2N61Y - Heartbreak Ridge is a great trail for everyone from beginners to experienced wheelers. The trail offers plenty of options as far as difficulty, while at the same time, offering hours of entertainment with the rich and historic mining areas. The route is hardest going east to west, but don't be fooled, west to east isn't much easier. The hardest obstacle is a rocky hill climb at Waypoint 3 where some of the rocks are rather large, requiring a precise line to be taken. Outside of that spot are several other areas that are noteworthy. The western hill climb has a 2-foot waterfall while the Heartbreak Ridge Loop has several off-camber areas, steep-ish hill climbs, and technical spots. But note, a new driver can complete this trail in a stock 4x4 with high ground clearance and an experienced spotter. For people with less ground clearance, it is recommended to enter from the west side, turnaround at the Heartbreak Ridge Loop, and exit the way you came in.
This trail is perfect for first-time offroaders, beginners, novice offroad motorists, intermediate drivers, and experienced trail enthusiasts. But if new to off-roading, make sure you do this trail with a more experienced wheeler that can help you through the more difficult areas.
***And don't forget Rule #1 - Never Off-Road Alone.***
1. 2N61Y Heartbreak Ridge and 2N02
This is the eastern trailhead for 2N61Y - Heartbreak Ridge. This trail splits off of 2N02
and heads to the south.
The split is in a corner and can be easily missed because it is commonly thought to be a pullout area for a view.
2. Stay North (Straight)
A trail splits off of 2N61Y and heads south down the mountain. To stay on the trail, stay north.
3. Rocky Hill Climb (Illegal Bypass on Northside)
The eastern rocky climb is one of the hardest spots on the trail. With several places to roll over, and even more to get hung up, this little hill climb will require some planning to make it up.
Please note, someone created an off-trail path to the north which is not a designated route. You are required to drive the difficult section of this trail.
4. Stay North (Straight)
There are many trails that split off this path. This one heads south and leads to a dispersed camping spot.
***Please note, it is rare for wood fires to be allowed outside of a campground. Please don't burn down what is left of the forest by having a wood fire outside of a designated fire ring. Bring a propane campfire if you plan on camping in dispersed areas.
5. Heartbreak Ridge Loop aka Pontiac Sluice
There are many trails that split off this path. Go south at this point to head towards Heartbreak Ridge and complete Pontiac Sluice and the Heartbreak Ridge Loop.
6. Old Pontiac
On the way up to Heartbreak Ridge, there is a narrow canyon that is commonly known as Pontiac Sluice. The reason for the name is an old 50's Pontiac that was left behind. Over the years, the vehicle has been mostly destroyed but is still interesting to see. Continue onward for a tight narrow canyon that has medium sized rocks on it.
7. Optional Hard Line (Trail Splits)
On the way up Pontiac Sluice is an optional hard line where the trail splits for a short distance. It is common for people to play on the hard line. Past this point, the trail splits. The lower line is the harder line, but not remotely as hard as the previous trail, while the higher line is easier.
The Sluice used to be a hard obstacle, but over the years, this narrow canyon has become a lot easier. Today, this section of the trail provides nearly no difficulty but does provide stunning views.
9. Heartbreak Ridge Loop (Left Easiest, Right Hardest)
Heartbreak Ridge is a short loop trail that looks over the south and east side of the mountain range. At one of the higher points in the mountains, the up-climb can be quite difficult in the snow since it is on the north side of the mountain.
According to which direction you travel, this path can be difficult.
Right - Hardest
Left - Easiest
10. Top of Ridge, Mine, and Dispersed Camping Areas
Once near the top of the mountain, there are a bunch of dispersed camping spots. On the south side of the trail are an old mine and a plaque for a fallen Marine.
11. Scenic Waypoint - Top of Mountain
The 360-degree view from the top of the mountain is breathtaking.
12. Off Chute to Old Mine - Stay North
There are many trails that split off this path. This one heads south and leads to an old mine.
13. Big Bear Hot Tub
An old prospecting mine, this spot along the trail looks like a hot tub.
One of the many mines in the area.
The trail deadends in a small area. Larger groups will struggle to turn around here.
16. Old Trail to Mining Area- Stay North
There are many trails that split off this path. This one heads south and leads to an old mining area.
See an old Arrastra from when they mined the area. These were used to crush rocks to extract the ore.
18. Strip Mine and Dead End
The trail ends at a strip mine. The area is large but will require some work for larger groups to turn around.
19. Alternate Route to Old Mining Area (Stay Straight)
Continue straight to stay on the main trail.
There are several mining areas in this spot on both sides of the trail. There is a lot to explore in this area. Watch out for snakes and cactus.
20. Western Rocky Hill and Ledges
What used to be the hardest section of this trail is now one of the easier difficult spots. This hill climb used to be fitted with large rocks and deep holes. Today, most of the rocks have been pushed off the trail leaving only one obstacle, a small waterfall that is slightly off-camber. The waterfall is no larger than 2 feet but will be more difficult for people with their swaybars on and/or lower ground clearance.
Even though this spot is difficult, most stock 4x4's should be able to make this obstacle. But if you do struggle here, it is not recommended to attempt Heart Break Ridge or the east half of the trail past the Heart Break Ridge turnoff.
21. 2N61Y Heartbreak Ridge and 2N01
2N61Y - Heartbreak Ridge splits off of 2N01
just before 2N01
connect. The trail splits off to the southeast heading at a 90-degree angle from the trail.