20th Annual Big Bear Jeep Jamboree | Gold Mountain
Today marked the 20th anniversary of the Jeep Jamboree in Big Bear, CA. The day started off great with hot coffee, warm smiles, professional advice. Without a doubt the Jeep Jamboree is one of the most professional and organized events that i’ve attended. What set the standard so high was the level of detail that the Jeep Jam placed on checking every Jeep to ensure it was capable for the trail. Not only that, but they accounted for driver experience, or lack thereof.
With driver and Jeep capabilities determined, the Jeep Jam then organized groups by color, with Blue/Red being the most modified to White/Green being stock. But the groups didn’t determine social hierarchy by any means. The camaraderie amongst everyone was as high as it gets. It didn’t matter if you needed a open end wrench or advice on how to wheel – someone would be more than willing to help.
The Bushwacker team, with the JK and TJ, opted to run the Yellow group which was classified as moderately difficult. This required every Jeep to have at least a 2″ lift with all-terrain tires, at least one locker, and tow points. Once in column we departed for Gold Mountain, which by San Bernardino BLM classification is a black diamond for trucks and Jeeps.
I noticed about an hour in the to the run that Gold Mountain was very reminiscent of Goldbar Rim in Moab, UT. Not in terms of the scenery, but in technicality and difficulty. There was just enough to keep me interested, but nothing that made me think I may need a repair or tow home.
Perhaps my favorite portion of the whole ride was the “rock garden” which was prefaced by our trail lead with this reassuring thought:
“There is no single line to choose from so pick what you think is best, and remember that these rocks will slide all over the place”
With that in mind, we crawled nearly 200 – 300 yards of boulder pounding excellence, which as we rolled over sounded like teeth grinding against each other. Granted the sound was a bit jarring, but the technical aspect and amazing view more than made up for it. The rock garden set the standard for the rest of the ride. We found ourselves on top of peaks, traversing streams, squeezing through boulders, and romping through mud. Overall a very satisfying trail with plenty of history and nature to keep anyone interested.
If you’re a daily driver like me and don’t want to risk disabling your vehicle, but still want a challenge, then keep Gold Mountain in mind. Its beautiful scenery, spiced by moderate obstacles, is a perfect drive for a small group or an experienced individual. I’d rate it a solid 4/5 stars. Tomorrow we’ll be on the trail again, and i’ll be posting on Twitter throughout the day. So be sure to follow Bushwacker, and stay tuned for more from Big Bear.