After their favorite rugged trail was closed, the Hi-Desert 4-Wheelers out of Palmdale, California, didnt let it get them down. In fact, they went out and adopted an even more gnarly trail, dubbed it Shredder Canyon, and added it to the lineup for their 2000 Santiagos Revised Run. This event will be held in April and will include Alimony Ridge and Rowher Flats as well as the newly acquired Shredder Canyon trail. Curt Perry of Hi-Desert 4-Wheelers invited us on a trial run of Shredder recently, and we were impressed with the technical difficulty of the trail. It may be only half a mile long, but itll take most people a day to complete.
After meeting the club for breakfast on a hot Sunday morning, our nine rigs headed east about 10 miles on a desert highway fringed with Joshua trees and scattered homesteads. The trail is located in the high desert near the small, dusty town of Lake Los Angeles and is situated on private property. Curt obtained written permission from the owner to use the area and asks that anyone interested in running it call the club first. As mentioned earlier, Shredder is merely half a mile long, rocky, steep, and definitely not for wimps. The first section is a nasty little dry waterfall about 8 feet tall and radical enough to get your adrenaline pumping. Imagine a rocky wash carved by the wind and rain, strewn with giant boulders, constantly in sweltering heat, with more than a few rattlesnakes to keep you on your toes, and youve got Shredder Canyon.
Our group was led by trail veteran Don Mousseau, whos ascent of the waterfall in his built-to-the-hilt TJ looked like childs play. The rigs followed Dons lead one by one and were soon deep in the clutches of Shredders menacing grip. This type of extreme desert wheelin requires a low-geared machine with mucho clearance, gigante flex, and grande huevos. These guys seemed to have the proper setups and worked their way methodically up the canyon.
Large boulders provide continuous challenges, and the obstacles command your complete attention as you approach the top of the trail. The steep downhill section becomes narrower, often confining you to only one line through the boulders. This is a great place to test your articulation and driving skill, because cross-ups are inevitable.
As you near the bottom, the trail splits for the first time, giving more advanced drivers a chance to show off a little. Don decided to take advantage of this and veered left through a section that looked too tight for his Jeep. To our surprise, he squeezed through the slot by the skin of his teeth, almost shredding the whole right side on a jagged boulder. He just smiled and said, How do you think this canyon got its name?
Although this trail is short in length, it offers a lot of challenges for weekend rockcrawlers. For a new local trail, Shredder Canyon is hard-core four-wheeling at its best.