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What Is Your Favorite 4x4 Trail Run?

Firing Order editorial: Looking back at past organized off-road trail runs and planning for those yet to come.

I took these photos at the Mile-Hi Jeep Club’s All-4-Fun event over a decade ago. This long-running Colorado event celebrated its 54th anniversary in 2020.

Decades ago I wheeled my 4x4 a lot on the farm, but the idea of an organized trail run was a bit foreign to me. As an avid reader of all the 4x4 magazines, I was very familiar with the concept of an organized trail run, but I'd never participated. I was a wheeling loner.

First Organized 4x4 Trail Run

My first organized trail run was the Telluride Rotary 4x4 Tour, based out of Telluride, Colorado. It's been many years, and I can't remember what made me want to attend the event, but I do remember being a bit apprehensive about wheeling with a group. The warm welcome from the event organizers, especially Dennis and Marian Pierce (spawning a friendship that continues to this day), erased my worries. On the trail, I met fellow wheelers from all over the U.S., including Alaska. It was a great vibe, all of us sharing a love of four-wheeling and the backcountry. Suddenly, after years of no interest in organized trail runs I wanted to go to more. And I did.

Trails, Good for the Soul

A few weeks ago I was fortunate to be on the 2020 Overland Adventure in Arizona. It was awesome to be around fellow wheelers, see some rockin' 4x4s, and explore the backcountry. Good for the soul. Especially with things the way they are nowadays.

Trail Runs Past and Future

I've been thinking about trail runs a lot recently, looking forward to the next one and the ones to come after that, and those thoughts were the catalyst to dig into some images from trail runs past. What I found was a fun saunter down memory lane, and I thought I'd share a few random ones with you. There are so many other photos deep in my archives I'd like to share, like the awesome winter run in a snowstorm at Sno*Blind in Michigan, or the trail runs at Tellico in Tennessee before it closed, or the awesome Dakota Territory Challenge in South Dakota, and someday I hope to scan some of those old transparency mages and trot 'em out.

What is your most memorable organized trail run? What made it special? I'm eager to hear about it, so please email your thoughts to ken.brubaker@fourwheeler.com, and please include a high-res photo!

I took these photos at the Mile-Hi Jeep Club’s All-4-Fun event over a decade ago. This long-running Colorado event celebrated its 54th anniversary in 2020.
Back in 2010 the North American XJ Association had their winter run at the Badlands Off Road Park in Attica, Indiana, and even though there wasn't any snow, the mud was slicker than ice and the event was a blast.
This memorable trail run I was on in 2009 was in southeast Missouri, and it showed a side of the state some may never see, with incredible vistas and great obstacles.
The Vegas Valley Four Wheelers Hump 'N' Bump trail run in Nevada typically follows the SEMA show. In 2012, after walking around on carpet talking about wheeling and wheeling products for several days, it was great to get out and hit the trail at this finely tuned event.