If you want crazy hard and people say you are a bit insane, then Jack Hammer is the trail for you. Known throughout the off-road industry as one of the single hardest off-road trails in the world, Jack Hammer will not leave you disappointed about being challenged. Many have tried, and many have failed even in the most built rigs. This 4x4 trail is going to bend, break, and destroy the common failure items and things you didn't even know that could get damaged. Have your pocketbook ready and a solid recovery plan because it is rare people leave this trail untouched.
This trail is only for the most experienced with a very built rig and strong roll cage. The rating of this trail is well past difficult and is above severe in the extreme area. Do not attempt this trail alone and do not attempt this trail unless you have recovery gear, spare parts, and a group of other offroad extremists that are looking for a day of fun in Johnson Valley, California.
1. Trailhead For Jack Hammer at Sign - Head North/Left
The trail splits off of Hammers Scenic Bi-way and heads up the small canyon to the north. If you skip this canyon you can not say you ran Jack Hammer. The waterfall around the corner is what separates the people that run Jack vs the people that are in the area.
If you are going up here to spectate and not run the trail. Continue east and make a left up the hill. You can park up there and watch people attempt the waterfall and the lower part of Jack Hammer.
If you go off to the southeast, this takes you to Sledge Hammer. The big white sign is nice enough to point you in the right direction.
You could camp in this area if you wanted to. The area to camp would be just up on top to the right, up there it is a soft sandy area that is sort of flat.
To get to this part of Johnson Valley from Lucerne, take Old Women Springs Road (Highway 247) east for 24.5 miles. Turn north at the Johnson Valley Sign (Boone Road). Follow this road roughly 4 miles to the dry lake bed (Means Dry Lake). The Hammers are on the right just up the hills.
Land Use Issues
The US Government has come to an agreement with the Off-Roaders that use the area, and we will be sharing areas of the land in Johnson Valley with the US Military. During these times which are unknown, civilians will not be allowed in the area. There is no set schedule yet of when it will be closing and reopening. This is a growing concern for many people that enjoy the area for the fear that they will permanently close this area after the first time they use this area for military training.
This is the weekend for Military use... Make other plans if you are going to be in the shared use area
We ran Jack on Saturday 12-19-2020. The trip was amazing, the trail is hard and was a blast!
We started at the bottom by the Jack / Sledge sign and did not skip anything. None of us made it up the V Notch waterfall but not for a lack of trying, I pushed it as hard as I felt it was safe without breaking an axle, The climb for the rear tires is ridiculous on that, tried multiple approach angles but no matter what just had to push too hard against it. Ed skipped it all together after none of us made it, but he has already broken an axle on that one before! I believe Ed is the only one that made it up the left turn waterfall without winching, he made it look easy! We made it most of the way up it in the four doors just needed a little tug to get over the undercut and dugout!
Overall I felt pretty good, I thought my jeep did well being a four door and completed the trail while only winching twice!
Ran the trail with some good friends and had a blast. The trail was hard like always and I can't wait to go back again. One guy in our group did end up winching 4 times I believe. But as I always say, the ones that struggle the most are having the most fun.
Joshua Noesser grew up in Southern California but has lived in different parts of the country during his young adult life. Josh was first turned to four wheeling when he road with one of his friends dad up Surprise Canyon in the Panamint Valley at age14. After nearly 3 different roll overs later and a half dozen intense waterfalls, Josh was hooked. At 16 he purchased his first Jeep a CJ 7 and by 17 was putting his first locker in it.
Currently, Josh is the owner and CEO of Nybble, an IT Solutions Company based in Orange County, California. Nybble isn't your normal IT company where everyone stays in and plays video games. Nybble's average company trip is out on the trails since a good amount of his staff enjoy wheeling too. As Josh likes to say, he offers the only IT Company with the ability to provide services in extreme locations. "If you want a server at the top of The Hammers, we will take care of that for you."
Today you can find Josh out on the trail behind the wheel in one of his three different off-road vehicles. See the vehicles below for more information.
If you ever run into Josh, please say high, he is a very friendly person and is always happy to have a new person join the group.