Taylor Kempkes


My Profile

Year Started:
Off-Road Style:
Rock Crawling
My Garage:
  • 1995 Jeep Wrangler (2 door) (Stock lift, 31" tires)
  • 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee (Stock lift, 30" tires)
The beginnings of my time off-roading goes back to 2015 when I borrowed my dad's old 1985 Ford E-150 van and took it down to to the Mud Caves in Anza Borrego for a fun weekend with friends. Over the next year or two, I spent many weekends getting my 2004 Ford Focus hatchback to camping spots and down dirt roads it had no business being. Then I sold the Focus in favor of a crappy old 1990 Vovlo 240 wagon which took my wife and I on many adventures to places like Big Sur, Anza Borrego and Thomas Mountain in our first year of marriage. We were enjoying camping and off-roading so much, we decided to upgrade our means of transportation to something a little more capable: a 1999 Toyota 4Runner Limited. With a 3-inch lift, 33-inch all-terrain tires and the factory rear e-locker, the 3rd gen 4Runner felt unstoppable. My idea of simply having a more capable vehicle to take us camping quickly snowballed into a four-wheeling addiction. In the first year with the 4Runner I hit every type of off-roading possible from desert to rocks and even snow. The Toyota made it all so easy. As such, I decided I wanted to go back to my roots and get something a whole lot more basic and way more stock. Enter the 1995 Jeep Wrangler I bought in summer 2019. With a set of 31-inch Falken Wildpeak M/Ts, homemade rocksliders, a lunchbox locker in the front, (and a winch as backup) I've been having fun pushing the limits of the little Jeep on trails all over Southern California, Las Vegas, and Sedona.

My Garage (2)

1995 Jeep Wrangler (2 door)

Lift Size: Stock
Tire Size: 31"
Stock 1995 Wrangle YJ 2.5L manual transmission. The only suspension "modifications" I've made are removing the front sway bar and both track bars along with upgrading to Bilstein 4600 series shocks. I'm also running 31x10.5R15 Falken Wildpeak MT01 tires on the stock steel wheels. Other modifications include a Smittybuilt XRC winch, homemade rocksliders and a PowerTrax No-Slip locker up front.

2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Lift Size: Stock
Tire Size: 30"
This is my wife's Jeep that we bought for mild off-road duties, snow, and road trips. It's mostly stock with the 4.7L V8, Quadradrive (Vari-lock front and rear differentials), Falken Wildpeak AT3 tires, Bilstein shocks and a 3/4" coil spacer up front.

My Trail Reviews (9)

(within last 6 months)
3N06 Stockton Flats (10/23/2022)
Beautiful day out on the trail. No new obstacles or issues.
3N49 BP&L (10/23/2022)
This was an entertaining trail that had a fun mix of industrial (powerlines/trains) and unique rock formations. I can see how the trail could become more channeling or treacherous depending on weather but, as of now, its not too bad. Waypoint 9 and 12 were also not too bad. A couple hunters in an older stock F-150 (presumably 4wd) made it through the trail ahead of us without a problem.
3N33 Slade Canyon (10/23/2022)
Trail was in good condition with no obstacles to note. Lots of hunters out in this area.
Geology Tour Road (07/24/2022)
Easy dirt road that is a fun way to explore some of Joshua Tree National Park off-pavement. 2wd trucks and SUVs would probably be fine most of the time but AWD would be good just in case the trail conditions change and theres deeper sand and/or mud.
Berdoo Canyon (07/24/2022)
Great trail for most stock 4WD vehicles and drivers with moderate off-road experience. My wife and I ran the trail North to South in her WJ Grand Cherokee after driving through Joshua Tree. Had to take it slow through waypoint 8 but had no issues. As mentioned in the trail description, there are a couple other sections with bypasses that would make for a fun challenge if you were feeling up for it.
Giant Rock (07/23/2022)
big rock. must see. Although truthfully, most of the awe faded away quickly once we saw all the graffiti all over the rock. Easy road though, just had to take it slow through lots of whoops toward the end of the trail.
3N16 - Holcomb Valley (07/03/2022)
We used this trail over the weekend to access other trails such as Holcomb Creek and John Bull. The beginning few miles on the west side were was pretty chewed up; still easily doable by any 4wd or awd vehicle with some clearance but you might have to take it slow in a few places.
3N93 - Holcomb Creek Trail (07/03/2022)
This was our first time running this trail and the description was pretty accurate! Even running it the "easy" direction (west to east) was a challenge. My Brother-In-Law in his lifted and locked TJ on 35s made it through both rock gardens without needing a tug, but he did dent and bend his front driveshaft. My YJ on 31s with no lift and a front locker also made it through but I definitely needed to pull cable a couple times.
3N09 - Van Dusen Canyon (07/03/2022)
Ran this trail a couple times over the weekend to get back to the east side of town and it's pretty smooth sailing.