What are the most dangerous 4×4 trails?
In this article, we tell you what makes them notorious and what you should do if you decide to set foot in them.
Glass House Mountains Trail in Queensland, Australia
This may be the only place that’s out of the U.S. territory but trust us when we tell you this – it deserves a number 1 spot in terms of both the winning scenes and scary touches along the edges. The Glass House Mountains will surely make you feel like you’re on top of the world because literally, once you’re on one of its peaks, you’ll feel close enough to reach for the heavens, as you get an excellent view of Queensland’s glittering Sunshine Coast.
The place got its name from the volcanic stones that fell, cooled, and solidified on the surface which gave rise to its group of 11 mountains. As a matter of fact in 1770, explorer James Cook called it the Glass House Mountains because the dried volcanic debris made it look like transparent domes that are similar to the glass furnaces of England.
However, if you have a fear of heights, this place certainly isn’t for you. Its highest mountain which happens to be 556 meters (or 1,824 feet) above sea level is extremely enough to make you feel dizzy and also implies its going to be a long way down if you accidentally fall.
It’s basically a mixture of everything from the steep, narrow slopes, giant rocks, to muddy wet surfaces which will surely test your preparedness to the fullest. Even by the moment you pass 50 meters from the entrance, you’ll already come across a weird puddle that seems to be a combination of mud and quicksand that’ll stop your tires in their tracks.
Although Glasshouse Mountains have an off-roading level that ranges from easy to difficult (that’s nearly a 10 in rating), they’re still mostly meant for experienced off-roaders due to the trails’ complexity, but if you’re really determined to try them despite of not being a 100% pro, Graham Cahill recommends stepping out of your vehicle to scout for obstacles.
Take note, even the small rocks can potentially pierce through your tires. Plus, whenever you see some ruts, you straddle on your seat with one leg on either side for balance, and get the wheel to spin continuously so you don’t fall into them.
See what other mishaps are in store for the 4WD Action Team here.
Die Trying Trail in Montrose, Colorado
This 4×4 trail really has the term “ominous” written all over it. Ominous in a sense that the landscape itself is what made it more notorious than the obstacles that guard it. You may probably be thinking, as an off-roader, you’re pretty used to such an annoyance. But don’t let its typical appearance fool you.
Die Trying Trail is about 1.2 miles of West Montrose which will definitely give you both physical and mental workout in terms of difficulty level. Why? It has a 9 out of 10 rating under the extreme off-roading category, which kind of makes you think twice if you’re ready enough to conquer it.
For starters, Die Trying Trail is a fixed, uneven terrain that’s only a simple way of saying there are no shortcuts to the finish line. Once you get through it, there’s no way of getting out of it but to turn back from where you came.
The trail consists of huge, irregularly-shaped boulders that eventually turn mid to small-size bits as you go deeper into it. However, make sure that your locking differentials are activated for a smooth run.
It’s truly recommended that you have bigger tires to endure the shaky ascent but those in 37s should suffice at a minimal. Moreover, the size of your 4×4 contributes to proper mobility as well. As a reminder, the smaller and less loaded the vehicle, the lighter it is. For example, a four-door jeep with 40-inch tires and a rooftop tent is heavier than a two-door jeep with 37-inch tires and without a rooftop tent.
See what surprises the Trail Recon Gang has encountered before making it out alive.
Fordyce Creek Trail in Sierra Nevadas, Northern California
If you’re feeling like the hulk and thinks that pure rock crawling is nothing but an ordinary feat, maybe you’ll change your mind once rock crawling and water crossing join forces. These two can make a one, giant, formidable enemy the moment you set foot in Sierra Nevadas’ Fordyce Creek, North of California.
This 4×4 trail gives off a peaceful vibe but at the same time, its around 11-mile travel boasts of slippery climbs and strangely positioned rock boulders that’ll definitely force you to strategize your way on how to get over.
Take note, the boulders are massive but there are tiny rocks that are dangerously sharp. They can easily damage the part between the hub and the seal that makes your wheels turn which can literally make your vehicle a tripod, that’s no forward or backward movement at all.
What made it more challenging is the fact that the water levels can possibly get you stranded at a low-tide condition, if your tires are less than 35 inches.
As if that’s not enough, the trees also do their part in making your trip difficult. They’re barely apart that you have to move carefully in between them to get through, especially if you have a trailer.
Because of these, the Fordyce Creek easily garnered an extreme off-roading difficulty level of 8-9 which is a close tie to the Die Tying Trail.
