Neil and I hosted our first Colorado 4x4 class & trail ride. We had a group of eight off-road vehicles. Heading out on the trails, leading a group that big was a good reminder for me on "HOW TO" have a successful off-road trail ride. When you host a trail ride others look to you for guidance and leadership. Just because someone has a 4x4 vehicles doesn't necessarily mean they understand how a group trail ride needs to work to be successful and fun.
Top 5 Musts For a Successful Group Trail Ride
This is necessary anytime you wheel with new folks. Once you wheel with the same folks over and over, you most likely you won’t have to do this every time. But if you ever introduce someone new to your trail ride I suggest you go over these top 5 Must’s when group wheeling.
First... A Trail Guide and Trail Gunner should be assigned. The Trail Guide should know the route and needs to always be the leader. The trail gunner is the last one in the group. Their responsible so no one gets left behind. The folks in the middle have a group responsibility, as well. They must always make sure the Jeep or off road vehicle is behind them in the rear view mirror.
Second... Trail meeting. Before you even hit the trail there should be a group meeting. This is a good time to go over some basic off road rules, like stay on the trail, don’t wander off by yourself, let them know the route, talk about how you will communicate on the trail whether with CB’s or horn honking, those kind of things.
Third... keep a decent distance between vehicles. Sometimes there is a lot of backing up and space may be needed on obstacles or going up an incline. There could be some wheel spin which means rocks could be flying.
Fourth… If you are going up an incline or down one or going over a serious obstacle let the Jeep in front of you complete it before you begin your accent or decent. And
Fifth… There are times on obstacles when after you have completed the obstacle you will need to stop and wait for the other vehicles to complete it. This is a good time to get out for videos and pictures plus, to see how someone else may wheel an obstacle. This is where you need to be very mindful of where you park. You will need to leave a lot of room for all the Jeeps to park after they have gone over the obstacle. Especially if on a hill. I have seen Jeepers not pull up far enough and some Jeepers can’t fully make it up or over the obstacle.
After wheeling for seven years these simple but super important rules are second nature. However, folks new to wheeling might not have a clue, so it’s good to educate them.