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How To Build An RC Rock Crawler Course (Step by Step Guide)

While designing a nice rock crawler course may look very simple to some people, this is really not a very simple task at all. With lots of people actually creating rock crawler courses, there are quite a few of them to analyze, and while lots of them actually look really nice, a lot of others make you wonder what in the world the builders were thinking. 

If you are looking to build a rock crawler course that you and a lot of other people would be proud of, then we are here to help. We are going to provide you with a step-by-step guide that will help ensure that your new course not only looks nice but is also incredibly functional and fun. 

If you want to see some of the best selling RC rock crawlers you can find them by clicking here.

To see how some people have different types of  RC rock crawler courses set up you will want to check out the videos below. 

Redcat Racing Everest-10 Electric Rock Crawler with Waterproof Electronics, 2.4Ghz Radio Control (1/10 Scale), Blue/Black

Check out this amazing Rock Crawler from Redcat Racing. This massive RC vehicle has tunable suspension and adjustable shocks.

With as many options as this vehicle has you might forget that it’s an RC truck and not a real one!

Supplies and materials needed

For starters, here are some of the basic supplies that you would need to carry out your project:

  • A good strong wagon, a wheelbarrow, or a small utility trailer for an ATV to help you haul dirt, rocks, gravel, and other things like that.
  • A number of common gardening tools like a rake, a spade, a pickaxe, a wide flat blade shovel, and a very small planting shovel.
  • Sunscreen, a hat, gloves, and some Gatorade. All these are to protect you from the heat of the sun and from hurting your hands while working.

You will also be needing materials for the course such as:

  • Rocks ranging from big boulders to sand.
  • Rolls of plastic to spread on the dirt before you begin the work of putting rocks down in order to prevent weeds from growing up through your rocks.
  • Plants if you would like to make your crawling course blend into the existing landscaping with plants, and maybe add some other plants from your yard.
  • Sand, lava rock, pea gravel, gravel, river pebbles. These work if you want to make something that looks really nice, you may want to have some filler down between the rocks. Pea gravel, for example, works perfectly to cover exposed plastic and fill in low areas without the use of large rocks. Pea gravel also works for landscaping, and you may even make a trail on it.

The Building Process

Now that you have all the supplies and materials that you need all purchased you need to make sure you have them all together so that you can get started properly. Once you begin you certainly don’t want to be interrupted by having to go and find a material that you can’t remember where you left it. 

Once you have everything in place then, you can start working.

First step: Laying plastic

Look for a spot that perfectly suits your needs as per the size and shape of your course that you have decided on. When you have found a good spot, lay down the plastic. Be sure and overlap the pieces of plastic by about 4 inches to prevent the weeds from coming up in between each strip. Next, put a large heavy rock down on every single corner of the plastic strips that you have laid out. 

Second step: Start laying down the rock

First off, take a variety of large and medium-sized (large being boulders of 30+ pounds and medium being rocks of 15-29 pound rocks) rocks and place them close together then try to interlace them. This helps you to get a more stable surface to crawl on.

Third step: Continue laying down the rock

As soon as you have covered up a fair amount of the plastic in the medium and large boulders you have picked, continue by stacking and interlacing more boulders and smaller rocks on top of the first layer of large and medium-sized boulders. This would simply be building another layer.

Fourth step: Still laying down the rock

Continue laying the rocks to make layers until you think you have made a course that provides enough challenge for your crawler. Next, add height and topography to the rocks, and one more time, ensure that the course can provide enough challenge for your crawler. However, it doesn’t have to be so much of a challenge that you will always get stuck when you’re racing.

Fifth step: Landscaping the course

This is an optional step, seeing as you may not want to landscape the course you have already created. However, if you would like to make the real purpose of it a bit less obvious, you can decide to landscape the course so that it looks more like the rest of the area surrounding it and doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. You can choose to do something like putting a simple rock barrier around some large barrel cacti, and a nice meandering dirt trail. This will help to make it look more like the environment surrounding it. Of course, as we have already mentioned, this step is an optional one, but you should consider doing it if you do not want the course too prominent and would rather that it was less obvious.

Sixth step: Test it out

As soon as you feel that you have built a course that’s just perfect for you, the next thing you might want to do is test it out. You can walk around on the rocks to check out how stable they really are and how well they can take your RC vehicle jumping and crawling on them. If you find that some of the rocks are not very stable, you should add some little rocks under them, and try to make sure that the large rocks do not move. As soon as you are sure that everything is perfect and on track, you can go grab your RC rock crawler and race on your new RC course!

2 Tips to Keep in Mind

 Keep it simple. 

It should be very clear and easily understandable how a driver can move from one large rock to another. If your course needs a navigator, then you didn’t do it right. Regardless of the length of the course or its distance between gates, the flow from the beginning to the end should be clear.

Keep safety in mind. 

Be sure to design a course that doesn’t put drivers in tough positions or mean that people walking on it will likely get hurt. A competitor will be way more focused on his car than on his footing so it is important to avoid building a course that can’t be safely walked. 

Build with discernment and common sense. Competitors will have a transmitter in their hands, so don’t build a course in an area where no one can walk around without constantly staring at their feet. You want people to be able to walk smoothly without ever taking their eyes off of their rock crawler. 

RC crawlers can handle tough climbs, but the drivers shouldn’t have to. 


Making an RC rock crawler course can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. You could lay out some rocks in your backyard and call it a course or you could design a space that is just for racing rock crawlers. The choice is up to you. 

It is important to set a budget for the project as you can spend a lot of money on rocks and equipment if you buy all of it from a store. You can often get loads of gravel delivered for much less than you would pay to buy it by the bag in a retail store so if you are doing a large course then buying rocks in bulk will help you save some money.