Lockwood Creek Trail

Jan. 01, 1998 By Sean Parker

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Author: Sean Parker

Trip report - Lockwood Creek Trail
Miller Jeep Trail
Trails located just outside of Gorman, CA. See below for directions.

Editor's note: In January 1998 we received an update on these trails. According to our new information:

The trail that used to run the creek has been closed due to a fragile environment (spawning area). There is a new trail that opened last June or July, eight miles from the staging area to the base of the Miller jeep trail. For a new trail it is quite good and in various weather conditions can be very hazardous. Once you get to the Miller trail you look forward to about three miles of climbing over some of the best trail in the area. This trail will definitely put a strain on vehicle and driver.

 

I did this trail in October but I did the Miller Jeep Trail at night so I wanted to go back and do the trail during the day and see what the trail actually looked like. Plus the last time my wrangler was stock and this time I had a 4 inch lift on it.

Vehicles

Craig - 67 bronco, 32s, open F/R, 302
Greg- 6? bronco, 35s, ARB F/R, Dana 60 rear, C6, 302
Adam- 73 (not sure on the year) bronco 31s, ls rear, open front, dana44front, 302
Joe- early 60 CJ5, 31s, ls rear
Andrew- 83 CJ7, 33s, ls F/R
Tory- Late model full size bronco, 32s
me - 92 wrangler, 4in lift, LS rear, open front, p235 tires :(

We all left on friday night and the plan was to run the lockwood creek trail and camp at the first camp ground after it. Then run the Miller jeep trail saturday during the day. A little trail overview. The lockwood creek trail is the beginning and like the name says it is a creek. It is a short trail, maybe a hundred yards at the most. Then you climb out of the creek and a little farther down the trail ends at a fork. Miller jeep trail to the left, yellow jacket to the right. The miller jeep trail follows along the creek with numerous water crossings and goes to the base of Alamo mountain. There the trail climbs up and up and up the mountain to the top. So basically the whole trail is in three distinct parts, the creek, creek to base of alamo, then up the mountain.

the trail consists of mostly rocks upto the base of alamo with rocks and ruty sections up the mountain.

Last time I went with the poly goats (club at school) which was invited to attend the run by the SLO county four wheelers. Last time I made it up the trail but had to bybass one section with a step rockwall climb. The trail was at the limit of my jeep, used lots of momentum and I was banging on rocks constently. I am surprised I didn't break anything because in all honesty I was banging rocks about every 5-10 feet for the whole trail. After about 100 I stopped counting. During the trip I was pretty stressed thinking that I was going to break and that i got myself into something that I wasn't ready for. After it was over I was glad. My jeep sustained lots of dents in the undercarige. You name it, it was smashed. The pumpkins, spring hangers, skid plate for the tranny and fuel tank were tough. The exhuast was smashed up against the bellhousing the muffler is about 2/3s the thickness (the exhaust system is trashed and rattles constantly) and I put a nice dent in the oil pan. This time it was different.

the trail

We arrived at the beginning of the lockwood creek trail on friday night and away we went. First thing I noticed was that there was a lot more water then last time and the rocks were under the water. With it also being night time you couldn't see the rocks. Everyone had a real tuff time ( I had a much harder time as compared to last time even with the extra clearance ) do to the lack of visisbilty. I got high centered twice where as last time I made it through no problem. Basically I was driving by brail. It was not fun. Well eventually we all made out the other side and made a bee line to the campground and setup camp. It was 1am.

the next morning the wheather was great and everyone was in better spirits. I was real pumped that I was finally going to see what the trail was like. Last time we ran yellow jacket and by the time we got back to the miller jeep trail it was dark. They were having a night run so we ran the trail instead of waiting till the next day.

a weird coincidence was that before we left a guy in a CJ5, affilited with a club named riff raff, stopped to say hi. He remembered us from last time were they welded up an axle (AMC 20) that one of are guys broke the last time, jason, he didn't go this time:)

