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California Tell me about Dusy-Ershim Trail


Plumber1

TJ Addict
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Joined
May 27, 2019
Messages
1,231
Location
San Ramon, CA
As of right now I am signed up to do the Sierra Trek ( Fordyce Trail ) bit I have a bad feeling that it will be canceled. The Jeep Jamboree ( Rubicon ) run has been canceled. Our lovely governor will allow thousands to protest but not a couple hundred to go off road. So if does indeed get canceled we will be looking for a different trail to do later in the summer.

So just wondering if you have done the Dusy how does it compare to the Rubicon or Fordyce, and can it be done in 2 days. It seams like most do it in 3 days. Also if you have any other recommendations for trails in CA please post them, we are coming from the Bay Area so not looking to go out of state.

Thanks
 

Mr. Bills

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Nov 24, 2017
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Area Code 530
I haven't done Dusy Ershim for years, but unless something significant has changed:

1. Plan for 3 full days, south to north, which is the most common direction of travel.

2. Thompson Hill, which is the last half of the first day, is quite an elevation change and can be very hard on cooling systems. Be sure yours is in top shape.

3. Due to the elevation change the weather can be very different at the top. One year, in mid-August, it was in the low to mid 80's at the trail head at Courtright Reservoir and it snowed on us at the top of Thompson Hill.

4. Take extra fuel. At least 5 gallons. The last time we ran it most of us were nearly empty when we pulled up to the fuel pump in Huntington Lake at dusk on the third day.

5. I would check to be sure that some governmental yahoo hasn't gated the trail and I would also check to be sure that the gas stations closest to the trail head and end of the trail are open and operating.
 
OP
Plumber1

Plumber1

TJ Addict
Supporting Member
Joined
May 27, 2019
Messages
1,231
Location
San Ramon, CA
I haven't done Dusy Ershim for years, but unless something significant has changed:

1. Plan for 3 full days, south to north, which is the most common direction of travel.

2. Thompson Hill, which is the last half of the first day, is quite an elevation change and can be very hard on cooling systems. Be sure yours is in top shape.

3. Due to the elevation change the weather can be very different at the top. One year, in mid-August, it was in the low to mid 80's at the trail head at Courtright Reservoir and it snowed on us at the top of Thompson Hill.

4. Take extra fuel. At least 5 gallons. The last time we ran it most of us were nearly empty when we pulled up to the fuel pump in Huntington Lake at dusk on the third day.

5. I would check to be sure that some governmental yahoo hasn't gated the trail and I would also check to be sure that the gas stations closest to the trail head and end of the trail are open and operating.
Thanks for the info ], how would you compare it in difficulty to the Rubicon or Fordyce ?
 

Mr. Bills

TJ Expert
Joined
Nov 24, 2017
Messages
3,052
Location
Area Code 530
It is as tough as Fordyce. I think it is tougher than the Rubicon primarily because it is such a long trail with few places to relax. Although close in actual mileage, it takes much longer to run it and the Dusy has a huge elevation change compared to the other two trails. Also, there is no Rubicon Springs or other oasis in the middle in which to hunker down while making repairs. In terms of overall difficulty with all factors considered I would rank these the "Top 3 Must-Do Trails of Central and Northern California" with relatively equal overall difficulty. The same but different if that makes sense.

Tight trees on the first day like to take out tops and windshields. A long wheelbase is not your friend here, although a buddy in my former jeep club, the West Coast 4WD Club in Orange County, once did this section with a CJ-8 Scrambler pulling a M100 Jeep trailer. Body damage is common for wider vehicles.

Steep, narrow switchbacks up Thompson Hill will remind you of Cadillac Hill, but it is much longer and much steeper a climb.

Once you reach the top you will experience rocks, mud, lakes, more rocks, meadows, another lake, more rocks and if you are lucky some good fishing. The views and scenery are spectacular.

The Gatekeeper at the north end illustrates why the Dusy has a reputation for being tough, and is the best opportunity for the obligatory poser shot on the trail. ;)

One review suggests that Clawhammer at Johnson Valley would be similar in difficulty to the toughest sections of the Dusy. Sounds about right in terms of difficulty scale for the toughest obstacles on the Dusy, although they really are very different trails and I would not characterize the total trail difficulty of the Dusy as the same.

One of the issues I am hearing is how portions of the trail are being chewed up by larger rigs on very large tires (think JKU's on 40's) with the result that the northern 1/3 of the trail has become more difficult. I can see how this would happen because the trail has become more popular but was designed to be run by narrow, short wheelbase CJ's and FJ40's and such rather than a bunch of angry bird grill wide ass behemoths. You will have to let us know if this is true.