||07-01-2013 05:53 PM
Originally Posted by Sharowe
Hi. I Just got my Wrangler a few weeks ago and I'm itching to take it out of the city.
Nothing crazy because its my first time, and I'm a bit nervous/anxious/excited.
Does anyone have any easy trail recommendations ? I'm in Orange County, coastal area, and willing drive a bit.
The internet can be overwhelming. I Just wanna see some dirt, but I have no idea where to start. Thanks!
There's a lot more open space in San Diego County than OC. You'll find most of the nearby roads in OC pass from west to east to I-15. Sat maps will provide you with directions if you can't find them in the forums. I hear a lot about Trabuco Canyon, Santiago Peak, and a ridge road in OC.
As you look a bit farther afield to find new trails, here are some easy ones in SD that will be loads of fun yet easy enough to not frighten away your wife or gf:
- Nate Harrison Grade up to Palomar Mountain. Very nice trail, pretty easy, incredible views, and a nice way to beat the heat if you spend the day up there. It'll take you 90 minutes to drive there.
- Pamo Valley, north of Ramona, especially the Santa Ysabel Truck Trail and Black Mountain Truck Trail. There's info and a nice map at this link. Newbies can easily do both but I'd advise you get your sea legs first, as while they're not technical they're rough and Black Mtn is steep with shelf roads. 90 minute drive from OC.
If you buy the wheeling books you find at the 4x4 stores, or put together some notes from forum posts, always use the sat maps (especially Google maps) to understand your route on your own. Bring printed copies of the maps along or copy them to your kindle or ipad. The books are notoriously incorrect, and the fellows that post on the forums are great but often imprecise.
- Try to get out regularly with someone more experienced than yourself and learn from him for the first year or so. He'll teach you, tell you what minimum gear to buy, etc.
- Try not to go out alone unless you are 100% guaranteed to be on a bunny run.
- Even if it's a bunny run, let someone know where you're going and what time you'll check in. Because if you have a breakdown out of cellphone range you are up a creek, there might be no one passing by for 24 hours, and you're walking out.
- Always bring along hiking shoes, water, snacks, hat, sunscreen and clothing ASSUMING you will break down, and have to walk out 5-10 miles to get cellphone coverage. Ditto for your passengers. It seems fun to just head out wearing flipflops but at least have the safety stuff in a standard emergency bag you throw in the back. There's a tragic story of a fellow who didn't prepare and they only found his body two weeks later. See this link that I posted elsewhere on this forum about keeping someone in the know.
Good luck and welcome to wheeling!