Thought maybe some of you would be interested in hearing about my recent Paragon trip (2003).
My buddy, Keith, and I arrived at the Paragon parking lot at about 10:00am. We had beautiful weather and there were only a few ATVs at the park at that time. I signed my waiver forms, paid my $55 fee for a 2 day pass, and off we went.
The trails are all rated using a color and numbering scheme that is comparable to ski resorts. Green 1-3 trails are considered easier and do-able with a stock or near stock vehicle (level 1 being the easiest and 3 being more difficult). Blue 1-3 are considered intermediate and black 1-3 are considered difficult. There are several red trails that are considered extreme (require that you be accompanied by an approved trail guide) and you must have minimum equipment (I don’t know what that is though).
Keith had no itinerary set for us, and the park was pretty much all ours, so we decided that we’d start off with blue trails and see how it went. Most of my pictures are of the trails I ran on Friday with Keith. We covered a lot of ground since there was only two of us and we did not stop to take pictures as much as I would have liked to, but I paid to wheel and not take pictures, so I guess I got my money’s worth.
We ran Chicken Run (rated blue-2) as a warm up which was a relatively short trail, but I found it plenty challenging. I wish I had more pics from that trail. Then we drove over to Wompum (rated blue-3). This was at my request since I have heard so much about the trail and wanted to be sure that I got to run it. Wompum was plenty challenging for my rig and my experience level. That was probably my favorite trail. We spent about 2 hours running the whole thing and broke for lunch just after the big rock. We got lots of pics for this trail.
After Wompum we drove across the park and down into the valley via Turtle trail (rated green-2). Turtle trail is a nice winding steep and narrow down hill trail (going that direction) with lots of small rocks (very bumpy) and requires low range.
Once in the valley we ran a very short trail named the Spring trail (rated blue-1) that has a nice wide creek crossing followed by a hill climb.
Next we went over to Sleepy Hollow (rated blue-2). This trail is fairly rocky and has some narrow sections with tight turns and some small stream crossings. There is also some black mud on this trail for those who like the slop. I avoided the mud where I could. Because of the narrow trail, Sleepy Hollow is not suited for some full size vehicles, but most SWB Jeeps can handle it easily.
We then ended up on Headless Horseman (rated blue-3). This trail is pretty much all rocks from beginning to end. The trail is mostly level (meaning no hills) and it is paved with rocks that are about 1′- 2′ in size. I was beating and banging my way all through this trail. Thank God for skid plates! My control arms and brackets took some war wounds on this trail. Because of my higher (3.73) gearing, I was sometimes forced to focus on getting over a particular rock or short section and would lose my line and forget what was in front of me.
After completing Headless Horseman, we rode Squirrel trail (rated blue-1) back out to Turtle trail. Squirrel has some steep uphill grades with occasional small rock outcroppings. After the adrenaline rush I was on earlier, Squirrel and Turtle provided a nice break and some “lean back in the saddle” time.
By this time it was late afternoon and both of us were wearing down. We drove past the parking lot to take a quick look at some of the NEUROC rock crawling courses. The picture I took doesn’t do the hill justice, but I assure you that you’d find it challenging to climb by foot. I also got a shot of the entrance to Pipe Bender (rated balck-3) for those of you (big rigs) who are planning to go to Paragon someday.
We rode with the PA Jeeps club on Saturday and Keith got nominated to lead a group of 4 lesser experienced drivers and near stock rigs on green trails for the day. One of those vehicles was a brand new Rubicon with a driver who was never off-road. I ran as tail gunner all day. Keith and I had a great time tutoring our group and I think they all had fun too. Since we started the day on really easy trails and progressively got the drivers onto more challenging green trails, they had all day to build up some confidence. We managed to end their day on a very long green-3 trail called “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” which turned out to be surprisingly rocky (for stocker trail), but our group did well with some help spotting in a few areas. Along the way, we happened to pass the other PA Jeeps group on Rattler and stopped briefly to witness their carnage on that trail. I snapped a couple pics there.