If you make it to one offroad park your whole life, make it Windrock Park.
The best thing about Windrock Park is that it has hundreds of miles of trails and trails suitable for every difficulty level. It even has mountain biking trails! Windrock is a park I have been visiting since I first started Jeeping. Ironically, I have never taken my own Jeep to Windrock, but I have always ridden passenger in my boyfriend’s Jeep.
We rang the new year in at Windrock Park this year, and it couldn’t have made for a better start to 2019. I am more than ready for a 2019 full of wheeling trips.
Here is a little recap of our New Year’s Windrock trip.
We woke up on the first day of 2019 in Oak Ridge, TN, the closest town to Windrock Park. We downed some free hotel breakfast made a beeline to the gas station for the day’s fuel. We grabbed some Subway to-go so that we would have lunch available for later while on the trails.
Before wheeling, we registered at the General Store and everyone picked up an annual pass for $100. The daily rates are about $20/day, but we know we will be back before the year is over. Windrock Park is pretty strict about checking land use passes and coolers for alcohol (which is not permitted at all).
The first day was EVENTFUL, to say the least. We hit trail 15, one of the closest and hardest trails to the entrance of the park. This is a really fun trail, but it takes some getting comfortable. Trail 15 led to trail 38, which is nicknamed “Little School Bus”.
Unfortunately, what I meant by eventful was not wheeling. Three Jeeps deep, and three jeeps “broke” while on Little School Bus. Little School Bus has one extremely hard obstacle, and the rainy terrain did not help.
Sami, Jose, and Julio all have TJs on 42″ tires and one ton axles (Julio has an LJ). Sami’s crank position sensor gave out, and gave way to engine issues that prevented the Jeep from running. While pulling Sami out of the trail, Julio popped the rear bead on a tire, and that took a lot of ingenuity to fix. Winching one side of the Jeep up to a tree, and the other side to a Jeep to prevent it from flopping, we were able to get the tire in the air to be able to air up and pop it back onto the bead.
Meanwhile, this whole time, Jose had no brakes due to brake line failures.
After finally getting out of the trail, and getting all the Jeeps trail ready again, some more friends from Miami joined us. To get their feet wet for their first time in Windrock Park, we did trail 15 (again). As the sun set on our first day of wheeling, we snuck in one more trail in the dark–trail 46. Trail 46 is nicknamed “Little Mule” and is another very challenging trail, even for the one ton TJs.
We hit up a local Mexican restaurant for dinner and turns out they had an all you can eat special! Mexican restaurants and off-roading trips just go together.
Day 2 was a perfect wheeling day. We did both hardcore and scenic trails to fill up a whole day’s worth of wheeling. We hit the ground running at Trail 21, one of the hardest trails at Windrock (and it feels impossible when it’s wet). To get to Trail 21, we took a chunk of Trail 22 as a shortcut (again, buy a map at the Windrock General Store—it’s a must!).
After that, Trail 40 was close by so we did that one too, and Julio advetured into a harder Trail 40a which had a tricky downed tree.
After some gourmet lunchables for lunch (so easy to pack and keep from getting soggy in a cooler), we headed for the scenic Trail 16. Trail 16 is still a hard trail at Windrock, but it’s a bit easier for these one-ton TJs on 42s. Sami let me drive all of Trail 16 so I can rightfully claim my Jeep Badge of Honor! That’s right, Trail 16 is a Badge of Honor trail recognized by Jeep.
After taking LOTS of photos at the waterfall on Trail 16 (don’t miss it!), we headed back in for the night and then out again for dinner in Knoxville at Sweet P’s BBQ.
Sweet P’s was delicious, and Balter Beerworks down the street was the perfect local brewery to end the night with.
Day 3 of off-roading was short and a bit rainy. Thanks to the lousy weather, it took us much longer to complete any trail than expected.
We tackled Trail 39, also known as Cadillac Hill. The trail was incredibly slippery and we spent a lot of time winching. After this exhausting trail, we took the end of Trail 3 on the way out. Sami let me try to drive his Jeep up this obstacle, but it was just too slippery to make it.
Our last day ended at a cabin in Windrock Park over a fire and some drinks.
Before leaving the area, we took a day trip to Nashville. It was about a two hour drive, but Nashville is a very up and coming city with a lot to offer, especially if you like dancing and the bar scene.