Make The Most of the Dash
Gulches ORV Park Jeep Badge of Honor Trail - Waterloo, SC
As an 80 acre park with over 50 trails, Gulches ORV Park was on our wishlist of the Jeep Badge of Honor (JBOH) Trails we hoped to visit.
Located in Waterloo, South Carolina, this park offers trails ranging from easy to "Omg, did you lose your mind!?!". The park is open Friday through Sunday and offers day passes and weekend pass packages for rv’s and primitive camping. The primitive camping package includes one (1) vehicle, one (1) driver, and all passengers for that vehicle for all three (3) days of any given weekend (Friday - Sunday) with a primitive camping spot on site. And all for only $50.00! The rv/camper site option, with water and electric hook-ups, is only $100.00. You can also book an off-site cabin, for the weekend, that sits in the forest on the edge of the Reedy River!
Of course, we went with the weekend primitive camping package. Couldn’t beat that deal! Purchasing the pass and choosing our campsite online was easy using the Gulches ORV park website. There were photographs of each of the campsites and a map showing the location of each one in relation to the park trails and the river. We chose campsite #4, from 13 primitive campsites available, mostly because it was shady and located right along the river. We completed the reservation transaction and payment, and received our confirmation. We were set!
Arriving on Friday morning, we were greeted by Denise, one of the owners of the park. She was very helpful checking us in and providing us with all the information we needed to enjoy our weekend. She even offered to have someone give us a tour of the trails before we went to our campsite. Further, so advised that we were welcome to use the “Sketchy House”, an older building at the front of the park, which has a kitchen, bathroom and shower. Outside of the “Sketchy House”, there is an air compressor station to air up, and a water hose with sprayer to rinse your rig off for your use after having hit the trails. Feeling a bit tired from our long drive to the park, we opted to head straight to our campsite to set-up and rest for the remainder of the day.
The park asks that you have drive your vehicle in 4-low while you are on the trails. We found this to be necessary as we made our way down Trail 1 to our campsite. It wasn’t difficult to navigate our way around the park as Denise had also advised us to download the free Maprika app. This app provides you with a map of the Gulches ORV Park trails, and pings your location in realtime making it easy to follow the trails and know your location. We found campsite #4 to be just as described - it was located right next to the Reedy River nestled among the trees. Although the shade was nice, blocking some of the heat, it wasn’t great for charging our Jackery’s with our solar panels. But, oh well, there are worse things, right? We enjoyed our day in the cool shade, listening to the river, had dinner and went to bed early to be ready for a day on the trails.
Getting up early the next morning, we packed up our rooftop tent, had a quick bite for breakfast, and started on the trails. Turns out that Saturday was National Go Topless Day! This is a yearly tradition for the Jeep community to celebrate the start of Spring by taking their Jeep tops off for the day. With our rooftop tent mounted on our roof, we couldn’t “go topless” but we did join in on celebrating the day by being on the trails with the other topless Jeeps.
There are six (6) levels of trail difficulty ranging from Easy to Difficult to Skull & Crossbones! We had decided to go up to the Difficult level of trails but, in trying to air down our tires, we unfortunately found that the aluminum valve stem covers and the brass valve stems on our tires did not make for a good combination. Seems the aluminum covers had corroded badly onto the brass valve stems that we couldn’t remove them to air down. We even tried using pliers and penetrating oil but still no luck. This just meant that we wouldn’t be able to attempt any of the trails beyond easy and intermediate. Again, this isn’t the worse that could happen, so we shrugged it off set off to conquer those green (easy) and blue (intermediate) trails.
At lunchtime, we took a break under the trees near some of the Most Difficult and Skull & Crossbones trails to watch some fellow Jeepers take these on. It was awesome watching folks work together, driver and spotter, and to see some of the modified rigs make it up/down the trails. Made us realize we had made the right decision in limiting ourselves to those easier trails. There was even a custom built rig with a Cummins 4BT diesel engine and an adjustable suspension system - what a monster! Loved watching that rig work! Before returning to the trails, we met a couple of fellow Jeepers who were from Pennsylvania. They had been hitting the JBOH trails on their way down to this park, which was their last one of the trip. They gave us a few pointers about the Georgia JBOH trails which we appreciated.
In the evening, we decided to head up to the “Sketchy House” to charge up our solar generators since they were low and the overcast skies were not letting up. We set-up in the kitchen to charge everything up, worked on our social media, made dinner and ended the day with some much needed showers. Denise was kind enough to allow us to camp at the front, by the entrance, near the rv sites, as we were planning on packing up and hitting the road early, before the park opened on Sunday.
We had a great and memorable time here at Gulches ORV Park. Denise and her family were so kind, friendly and hospitable! The park is well-maintained and the trails were challenging and fun! If you’re ever in the Waterloo, SC, area we definitely recommend you visit Gulches ORV Park to have a fun time on the trails. And don’t worry about getting stuck, Denise and the crew will help rescue you without extra cost. Overall this was a great experience and would definitely love to come back when we can air down and try some more difficult trails. The people and the park definitely live up to the phrase “Jeep family.”
Keep making the most of the dash!
Brian, Anna Maria & Moose Make the Most of the Dash