Few vehicles capture the off-roading lifestyle quite like a Jeep. Whether you're behind the wheel of a Wrangler, a Cherokee or anything in between, you can take advantage of all of the Jeep modifications you've made to an off-road vehicle to explore an off-road trail that is both challenging and rewarding. Of course, these adventures are occasionally more fun when you're not alone, which makes some gatherings, such as the Jeepers Jamboree, alluring for many drivers.
For more than 60 years, campers and off-roading enthusiasts have been flocking to the western U.S. to participate in the annual Jeepers Jamboree. As one of the oldest and most popular treks in the country, the Jamboree takes up to 500 Jeeps and other automobiles across the Rubicon Trail in California.
Over the years, more than 35,000 off-road vehicles and 102,000 drivers and passengers have participated in the Jamboree. Everyone who takes part in the event has to be ready to handle anything, as the trip features late nights, loud music and a festive environment. Trail guides are stationed along the way to make sure all drivers stay safe and to provide guidance when it's needed, allowing anyone from beginners to expert off-roaders to join the Jamboree.
Drivers can choose from three- or four-day runs of the Jeepers Jamboree. A Vendor Show is on site to highlight some of the coolest accessories for all vehicles, but only a few models are allowed to participate in the trek. Jeeps, Land Cruisers, Toyota pickup trucks and a handful of other select automobiles are permitted, while others must be approved prior to the trip to ensure they won't harm the wilderness.
The Rubicon Trail
The undisputed star of the Jeepers Jamboree is the setting. Known as the Rubicon Trail, this off-roading route stretches 22 miles from its starting point in Georgetown, Calif., to Lake Tahoe. While the bulk of the trip is challenging - requiring a lot of focus and driving skills to complete - the end destination boasts a calmer setting that's great for relaxation.
One of the aspects of the trail that makes it attractive for some off-road driving enthusiasts is the fact that it's always changing. Harsh winter storms regularly alter the route, adding obstacles to an area and making it a new experience for drivers every time they hit the dirt. These unknown elements mean that it takes quite a while to get through the path, with most of the vehicles moving along at 3 to 5 miles per hour. On the bright side, this leaves you with plenty of time to appreciate the spectacular surrounding landscape.
"The Rubicon Trail is the mecca of trails for the Jeep world and a perfect spot to get away from everything," Jamey Paine, a manager at an off-roading supplier, told the Tahoe Daily Tribune. "You spend your whole day wheeling on this scenic trail. It's indescribable."
A number of gatherings use the Rubicon Trail. In addition to the Jeepers Jamboree, there is the annual Jeep Jamboree, which welcomes a maximum of 200 vehicles, as well as the Toyota Land Cruiser Association's Rubithon and the Marlin Crawler Round-Up, each of which hosts 150 to 200 off-road vehicles.
No matter what brings you to the Rubicon Trail, you can enjoy traversing the miles while pushing your vehicle to the limit. As long as you have the proper tools and knowledge, as well as a will to complete the route, you can enjoy all aspects of the Rubicon Trail and the Jeepers Jamboree.