Some adventures are so exciting and memorable that they turn into tales that folks will tell for the rest of lives—the JK Experience is that kind of adventure. The on- and off-highway weeklong excursion is in its third year and has been one of those quests for hardcore four-wheeling that’s left all of its participants with an adventure they’ll brag about for years to come.
The 2011 JK Experience covered almost a thousand miles of Colorado Rocky Mountain highways and trails. Days 1 and 2 of the event started in Glenwood Springs. After meeting in the historic little town the group toured some of the state’s most scenic byways while hitting a slew of Colorado’s finest and most challenging trails. The dramatic trails included Holy Cross, Chinaman’s Gulch, Engineer Pass, Black Bear Pass, and Bangs Canyon. Along the way the band of adventurers stopped at historic mining towns and districts and stayed in some of the most famous, questionably haunted, creaky old hotels.
Mel Wade, owner of Off Road Evolution in Fullerton, California, found the inspiration for creating the JK Experience after attending a number of Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road Ultimate Adventures. Similar in design to the UA, the JK Experience covers hundreds of miles of highway while seeking out and conquering the toughest off-road trails. The unique aspect of the JK Experience is that all the vehicles on the adventure are the popular and capable Jeep Wrangler JK.
The JK Experience is no small affair. This year drivers and co-drivers navigated 22 Wrangler JKs through the expedition. The event also drew a number of major sponsors including Falken Tire, Warn Industries, Off Road Evolution, Discount Tire, Rancho Suspension, Skyjacker Suspension, Rockstar Energy Drink, PSC Steering/Motorsports, Dynomax Performance Exhaust, MasterCraft Safety, JE Reel Drivelines, ATX Series All-Terrain Wheels, OffRoadJerky.com, RCH Designs, and Project-JK.com.
After a week of threading their way through massive boulders and navigating hair-raising shelf roads, trees, and high Rocky Mountain passes, the crew made it to Grand Junction with more than a few dented doors, broken U-joints and bent drivelines and a medley of failed mechanical parts. But carnage isn’t what the JK Experience is about. The trip is about pushing the JK to its limits, improving driver skills, and making lifelong friends. If you would like information about next year’s event visit www.jk-experience.com.