Hey folks. I headed out to Rausch Creek for the first time ever yesterday. I am going to an event there on May 16 and wanted to be sure I was going to be able to rock the trails and not hold the group back. Had a blast and bumped into some very friendly folks.
I really had no idea what to expect. Stuff I read online and videos I've seen really do the park no justice and really didn't prepare me for what trails there are really like. So, I figured I would write this trail report for people who have never been, but want to know what's what.
I have over 30 years of experience doing mild recreational off-roading. I'm driving a 2015 JKUR with a Teraflex 2.5" taller springs. Nothing to fancy. The Rubicon has front sway bar disconnects, front and rear lockers, and 32" MT's. There are also factory skid plates on the gas tank, transfer case and rock sliders on the rockers.
Keep in mind, your personal experience at the park will vary depending on your skill level and the vehicle you have. That said, I think regardless of if you have a stock JK or a decked out crawler, your going to find trails to have fun on.
Here is a quick overview of the trails I went on.
Green Trails - We used B shortcut, B, C, D, E, H, J, 11, 11 shortcut, and H.
I found that most of the green trails I used could be driven at high speeds (15-20 mph) in 2x4. There are a few spots I came across that slowed me down to a crawl due to rocky water and uneven terrain leading to significant suspension articulation.
There were two spots I got stuck while in 2x. In one spot, I was in a soupy mud hole with a mud bottom and I sunk in. Put it in high 4 and pulled right out. At a second spot, I was teetering on 2 diagonal wheels and had to both put it in 4x and turn on the rear locker for enough traction to get out.
Everything else I did on the greens in 2x and picked a good line. It was a lot of fun and there where some really challenging spots, which I didn't expect. If you are new to wheeling or have a stock vehicle, you can really learn a lot while putting your rig to the test.
Blue Trails - We used trail 4, Topless For Tata's, J1, 19 A, and 19 B. I intentionally stayed away from muddy, rutted trails. Most of these were very rocky, with stones about 1 to 2 feet in diameter. Rock gardens/bowls, small hill climbs, and a few places to really flex the suspension are out there too. Even with the extra 2.5" extra height and picking good lines, I was sliding on the rails and whacking my diff housing on all kinds of rocks. Nothing catastrophic, but I am going to get diff skids before May 16th's trip.
In general, I think a stock JKUR/JKR can make it on all of the blue trails I hit, just be ready for the grinding, even if you pick a good line, its gonna happen. If you have a stock, trail rated JK in general, you will probably be ok, but the lockers helped me out on more than a few spots.
The only exception to the blue trails I rode was J1. There was a sign at the trail head warning people that the trail is not for inexperienced drivers.... man, they are not kidding. Most of the trail was knid of boring, but there are a few narrow, off-chamber spots overlooking a nice long steep drop. I could see a rollover being deadly. There are some really technical spots that require you to turn sharply while crawling off-chamber through tight spots over a rough rock garden and all while fighting gravity as it tries to pull you down the hill. Pretty sketchy and I wouldn't recommend it for new drivers.
Blue-Black Trails - We used trail 8, which is shown as black on the map and blue-black on the list. It was a nice rocky trail. Compared to regular blue trails, it looks much more intimidating to someone with a near stock Wrangler, but I didn't avoid anything. Dove straight into all the hard spots. It was very fun and was just as easy as any of the other blue trails.
I didn't have the time to try any pure Black or Red trails. Had to head home because we ran out of light.
My buddy's 4Runner on J1
Flexin' on the ramp.