Gas prices are as low as I have ever seen since I first started driving right now, and we took advantage of the cheap gas to wheel a few spots in Florida over MLK Day weekend.
We headed out early Saturday morning and drove straight to Hard Rock Offroad Park in Ocala. Even though this park is small and not as kept as it should be, this is one of the few worthwhile wheeling spots in Florida. Hard Rock is known for having many steep climbs that are intimidating even to a seasoned wheeler. If you aren’t careful, Hard Rock can be very dangerous.
There are a lot of tough obstacles at Hard Rock, and a few good rock piles you can practice rock crawling on. One of the harder obstacles is “Slick Rock” which is almost at the entrance of the trails. Slick Rock looks different every time I visit Hard Rock, so it always makes it interesting. The entrance fee is $25 per Jeep and $5 per passenger. I definitely recommend wheeling Hard Rock if you are able to, but also go with people who have been there before and who can guide you through the tough spots.
On Sunday, we set out for Citrus Wildlife Management Area. Citrus is very mild wheeling, but it was the first place I’ve ever been wheeling to (as a passenger) and it holds a special spot in my heart. Citrus has a lot of good terrain to test your articulation, and get really cool flexing photos. It is great for family trips with kids, camping, and picnicking. Citrus is a popular spot for the Toyota offroading crowd as well.
I have learned over this trip that even though three Jeeps does not sound like a fun wheeling trip, it is very refreshing to wheel with a small group. We were able to wheel all day long, stop for lunch, and take a LOT of pictures. Heck, I think I took more pictures this weekend in Ocala than I did in Moab last summer. Obviously, you don’t want to go wheeling alone, but having three to four Jeeps in the group is a great number for the best wheeling experience.