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Dusy Ershim Trail

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  • Dusy Ershim Trail

    Just got back from running the Dusy Ershim trail with a group from the San Diego 4 Wheeler club. The Dusy Ershim trail http://www.dirtopia.com/wiki/Dusy_/_Ershim_Trail runs roughly between Yosemite and Kings Canyon National Parks. We met up in Shaver Lake, CA, which is about 1.5 hours East of Fresno. The plan had been to run the Rubicon Trail, but a large fire in the area caused us to change trails at the last minute. We had seven vehicles in our group (two JK's two TJ's, one YJ, one highly modified Cherokee and one highly modified Toyota truck). It took us three days and 23 hours behind the wheel to complete the 33 mile trail. Along the way we had to take care of some vehicular issues (punctured tires, overheating, leaking break line, leaking power steering unit and a dead battery/bad alternator) that are pretty common for a trail as challenging as the Dusy Ershim. The trail itself is beautiful, intense, and unrelenting. It's not for the timid or inexperienced driver. If you're not crawling over boulders or squeezing between hundreds/thousands of trees, you're picking your way through rock gardens and up steep waterfalls. Thompson Hill is a particularly hard obstacle with loose soil, large boulders and slabs of granite that slide around when you drive over them. The various guides say that rear lockers are a must, but I would add that front lockers are a must as well. I got really good at using the front lockers going up the many steep inclines. The trail starts at around 7,000 feet in elevation, winds up to over 10,000 feet and then back down to 8,000 at the end. In between obstacles, there is incredible High Sierra scenery that includes dense pine forests, Alpine meadows and lakes and glaciated solid granite mountain tops. There where a couple of points in the trip where I wondered why I was doing this, but by the end of the trail, the sense of accomplishment and confidence in my rigs ability led me to conclude that I'd definitely run this trail again. Here is a good video of the trail https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqkxVi2D9Ng and here are some pictures:
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    Last edited by Rexjc; 09-26-2014, 04:35 PM.

  • #2
    More Pictures
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    • #3
      More Pictures
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      • #4
        OK, I like taking pictures.
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        • #5
          Awesome pictures!!! I really really really hate living on the East Coast!
          '10 JKU Rubicon/auto/5.13s - AEV 4.5 + 37 KM2s (on Pintlers), AEV Front Bumper/Skid/Warn 9.5ti, AEV Rear Bumper/Tire Carrier, AEV Diff Skid, PS Evap Skid, Rock Hard Oil/Tran/Cat Skid

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          • #6
            Here are some obstacle shots that give a little better idea of what the trail is like during most of it's 33 miles. I would have had more, but it's hard to work the camera while you're rolling over rocks and dodging trees.
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            • #7
              This is the last main obstacle on the trail before ending at Kaiser Pass. It's fitting that this was also one of the most difficult challenges to navigate.
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              • #8
                The end of the trail.
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                • #9
                  Great pics! The Dusy has been on my radar for a long time.

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                  • #10
                    Great pics! I remember Dusy being harder than the Rubicon & Sierra Trek. It's been 25 years or so since I did those trails. Fabulous adventure though!!
                    2012 JK 2 Door 2.5" AEV lift/ Fuel Hostage17 x 9 wheels, with Nitto 295x70 x 17 Tires. Warn Vr8000, Elite Bumper, LOD rear bumper, Teraflex tire carrier. Wife's Jeep!

                    My Jeep. 2014 JKU, 6.4L Hemi AEV kit, 2.5" AEV lift, 35" Duratrac's. Gen Right aluminum bumpers, Warn VR 8000 winch. Pro Rock 44.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by code3lg View Post
                      Great pics! The Dusy has been on my radar for a long time.
                      Thanks. The Dusy Ershim trail should definitely be on your bucket list. It's a serious, challenging, beautiful unrelenting trail will improve your driving skills while testing your skid plates. What's even more amazing is that it's in California and they haven't found a way to shut it down (yet).

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for the reports and pictures. You've put this trail back on my radar. Based on your recent adventure, what would be the recommended lift height for a JKUR?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Richard M View Post
                          Thanks for the reports and pictures. You've put this trail back on my radar. Based on your recent adventure, what would be the recommended lift height for a JKUR?
                          The one JKUR that was in the group I was with had a 4.5" AEV lift with 37" tires. He also had a full set of Rock Hard skid plates. Skid plates are a good thing to have on the Dusy Ershim trail. At a minimum I'd want to have the AEV diff skid and a set of diff covers. His JKUR rig did real well on the rocks (lots and lots of rocks), but the Dusy Ershim also has lots and lots of tight turns (mostly around trees) which forced the longer wheelbase vehicles to do more than a few three and five point turns. My JK has an AEV 3.5 lift on 35" tires. I also have a full set of Rock Hard skid plates. There were three times where I got hung up on the rock and had to either back up or pile up rocks for traction. All three where on Thompson Hill. Other than that, I was very pleased with the way my rig worked. The 5.13 gears came in very handy in more than a few spots. The short wheelbase on the JK also made it easier to get around all the trees. The JK's are wider than the TJ's which meant that you have to concentrate more on not scraping a tree. The two TJ's on our group actually had the easiest time on the trail. They were also very nicely built and driven by very experienced drivers.
                          Last edited by Rexjc; 10-26-2014, 05:03 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for the reply. Yeah, I thought it would be a stretch taking my 2013 JKUR with only an AEV 2.5" lift. We have another JKUR in the family that has been on the Rubicon and Fordyce trails. 6" lift running 37's armored to the max. Just not sure my nephew is going to sell it or not before we can go next summer.

                            I really enjoy your trip reports. Keep them comming!

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                            • #15
                              Rex, cool pics! Looks like a bucket list trip...!

                              Ben
                              Ben Hedrick
                              www.BenHedrick.com
                              HEDRICK Speedsports

                              "Ive got a Jeep problem"
                              2007 5.7L HEMI Sahara Unlimited - Sold
                              2010 6.1L HEMI Rubicon Unlimited - Sold
                              2011 6.4L (392) HEMI Rubicon Unlimited - Sold
                              2002 4.0L AEV Brute - Sold
                              2003 6.4L "Stroker" HEMI AEV Brute - Sold
                              2005 4.0L SC AEV K9 Brute - Sold
                              2014 345 HEMI Rubicon Xpo Adventurer
                              2000 4.0L AEV 112 Long Wheelbase
                              2006 4.0L AEV Brute Rubicon

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