3N06A Cold Water Canyon

4.7/5 (26 reviews)
Lytle Creek, California (San Bernardino County)
Last Updated: 01/26/2021
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Trail Information

Highlights

3N06A Cold Water Canyon, in the San Bernardino National Forest, is one of a dozen trails in the Lytle Creek system. This trail is a short spur off of 3N06 Stockton Flats, the main trail in the north fork of Lytle Creek. A major attraction to the area is the location of 19 Yellow Post camping sites, three of which are on this trail. Travel to this area is no more than 2 hours from anywhere in Southern California, and yet, with a properly equipped 4wd vehicle, you can make your camping experience as remote as you like. Prepare yourself for every forest creature you can imagine, and remember, this is their home. Cold Water Canyon is suitable for the newbie 4-wheeler but tough enough for all to enjoy. Pack your picnic lunch or camping gear and enjoy this trail.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

4.7/5 (26 reviews)
Status: Open
Visited: 09/03/2022

Surprised there weren't that many people my last visit, this place has gotten really popular in the recent couple years. Trail has gotten a lot easier also, not sure if it was maintained or just ridden so much that it flattened out all the fun parts. Open diffs 4hi, AT tires was able to clear it easily.
Status: Open
Visited: 05/22/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

My reviews up to this point have been nice. Like the REM song, "Shiny Happy People". In fact my off-road experiences as a whole (so far) have been that way. But this trail, or perhaps the people who led me up it, had me a little peeved. I have only gone out with my normal group of buddies taht are uber experienced, sadly they were all in UT. The leaders of this pack were all in Toyota Tacomas... several of them very nice rides. But this trip behind them may have been the very best advertisement that Jeep could ever make. I am not sure where we were on the trail when the challenges began to really slow the Toy's down (stop is more like it). I understand many of the Toy drivers were new like me, so I get it. But at the first rutted out section, which my (stock) Jeep made it through in one pass, took these guys try after try to get through. They sat there spinning their tires, making a ton of dust and digging the holes even deeper for those of us behind (and those yet to come up this path). At the second difficult section we were literally sidelined for 10 minutes. At that point one (of the THREE) spotters asked the driver "Are you in 4x4, because your front tires are not spinning". He was not in 4H... he was not in 4L... he was in 2H. By the time we finally got up to the next obstacle, I got out of my Jeep and wandered around with my dog. I knew I would be there for a while. Groups coming down got backed up by us... groups from behind us got frustrated and turned around. Then, since I was very near one of the few decent spots to engage in a 6 point turn, I decided to turn around. As a newbie driver I know that there is risk to damage to my Jeep and me and my dog by following spotters who 'may' be slightly above my skill level. My spotting "master" told me a few weeks ago when I spun tires one time, then tried again: "Stop! If it didnt work a second ago it isnt going to work now." That lesson was not passed on to todays leader(s). They allowed this guy to spin and spin and spin (in 2H) making this trail nearly impassble for those behind them and future endeavors from others on different days. So, even though I am new, I am going to impart what little wisdom I have learned in a short time... ready?: When you are off roading, does it give you more hair on your chest to proclaim "I did it in 2H the whole way"? I've seen what neglecting to switch over has done to this trail, and see it on others... seriously, switch into 4H or 4L and clear the obstacle without digging a hole to prove you or your vehicles 'manliness'. Being a good steward of the trails and our land should be of upmost importance to you and your group. Trust me, you look way more manly rolling through the trail like a rock star than trying to stay in 2H and rutting up the place for everyone else. Seriously lame. These guys proved nothing but that they could dig trenches before succumbing and turning around. Second observation: Having a spotter is sometimes needed, especially for newbies like me. But, the quality of the spotter, in my opinion, needs to be of a MUCH higher caliber than those they are spotting. At one point there was literally 3 people giving three sets of instructions to these new drivers... and no one thought to tell the guy to bei n the right gear for the job that needed to be done. This is the first trail I didnt make it up, and I am not happy about it... I dont like quitting. But damn these dudes really jacked the trail up with their bravado/lack of skill/lack of courtesy.
Sean
300
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 05/14/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Wasn't too bad...only 1 semi-difficult spot where the ruts are pretty deep, but a good line and 4 high will get you through no problem.
Trail Review: 3N06A Cold Water Canyon - Sean
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 02/23/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

I was able to do this trip solo. There were two spots I had to throw on both lockers because of the snow but this trail made it fun. I saw maybe 5 other cars here on an afternoon so it seems it could get crowded and some parts of the trail are narrow. Otherwise there's an epic camp site at Yellow post but you'd have to be lucky to get that spot on a nice day.
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 02/01/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Great trail. Ran it solo after doing Paiute Spur. Didn't see anybody all day on either trail or any of the connectors. I stopped just after waypoint 6. It gets a little narrower there and there is a pretty large rock right in the middle of the trail. Looks like somebody tried to drag it out of the way but it's sill there and quite an obstacle. I'm sure you could get around, but it's right in the middle so you've got a drop off on the left side and a pretty steep bank on the right side. There was more and more snow past that point too and I decided to get out and walk the last .25 mile. I'm glad I did because there is a major tree across the trail right before the last switchbacks and there is no way around it. (I've uploaded a screenshot with the location of tree.) As of today it's impossible to get to the very top with a vehicle. Trail's end is not very exciting in my opinion, and I didn't feel like I missed much by walking the last bit. It's a small landing with views similar to what you see on the rest of the trail. Overall, though, it is beautiful and a fun drive. Lots of great views of snow capped mountains around. I drive a Rubicon on a 2 inch lift and stock 33 inch tires. No troubles at all. I did use my rear locker once, but I really didn't need to - a different driving line would have seen me through. There was lots and lots of trash which was disappointing. On the way back down I picked up an entire trash bag full of garbage and strapped larger cardboard boxes that wouldn't fit in the bag onto the roof. Difficulty rating seems pretty accurate.
Trail Review: 3N06A Cold Water Canyon - Alex Csak
Trail Review: 3N06A Cold Water Canyon - Alex Csak
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