Holcomb Valley, Big Bear.

Bonanza

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We ran Holcomb Creek Trail this past Saturday in Big Bear. It’s a very fun trail with big boulders in two of its rock gardens, and a challenging entry/exit involving a 90 degree turn onto wet boulders. I have a sport MT— 3.5” JKS lift and 37s. I had previously done this trail with a 2 door JK, a 4 door JK, and now the gladiator.

The long wheelbase was no problem. At all... I was surprised, and it some situations it actually helped me take lines the 2 doors in my group couldn’t take. I did have to do some three point turns to line up correctly at times, but I was thrilled with how these perform. Never needed lockers, even if I did have them. The 37s help quite a bit, to be fair. And despite how proud I was of my home made hitch skid, the welds failed and it broke near the end of the trail. :(

Takeaways:
37s are a must, sliders a must, lift a must before doing rocks.
Rear bumper, shock mount skids, and hitch took a few hits, but the belly was mostly untouched.
Gladiator is much more enjoyable to drive to and from the actual trail. Less rocking and jarring.
Long wheelbase can help at times.

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The entry or exit depending on which way you start. I believe this to be the hardest part of the trail. 90 degree hard right up onto rocks. The 2 doors do better here- I had to drive into the trees somewhat to line up.
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Rock garden in the middle, and the second hardest part of the trail.

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My hitch skid before the welds broke.
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Second rock garden.
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Here you can see the bad angles for gladiators. The two doors were able to pivot the rear passenger on that rock and take a better line. I couldn’t turn so I took a different, higher line. While I still made it through, this is an example of when the long wheelbase takes away some options.
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Another view of that spot.
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Break for lunch. Here the wheelbase helped. I climbed easily, the two doors didn’t mount this ledge with confidence.
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Departure angle. My hitch skid is broken already. This is after rock garden 2
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the final rock garden. Gatekeeper if you start. This looks rough but we walked through this easily.





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DirkG

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I've never been to the Holcomb Creek Trail, but we love Big Bear and get out there once or twice a year (mostly skiing / sledding). Great pics... :like:
 

hjdca

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Great Pics ! Thanks. I was going to try that trail, but, with only a stock Rubicon suspension and stock 33" tires, I have to wait. That rock garden looks nasty !

Cool, you busted your homemade hitch slider and saved your hitch and bumper. That is what it was for. lol..
 
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Bonanza

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Great Pics ! Thanks. I was going to try that trail, but, with only a stock Rubicon suspension and stock 33" tires, I have to wait. That rock garden looks nasty !

Cool, you busted your homemade hitch slider and saved your hitch and bumper. That is what it was for. lol..
I don’t want to say it would be impossible stock, but it would be very unpleasant. I’d estimate constant contact with the belly and diff. The name of the game with these gladiators for the rocks is going big. Big lift, big tires. Have to tried heartbreak ridge? That should be doable and enjoyable stock.
 

Food2000

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great pictures!

Heartbreak ridge: i am asking for a buddy but do you think a jeep renegade with lift 225/65/17 k02 can do it? We're hoping to go in 2.5 weeks and i've been on the fence about his jeep making it.

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Bonanza

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great pictures!

Heartbreak ridge: i am asking for a buddy but do you think a jeep renegade with lift 225/65/17 k02 can do it? We're hoping to go in 2.5 weeks and i've been on the fence about his jeep making it.

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Itll make it. Whether or not it’ll get a few dings underneath, however, is different. The trickiest part of that trail is an off camber 90 degree turn uphill. I’d suggest watching some YouTube videos to get an idea of what to expect.
 

teleportJeep

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Great pictures
What kind/type of hitch skid plate ?
A link to where is found.
 
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Bonanza

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Great pictures
What kind/type of hitch skid plate ?
A link to where is found.
I made it from a $12 amazon hitch. I cut off the metal portion where the ball would sit, flipped it, and welded it back such that it recessed underneath the receiver. A better weld and grinding down the front vertical face would make it a bit better, but I'll try again and see what I can come up with.
 

Desert Outlaw

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I can't wait to take my Gladiator up that trail. I took my new TJ Rubicon on all of these trails 15 years ago, so now it's my Gladiators turn.
 
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Bonanza

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I can't wait to take my Gladiator up that trail. I took my new TJ Rubicon on all of these trails 15 years ago, so now it's my Gladiators turn.
It's a hoot. I'll say that I just climbed underneath the gladiator last night to do an inspection. I hit the S out of my rear shock skids. I scraped the front diff cover pretty well, and small other hits underneath. Keeping in mind I'm on 37s, I will tout the importance of those rear skids. The front diff cover will need a more heavy duty replacement soon as well. I'm surprised I didn't hit my stabilizer, but that too will need to be addressed ASAP.
 

Desert Outlaw

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So, you don't see an immediate need for an oil pan skidplate Bonanza? I was worried about damaging mine once I got a real trail. I'm on 38s and EVO 4.5".
 
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Bonanza

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So, you don't see an immediate need for an oil pan skidplate Bonanza? I was worried about damaging mine once I got a real trail. I'm on 38s and EVO 4.5".
Immediate? No. A worthy investment at one point, oh yeah. The oil pan on these is smaller than my old Jk, and I have a unique life experience with oil pans and rocks...
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