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raqball

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My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY)

I had previously purchased a new tent, a lightweight and compact 3p backpacking style tent to replace my old one but after test setting it up, I decided I wanted something a bit bigger and with more headroom.

I returned it and purchased a 4 person Kodiak Canvas Tent (9x8 – 6ft tall). After the Kodiak’s 1st use, I am very happy with that decision! The added room was great for storage, and it was very roomy inside. The added height offered inside the tent was great. I am 6’ 1” and while standing in it, my head did not touch the top.

I arrived in the area at about 9 AM as the start location for this trip is only about a 1-hour drive from my house.

I scouted the area maps before the trip, and I had identified a few potential spots for dispersed camping. I decided that due to the amount of recent rain in the area most of those dispersed sites would probably not be usable. I also wanted to get camp set up early so I could ditch the gear from the Bronco.

Based on that, I decided to just stay at Sunset Falls Campground. It’s a small and primitive’ish camp site and with my National Parks Access Pass it only cost $10 for the night. As a bonus, it’s right on a river. There was only one other camper there and they were located on the other side of the campground from me.

I got everything set up at the camp site early and stashed all the loose gear inside the tent. After that, I went exploring the off-road areas.

Here is everything that fit into my topless 2dr. It all easily fit, and I had room for plenty more, even topless.
  • 4 Person Canvas Tent with poles
  • Tent Footprint
  • Sleeping Cot
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Camp Pillow
  • Camp Chair
  • 2 ea Camp Tables. 1 med size for outside and 1 small for inside tent
  • Jetboil Minimo
  • Frying pan, plate, bowl, cups, silverware etc.
  • 2 100g propane tanks for the Minimo
  • Yeti 18 cooler
  • Ignik Fire Can
  • 5lb Ignik Growler Propane Tank
  • Rain Gear Trail Cover
  • Lantern, shovel, axe, flashlight, headlamp
  • Toiletries, dish washing soap, other small items
  • Winch recovery gear
  • Hoses etc. for Power Tank
  • Ford 84pc tool kit
  • Change of clothes
  • 2-gallon water jug
  • First aid kit
  • Bear Spray
  • 10lb Power Tank System
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Garmin inReach Mini 2
  • Rocky Talkie 5W GMRS Radio
Day 1 (explored upper portion of the map)

On the trails at about 10:30 AM. Most of the trails, and side trails, that I explored on day 1 would be rated as easy-moderate but there were a few I’d def rate as moderate. With the recent amount of rain, I assumed, and was correct, it was a semi-mud fest.

I backtracked on one side trail I took as the upcoming angles were too extreme for me to feel comfortable attempting with me being solo and with no spotter. I do not do sketchy trails or trails where I do not feel comfortable as a solo. In this case, a roll off would have sent me tumbling off a steep incline mountain and down several hundred feet.

I got back to camp at about 6PM and I cooked up some hotdogs for dinner along with some potato salad I had packed from home. Not the greatest grub on the planet but after a long day on the trail it was all super tasty.

As the sun went down, I started up my Firecan and sat in my chair by the fire relaxing while taking in all the sights and sounds of nature. It was awesome and very relaxing. I rarely drink alcohol, but I always bring one beer to drink at night when relaxing by the campfire. This one went down smooth and capped off a great day 1. I hit the sack about 10 PM.

Day 2 (explored lower portion of the map)

Woke up in the morning about 6 AM after a great night’s sleep and made some coffee (Life Support Juice). It was a bit chilly, so I started up the Firecan again and drank a few cups of coffee by the fire. Again, soaking in all the sights and sounds of nature.

Nothing better than sleeping next to a fast-flowing river where you can hear the water flowing and it crashing off the rocks.

Back on the trails about 8 AM and day 2 was just more exploring of the area, doing side trails I’d find and hitting a few walking tails I found. Most of the trails I hit on day 2 were moderate trails. The Axel Breaker Trail was an absolute blast and was my favorite for the trip. I got back to camp at about 3pm, broke camp down, packed up and headed home.

Overall, the trip was an absolute blast. The trails were fun, I had plenty of awesome views and took a few hikes on small foot trails I found along the way.

I didn’t get the chance to take a lot of photos on day 2 because the trails were nasty and I needed to focus on them. There were also far less areas where stopping for a cool photo was an option.

A few pieces of new gear to test out. The Kodiak Canvas Tent, which was phenomenal, and the Ignik Firecan. The Firecan was awesome, and I got almost 4 hours total from the 5lb growler tank.

I am coming back to this area in a few weeks as I have a ton left to explore. I did find and mark a few good dispersed camp sites so maybe in a few weeks they will be habitable.

The Bronco needs a bath after this one as it’s absolutely filthy. I also had a fair amount of mud into the rear seating areas and cargo area. I’ll run it by one of those self-serve spay washes and call it a day.

