2017 Sierra Trek Overview

Exploring the Sierras with Hundreds of Friends

Sep. 08, 2017 By Justin Magner

This year marked the 50th running of the Sierra Trek, an event put on by the California 4 Wheel Drive Association along with the support of many off-road clubs like The Sierra Treasure Hunters, Grass Valley 4 Wheel, and The Friends of Fordyce, just to name a few.
The event is held in Meadow Lake Nevada County, California, with the Fordyce Trail being the main attraction. This trail is known as one of the most difficult in the Sierras, with a total of five known winch hills. It's not uncommon for a full Fordyce run to last 12-13 hours from start to finish, even though the trail is only about 10.8 miles long. 35" tires and at least one locker with a 3" lift is highly advised. Many people show up to test their limits on the Fordyce as this is definitely a trail to be taken serious. Most bring their rigs on a trailer along with a stack of spare parts knowing that there's a good chance something will break.

If you aren't up for 13 hours on the same trail, there are plenty of other runs at Sierra Trek. One of which is the Fordyce River Run. This takes you from Winch Hill 5 across the Fordyce River and back. Friends of Fordyce members Jeff Degnan and Scott Evans allowed me to hitch a ride with them for the day. Although not quite as long as Fordyce Trail, we tackled the expert level River Run in about 6 1/2 hours.
If extreme trail runs are not your cup of tea, an Intermediate/Beginner trail known as the Outer Limits Run is a must! With a bypass route through all of the difficult trail sections for those not willing to seriously damage their rig, this run offered something for all skill levels we're talkin' stock four-door JKs to built TJs sporting 37" tires. Everyone from first timers to seasoned professionals joined in on the ride.

I was able to catch up with Steve Egbert, President of Cal4Wheel. He let me know that Sierra Trek is just one of the many fundraiser events for Cal4Wheel. Even though there are many four-wheel clubs and organizations in the area, Steve said that "Cal4Wheel is one of the few organizations to have paid, full-time employees that stand in and attend to State and Forestry OHV trail meetings on our behalf to help keep our OHV trails open." Steve also emphasized that "each event is put on by volunteers and that the events would not be possible with out the volunteers." When it comes to a event that is entertaining 700-800 people on average, you can only imagine how many helping hands it takes.
Earlier in the week we attended a two-day, overnight Historic SUV Run put on by Jim Bramham. This run started in Truckee and ended at the main camp in Soda Springs. The two days were packed with amazing views and plenty of local history. This is probably the best way to spend a weekend to get acquainted with four wheeling and meet some new friends being that the trails are not too challenging and still lots of fun. A four-wheel drive vehicle with a set of good all-terrain tires is about all you need to concur these two days. Pack in some camping gear, water, and a few snacks for the trail, and you're set!

Sierra Trek isn't just about a single day or two of trail rides. This multi-day event features tons of trail rides but also offers plenty of food and activities if you're looking to just hang around camp. Vendors show up and display their latest and greatest goodies during the day, and each night a live band cranks out some tunes following dinner. For the competitive folks, there's even a Cornhole Tournament Friday and Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon gets hopping at main camp, with a Car Show followed by a raffle and silent auction. Some of the prizes included free drinks to Warn Winch's, gift certificates, discounts to numerous four-heel part manufactures, and more. With multiple events each day, there is plenty to do and much to see.

Sierra Trek is a fun, family friendly event for all. If you're looking to hit some trails for your first time or you're a seasoned rock crawling professional, this event has something for you. We'll definitely be returning for the 51st running.

If you would like to volunteer or find out more these events, go to Cal4Wheel.com. And if you're interested, don't forget to sign up early as these events fill up fast.

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