Wheeling Lesser-Known Treasures
Believe it or not, there are still little-known four-wheel-drive trails scattered across this great country that are worthy of national attention, but kept as well-guarded secrets. The locals who frequent these trails won't give up their locations easily. But for those lucky few outsiders that get to wheel them, the experience of an extreme trail in its pristine state and remote wilderness adventure is all too cool.
We had heard tales of a well-hidden and lightly-run trail in the Southern California high desert for almost a year, but we didn't have the opportunity to seek it out until recently. We were told that the trail was as tough as any of the Hammer Trails in Johnson Valley. That seriously peaked our interest. We were also told that the trail was still in its natural condition, without rock stacking, and the toughest obstacles still as extreme as the day the first rig cut the trail. Just when we got our act together and planned a clandestine trail run, a severe winter storm hit and the deserts received record amounts of snowfall.
Some areas of the high desert hadn't seen snowfall in almost 10 years, but as much as 2 feet hit the ground in that storm. Much more snow fell in the arid eastern foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains--right on top of the new trail.
There really isn't a name for the trail since it hasn't been wheeled with much frequency, and there aren't any GPS coordinates. It's just another amazing canyon located in the San Bernardino Mountains, about 25 miles east of Big Bear Lake. We'll call it Trail X. The trail is within the boundaries of a legal OHV area, but it's well hidden by Mother Nature. We have wheeled the main trail a number of times, yet passed by the entrance to X without even knowing it was there. We're guessing Trial X receives very little travel because of the heavy vegetation around its narrow opening. There are also a number of doglegs that branch off the main trail and lead nowhere. We think that by the time four-wheelers reach this point on the main trail, they give up exploring every nook and cranny carved in the high canyon walls.
In the future, Trail X will not only make a convenient test trail for new suspensions, but we're positive it will become one of our favorite, less-crowded local trails, perfect for escaping the masses. We had a blast wheeling the trail in the snow, and we can't wait to run it in the spring.