Wolf Den Run State Park Day Trip – 15 April 2023
- Ken K. – Jeep Wrangler TJ
- Kirk A. – Toyota FJ Cruiser
- Brian M. – Jeep Wrangler JKU
- Joe P. – Toyota Land Cruiser
- John – Toyota Tacoma TRD O/R
This trip started out as a solo trip but being new to wheeling, I thought it wise (meaning my bride insisted) to see if anyone else wanted to come. Kirk quickly chimed in and we settled on Saturday 4/15/23. The weather was looking questionable all week and it even rained most of the way there, stopping shortly before I pulled into the Park Office. The weather continued to improve during the day and the trails dried out (some). The mud sure added some excitement!
Joe managed to get a limb jammed under his rig and maybe even puncture his spare and his RTT barely fit under a few low limbs. At one point he was trying to get the timing right to drive under a swaying limb!
As Kirk says below, John volunteered to get stuck and then Kirk gave a winching 101 lesson for us newbies. We must have been slow learners because he had to get stuck twice more – three times in 100’! Thanks for taking one for the team John!
John got to use his winch for the first, second, and third times, which was kind of amusing, though not the plan. I hadn’t been on that trail in a few years, and the rocks have gotten taller for sure there, it’s a fun bit, but not if you don’t have quite enough clearance. Though thinking about it, with some care, I bet we could have gotten through that with some different lines. Anyway, the trail where he winched was the far loop of 0303.
We started with the Huckleberry Rocks section, kind of 109 to 303, then on to 101, then onto 104. 303 took longer than I expected, some of the mud holes and rocks are bigger than they used to be, and there were some off-camber spots that were fun, but nothing extreme.
We then drove over to the Coal Haul road and took it down to the Potomac River area where we stopped for lunch. After lunch, Brian and John decided to head out. The rest of us did 2103, which was where the group last year had issues, but we didn’t have any trouble with it, and it’s about the same as it was last year.
However, the bit that we took to the end last year, down by the river, is all blocked off now, so you can’t drive down to the fisherman’s camp area like we did. We then went up the hill and checked out 2104, which I’d never been down before. It’s nothing exciting, and there’s a tree blocking about 2/3 of the way down. We just turned around as it wasn’t worth cutting our way through. We took 2105 up to the slag pile and I think all 3 of us went up a moderate spot. I wanted to pick up 2201 or 2202 off the back of the slag pile, but somehow missed it entirely, so instead of looping around clockwise on 2201, we picked up 2201 on the bottom going counter-clockwise, then down 2101 to the exit of the area.
Then we went back up Coal Haul a bit. The ranger at the station said there is some new stuff open along Coal Haul, and we’d seen 3 possible entrances to that area along the road earlier. One of which is marked 2400 and is a black trail. It looks like a fun but really steep zig zag up the hillside. It’s not torn up too badly yet, but might become a heck of a rock scrabble in a couple of years as all the dirt washes off. If it’s not too wet in June I might try this on Sunday or whenever I have some other folks who want to try hard stuff. But we didn’t try it today.
Instead we went up a section that wasn’t marked, but was clearly a new trail. It got kind of confusing though as there’s a bunch of stuff not marked or marked as closed when the ranger told us it was open, and we came across a big group of side-by-sides who were crossing the trail we were on, and I have no idea were they came from or where they went. But we wound up finding some marked trails and doing a loop that brought us back to the trail we used to get into that area, so that was good. I’m hoping to get back there in June during my pre-run to see if I can take the group back there as it’s new, and the trails were mild, but depending on where we go, there might be some fun hills.
It’s great that the park is working to open these new trails. At least one of which is black and the loop we wound up doing was marked as green, I think the trail we found was marked partly as 2401 or 2402 at times. And who knows, maybe they will put out a map of the new area.
Trail Report written by Ken Kyler and Kirk Adams. Pictures contributed by Ken Kyler, Brian Middleton, John Altomare, and Joe Padula.