance and impact absorption. Coupled with the 6-ply-rated construction, that equates to a tire that can take a beating without ending up any worse for the wear. It’s available for rims ranging from 9 to 14 inches in diameter, making it compatible with most ATVs and UTVs out there.

GBC Terra Master

With its 10-ply radial construction, the GBC Terra Master from Greenball Tires is built to withstand pretty much anything you put in its way. The rugged carcass is just one of two truly stand-out features, the other being the asymmetrical tread design – an industry first, according to Greenball. That effectively gives you two tires in one, and with the “B” side with the more closely-spaced tread blocks pointing outward, a set of Terra Masters makes for some superb rock crawling tires. The non-directional design gives you plenty of biting edges in all different directions to prevent slippage, and the carcass provides exceptional core strength and load carrying ability.

ITP Versa Cross

The ITP Versa Cross may look ordinary enough, but its unassuming appearance hides some outstanding performance over all sorts of terrain – including rocks. It’s available in limited sizes, but if you can fit a set to your UTV, they make for excellent rock crawling tires, with a truly tough tread rubber compound that’s brilliant at holding up against cuts, chips, and wear, not to mention a super deep rim guard to protect your wheels against damage. It’s an 8-ply-rated radial tire with reinforced steel belts, lending it extraordinary puncture resistance, and with a perfect balance of tread and void area, with a tread designed to bite in all directions, the performance is plenty solid, too.

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