Photo bomb time:

The Area Map:

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Day 1 Images:

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Short Video of Small Rocky Waterfall:

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Day 2 Images:

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If you made it this far, congrats! This was a long post! 😀 👍
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WillRCTID

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Hi neighbor! Sunset Falls is about a hour from my place too.

I was up that way last Saturday, headed for some mountain lakes past the end of the Gravel Grumbler trail. Stopped by snow about a half mile past that trail. *Might* be headed back this Sunday. Shoot me a message if you're interested in just a half day trip up there to scout some more campsites

Here's one of my favorite campsites up there:
Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067
 

Felix808

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After 746 days, a MY22 4-door Badlands Bronco :-)
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Nice write up. Looks like it was a great trip 🤠
 
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raqball

raqball

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Hi neighbor! Sunset Falls is about a hour from my place too.

I was up that way last Saturday, headed for some mountain lakes past the end of the Gravel Grumbler trail. Stopped by snow about a half mile past that trail. *Might* be headed back this Sunday. Shoot me a message if you're interested in just a half day trip up there to scout some more campsites

Here's one of my favorite campsites up there:
IMG_5067.jpeg
Awesome.. You bet, I'll shoot you a PM and we can plan a meet up for a quick day of exploring. I prob won't overnight camp and will head home in the evening.

I found several sweet dispersed sites but due to the rain, water accumulation and mud they were not habitable.. Well, maybe for you since you have a RTT but not for a tent camper like me..
 

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BenderSquatch

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My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY)

I had previously purchased a new tent, a lightweight and compact 3p backpacking style tent to replace my old one but after test setting it up, I decided I wanted something a bit bigger and with more headroom.

I returned it and purchased a 4 person Kodiak Canvas Tent (9x8 – 6ft tall). After the Kodiak’s 1st use, I am very happy with that decision! The added room was great for storage, and it was very roomy inside. The added height offered inside the tent was great. I am 6’ 1” and while standing in it, my head did not touch the top.

I arrived in the area at about 9 AM as the start location for this trip is only about a 1-hour drive from my house.

I scouted the area maps before the trip, and I had identified a few potential spots for dispersed camping. I decided that due to the amount of recent rain in the area most of those dispersed sites would probably not be usable. I also wanted to get camp set up early so I could ditch the gear from the Bronco.

Based on that, I decided to just stay at Sunset Falls Campground. It’s a small and primitive’ish camp site and with my National Parks Access Pass it only cost $10 for the night. As a bonus, it’s right on a river. There was only one other camper there and they were located on the other side of the campground from me.

I got everything set up at the camp site early and stashed all the loose gear inside the tent. After that, I went exploring the off-road areas.

Here is everything that fit into my topless 2dr. It all easily fit, and I had room for plenty more, even topless.
  • 4 Person Canvas Tent with poles
  • Tent Footprint
  • Sleeping Cot
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Camp Pillow
  • Camp Chair
  • 2 ea Camp Tables. 1 med size for outside and 1 small for inside tent
  • Jetboil Minimo
  • Frying pan, plate, bowl, cups, silverware etc.
  • 2 100g propane tanks for the Minimo
  • Yeti 18 cooler
  • Ignik Fire Can
  • 5lb Ignik Growler Propane Tank
  • Rain Gear Trail Cover
  • Lantern, shovel, axe, flashlight, headlamp
  • Toiletries, dish washing soap, other small items
  • Winch recovery gear
  • Hoses etc. for Power Tank
  • Ford 84pc tool kit
  • Change of clothes
  • 2-gallon water jug
  • First aid kit
  • Bear Spray
  • 10lb Power Tank System
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Garmin inReach Mini 2
  • Rocky Talkie 5W GMRS Radio
Day 1 (explored upper portion of the map)

On the trails at about 10:30 AM. Most of the trails, and side trails, that I explored on day 1 would be rated as easy-moderate but there were a few I’d def rate as moderate. With the recent amount of rain, I assumed, and was correct, it was a semi-mud fest.

I backtracked on one side trail I took as the upcoming angles were too extreme for me to feel comfortable attempting with me being solo and with no spotter. I do not do sketchy trails or trails where I do not feel comfortable as a solo. In this case, a roll off would have sent me tumbling off a steep incline mountain and down several hundred feet.

I got back to camp at about 6PM and I cooked up some hotdogs for dinner along with some potato salad I had packed from home. Not the greatest grub on the planet but after a long day on the trail it was all super tasty.

As the sun went down, I started up my Firecan and sat in my chair by the fire relaxing while taking in all the sights and sounds of nature. It was awesome and very relaxing. I rarely drink alcohol, but I always bring one beer to drink at night when relaxing by the campfire. This one went down smooth and capped off a great day 1. I hit the sack about 10 PM.

Day 2 (explored lower portion of the map)

Woke up in the morning about 6 AM after a great night’s sleep and made some coffee (Life Support Juice). It was a bit chilly, so I started up the Firecan again and drank a few cups of coffee by the fire. Again, soaking in all the sights and sounds of nature.

