Ridge Grapplers Take on the Mojave Road
There are few places remaining in California where you can embark on a multi-day trip with a four-wheel drive vehicle across vast, uninhabited expanses of wilderness. Even fewer trails like this exist in the deserts of Southern California. But for those willing to take the challenge, one trail stands above the rest when it comes to epic California desert excursions.
Across 147 miles of mostly barren, open desert, the Mojave Road was once the main thoroughfare used by tribes local to the Mojave Desert, providing a direct route connecting several natural springs between the Colorado River, near present-day Laughlin, Nevada, and the Mojave River, near present-day Barstow, California. Later, it became part of the Old Spanish Trail, a vital route for Mexican traders. After the land passed into American hands, the Mojave Road became the main wagon road coming into Southern California.
We recently had the chance to take two Toyota trucks across the Mojave Road, a 2008 Tacoma 4x4 and 1991 Pickup 4x4, both equipped with Nitto Ridge Grapplers. Both trucks conquered the Mojave Road with ease, navigating a wide range of terrain. The trail offers diverse wheeling opportunities for any enthusiast, including sand dunes, rocks, mud and open desert. The Ridge Grapplers performed well in the varying terrain the the Mojave Road offered, easily transitioning from fast desert running to slow, narrow trail riding.
Today, the Mojave Road is a popular trail for off-roaders who are willing to brave it. Beyond the uninterrupted views of the Mojave National Preserve, the trail takes you along some notable points of interest. A few of these include natural springs, an alkaline dry lake bed, a water crossing, an old US Army fort and even some lava tubes you can explore.
As we reached the banks of the Colorado River, at the eastern terminus of the Mojave Road, the trail opened up into a sandy wash that winds its way back to the highway. Critical of a hybrid-terrain tire, the Ridge Grappler not only performs exceptionally off-road, but remains quiet and collected on the highway home. If you plan on taking the interstate back, you'll appreciate the tame, comfortable ride the Ridge Grappler offers.
Our verdict? After completing all 147 miles of the Mojave Road countless times with different trucks on different off-road tires, we can definitely say that the Ridge Grappler is the perfect fit for this epic adventure.