This year marked the 24th annual staging of one of the best-kept secrets in the world of 'wheeling: Run-A-Muck. Many people consider this event to be devoted to hard-core rockcrawling, with rigs that are capable of extreme angles on the hardest trails. Consequently, most people don't know that this is actually a great event for families looking for that first trail experience.
Most (but not all) of the trails have bypass routes just in case you or your rig are not prepared for the hardest lines, which makes this a great next step in learning what your rig is capable of and what you can do with it. Also, there are guides on several of the hardest parts of the trail to make it easier for you and the family to enjoy yourselves.
Run-A-Muck is held on the Bear Valley Loop OHV Trail in the Tahoe National Forest. In order to put on this event, the Diablo 4 Wheelers work continuously with the U.S. Forest Service, spending untold hours on trail maintenance and erosion control.
The Bear Valley Trail loops around the Bear Valley campground area and takes about six hours of 'wheeling to traverse; it takes more if you take the hardest lines. Lying some 17 miles north of Truckee, California, you can expect great 'wheeling throughout the year, along with copious amounts of trail dust and dirt.
In years past, Run-A-Muck has averaged an attendance of between 150 and 200 rigs and more than 800 people. The Diablo 4 Wheelers are happy with these numbers because, as they say, it is more enjoyable for the whole family when there are fewer vehicles and more trail time. We certainly found this to be true. About an hour into the trail, we were beginning to think that this trail was too easy. We quickly found out we were wrong, though, just a little further down the trail when we came to the famous Ball-Peen Hill challenge.
Ball-Peen Hill is an optional trail. Low gears, locking differentials, and excellent driver skills are required for this rock garden. To enter the challenge, you just sign up at the bottom of the rocks. The rules for the competition are simple: You must maintain forward movement at all times; once you've left the starting line, you cannot restart your rig; and you must stay within the lines marking the course. As far as vehicle size is concerned, we've seen everything from Samurais to fullsize Suburbans make it to the top.
While observing the Ball-Peen Hill challenge this year, we met a family from Nevada that was enjoying their first time out on a trail since taking a basic safety clinic. They decided to make Run-A-Muck their first family event. Their rig was close to stock, but with all of the guides available on the trail, they were able to 'wheel through it with very few problems. And the younger kids had a grand time playing the trail games that the Diablo 4 Wheelers had prepared. One of the favorites was a game of hide-'n'-seek posters. The kids had to find posters hidden on the trail and write down what they were. When they got back to camp, they turned in their score cards and got to pick out their prizes. Amazingly, more than $800 in toys were given away to the kids at this event, and they all went home with big smiles.
Of course, they weren't the only ones to go home with a few extras. After a huge dinner on Saturday night, there was also a raffle. This was the highlight of the evening's activities, with more than 100 prizes ultimately raffled off. People won everything from a set of tires from 4 Wheel Parts to a winch from Warn and gift certificates from J&W Jeep in Antelope, California. After the raffle, the music, dancing, and story-telling began.
On Sunday morning, everyone packed up and headed on home. On the way out, some people chose to take a detour through the historic town of Truckee, while others chose to do a bit of fishing on Stampede Reservoir, Boca Reservoir, or the upper Truckee River.
Without a doubt, it is the Diablo 4 Wheelers and the Mendocino 4x4 clubs that have made Run-A-Muck the Cadillac of family 4x4 events. See you there next year.
In years past, Run-A-Muck has averaged an attendance of between 150 and 200 rigs and more than 800 people. The Diablo 4 Wheelers are happy with these numbers because, as they say, it is more enjoyable for the whole family when there are fewer vehicles and more trail time. We certainly found this to be true.