On the Trail: Logandale Trail System
Usually when I think of off-roading near Las Vegas it involves The Mint 400 or Joe Pesci's speech about holes in the desert in Casino. But the Logandale Trail System waits just north of Las Vegas for your off-roading enjoyment, too. You don't even need burying a mob snitch as an excuse to go, either. So there's that. In this edition of Off the Trail, Austin Stobaugh (@carbonoffroad), Cortney Schiffer (@justagirlandhertj), and Jeremy Hicks (@discipleoffroad) experience the Logandale Trail System firsthand.
Leaving Las Vegas
With a 45,000 acres, the Logandale Trail System has plenty of real estate for your off-roading pleasure. The system lies about 40 miles north of Las Vegas, near Fire State Park, and packs a little something for most types of off-roaders. Over 200 miles of designated off-road trail give you everything from dirt roads, sand dunes, and hiking to rock crawling and Moab-esque landscape tackling. On top of all of that the scenery gets pretty spectacular as well.
If you're looking for something remote, though, this is not the place. Being located so close to Sin City makes it a popular destination with your fellow dirt enthusiasts. Supplies for the trip are also near at hand in the town of Logandale.
However, if you are looking for some socializing in the dirt, the annual Hump 'N Bump Jeep festival is held here every fall. Jeep owners from all over the country invade Logandale for the three day event.
Our crew wasn't one hundred percent sure which sort of obstacles they were going to face here so they erred on the side of caution by bringing three very capable rigs to the challenge. They weren't afraid by any means; they just wanted to make sure they could handle whatever obstacles awaited them on the trail. Austin brought his 2009 four-door Jeep JK to the table. Locked front and rear, it packs high performance suspension, it's wide, and it rolls on 40-inch Nitto Trail Grapplers. Courtney is piloting her 2002 stretched Jeep TJ. It's also locked front and rear but also packs body armor, skid plates, and 37-inch Trail Grapplers also. What really sets her rig apart from the other two is that she's rolling with a stick shift. Like a badass. She'll have to spend more time consciously thinking her way through tough terrain because of the manual transmission, but I don't think she'd have gone OG like that if she didn't know what she was doing. Finally, we have Jeremy's 2014 Jeep JK four-door with EVO bolt-on coilover suspension and 37-inch Trail Grapplers, too.
Gear-wise the trio brought in the usual bare essentials that we always recommend: food, water, sunscreen, and spare tires. Beyond those basics, you'll also want clothing appropriate to the weather; deserts love to run hot or cold. The only middle ground you'll find here is made of dirt. If you're not running lockers, having recovery gear is a good plan here as well. Familiarize yourself with that recovery gear beforehand so you don't have to learn it during a bad situation. Basic tools and spare parts are also a good idea.
We decided to hit Bronco Falls and Shedder Trail first: two separate trails known to be the hardest parts of the Logandale Trail System. Shedder Bowl was the first major obstacle of the day and after scouting it on foot, the group chose to take the middle path through it. It meanders a bit going in and out which should be fun. Even though the Shedder Trail is only a mile long, it's not for the timid. It's an obstaclefest and you'll want at least 33-inch tires and a lift for it. Jeremy didn't have lockers so he adapted by using the Double Foot method (left foot on the brake, right on the gas to stabilize the vehicle and engage both wheels). Without lockers, Jeremy paid more attention to his trail lines along the way and took his time.
Fear and Off-Roading in Las Vegas
Okay, not exactly fear; we exercised caution at this point because we ran into a problem. The steep climb out of Shredder Bowl exacted a price in blood. Not from our drivers but from Austin's shocks. He noticed one of his shocks was leaking fluid and that meant a field repair once all three vehicles were on level ground where doing so would be much easier. After a little field work, Austin tested it out on a small patch of hill and decided to soldier on instead of limping his Jeep back to the trailer. To her credit, Courtney's enthusiasm for the whole situation lacked, well, enthusiasm. But who can blame her? No one likes a repair job fifteen minutes into a trip. Austin's in-field repair work passed the test, though, so onward we went!
Some more rock-tackling later, it was lunch time. With full bellies and energized spirits, the trio planned the next leg of the trip. All of that blood loss from the shock incident precluded us from our original plan of taking on Bronco Falls. After the team scouted it they decided it was just too much rock climbing for the wounded Jeep to take.
Instead, they hit Rock Bottom. Not the kind where you go on a daytime talk show after rehab; this would be the trail section of the same name. It wouldn't be an easy path, however. Bronco Falls carries a rating of eight but Rock Bottom is still a seven.
Viva Rock Vegas
Much like Shredder Trail (or my childhood), Rock Bottom is short but action-packed. Having someone along who knows the obstacles and lines for it is highly recommended. Austin took his Jeep through a very technical climb first to get a good feel for it then guided Jeremy through it. Once he was through, though, Jeremy scouted a different line for Courtney's turn because what they'd thought was the best line through might not have been the case.
After Courtney was through, the group ran down into the sand dunes near Logandale. Red rock formations surrounded them and made for a beautiful backdrop to the recap at day's end. And no one had to bury a body. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for the full lineup of On the Trail adventures.