• Sweetwater Mountains
  • Bonita Meadows
  • Coyote Flat
  • Glass Mountain
  • Monache Meadows
  • Sherman Peak
Sweetwater Mountains1 Bonita Meadows2 Coyote Flat3 Glass Mountain4 Monache Meadows5 Sherman Peak6
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EASY:   Graded dirt or gravel road, unimproved dirt road. 4wd and extra clearance may or may not be needed, street tires ok.

Vehicles: Any 4wd, including stock SUVs, high-clearance pickup trucks with 2wd.

MODERATE:   4wd low range required, difficult terrain, some steep grades but no major rock obstacles, trail tires needed but stock suspension ok, challenge for novice drivers. Possible paint or body damage.

Vehicles: Any 4wd with low range, including stock SUVs with trail tires.

DIFFICULT:  More difficult trail: Very rugged terrain.  Loose gravel, large pot holes, steep inclines, boulders, possibly all combined. Low-range 4-wheel drive necessary. Difficult for stock vehicles. Higher than stock ground clearance required. Lockers or limited-slip differentials highly recommended. Aggressive tread required and low air pressure may be needed. Above average off-highway driving skill required. At least one member of the party should have a high-lift jack. A winch could also be helpful. Likely paint damage, possible vehicle body and/or mechanical damage.

Vehicles: Any modified 4wd or SUVs with trail tires and at least a mild lift, limited slip or rear locker. 

VERY DIFFICULT: Most difficult trail: Extremely rugged terrain. Very steep inclines, large boulders, potentially dangerous situations. Not possible for stock vehicles. High level of off-highway driving skill required. Highly modified vehicle required, including lift, lockers, and over-sized tires. Likely paint damage, possible vehicle body and/or mechanical damage. Possibility of rollover. At least one member of the party should have a winch.

Vehicles: 3 to 4 inch lift, 33"+ tires, locker in rear, limited slip or locker in front, winch, extra gears.


Trail conditions change, and something that is hard for one driver might be easy for another, even if they are driving the same vehicle. A rainstorm might make an easy trail impassable, or a hard one easy. So rating trails is tough. Be aware that conditions can change and the experience level of the person doing the rating may be different from yours. While we've tried to make this system useful, take these or any rating methods with a grain of salt - use our ratings as guidelines only.  So rating trails is tough. Be aware that conditions can change and the experience level of the person doing the rating may be different from yours. While we've tried to make this system useful, take these or any rating methods with a grain of salt - use our ratings as guidelines only.



No one is left behind; also we will not push (pull or drag) you further than you want to go.  If you feel you are in over your head stop and let it be known.  These trips are for fun, but remember that four wheeling does involve risk.  If we are going beyond your level of comfort with risk it is your responsibility to stop and let a club officer or trip leader know.  We can then take action to help you.

Communication is the key to a successful trip! Do not be embarrassed to ask questions, or state your feelings. Our trips are a great opportunity for everyone to learn.  A CB radio is highly recommended. We use channel 14.

Breaks and rest stops; the trip leader should inform the group when we stop how long the break is and what time you need to be back at your vehicle.

If you decide to leave the group and go your own way please inform the group leader so we can call out search and rescue to find you if the situation arises.

Always keep track of the vehicle behind you.  If you come to a fork in the road the vehicle in front of you should be waiting for you and you should wait for the vehicle following you.

Very steep hill climbs, and other difficult obstacles - Stop and watch the vehicle in front of you before you try. If you follow to close and the vehicle in front of you does not make it, then you both will have to back out.

Minor stuck or other small problems - Inform the group so we can all stop. Let the vehicles in front of you and behind you help if they can. When the problem is resolved let the leader know if we can proceed.

Major stuck or other large problems - Inform the group so we can all stop. Inform the trip leader and a club officer that a major problem exists.  The trip leader or club officer will assign or assume the role as an incident commander. The purpose of an incident commander is to assess the problem and direct the solution.  Everyone in the group should report to the IC and make their recommendations.  The IC will then assign people to tasks that will resolve the problem.  Let's all keep our cool, stay organized, and work together!

Tread lightly.  Drive on designated roads and trails and try to minimize your impact.

Pack it in - Pack it out.  Always pick up your trash.


  1. Roll bar, full cage or factory installed hard top.
  2. Functional parking brake or micro-lock.
  3. Tow strap or rope (recommend rated at 2 times the vehicle weight).
  4. First aid kit.
  5. Jack capable of lifting the vehicle and a tool capable of removing lug nuts.
  6. Spare tire equal to or within 3 inches of existing tires (no temporary spares).
  7. Fire extinguisher with gauge indicating good/full, appropriately stored.
  8. Seat belts for all vehicle occupants.
  9. Antennas must be rigid or restrained in a manner to prevent injuries.
  10. Adequate attachment points front and rear, i.e. tow hooks, receiver, etc. Tow balls are not considered an attachment point.
  11. Battery hold downs (no bungie cords).
  12. Must have functioning low range in transfer case.
  13. Must have CB Radio.


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1. Jack with lug wrench and 'Good' spare tire.
2. Tow strap, shovel and gloves.
3. TP and hand wipes.
4. First aid kit.
5. Fire extinguisher and matches.
6. Cell phone and CB or Ham (tell somebody where your going).
7. Water for both you and the car.
8, Jumper cables.
9. Mechanics tool set with flashlight.
10. Map and/or GPS system.

For more remote areas and older vehicles I would add:

11. Tire plugs, compressor and a can of tire inflator/sealer.
12. All fluids: brake, engine oil, transmission, power steering, etc.
13. Plan to stay over night: clothes, bedding, food, etc.


While doing the Safety Inspections at the Panamint Valley Days 4x4 event (Nov 2014) I saw my first OHV Mercedes (one the truly goes on the trails). The owner was a serious 4x4 enthusiast and he had a very impressive first aid kit. It turned out that he is a surgeon. It started me thinking about my inferior plastic box for a first aid kit. I recently came across the attached article in the "Outdoor X4" magazine and it made a lot of sense to me. You never want to need it, but when you do it is very important.

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The going gets tough when you come to the end of a narrow mountain road and there is no place to turn around. There can be a lot of backing up just to find a marginal spot. Below is an example of what I have found to be the best way to turn around. You start by backing up the uphill side of the road. You will generally be surprised how far up the hill your vehicle will go. You may have to go back and forth many times and it helps to have a spotter.

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One of our members found this guide on line at Jeep Jamboree. It has a lot of great information on how to apply common sense to driving off road. Visit the link listed below.

Common Sense Off Road Driving



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