The Squealing Tire

Tire Talk from the Experts at Discount Tire Company.

The Squealing Tire - Tire Talk from the Experts at Discount Tire Company.

Cliffhanger Trail – Discount Tire Rally on the Rocks 2014

Cliffhanger Trail – Discount Tire Rally on the Rocks 2014

Trail Ride May 15, 2014

After the Discount Tire drivers meeting with free coffee, donuts and a surprise raffle we lined up at the Old Spanish Trail Arena and awaited a police escort to take us to the Cliffhanger Trail.

With the sun reflecting off the mountains in the background it was great to see people milling around, talking to fellow riders and anxiously waiting for the ride to start.

Drivers Meeting for Cliffhanger Trail

As we arrived at the Clifhanger trail head there was a huge line of side by sides going by for different trails.  It’s awesome to see so many off road enthusiasts getting out and enjoying the trails together.

Road leading the the Cliffhanger Trail Trailhead

At the start of Cliffhanger there are a series of large ledges that lead down to a creek at the bottom of the canyon.  After crossing the creek,  the trail can quickly justify the common 7 out of 10 difficulty rating many off road authorities claim.  

On our ride, a Polaris RZR 4 1000 ahead of me was attempting to climb a steep waterfall.  He took the wrong line and flopped over, landing hard on the driver’s side door. Thankfully he kept his arms inside the vehicle and was not injured.  After getting him out of his RZR our group worked together to figure out how to get him back on his wheels quickly.  Luckily there was only minor cosmetic damage and the vehicle was able to continue.

Side by Side Flop on the Cliffhanger Trail

Moments later, one of our Discount Tire vehicles attempted a slightly easier line but the left rear tire smashed hard into a protruding rock puncturing the tire and bending the lower trailing arm badly.  This was not a good way to start the day.  Not wanting to hold the group up, we decided to park the vehicle out of the way and come back for it later. 

Bent Trailing Arm on Polaris RZR Cliffhanger Trail

This trail has many obstacles to test both man and machine but the one that is most feared is near the edge of the main cliff.  There is a steep stair step that is just feet away from a several hundred foot drop off.  Going down isn’t too bad but coming back up can be challenging.

Obstacle on Cliffhanger Trail

If you have a fear of heights this trail may not be for you.

Cliffhanger Trail

Like the Poison Spider Mesa Trail, the Cliffhanger Trail ends with a loop that brings you back to the trail head where you began.  The turn around spot is a perfect place to stop for lunch.  Some daring souls stood at the edge of the cliff to peer down at the ground below.  It is an eerie feeling and it makes you want to hold your breath.

Viewpoint on Cliffhanger Trail

Lunch stop on Cliffhanger Trail

During our lunch stop I noticed this creative use for a small tactical style trail bag that we handed out.

IMG_0749

After lunch we started making our way back to the Cliffhanger trail head and as suspected the steep stair step on the cliff edge proved to be challenging.  A Can-Am 4 – 1000 was the first to have a problem.  While maneuvering the steps he bent a tie-rod.  The driver and some helpers tried to straighten it out but the tie rod was now too weak.  After bolting it back in the vehicle moved about one foot before the tie rod snapped in half.  With no spare parts and no other options the vehicle had to be left until spare parts could be brought back from town.  Fortunately, we had some extra seats for them to get back to the trail head.

Cliffhanger Trail

As we continued along the trail a few other machines ran into problems also but we were able to keep them moving.

As we made it back down to the creek we stopped and picked up the Polaris RZR 4 900 that we left earlier in the day.  Our guys had to put some plugs in the flat tire so we could limp it back to the trailer with its broken trailing arm.

Trail Side Tire Repair on Cliffhanger Trail

Just behind us, the last RZR up the hill had just one wheel drive but with some helpful winching from a participant he made it out safely.

Winching out of Cliffhanger Trail

When we got to the road the trailer and a little bit of playful taunting was waiting for us.  This ended up being a long day for such a short trail but it always puts a huge smile on my face when I reflect on how everyone pitched in to help without complaint.

Below are some additional photos from our excellent adventure on the Cliffhanger Trail.  Enjoy!!

IMG_0159 IMG_0160IMG_0159 IMG_0176 IMG_0178 Gate to The Cliffhanger Trail IMG_0186 IMG_0189 IMG_0191 IMG_0193 IMG_0195IMG_0196 IMG_0198 IMG_0206 IMG_0215 IMG_0217 IMG_0223 IMG_0226 IMG_0239 Waterfall on Cliffhanger Trail Flop on Cliffhanger Trail IMG_0283 IMG_0298  IMG_0319 IMG_0362 IMG_0370 IMG_0377 IMG_0383 IMG_0385 IMG_0395 IMG_0453 IMG_0457 IMG_0468 IMG_0469IMG_0475 IMG_0476 IMG_0481 IMG_0488 IMG_0494 IMG_0503 IMG_0510 Wildcat on Cliffhanger Trail IMG_0546 IMG_0547 IMG_0549 IMG_0552 IMG_0561 IMG_0587 IMG_0606 IMG_0626 IMG_0633  The edge of Cliffhanger Trail IMG_0678 IMG_0681 IMG_0689 IMG_0695 IMG_0696 IMG_0703 IMG_0710 IMG_0714 IMG_0716 IMG_0722 IMG_0725 IMG_0729 IMG_0736 IMG_0742 IMG_0747 IMG_0748 IMG_0751 IMG_0756 Trail Tie Rod attempt to fix Cliffhanger Pirate IMG_0796 IMG_0811 IMG_0817 IMG_0820 IMG_0828 IMG_0840 IMG_0850 IMG_0856 IMG_0859 IMG_0860 IMG_0863 IMG_0879 IMG_0885 IMG_0893 IMG_0911 IMG_0919 IMG_0930 IMG_0953 IMG_0960 IMG_0965

Don McNeillyAbout The Author: Don McNeilly (17 Posts)

If it has 4 wheel drive and I'm allowed to take it off road I'm on it! I've been an ATV and UTV off road enthusiast for as long as I can remember. I love exploring new areas photographing my adventures and helping other outdoor enthusiasts... Click the Author Profile icon below to read more.


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