Nothing better than sleeping next to a fast-flowing river where you can hear the water flowing and it crashing off the rocks.

Back on the trails about 8 AM and day 2 was just more exploring of the area, doing side trails I’d find and hitting a few walking tails I found. Most of the trails I hit on day 2 were moderate trails. The Axel Breaker Trail was an absolute blast and was my favorite for the trip. I got back to camp at about 3pm, broke camp down, packed up and headed home.

Overall, the trip was an absolute blast. The trails were fun, I had plenty of awesome views and took a few hikes on small foot trails I found along the way.

I didn’t get the chance to take a lot of photos on day 2 because the trails were nasty and I needed to focus on them. There were also far less areas where stopping for a cool photo was an option.

A few pieces of new gear to test out. The Kodiak Canvas Tent, which was phenomenal, and the Ignik Firecan. The Firecan was awesome, and I got almost 4 hours total from the 5lb growler tank.

I am coming back to this area in a few weeks as I have a ton left to explore. I did find and mark a few good dispersed camp sites so maybe in a few weeks they will be habitable.

The Bronco needs a bath after this one as it’s absolutely filthy. I also had a fair amount of mud into the rear seating areas and cargo area. I’ll run it by one of those self-serve spay washes and call it a day.

Photo bomb time:

The Area Map:

Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067


Day 1 Images:

Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067


Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067


Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067


Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067


Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067


Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067


Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067


Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067


Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067


Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067


Short Video of Small Rocky Waterfall:

.

Day 2 Images:

Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067

Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067


Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067


Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067


Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067


Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067


Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067


Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067


Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067


If you made it this far, congrats! This was a long post! 😀 👍
Love that Bronco condom! 🤣

No glove, no love! JK!

Great pics, though, and fun adventure.
 

OregonMike

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Nice writeup and photos! Beautiful up there.
 
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raqball

raqball

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Love that Bronco condom! 🤣

No glove, no love! JK!

Great pics, though, and fun adventure.
The trail cover? Yeah, it's mainly to keep any overnight rain, dew and critters out since I roll topless (I do have a canvas bikini on) for a large part of the year.

Back in the late 80's I was overnight camping in my topless CJ and the next day when I was leaving a rather large snake came slithering out from under the passenger side seat.. Freaked me out and I almost crashed! LOL.. Pulled over to side of trail, found a stick, and wrangled it out..

Now I always use a cover, mainly to keep critters out, and I poke a stick under the seats before leaving..
 

Acadist

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Hi neighbor! Sunset Falls is about a hour from my place too.

I was up that way last Saturday, headed for some mountain lakes past the end of the Gravel Grumbler trail. Stopped by snow about a half mile past that trail. *Might* be headed back this Sunday. Shoot me a message if you're interested in just a half day trip up there to scout some more campsites

Here's one of my favorite campsites up there:
Ford Bronco My Gifford National Forest Camping and 4x4 Trip: (photo HEAVY) IMG_5067
Haven’t been on the trails in that area but have camped at lake Walupt pre Bronco, anyone headed that way for day trips I would be interested in following along to learn the area
 

WillRCTID

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Haven’t been on the trails in that area but have camped at lake Walupt pre Bronco, anyone headed that way for day trips I would be interested in following along to learn the area
Tentatively planning an 8am meet at Sunset Falls Campground. (It's Mother's Day, so need to clear it with the mothers in my life.)
 

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raqball

raqball

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Haven’t been on the trails in that area but have camped at lake Walupt pre Bronco, anyone headed that way for day trips I would be interested in following along to learn the area
I plan on doing the WA BDR section one maybe towards the end of June... Section 1 ends right at Packwood so we could meet up and check that area out for the day if you were still interested..
 

WillRCTID

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Tentatively planning an 8am meet at Sunset Falls Campground. (It's Mother's Day, so need to clear it with the mothers in my life.)
Just got the go ahead. We're on for Sunday 8am at Sunset Falls Campground. All are welcome.

Recovery gear and GMRS radios would be a good idea if you have them.
 
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raqball

raqball

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Just got the go ahead. We're on for Sunday 8am at Sunset Falls Campground. All are welcome.

Recovery gear and GMRS radios would be a good idea if you have them.
I'll be there.. I have a 12K winch and recovery gear. Also have a GMRS radio and a Garmin inReach Mini in case disaster strikes..

Also, I can contribute air to air back up. My power tank should have enough left to fill about 12 more tires..
 

Acadist

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I plan on doing the WA BDR section one maybe towards the end of June... Section 1 ends right at Packwood so we could meet up and check that area out for the day if you were still interested..
That would be awesome! I am in Tacoma so meeting in that area is not a problem
 

Acadist

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I
Tentatively planning an 8am meet at Sunset Falls Campground. (It's Mother's Day, so need to clear it with the mothers in my life.)
ll have to check but may be a possibility
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