Just remember that if this place is your destination, see to it that you have 35-inch tires at a minimum and that you bring along some spacer replacements to increase the clearance between your wheels and wheel hubs for better traction.
See how the folks at Rockstar Garage put up with it.
Mottino Wash Trail in Big Bear, Southern California
Picture this; lush green scenery topped with apple-bearing trees, flowers that bloom carrying the scent of a summer morning, and dreams take flight where the wildlife goes. Hmmm… Looks like a view of one of Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings. But would you believe if we tell you that the Mottino Wash Trail is a bit different in real life?
The Mottino Wash doesn’t disappoint in giving you a panoramic view of the south western area but it also shouts challenge in every corner, willing to test how far your stamina can take you. Even though it’s not more than 2 miles long, this branch of the Rattle Snake Canyon has a difficulty level of around 7-8.
By the time you enter, rock boulders that are about the size of a usual 4×4 will come to greet you. But the real struggle begins inside. This is because Mottino Wash appears to be like a maze where you can lose yourself among various paths that crisscross here and there brimming with nasty surprises.
And speaking of nasty surprises, one obstacle that you may encounter is the Door Dinger Alley. The place itself got its name from the fact its lined with “camouflagic” rocks that can suddenly punch your 4×4’s doors which can cause your vehicle to rollover.
Another one is the V-Ledge Waterfall. It’s basically an obstacle that lets you lean a bit on your vehicle’s left side as you climb your way up in order to effectively get past it.
If you’ll be going here, just make sure that your 4×4 has a high-ground clearance and don’t forget to equip it with rock sliders because it’ll take a lot of beating. Plus, a two-door vehicle is also preferred than a four-door type due to weight issues.
Watch how Trails Offroad conquered it.
Hell’s Revenge Trail in Moab, Utah
If terrains rising above the ground in an other-worldly level is your thing, then we dare you to try Hell’s Revenge found in Moab, Utah. With a difficulty rating of 6 out of 10, it’ll make you feel puny in a kingdom of towering land formations that appear to be mocking you to fight back even if doing so will only be in vain.
There’s no direct reference as to how this place came to be called as such. What’s only obvious here is that the land is filled with mountainous regions like giant hands protruding all the way from the ground preventing you from going above them as if to say, “there’s no escaping the clutches of hell.”
If you’re not careful enough, that may even be the case because it’s practically ruled by a lot of steep climbs and tricky turns that can send you tumbling down to your doom.
Despite of the terrifying thought, it does offer perks the moment you gain your victory over the obstacles. As a matter of fact, this 6.5-mile stretch of wonder lets you savor the breathtaking views of the Arches National Park and Colorado River Canyon.
One of its main attractions is the Hell’s Gate which happens to be a very risky climb. Bear in mind though, when you’re traveling in groups of four or more, never go all together behind the first vehicle because one wrong move can instantly lead to a lethal rollover. Only professional or experienced off-roaders are allowed here.
Get the hang of it through the eyes of the Red Rock Crawlers.
Tips for Off-road Driving Safety
Whether you’re a beginner or a professional off-roader, there are still some things that you need to keep in mind to make sure that your every adventure is hassle free. Sticking to the basics maybe mere child’s play for others but they sometimes become your life saver when harm comes knocking at your door.
- Don’t recline your driver’s seat. – Sometimes this is tempting especially when you feel lazy or tired. However, it also obscures your vision from obstacles that may suddenly pop up along the way.
- Seatbelts are a must. – Wherever you go, putting your seatbelt on is one of your tickets for a secure ride. Always wearing your seatbelt protects you from bumpy rides on the trail where you may hit your head on your 4×4’s ceiling or get thrown out of it when a crash happens.
- Use both hands on the steering wheel. – Doing so helps you conveniently move through trails where space is very limited. It also reduces the chance of bump steer due to collision obstacles like trees and rocks.
- Press the right side of your right foot against the transmission tunnel. – It will help you gain proper footing and control the gas pedal smoothly.
- Never go over obstacles that are higher than your ground clearance. – If you’re stubborn enough to do it, you run the risk of getting high centered or your vehicle’s body getting trapped in place. The best way to approach such obstacles is to go around them instead.
Danger lurks where carelessness blooms. Every off-roading activity holds risks to a certain degree which can get blown to epic proportions if not taken seriously. By strictly following safety protocols and clarifying things that may be unclear, you reduce the level of such dangers by at least 50%. Tell us how you respond to danger on the trail by commenting below.