Trip Report: Niagra Rim Trail
October 3-5, 2003.
Written By Kevin and Shannon Culbertson
October 3, 2003:
The morning started off with Eli and Judi Casey arriving at the Safeway parking
lot in Scotts Valley around 8:00AM only to find that they were the only rig
leaving at that time. They arrived at the Niagara Rim OHV campgrounds around
2:30PM to claim the camping spaces needed for the rest of us. The second
group of rigs to leave was around 6:00 p.m. that evening.
Those who met at 6:15PM were Kevin and Shannon Culbertson, and Johnny Bryant.
Unfortunately, included in that group was only two rigs – a very small
turn out compared to what was expected. The second group arrived at the camp
site around 11:45PM after stopping for dinner in Tracy (IN-N-OUT is always
During our travels up Highway 108 - we had a slight detour. After looking at
the map we realized that there was a slight typo in the directions to the camp
site. The turn off for the Niagara Rim Trail and camp sites is actually just
past mile marker 44 not 42. After coming up with the correct directions and
driving other campers nuts by driving in circles, we finally arrived at our
campsite about 11:45 p.m. to find Eli and Judi fast asleep. After setting up
camp in the dark, we settled in for the night.
October 4, 2003:
Saturday morning started with the lovely sound of a generator and a slight
chill in the air. After everyone was up and dressed (in many layers) we all
gathered around the fire for some breakfast and talked about the days events.
We started off for the trail about 10:00 a.m. and luckily for us there wasn’t
anyone else around. We started on the trail with no major problems. After traveling
down the trail for a while, we stopped for some pictures of each rig attempting “Oh
Shit” Hill. After getting one vehicle down we came across a hunter walking
up the hill with his small armory to fetch his ATV. Once he retrieved his ATV
he then attempted to roll his ATV down the hill while riding it. Even though
this was very interesting to watch, it still gave a few of us quite a scare
since he was carrying loaded weapons. After a few Kodak moments we headed for
the top of Lion’s Butt for lunch. During lunch we ran into a few other
people, mostly dirt bikes playing in the area. After lunch we decided that
playing wasn’t a bad idea.
Shortly thereafter, we proceeded to head for the rock pile. Upon arriving,
we decided that the terrain had changed quite a bit and looked a little menacing.
Eli attempted a run at the rocks and almost made it to the top, but fell a
little short after having a close call with almost tipping his Jeep. Eli checked
his shorts and decided to play it safe and try another day. Judi was extremely
thankful for this, as her nerves had had it. After Eli turned down the rocks,
Johnny decided to give it a try in his stock Rubicon. With some luck and little
determination, he succeeded, much to everyone’s surprise. Kevin decided
that he shouldn’t attempt it since he was having issues with a fouling
After tempting fate twice-over, we all decided to head back to camp for some
dinner. Along the way we spotted some firewood just waiting for someone to
snag. Apparently someone else had the same idea, because it was neatly stacked
in several piles not far off the road. After the guys did the “hunting
and gathering” thing, we all piled back into our rigs and drove back
to camp. After a long day and a great dinner, we all settled around the campfire
for some marshmallows and popcorn.
October 5, 2003:
Sunday morning began quite leisurely. Everyone crawled out of bed and stumbled
to the picnic table for breakfast and a fire. After breakfast everyone agreed
to pack up and head home. Along the way, the group stopped for lunch in Oakdale
and discovered Kevin’s taillights and blinkers were malfunctioning
on the trailer. We had a pretty uneventful trip back home. Eli and Judi parted
ways with the group in Mountain View, Johnny parted in Scotts Valley, leaving
us traveling to Santa Cruz.
All in all, it was a great trip even though there wasn’t a high turnout.
We had beautiful scenery and a pretty quiet weekend.