Welcome back, trail folks! 😎Our trail ambassador of this month is Jody@birddogoverland. Let's follow Jody and hit Horse Creek Trail and learn more trail skills!
I'm a Radiology Administrator living in Chicago, IL. Grew up in East Tennessee and lived in Dallas for several years prior to relocating the Chicago for work. I have two German Shorthaired Pointers (Witten & Daisy) that join me on my adventures sometimes. I drive a 2021 Ford Bronco Badlands with Sasquatch and love the modularity of this new platform.
The ability to see places off the beaten path. I love taking in the majestic views nature has to offer and sharing them with others. I also like exploring with others and getting to know new people. In 2018, I bought a 5th gen Toyota 4Runner and fell in love with the scene. I've been on several trails in the East Tennessee, Michigan Upper Peninsula, Moab, and Ouray, CO with it.
When the new Broncos were introduced, I knew I wanted to 'up my game' and get one. The first thing I did was add a 3" lift and put 37" Mud Terrain tires on it. I've had it on a few of the trails in Tennessee this year when visiting family there. I also will be heading back to the UP next month as well. Definitely looking forward to heading back out west in this thing.
Horse Creek Trail is probably my favorite trail in the East Tennessee area. It is located outside Greeneville in the Cherokee National Forest. It features a lot of beautiful water crossings along the way. The trail also gets very vertical for the last stretch with multiple switchbacks and features some 'steps' near the top to challenge yourself on. It's very peaceful and provides several photo stunning opportunities.
This trail is full of rocks and fallen trees (bring a saw) for the most part, but once you start the steep incline it turns a little muddy. In most vehicles, there are a couple of switchbacks that require a 3 point turn. Luckily the Bronco features trail assist to make those less painful. Important note, this is a one way in/out trail, but be wary of others when approaching the narrower parts.
I think the first half would be fine for most folks, but the second half may be considered more of a moderate trail in terms of difficulty. You might be able to navigate it with an equipped crossover, but I wouldn't suggest it.
Rubicon Trail is my dream trail. Pretty hardcore off roading and great camping opportunities. I definitely have it on my bucket list. My favorite trail I've been on so far has to be Imogene Pass outside of Ouray, CO. I drove it in my old 4Runner and can't wait to get on it in the Bronco as well.
Skid plates, off-road lighting, A/T, or M/T tires, are not necessarily in that order. Factory skid plates may be sufficient on some vehicles, but aftermarket provides the best protection.
Off Road lighting is a must if you are out late evenings or overnight. Having the improved sight will be handy if you have to leave due to an emergency or get caught on the trail after sunset.
All-terrain tires are a minimum in my opinion if you are going off-road. They provide the best all around traction for off-road with minimal negative street effects. I use Mud Terrains, but they may not be ideal for city driving or daily driving.
For this trail, even in the day, the foliage can make it somewhat dark. If you are planning to camp here, I'd highly recommend fog lights, ditch lights, and maybe a roof top light bar. Good rear lights would be helpful too in those switch backs at night. This trail is pretty tight in the foliage in some places and lights would be very appreciated if you had an emergency.
Don't over spend! There are plenty of good quality lighting options that are reasonably priced. That's why I went with Lasfit. I have used the higher priced brands before and they are generally nice, but are overkill for 90% of people that off road/overlanding.
Editor's tips: Click here to find out more details if you're in the market for some new off-road lights and/or are curious about the Lasfit off-road lights.
For the Bronco, adding lights is extremely easy and they can come with wires already run throughout the body. I feel that Pod fog lights and pod ditch lights are sufficient for most adventurers. LED light bars can be mounted to the factory front bumper fairly easily. There are options of mounting a 42 or 52 inch bars to the roof as well if you really want to light up the trails. Rock lights come with rough terrain at night. Rear facing pods also work well in tight spots if you need to back up and the factory reverse lights are providing enough coverage.
Editor's tips: Here's an article for a more detailed off-road lighting strategy from Jody, click here to read more if interested. (Why Have I Been Overspending On Quality Light Until Now? | Build An Off-Road Light Bar For 2021 Ford Bronco)
Here's the detailed Trail Info Joseph provided to us for anyone who gets interested in this trail as reference:
Name of the trail:
Horse Creek Trail
Best time of year to go:
Multiple water crossings and steps near the top
Phone Numbers for local help:
Tire Pressure Advice:
20 psi should be fine on this trail. I wouldn't go higher than 25 or lower than 18 as it's not needed.
Rig requirements (Example, must be 4x4 with lift kit, or standard 4x4):
4x4 high clearance body on frame trucks and SUVs are ideal. This trail has lots of foliage and can result in pin striping (especially on larger rigs). I'd suggest some form of paint protection (my 4Runner had magnetic panels and the Bronco has PPF applied).
Most body on frame 4wheel drives can do the trail itself. The steps may require lift, larger tires, and recovery gear but is easily bypassed. There are a few spots for camping on this trail for overlanding. I suggest going on a weekday to avoid traffic on the trail. I would also suggest going after some heavy rain to get the full effect of the water crossings.
Check out this fun trail video @Bird Dog Overland if you're interested.👇
Questions or Comments? Leave them below!