Summer is here, which means long days, warm weather and vacation time away from the office. For Land Rover owners, this is the perfect opportunity to take your vehicle to the trail and see what it can do.
Off-road travel is deeply embedded in the culture of each Land Rover. The Land Rover was originally designed for the British military as a go-anywhere utilitarian vehicle. Fortunately, Land Rover's efforts to refine their vehicles over the past few decades has not compromised their off-road prowess. The problem is that too few people take advantage of their Rover's skillset and miss out on the thrill of taking their vehicles off-road.
A Land Rover cannot truly be appreciated with grocery store runs and trips to soccer practice. You wouldn’t buy a Porsche with an automatic transmission (right… ?) so why buy a Land Rover and banish it to life on pavement? Do yourself (and your Rover) a favor and take it to the trail. To inspire you, Atlantic British has compiled a short list of popular off-road havens.
First famous as the site for John Ford Western films, this city in Eastern Utah is considered by many to be the off-road Mecca of the United States. Moab is home to both the Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, each featuring steep, rocky trails of exposed bedrock, shale, sandstone and gravel. Gradients can reach 80 degrees, with inconsistent surfaces and irregular ledges; Moab is not for the faint of heart. Those brave enough to scale its toughest trails are rewarded with some fantastic views (e.g. Colorado River).
Interesting Fact: One of Moab’s trademark destinations was the long, steep, sandstone ridge called the Lion’s Back. Drivers would test their nerves on this white-knuckle ascent, climbing several hundred feet to a small platform at the top. The Lion’s Back has been made famous by climbers documenting their trips- some more successful than others. The land is now under private ownership and no longer open to the public.
Colorado tends to evoke images of snow-capped Rocky Mountains and lavish ski resorts. However, Colorado ski towns like Breckenridge make an ideal playground for the off roader during summer months. Breckenridge sits at an elevation of nearly 10,000 ft above sea level with a mild, alpine climate, and features rich landscapes to explore with your Rover. Georgia Pass, Apex/Kingston Peak Trail and the challenging Santa Fe Peak trail, are some of the popular trails in the region, offering varying terrain and degrees of difficulties for all driver skill levels.
Interesting Fact: This year’s Land Rover National Rally will take place in Breckenridge from August 2nd- August 6th organized by the Solihull Society.
The Rubicon Trail (California):
The Rubicon Trail may represent the greatest off-road challenge available within the United States. Located in California’s majestic Sierra Nevada Mountain range, this off-road landmark stretches 22 perilous miles from Georgetown, California to Lake Tahoe. The trail’s obstacles are relentless and those who have braved the Rubicon are familiar with the Devil’s Postpile, Little Sluice, Tin Can Alley, Thousand Dollar Hill and the True Big Sluice; names that conjure up images of vehicle destruction, and add to the lore of the Rubicon. The toughest sections of the Rubicon are best met using vehicles with shorter wheel bases, making it especially challenging (though entirely possible) for a Discovery or Range to overcome its most challenging obstacles. A D90, however, would work quite well…
Interesting Fact: Be prepared to see a fair share of Jeeps on this trail. The Rubicon is deeply embedded in Jeep culture, and is viewed by many as a rite of passage among Jeep owners. After all, Jeep named its most aggressive, off-road-minded Wrangler, the “Rubicon.” Proceed with caution (or proceed with a Rover and put them to shame)
Rausch Creek Off Road Park (Pennsylvania)
Rausch Creek Off-Road Park is located in Tremont, Pennsylvania, and contains 3,000 acres designated entirely for off-road fun. Rausch Creek has trails and obstacles for all skill levels – from competition rock crawlers to stock Discovery 2’s, Rausch offers a rewarding experience for all of its members. Rausch Creek is a membership based facility, requiring $15/year dues and $35 dollar entrances fees for each trip.
Interesting Fact: Rausch Creek is home to a number of local and national 4x4 events, making it a destination spot for many East Coast off-road enthusiasts
Black Bear Pass (Colorado)
“You don’t have to be crazy to drive this road – but it helps”
The most dangerous trail on this list, and likely the most dangerous in the country, Black Bear Pass (outside Telluride, Colorado) is reserved for the clinically insane. This old miner trail has become a popular destination for thrill seekers looking to take on the daring descent down the trail’s 12,800 foot summit. Ask someone who has climbed Blackfoot about “The Steps” and watch their reaction... Imagine taking your Rover down a 45 degree pitch, on top of loose shale. The trail is about 8 ft wide; on one side a vertical cliff wall, on the other, a shear 1000 ft drop. Add the 15-point switchback turns that need to be made in an area the size of a dining room table, and you can start to appreciate how frightening Black Bear Pass can be. Proceed with caution.
Interesting Fact: Despite the apparent danger of this steep trail, fatalities are few and far between. The last fatal accident on Black Bear Pass occurred in 2004 when a couple misguided their Jeep while negotiating one of the narrow switchback turns.
So this article has inspired you to liberate your Rover from the shackles of suburban lifestyle- great! Problem is, you think the term “differential” refers to a math equation and that “winch” is a bad word. Fortunately, Land Rover offers a top-notch driving school in the quiet mountain town of Manchester, Vermont, designed to teach the amateur driver the full range of Land Rover capabilities.
“Participants experience numerous challenges on the 80-acre purpose-built course, with an extensive trail system for exploration. Here you will learn techniques on ascents, descents, side tilts and rocky terrain. The degree of difficulty is matched to the driver’s skill, and more advanced drivers are invited to explore our expansive trails through the stunning Green Mountains.”
Upon completing the course, drivers will be ready to tackle all of the terrain the Green Mountains have to offer. For even more room to romp, travel 50 miles west to the Adirondack Park, the largest state park in the lower 48.
Interesting Fact: The Land Rover Experience Driving Schools are also available in Ashville, NC through the Bitmore Estate, and in Montreal, Quebec at the Fairmont le Chateau Montbello.
Now obviously this list is limited. We are interested in hearing about your favorite locations that we've overlooked. Have any stories or images you would like added to the article? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and stay tuned for updates!
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