Location: Bradshaw Trail
Feeling the need to get out, away from the city, and not wanting to embrace the cold yet, we decided to plan a trip out to find a place that I haven’t been in a while. In 2007 I went out wheeling with a couple friends, Brian and Rob, and we came across a canyon that seemed to be just a basic wash canyon, until we found the start of some good obstacles. As we passed each obstacle with our somewhat limited Jeeps, our confidence was growing but our common sense was kickin in. We finally reached a point that we thought was our limit and the daylight was running out. We headed home with a good day of wheeling done but my curiosity had me wanting to go back.
Now 5 years later, I finally had a plan to go back and explore a little to find that canyon. I called a few friends and put a group together to take on the adventure. Six rigs met up early in Mecca, CA to head out the Bradshaw Trail in search of a place I had only been once.
The weather report could not have been better; it called for clear skies, highs in the upper 70’s and a slight breeze from time to time. Back home and in the mountains it was rain, rain, rain. Leading up the day of the adventure, I spent quite a bit of time searching maps and satellite images trying to find the canyon, and I was able to narrow it down to a couple of choices. I dropped the coordinates in my GPS and was ready to go. From where we met in Mecca to the start of the Bradshaw Trail there was not much to do but it was still interesting covering some of the eastern side of the Salton Sea. At the end of Parkside the pavement turned into dirt, so we aired down and hit the dirt road paralleling the Coachella Canal, which along the way bordered the Chocolate Mountain Gunnery Range. We reached the Bradshaw Trailhead and took a moment to regroup and discuss the next destination which would be known as Red Canyon.
Red Canyon looked promising on satellite images but when we got there we quickly found that the boulders in the path were the size of dump trucks and made it impossible for our rigs to continue. We headed back out of the canyon and explored a couple off-shoots on the way out but none of them seemed to have what we were looking for. I was feeling a bit discouraged not finding what I was looking for but I was not giving up, as I still had another mark on my GPS to head for. As we approached this second canyon it was pretty flat terrain and was not looking promising, but the surrounding canyon walls were changing, so we kept trekking. We crossed over some simple obstacles along the way and I started getting a good feeling about the canyon so we just kept going.
After a short bit we finally reached the obstacle that I was thinking about; it’s this under-cut ledge thing that requires a bit of a throttle bump to get up.
There is a bypass line for the limited vehicles but that too proved to be a bit of a challenge. We all made it through without issue and continued to the next challenge, which was to get around a ditched Suburban.
And then it was on to the Nutty Bath Tub where there are a few different lines to choose from. That section made for some great photo opportunities.
On and on, we kept coming across obstacles that would require a little extra navigation to get past.
The scenery was stunning and some people were saying it had a Moab-ish feel. I have yet to make it to Moab but their reference made it all the more fun as this is my “backyard”.
We finally reached an impasse point in the canyon and had to turn around and head back. The canyon brought a great adventure to us and everyone was excited with what we found and would do it again.