The trail is actually pretty mild with only a couple of hard sections until you reach the base of alamo. One section in particular is a nice steep step that is about two jeep widths wide. The right side is just one rock ramp (really, just one big rock) and the left side is a little bit less steep made up of small to med size rocks in dirt. There is a bypass around this section on the left through a muddy narrow trail. the step is just the right length were in a jeep (cj7, wrangler) the back tires start at the step where the front tires are just barely at the top. With out lockers you need a little umph to pop your front tires on the top to pull yourself up. Last time I couldn't make it and took the bypass. This time I was the first to reach the obstical and tried the right side first. Another problem is that for some reason on this trail all the tuff sections happen right after a water crossing, wet tires get bad traction. First try I just tried to crawl up. As soon as the back tires hit the ramp I just started to spin, no traction. The front isn't quite at the top yet and it is just to steep to get traction. The next try I used a little more umph and was able to get my front tires over the top and pulled myself up. I was stoked, I did it. Every one made it up under there own power.They all took the left side. The CJ5 had the hardest time because of the short wheel base and the fullsize bronco made it look pretty easy. The bronco with the arbs front and rear also walked right up, he sat there spinning all four just inching his way until the front tires crested and regained traction. The trail was crowded with lots of trucks and there was a group of 12 hummers. With such the long wheelbase they made this section look like cake. I was also pretty happy to finally see a hummer that was all dented and scratched up. All the others looked almost brand new. Ok, fast forward to the base of Alamo mountain. The whole trail up the mountain is uphill with some sections steeper then others. The first tuff section is a nice steep climb section full of ruts and holes made with trucks spinning open diffs. Oh, even though I ran the trail last time at night I could of sworn the trail looked worse. All the rains took some toll on the trail, Deeper ruts etc... This section also has a bypass trail that goes around it. Last time I had a tuff time getting up, spinning a lot, more momentum etcc... This time I was just walking up with the momentary spin where the LS would kick in and I would regain traction and just keep going. Just as I was starting to get through a section that gave me tons of trouble I was telling my passanger ( a new member who never has been 4wheeling before today) that I was going to make it non stop and just as I said it I lost all traction and stopped. I should of never opened my mouth:) I backed up about 2 feet moved a few inchs to the left and up I went to the top. Not to make this extremely long there was a few more tuff rocky sections with a great stretch towards the end of the trail. Over all I had a much easier time then last time and enjoyed myself the whole time. After it was all over I actually didn't sustain any damage except the occasional scmack under the diffs and ubolts. I need taller tires. Others werent to lucky.

Craig - put some nice dents in the rocker panels.
Andrew - sheared off right rear shock mount.
Joe - smashed in the right rear corner.
Andy - blew left front tire
and the one who took the cake was tory in his full size bronco. His steps on the rocker panels were no where to be found along with the sections of rocker panel that the steps where attached to, and both his bumpers are trashed. He also broke about half his lights on his light bar:)

It was fun,
Sean

How to get there

The trails mentioned are located in the US, California, Ventura County just southwest of Frazier Park near Interstate 5 between Lebeck and Gorman.

To get there from the Los Angeles or Bakersfield area take I5 north/south to Frazier Park, Frazier Park Rd west to Lake of the Woods and turn south (left) on the Lockwood Valley road. Stop at the Mount Pinos Ranger District office at Chuchupate (about 1 mile) and get the latest inf. on the trail, a map & a fire permit. Proceed on Lockwood Valley Rd to the turnoff for Lockwood Creek Trail staging area (about 4.5 miles from the ranger station).

To get there from the Central Coast of California (US101) from Ventura take Hwy. 33 east to the Lockwood Valley Rd, from Santa Maria take Hwy. 166 east to Hwy. 33, turn south (right) and proceed to the Lockwood Valley Rd. Go east on the Lockwood Valley Rd (left) to the Chuchupate Ranger station (about 26 miles). Get the latest inf. on the trails, a map & a fire permit. Go Back west on the Lockwood Valley Rd to the Lockwood Creek Trail turnoff to the south (left). Proceed to the Lockwood trail staging area.

The trails available are Lockwood Creek (trail #127), Yellow jacket Creel (trail # 128) and the Miller Jeep trail (trail # 129). If you complete the route from the staging area through Lockwood Creek up the Miller Jeep trail you will arrive at the top of Alamo Mountain. Turn left and proceed around the top to the road that goes down to Hungry Valley State Vehicle Recreation area. Interstate 5 and Goreman are at the other side of the SVRA.

Randy Peterson
rkp2@pge.com

 


 

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