We were pretty excited to tackle Gold Mountain a second time. The last time we were here, the trail was packed with snow and there was plenty of mud. This time, things were quite a bit different. The obstacles had become more difficult and there were a few new ruts we didn’t remember encountering last time. It was a spectacular day of wheeling!!
Here's what the Jeep Trail Badge website has to say about Gold Mountain:
"Offering a mix of challenges suitable for off-roaders looking to expand their range of off-roading experience, this trail is also rated as “Most Difficult” by the US Forest Service. With its uphill climbs, rock gardens, switchbacks and boulder and tree obstacles, this trail should only be attempted by vehicles with a high-clearance. Should you wish to extend your adventure, this trail also meets up with Big Pine Flat Trail near the Holcomb Valley."
Pinyon Mountain Trail
John Bull Trail
Trailhead GPS: N34° 16.463 W116° 49.167
BIG BEAR DISCOVERY CENTER
40971 North Shore Drive Highway 38
Fawnskin, CA 92333
Valley of the Moons is a trail in Jacumba, California, that I'd been hearing about for months before I was able to hook up with a good friend, who has run this trail 20+ times, to be our guide. This trail did not disappoint and it's is my favorite San Diego trail, hands down!
We started the trip at the Chevron station in Jacumba just off Interstate 8, aired down, and headed for the boarder fence. The trail runs along the fence for a good half mile and then the climb through the valley begins. This trail was smooth, rugged, rutted, and rocky. I would not recommend a stock vehicle take this trail as there are several technical areas. A solid off-road vehicle and a good partner are essential on this trail.
This trail runs up to Elliot Mine which can be explored. The climb up to the mine is narrow and steep, but the views at the top are worth it.
Trailhead GPS: 32.624986, -116.141607
Valley of the Moons
In this adventure we set out to tackle Pinyon Mountain trail, which is located in Anza-Borrego, California. This trail is rated as difficult and is a one-way trail that should only be run by experienced off-roaders in a group.
Our journey took us through the Squeeze, Heart Attack Hill, and a short rock garden. We ended our trip at the end of Fish Canyon Wash after a short detour to Sandstone Canyon.
If you're a Jeep owner and check-in on the Jeep Badge of Honor app, you will be sent a badge for Pinyon Mountain.
Trailhead GPS: 33.056823, -116.420954
Trail Google Address:
7859 Great Southern Overland Route, Julian CA 92036
The Rubicon Trail
After a lot of planning, I finally head out with a few of my good friends to tackle the epic Rubicon Trail. In this day 1 episode, we head out from Loon Lake and make our way to Buck Island Lake. Although it's only about 6 miles, it took us almost all day to get there. The Rubicon threw obstacle after obstacle at us. We had some challenges, we used our winces more than once and our spotter was invaluable!
“There is no certainty; there is only adventure.”
— Roberto Assagioli
In this episode we head north 2 ½ hours from San Diego with some of our great friend to tackle two of the toughest trails that the San Bernardino forest has to offer, John Bull and Holcomb Creek. Both these trails are rated difficult and are Jeep Badge of Honor trails we have all been looking forward to.
These trails require larger off-road tires, high clearance and lockers are strongly recommended.
On this day 2 episode of the Rubicon Trail adventure, we depart from Buck Island lake and make our way through the Big Sluice, to Rubicon Spring and then on to tackle Cadillac Hill. This trail is truly and amazing and majestic place to be and if you have not been, you need to add it to your bucket list!
These are some of the most challenging trails we have explored. These trails are black diamond, difficult-rated and require 4-WD low, large off-road tires, and high clearance. A trail buddy and some off road experience are advised!