Last Chance Canyon

Last Chance Canyon is a canyon in the El Paso Mountains near Johannesburg, California. The canyon runs from Saltdale in the south to Black Mountain in the north; part of it lies within Red Rock Canyon State Park. The canyon includes a variety of archaeological sites, including pictographs, villages, rock shelters, mills, and quarries. Historic sites such as gold mining camps are also located in the canyon. The canyon is owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and is open for recreational use. Hiking, camping, and 4-wheel drive vehicles are permitted in most parts of the canyon. The canyon was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 5, 1972.

Wharton State Forest

The east coast doesn’t have much when it comes to 4×4 trails and park, but it seems that New Jersey has a place of it’s own called, “Wharton State Forest.” While the trails are pretty much as easy as it can get and you might get surprised at what you see driving around back there. I find that the best part might be that it doesn’t have any fees or registration required to drive on the trails. (You know what I mean by that if you have ever been to Attica, Indiana at 9AM.) Your not going to find any technical trails or rocks to crawl, but you can find plenty of mud, swamps, and sand that could put up a challenge with a heavy rain. There are some rules to follow, but it’s nothing special. All vehicles must be street-legal, registered, and insured. All drivers must be licensed Travel is restricted to established roads Stay off private roads, driveways, and gated areas Check for the latest videos on YouTube for Wharton State Forest.

Black Bear Pass

One of the more infamous trails in Colorado is officially called “Forest Service Road 648,” but most know it as Black Bear Pass. The popularity of this trail stems from the beautiful views that require the driver to have nerves of steel. Black Bear Pass is a seasonal road and generally opens late July and closes in early fall. The Black Bear Road reaches a altitude of 12,840 feet at the highest point after which point the trail descend 4,000 feet into the town of Telluride Colorado. Be sure to keep an eye out for the sign famous for it’s saying: Telluride –> City of Gold 12 Miles – 2 Hours You don’t have to be crazy to drive this road – but it helps Jeeps Only Special thanks to JK Experience for the photos.

Jungo Road, Nevada

Relatively soon, I will be headed to Black Rock City out in Nevada to attend the 2013 Burning Man, Cargo Cult. During Burning Man, Black Rock City becomes Nevada’s third largest city for the week that the event is held. To get there most take State Route 447, but I take a short cut to get there which happens to be off-road. If you’re driving from the east to get to Burning Man, I highly recommend taking Jungo Road (State Route 49). I was able to shave 4 hours of my driving time, with the way I drove getting there. Jungo Road begins in the town Winnemucca, and continues crossing the beautiful Kamma Mountains until finally reaching the town Gerlach. The road is hard packed gravel and for the most part, it was hard for me to believe that the road wasn’t paved with how well it drove. While other sections would be very uncomfortable without four wheel drive or a full-size spare tire. Most of the road follows along the feather river route train tracks. I was passed by the occasional mining truck, but for the most part, I felt alone out there. As a precaution, I don’t recommend driving Jungo Road unless you have a full tank of gas, four wheel drive, and full-size spare tire.

Naches Pass

Naches Pass was originally a Native American foot trail connecting the various Salish people on the west side (Nisqually & Puyallup) to the Yakima people on the east side of the Cascade Range. In later years, Naches Pass was worked on to be used as a wagon trail short cut from the Oregon Trail. The trail never found practical use because the steep terrain is nearly impractical for wagons and it would required over 60 crossing of the Naches River before reaching the pass from the east. One of the earliest written accounts of the Naches Pass is from Theodore Winthrop. He wrote a book titled “By Canoe and Saddle,” in which he narrates his journeys in the Washington area predating 1855 with his own personal account of crossing the Cascade using this very trail. The western half of the trail, number 1175, is only open from November 15th to July 15th in an attempt to reduce the soil erosion. Where as the eastern section of the trail, number 684 Naches Pass is open to off-road enthusiast year around, however snow may make the trail impassible. Along the trail, in Camp Urich, is a log cabin complete with a loft and wood burning stove open to the community to use. The cabin is located on the Pacific Crest Hiking Trail and requires just as slight detour south from Naches Pass to spend the night at. The cabin is reserved on a first come first served basis, which means that it may […]

Drummond Island Trails

In the upper peninsula of Michigan, east of Mackinac Island is the off-road paradise, Drummond Island. What makes this Drummond Island unique is at you can’t just drive to it, you have to board a ferry head to the island. The off-road trails varies from mud bog trails in a boreal forests, to rock crawling on glacial rock deposits, and stone ridges over look Lake Huron. If run out of trails head over to the ORV Park, Turtle Ridge for more fun and excitement off-road. No matter what you drive Drummond Island’s off-road trails are great for stock vehicles, heavy modified vehicles, and even buggies. Drummond Island Off-Road Trail Map Special thanks to JK Experience for the photos.

Holy Cross City 4X4 Trail

Holy Cross Trail meanders through rock gardens, streams, and mud on the side of the 14,000+ foot mountain, “Mountain of the Holy Cross.” The signs along Holy Cross Trail warn when the trail is about to get more difficult and what’s it going to cost to get towed out of there, can be used as an indicator of just how great Holy Cross Trail is. At the top is an old ghost town with leftover mining equipment and some empty cabins dating all the way back to the 1800’s. At the entrance is sign of what your vehicle needs to complete the trail and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. The list includes a winch, 32″ or larger tires, locking differentials, tow strap, Hi-Lift jack, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, drinking water, food, tire repair kit, shovel, and a fluid spill clean-up kit. If you happen to make it to French Creek I recommend stopping and watch all the vehicles do there best to cross it. This place is all about knowing where the vehicle’s tires are and at the same time knowing how to move the vehicle around because this section is all about driver skill. The less capable 4×4 vehicles may want to have the winch ready because this section tends to get backed up. Cleveland Rock is the biggest and most difficult of the obstacles on the Holy Cross Trail and there is no bypass, because of this, most turn around at Cleveland Rock. The rock is giant […]

Rubicon Trail

Of all the trails in the world, The Rubicon Trail is the one and only trail to top them all. Located in the Sierra Nevada, the Rubicon Trail is located directly due west of Lake Tahoe crossing rivers, lakes, and granite in the El Dorado. So popular is this place, auto manufacturers regularly use this trail as the gauge to test their new vehicles on. The trail technically begins in Wentworth Springs, but the typical 4×4 enthusiast is looking to start the trail at Loon Lake. The first obstacle encountered is Walker Hill which is a climb up a rocky section to a notch that is either straddled or side-hilled. After which the trail continues on to the Soup Bowl, a series of ledges that are difficult to climb in short wheel base vehicles and/or low ground clearance. The most difficult section of the The Rubicon Trail is The Little Sluice. In 2012 the Little Sluice was in sense destroyed because it was so difficult that most, if not nearly all, bypassed the obstacle. The reason for doing this was because so had to bypass this part of the trail and in doing so drove onto private property. Even with the damage done to the Little Sluice it is still difficult to pass. Once pass the the Little Sluice, the trail continues on to Buck Island Lake, The Big Sluice, and finally into Rubicon Springs where events like Jeep Jamboree, Toyota Land Cruiser Association’s Rubithon, and Marlin Crawler Round-Up take […]