I would check and join some Jeep groups on facebook or online jeep forums. They tend to post better deals than they would on the craigslist, fb marketplace, etc. I do see these Cherokees going for 4-5k range now. I remember when I was originally looking for an off-road project, I was looking at 4runners, but the Jeep Cherokees were just so darn cheap 5 years ago. I picked mine up for $1500...
My families weekend sojourn into the desert took us to Monitor Valley. Lots of cool places to explore. Here's the "minivan" at Smith's station. Gets us everywhere we want to go and a few places we shouldn't be!
used to be fantastic duck hunting there, not so much now.
We narrowly missed a certain-death flash flood while camping, was going against 2 1/2 feet of water til we made the right onto the main dirt, sat and watched it rampage 8-10ft or higher shortly thereafter...wiped the wash clean.
Obama wrecked that place, anyway.