Rausch Creek Winter Wheelin'
Rausch Creek is one of the paramount off-road parks in the northeastern United States. Situated in central Pennsylvania, it has 1,700 acres with over 50 miles of trails. The park is open most weekends year-round for trail riding, and it hosts many different events from club rides to rockcrawl competitions and racing.
The Rausch Creek trails encompass hillclimbs, rock obstacles, and various ditches and berms all hidden amongst the wooded hills and valleys of this retired mining property.
We rounded up a small group of holiday wheelers the weekend after Christmas to burn off some cabin fever and run a few trails. Our group consisted of big trail Jeeps, competition buggies, and a handful of guys just getting into four-wheeling, which is perfect for Rausch Creek, as it offers terrain and obstacle options for every driver level and vehicle modification. The park also has free campsites. For more info, check out www.rauschcreekoffroadpark.org or visit the park at 453 Molleystown Road, Tremont, Pennsylvania.
Special thanks to Randy Woods for giving us a ride around the park. His '77 Bronco has a 302ci V-8 and Dana 60 axles. Unfortunately the shift linkage in his steering column stopped working so he could no longer shift the transmission. This meant making sure he didn't need to back up once he started the truck in Drive.
The trails at Rausch Creek are great for all levels of off-roaders. Since our trip there, the owners have been working hard to expand the park's acreage. We are already planning our next trip to check out the new trails.
Gavin Lewis' lightweight Jeep YJ Wrangler is actually his competition rockcrawler. Rausch Creek has a stock class in its summer rockcrawling competition that only allows one locking differential, and up to 33-inch tires. Lewis' red Jeep is outfitted with a Jeep 2.5L four-cylinder engine with a VW turbo.
Wayne and Donna Kendel had the fullsize trail truck of the day with their '90 Chevy Blazer. Outfitted with a full rollcage, custom tube bumpers, a crate 350ci V-8 engine, and 1-ton axles, this 4x4 was built from bits and pieces of multiple Chevys. To clear the 37-inch Goodyears, a 4-inch Tuff Country suspension was used, and this setup made short work of the Rausch rocks.
Our day wasn't without carnage. Dave Bottiglier's '98 Cherokee took some abuse to the tie rod that had the front wheels pointing toward each other. Luckily the park is designed for easy escape should carnage strike, and Bottiglier's friends helped guide his injured injun off the trail.
Charlie Melchner's race Jeep was the hot rod of the day. He was doing some race prep before the upcoming King of the Hammers race in California, and we caught him running high-speed jaunts and going off some sweet jumps. Check out 4wheeloffroad.com for an online feature with additional photos of this Jeep and links to video.