Archives for category: TRAIL RATINGS

Photo: Gregory McDonald

Shortly after getting on the road for our second day on the California Backcountry Discovery Trail, a tiny CRV carrying a long, thin, rip-stop-nylon-clad load on its roof, came clamoring up the rocky trail behind us. In front of us a Toyota Tacoma made its way up the mountain, similarly equipped. We were way out in the forest in traffic.

Soon we figured out what all of the congestion was about. Besides the opening of deer season, people were heading up to Hull Mountain for a hang glider “fly in.” Read the rest of this entry »


Photo: Gregory McDonald

I first spotted the California Backcountry Discovery Trail a couple of years ago as a yellow highlighted route on my Mendocino National Forest map. The idea for the CBDT started in the 1960s when 4-wheel-drive enthusiasts had the dream of creating a jeep trail that would traverse the length of the state from Mexico to Oregon.

Today over 600 miles of trails are designated as part of that system. Try to find information on it though and you won’t come up with much. I called the Ranger’s Station in Upper Lake and they faxed me some mid-90s-era brochures. They listed “Discovery Points” along the route, mostly things like campsites, trail heads, and, interestingly, a hang glider port.

Wanting to see what this grand 4×4 trail system was all about, we planned a week-long trip up the CBDT starting at the southern end of the Mendocino National Forest and snaking through the Six Rivers National Forest. Our 235-mile route would end on a 35-mile-long, 5,000-foot-high ridge called Southfork Mountain. We would traverse some of the least visited wilderness in the state, an area more known for its bigfoot sightings than anything else.

This past September Natalie, Greg, and I set off to see what the CBDT had to offer.

Update: I posted a map at the bottom of the post. Read the rest of this entry »


I went on a nice little solo trip up to the Sierra Nevada this past summer, found some great back country camp sites, and thought I’d share them with you. Keep these in mind for next summer when the snow clears.

See the map at the end of the post for exact locations. Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s some video of our drive through Joshua Tree. At one point I took a bad line and impacted the bottom of the truck, which was less than ideal. The drive was beautiful though.


Photo: Nik Schulz

After leaving the deserts of Arizona we crossed over into the deserts of California. We’d initially planned to camp at Joshua Tree’s south entrance off of the 10 freeway, but we completely missed the exit and ended up in Indio (in the Palm Springs/Coachella area). By the time we got there it was well past sundown and the wind was blowing an absolute gale. We shelved our camping plan and headed to a hotel.

After a hot shower and a good night of sleep we ready to head into Joshua Tree and found what was probably a more interesting way in.

Read the rest of this entry »


Photo: Nik Schulz
.

After heading out of Sedona we made our way over to Prescott for some more backcountry exploration and to say hello the team at Overland Journal.

A quick note: if you find yourself on Highway 89A about 20 miles northeast of Prescott, you’ll be within spitting distance of Jerome, AZ. Do yourself a favor and stop. Jerome is an old mining town that’s half deserted, half lived-in and 100% amazing. I’d tell you more but unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop. Word had it there was a BBQ on at the Overland Journal.

Update: Here’s a quick video of the trip.
Read the rest of this entry »


I realized I hadn’t written anything about our Southwest trip for awhile and, since we’re heading out on another trip soon, I thought I’d better get cracking. So here it is: Part 3.

After Canyon de Chelly we headed to Sedona, AZ. I’ll tell you right off the bat, it’s not much to see. It is beautifully situated, I’ll give it that. Towering walls of red rock surround it in dramatic fashion, but the town itself looked upscale suburban. We couldn’t even find a historic downtown, just a retail strip.

The road getting there was pretty good though. We came in on Schnebly Hill Road off of Highway 17. (See map below). Read the rest of this entry »


Photo: Greg MacDonald

A few weeks ago my friend Greg and I headed up to the Mendocino National Forest for a couple of nights of camping, off-roading, and target shooting in Deer Valley and French Ridge. We, well I, saw a fat rattlesnake crossing the road and then Greg managed to startle me pretty well with Hubert, the rubber rattlesnake that lives in his truck. He left it under some bags and when I went to throw away a beer can, I almost jumped out of my boots.

Heading out on Sunday, we explored one more trail and ended up at the High Glade fire lookout. Annelle, the friendly ranger on duty there, was kind enough to invite us up for a visit. It was really interesting to see how the lookout station worked and, of course, the views were amazing. Check out the gallery. Read the rest of this entry »

I cut together this quick video from our trip to Canyon de Chelly in northeastern Arizona. Apologies for the wind noise.

Here’s the blog post about the trip. It includes a map, resources on guides and camping, and a bunch of photos.

Spiderwoman Rock, Canyon de Chelly. Photo: Nik Schulz


After leaving Taos we headed northwest across New Mexico toward Arizona. About 200 miles into that day’s drive, something loomed up over the edge of the horizon. It was Shiprock, the massive remains of an ancient volcano’s innards that rise 1,500 feet above the high desert plain. It was an otherworldly sentinel marking our entrance into the Navajo Nation.

Update: Here’s a quick video of the trip.

Shiprock looms ahead. Photo: Natalie Menacho

Read the rest of this entry »