Technical Rating: (6-7)
Rocks frequent and large, 12" and may exceed hub height. Holes frequent or deep (12"). Shelves to 9". Mud 8" deep and may be present on uphill sections. Grades to 25 degrees and sidehill to 30 degrees. Water crossings to 18" and may have strong currents. 1-1/2 vehicles wide. 4WD required. Driver experience helpful.Read more about our rating system
Commonly referred to as the mini Rubicon Trail, John Bull is one of the most difficult trails in the San Bernardino Forest trail system. Large boulders, tight turns, and small squeezes between trees are just some of the obstacles you will encounter. Once you arrive at the infamous "Gate Keeper" you will start crawling your way up boulder fields with rocks the size of small cars. Mixed with loose dirt, traction is minimal and ground clearance is your friend. Short wheelbase vehicles tend to fair better, but a properly armored SUV or pickup truck can make it though without many hang ups. There is no right or wrong way to run the trail, but most run it west to east. There are a few areas where it would be tricky to get by a group of vehicles that are going the opposite way.
Stay the trail, people are leaving the trail which will result in the trail being closed. Also, respect the historic items out there. Make sure the rocks you find or logs laying around are not tools or cabins of the old mining days. Many of the items have been destroyed recently.
1. 3N32 Cutoff
This is where most people think John Bull trail starts but really is the middle of the trail. Just North of this spot is the Gate Keeper. East is John Bull East
For more information on 3N32 please visit http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/1569-3n32
2. John Bull Gate Keeper
Tied with the large rocky area in difficulty, this area is a popular gathering spot because of the ample shade, cell service, and entertaining show. It is recommend that you have 33 inch tires, rock sliders, and a working locker to make it through this spot. Expect rocks larger then 32 inches and ledges over 24 inches.
3. Large Rocky Area
This area is the other super hard part of the trail. If you don't have a lift and at least 33 inch tires, you will likely drag your rocker panels. The rocks in this area are over 36 inches large and have drop-offs over 32 inches tall.
This overlook used to be a yellow post campsite. At some point, a tree fell blocking the path down to the area. However, many people still stop close to the overlook and hike over. On top of the overlook, you are roughly 3,000 feet above the valley floor in front of you.
5. West Long Rock Garden
This is the longest rock garden on the trail, and it has some rocks that would love to catch your differential. Keep an eye out, and you will be fine.
6. West Small Rock Garden
This is the first rock garden when traveling from the west side. This little play area is fun, but be warned, the rocks are big enough to do damage to your rocker panels.
7. Dirt Hills (4.2 mi)
The dirt hills are a popular hang out and photo spot on the trail.
8. West End of Trail (4.4 mi)
If you decide to run this trail from west to east, this marks the beginning of the John Bull Trail.