Azusa Canyon Off Road Park is southern California’s newest OHV recreation area. Less than two years old, this OHV park in the San Gabriel Mountains just outside of Los Angeles in San Bernardino County is the only OHV park in SoCal where one can consistently find mud and water crossings, and now also has some fun and challenging rock obstacles. Many thanks go out to the hard work of Mike Bishop, President of Azusa Canyon Off Road Association (ACORA), and his team of dedicated volunteers. We paid the park a visit to see the Amateur Rock Crawling Contest during the 2nd Annual Family Fun Off Road Weekend.
Sunday morning started with the short Rock Course, an obstacle course that required each team of driver and spotter to navigate their rig through the rocks without hitting any cones. There were classes for stock, modified and open and we saw everything from bone stock Jeep Wranglers and long bed pickup trucks to Ultra4 class buggies.
Stock and modified classes ran a moderate rock challenge course, with navigating past cones posing a bigger challenge than the actual rocks. I didn't see anyone make it through the course without taking out a few cones.
Spotters played a key role through this course because drivers could not see the cone placement once they were on the obstacle. In one tippy section I watched, everyone chose to back off and take the cone after unsuccessfully attempting. Teamwork and good communication were required to successfully make it through the course.
Open class vehicles completed the first portion of the course and then continued on to a massive pile of rocks and concrete that was great fun to watch.
After a lunch break of delicious street tacos and an Italian ice I headed back out to the course. The afternoon competition moved to Carnage Canyon, a short KOH-style course consisting of a high speed sprint toward a boulder-strewn canyon.
The course split into a moderately challenging trail for Stock and Modified and an intense challenge for the Open Class. No one seemed to have any trouble on the easier portion.
The final obstacle for the Open class required climbing onto a large rock slab and this is where most competitors had trouble.
Climbing on top of the boulder was challenging enough and took a few tries from most drivers until they found the correct line.
On the opposite side was a smaller boulder, the perfect height to high-center on, and it was hidden from the drivers’ view even though there was an orange cone sitting on top of it. When you are climbing up a slab that high you see nothing but sky.
Then competitors navigated through a short boulder field up to the finish, with a few cars limping across the line from damage incurred on the final obstacle.
It was great to see so many familiar Ultra4 names kicking back and having fun at this event. Here are a few we spotted:
Jordan Pellegrino of Team GenRight, the son of Tony Pellegrino, is an up and coming driver who took 4th place at the 2014 KOH Everyman's Challenge - his first year running!
Richard Garrett placed 11th in the 2014 KOH Everyman’s Challenge in his modified TJ (4565).
2014 KOH Everyman’s Challenge 5th place finisher Joey Simeone putting his Nitto Trail Grapplers to the test in Carnage Canyon.
Shad Kennedy of Zaritsky Racing.
Cody Waggoner, who went head to head with Randy Slawson at the Backdoor Shoot Out at KOH earlier this year and came in a very close second!
And KOH OG13 member Bart Dixon.
This event rocks! There was very strong attendance and it's expected to continue growing. If you go next year we recommend getting there before the park gates open at 8am, because it took us a half hour just to get through the gate when we arrived an hour before the races started!
Known to locals as Azusa Canyon, the 160-acre OHV park is officially called the San Gabriel Canyon OHV Area by the US Forest Service. The staging area is located on Highway 39 approximately eleven miles north of Azusa. The OHV area is open daily at 8am and there is an $8 fee per vehicle (your Forest Adventure Pass doesn’t count here). Restrooms, telephone and trash service are available at the staging area. The rock obstacle course is located just down the hill from the staging area.
Follow the Asuza Canyon Offroad Park Facebook page to see the latest happenings and enjoy more photos below from the 2nd Annual Azusa Canyon Family Fun Weekend in our gallery.