Join Date: Mar 2013
Last Chance Canyon
Last Chance Canyon. Is it a viable day trip for Subaru’s? The answer is yes and no. Yes, it can be done. But it wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t without casualties. We made the mistake of waiting to air down until the very last hill climb. I’d recommend airing down right off the trail.
The “rigs” (lol):
1986 Suzuki Samurai (Jimothy)
Casualties – front driveshaft
2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek
0” Lift (stock 8.7” GC)
225/60R17 (27.6”) tires
Removed front bumper prior to trail
Full Primitive Racing Under Armor*****
Casualties – Both Rocker panels, front skid plate
Okay, the trail starts out with a trailhead marker off the side or Redrock Randsburg Rd. You don’t travel along the dirt road for too long before you drop down into the wash. Within a mile (I apologize, I lost my notebook that I had written down exact mileage of obstacles), we had to pack some rocks. I think I would have been able to crawl over it all had I aired down my tires. But hindsight is always 20/20. It didn’t take long before I came down on a rocker panel. But had I not removed my front bumper, I would have already nailed it during this section.
Throughout the trail, most of the obstacles that should stop a Subaru were able to be bypassed, but not all. There were a few times that I had doubted going into the canyon, wondering how the hell I was going to get out. There were a few obstacles that I bypassed, but only the ones that I KNEW would render me inoperable. There was one section that needed to be bypassed, that even the bypass was rough. The wash was rough enough that even the Samurai opted to take the bypass. This bypass was a little challenging to get up, and taking the wrong line left me with the choice of backing up onto my rocker and sliding all along it to get down, or having Jims pull me the rest of the way up. Again, I think I’d have made it up had I aired down.
We reached the infamous V-Notch. I sure as hell wasn’t going to try the Subaru through there, and the Samurai opted out of it since we knew I couldn’t pull him out if needed, and we hadn’t seen anyone for over an hour, and had zero cell reception. So we went up the bypass, then came the challenge of coming down. Jims took the first exit off the bypass, I wasn’t sure I’d make it, so I decided to stay on the bypass. After a 25 yards or so, the bypass has another exit – one that’s very steep. Problem is, the bypass itself reaches a massive camber, and with the soft sand and loose dirt, we were afraid I’d slide down into the rocks, and with the angle, run the risk of rolling. So down it was. That was the absolute highest my rear tire has ever been! It was a hell of a rush, and we both decided to take a break and eat some lunch.
When we headed on, I think there was only one other bypass I took, and I think I’d have made it up had we packed rocks, but we were tired, and my rockers were already hanging on by a thread. The Samurai obviously had no trouble with this section.
After a bit of the same old rock climbing and boulder dodging in the soft, sandy wash, we reached the end of the wash. Slightly confused by what seemed to be a dead end, we decided to take a quick hike, we quickly saw a way up onto the ledge where the trail continues into the old, abandoned mining town. Again, Jims had no problem getting up. I moved a few of the bigger rocks and headed up. Turns out I moved one rock too few, and badly dented my front skid plate. Oops. Once I moved that rock, the scoob had no problem climbing the hill.
We progressed through the town, then back down into the wash, finally reaching the final obstacle. A hill. A big, steep, rocky hill. This is where we decided to air down, and while doing so, a group of people started coming down. Some of the most beautiful rigs I’ve ever seen in person. There were three buggies (one with a glorious EJ), two Wranglers, and a Manx. These guys were super cool, helped us pick the right lines, and supposedly got the video of me climbing it that they said they’d post to YouTube after the long weekend. Then it was a 10 mile sandy trek back to pavement, complete with a few open areas that allowed the obligatory Subaru Branded Powdered Donuts around a fire ring (well, as “donuty” as I could get in a CVT Crosstrek). It was in this long, sandy stretch that the Samurai’s front driveshaft gave way. A quick removal and 2wd were all it took to get going again.
A couple notes:
1). Sorry that most of the pics are of the Samurai, this was because my buddy couldn’t really figure out my camera, and I was busy trying to make sure I could get home.
2). Don’t underestimate the sand. 90% of the times I had to pack rock were to gain traction, not clearance.
3). Your WRX/STi won’t make it. I barely did with 8.7” of ground clearance and no front bumper. Had I left the bumper on, it would have gone home in pieces.
4). Two people wasn’t really enough. I’d recommend a minimum of three.
5). This isn’t for the faint of heart. It is certainly doable, but it takes time, patience, teamwork, and a lot of hopes and dreams.
All in all, Yes, it was worth it, and Yes, I will be going back. This was the most fun I’ve ever had off road. I will be planning a trip for sometime in the fall, TBD. I want to wait until I have my lift done before going back.
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