Category: Off-Road

Pepperwood Trail

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There is still much more I have to explore along this trail but the Pepperwood Trail winds through an amazing area of land in the McCain Valley. I happened to take two sets of photos on different days near the end of a very wet spring and winter which offered a large array of plant life and flowers for the area. The contrast between the Laguna Mountains to the west and Colorado Desert to the east is stunning and I really need to stop being lazy and take this trail all the way down Canebrake Canyon. I started off near the Cottonwood Campground which is a very fine year-round campground with vault toilets and firepits. The Pepperwood Trail is easily accessible from McCain Valley Road and is a short drive from I-8. I will traverse more of this fine trail soon but for now, enjoy the photos and look for the rest of them here on the full page!

Cottonwood Campground location:

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BLM campground information and BLM Routes of Travel for Eastern San Diego County Map (PDF)

Rodriguez Canyon Redux

Several years ago I wrote a post about Rodriguez Canyon, an easy trail in eastern San Diego County just south of Banner Grade along CA-78. I recently went back again and recorded some much better video along with going out after a very wet Winter and Spring for San Diego. Snow had recently fallen on the mountains just to the west of Rodriguez Canyon and the trail was wet without dust clouds forming as I passed along. Any 2WD truck with decent ground clearance will normally be able to make it through this trail. Enjoy the photos and videos and find all of them here on the dedicated page!

Northern trail end:

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Southern trail end (The trail does continue for highway-legal vehicles to S-2 in spite of what Google Maps shows.):

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Seven Oaks Road

Seven Oaks Road is an easy trail that is made up of parts of two different forest roads (1N45/1N04) that any 2WD truck will pass through unless it is really muddy out. This trail lies just north of CA-38 and is a nice ride with access to several camps and hiking trails that is an easy-going ride. I highly recommend that you hit up this trail if you’re passing through the area. Enjoy the video and look here for all of the photos!

Seven Oaks Road location:

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Holcomb Valley Road (3N16)

The portions of Holcomb Valley Road that I drove through were of generally easy difficulty and would be easier with no mud or snow. I decided to head up to Big Bear and try some snow wheeling and was very pleasantly surprised by the Winter wonderland I saw. There was lots of fresh snow and not to many people on the trails; I guess that not many drivers were interested in taking on some moderate snowfall. I started the trail on the eastern side near the Big Bear Transfer Station (aka Dump) and head up and west from there. I continued along 3N16 until reaching the junction with Coxey Road (3N14) and headed south as the Sun fell. As I passed through the western portions of the road there was a Chevy Volt with some chains on behind me that made it through with little issue along with a diesel-powered F-250 that got out of a hole as soon as he put his transfer case in 4-LO.

There is a trail south of the route I described known as Holcomb Creek Road (3N14) which is much more difficult and would be harder to complete with a full-size truck like mine. There are numerous hiking, highway-legal 4×4 trails, and even a few OHV trails that connect to 3N16 and it’s a great way to enjoy the area and take in a whole lot at once if you only have an afternoon free and aren’t interested in any hardcore trails. I’ve embedded some map and trail information below. Enjoy the photos and videos and look for the rest of them here on the dedicated page!

Eastern starting location:

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Western ending location:

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USDA Forest Service – Holcomb Creek Information

USDA Forest Service – Holcomb Valley Road Information

Cleghorn Road Group Run

I recently went on a decently sized group run to Cleghorn Road just off of I-15. The main trail is easy and I have documented it before but I simply desired to show off some of the group photos and passing through all of the terrain without several inches of snow cover. A fun time was had by all and you may find the rest of the photos and videos here on the dedicated page. Enjoy!

 

La Sal Pass

La Sal Pass is a trail of moderate difficulty on the western portion and easy difficulty on the eastern side of the plateau. To pass through the western side of the pass you’ll need a 4×4 truck with good tires and ground clearance while the eastern slope is minivan friendly under dry conditions. There is no single hard obstacle, just lots of small shelf sections, a talus rock slope, boulders strewn about, and a few fallen trees that may get in your way. Be ready to deal with oncoming traffic on narrow sections of the trail and possibly back up in an undesirable location. Don’t go on this trail if you’re scared of heights.

