Charles A. Wells paints a unique picture of the backcountry of Southern California in his book Guide to Southern California Backgrounds & 4-Wheel Drive Trails, a comprehensive guide to the many trails and scenic locations in the high, largely unexplored mountains near Los Angeles and San Bernardino. The book goes over nearly seventy-five 4×4 trails that Jeep enthusiasts will love, as well as maps and directions to each spot. Wells has traveled each one of these trails, ensuring that all of the information is accurate and up to date (as of 2003).
Contents of the Book
Right from the start, this book covers the most important question: how to find the right trails for your vehicle. Some four wheel drive trails in the mountains of Southern California are better explored on a smaller vehicle, even an ATV, while some are completely inaccessible to vehicles of that size and are more suited for larger vehicles, like the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. The first section also emphasizes safety tips and the laws of Southern California that you may run into at some time or other during your excursions.
The second section in Guide to Southern California Backgrounds & 4- Wheel Drive Trails is the main attraction: the trails themselves. Over 75 four wheel drive trails are covered, ranging from the Death Valley and Panamint Mountain regions, through Barstow, past Inland Empire and San Bernardino, and on up to Superstition Mountain and the Imperial Sand Dunes. There are 86 maps in the book as well as GPS coordinates, making it easier than ever to explore this gorgeous region of the U.S.
Easy and Medium Trails
The trails in Guide to Southern California Backgrounds & 4-Wheel Drive Trails are essentially split into three difficulty categories: easy, moderate, and hard. Easy trails like the Butte Valley Trail (trail are perfect for beginners and weekend warriors alike. A normal SUV could feasibly traverse most of these, depending on the weather. Moderate trails, like the Mojave Road East Trail, (trail 24) offer a step up in both challenge and danger, but can definitely be completed safely with the right precautions.
The hard trails in the book are decidedly challenging, reserved for the most experienced 4×4 runners with the right equipment. Trails like Duran Loop (trail 19) require a rock crawler or a heavily outfitted Rubicon to get through safely. Each trail section has a map, directions, and usually a snippet of background information to help inject a bit of culture into your cross-country adventures. Be advised that during wildfire season many of the mountain trails may be closed; there are contact numbers for the forestry service in the back.
Whether you are only beginning to get interested in in fun and excitement of 4×4, or you have been at it for a long time and need some more options in the Southern California area, this book makes it easier than ever to find the tough trails and ride the un-ridden path. Charles A. Wells is an expert on the subject and has written over five books on four wheel drive trails in the United States.