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Old 08-27-2014   #1
albuquerque, New Mexico
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 134
San Juan Shuttle: Is the road to Clay Hills doable in a low clearance 2wd?

Is the road to Clay Hills doable in a low clearance 2wd?

How doable?

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Old 08-27-2014   #2
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,408
Depending on how dry the ground is, how slow you drive and just how low is your low clearance vehicle - it might be possible. Maybe if you have a bud in a 4wd hi clearance vehicle with a tow strap along just in case.

But if it rains while you are on the river, be prepared to camp for a while.

Bottom line, I would not recommend driving this road in a 2WD low clearance vehicle.
Find a bud with a 4WD or rent one or find an outfitter willing to get your group and gear back to your motel in Bluff UT.

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Old 08-27-2014   #3
Castle Rock, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 321
I've done it in a 2wd Dodge Caravan, but it's not really a 'road', road, more of 'it sort of goes this way'. It may or may not be driveable when you get out, if you get in. If it does rain, pretty good chance parts will get washed somewhat. It does dry quickly when it stops raining, about a day depending. There's a reason I would do it again with a 4wd Tundra and not the Dodge. I don't think there is cell service to call AAA, it's pretty much the middle of nowhere.
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Old 08-29-2014   #4
pojoaque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1972
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 109
well, i guess we all have different road ideas. i consider that a great dirt road, it's graded and graveled part of the way. as somebody said, if there's been lots of rain the clay gets super slick but that could give 4WD trouble until it dries out a little too. if the arroyo crossings ran, it could also get pretty rough but so far it's always been quite smooth for us. maybe just lucky but we've taken an old, low, loaded honda civic, non-outback subarus, and a 1993 tercel (not the 4WD version) through there no problem. you just don't get in a hurry and navigate around what you don't like. we never dragged butt with any of those.

we last drove it in June and it was fine.

your mileage may vary!
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Old 11-29-2014   #5
Trevorlee's Avatar
Ogden, Utah
Paddling Since: 3
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 6
I did it in a Honda Accord, averaging 40 mph ( my wife was NOT in the car).

Sent from my iPad using Mountain Buzz
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Old 11-29-2014   #6
deadlizard's Avatar
peoria, Arizona
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 125
I've also done it multiple times in a 2WD low-clearance.

We did the upper canyon stretch in mid-October and I chatted with Jim who does most of the shuttles. At that time immediately after the summer monsoons, the road was in bad shape. He said several of the washes were to the point they had to repair them before even the 4WD pickups could make a go of it.

He mentioned they would not even attempt low-clearance, but my guess is that within a week or so, life would be back to normal. Or close to it.

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