The base of the trail starts at about 4,000 feet and climbs to ~10,400 feet at the highest point and will require several hours to traverse. The nearest paved road on the western edge is Pack Creek Road and for the eastern face is UT-46. My only regret on this trail is not starting it a few hours earlier in the day. You’ll find lots of trail information and photos below and the rest of the amazing photos may be found on the full page. Enjoy!

U.S. Forest Service Manti-La Sal Forest – Maps and Publications

U.S. Forest Service Manti-La Sal Forest – Road/Trail/Campground Conditions, Moab Monticello District

 

Miscellaneous Truck updates

It’s been a while since I’ve posted some progress updates on the truck build so here it goes. The following is a short list of components I’ve changed out and a few maintenance items performed:

I had approximately four quarts of automatic transmission fluid changed out and did an oil change with fine lab results.

I replaced one Blue Sea Systems fuse block with the higher capacity Safety Hub 150. The Safety Hub 150 is rated for up to 280A and allows the use of higher current/interrupt rated MIDI®/AMI® fuses in addition to smaller ATO/ATC fuses. I also finally got around to covering up the exposed “hot” points on the isolation breaker, upgraded a few ground wires and replaced the Odyssey Group 34R battery with a NorthStar 27F battery.

After giving the exhaust a few love taps on a trail recently I had a new pipe welded onto the end of the muffler. There’s so much more clearance this way…

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I replaced the Rigid LED flood lights with a Vision X Light Cannon. This light is simply amazing!

After putting enough dents into the rear bumper is was time to get a new-to-me bumper off of craigslist for $80 and replace the disgusting chrome with some satin black spray paint.

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Those are all of the updates for now, what’s your favorite truck mod?

Hell’s Revenge

Hell’s Revenge is a difficult trail in the Sand Flats Recreation Area near Moab, UT. A truck that passes through this trail should have 33″ tires, one locker, some skid plates, and good suspension articulation. Some of the hardest obstacles have bypasses or may be avoided but you should be prepared for a hardcore trail (especially if it has just rained).  I opted not to drive my truck on this trail and went for a long hike. It’s a nice perspective and I wanted to walk a little of my 4,000 mile road trip. Enjoy the photos and find the rest of them on the dedicated page!

Trail Location:

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Fins & Things

Fins and Things is a difficult trail in the beautiful area around Moab, UT that everyone should pass through once in their life. This area is very visually amazing and stunning! My dash camera decided to stop properly working shortly before arriving in the area so I only drove through the western portions of the trail. After that I just took some photos and videos of other drivers surmounting some of the obstacles. A truck with 4×4, good ground clearance, and decent tires should be able to make it through this trail. Be ready to scrape your trailer hitch and get used to having a fun time seeing over the hood of your truck if you drive a full-size. A day-trip pass for the Sand Flats Recreation Area is $5. Enjoy the photos and be sure to look for the rest of them on the dedicated trail page!

Trail Location:

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Culp Valley Road

Culp Valley Road is an easy trail with no significant obstacles to note that any truck with some ground clearance should be able to pass through. The western end of this trail starts in Ranchita at Old Wilson Valley Road and heads east where it ends at S-22. This road passes through the transition zone between the mountains (~4000 ft) and desert floor near Borrego Springs. According to Google Maps this road doesn’t exist but if you’re going out to this area you should really have some good maps (if you’re frugal like me) or a SD card loaded up with some trail data for your Lowrance GPS unit (if you’re a big spender). The eastern edge of this trail passes through the Paroli Homestead (of which not much remains), a long abandoned ranch that a family was able to eek out a survival on for a few years. Enjoy the photos and videos and look for the rest of them here on the dedicated page!

Western starting location

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Culp Valley Cultural Preserve (PDF)

A Cahuilla Village in the Boulders of an Upland Valley