View Full Version : caribou valley road

06-23-2005, 12:29 PM
I've been reading some of the trail condition reports. They mention bad things about Caribou Valley Road. Just how bad is it? What can I expect this weekend?

06-23-2005, 01:03 PM
I'm headed to Caribou Valley rd the 4th of July weekend. I'd also like to know road conditions. I've been told a 4wd is recommended and would like to hear other opinions

poison ivy
06-23-2005, 01:05 PM
It's been three weeks since I was on the road, so keep that in mind here. At that point, it was driveable for a four-wheel drive vehicle but I wouldn't have felt comfortable driving on it with my Honda Civic. Lots of bumps, including some really big holes right on the ends of the bridges. It was pretty wet when we were there, so the road has probably firmed up some and won't be so muddy at least!

You'll be fine if you just take it slow. You can always park before the AT crossing if things get too rough and add a little extra walking to your hike.

-- Ivy

06-23-2005, 01:41 PM
If the road is dry, you probably do not need 4WD or AWD, except maybe getting up the steep, washed-out ruts on the far side of the green steel grate bridge, although it was done in a Suburban set only in 2WD at the time and we got up okay.

If the road is wet, it's iffy. If it's soaked and muddy, you will definitely need at least AWD.

The bigger problem is the uneven surface. The approaches and descents off several of the bridges have settled and/or been holed out, and a car with a low clearance will scrape, be damaged, or even hang up there.

I would not attempt to get up to the AT crossing without at least an Outback's worth of ground clearance (8", iirc).

06-23-2005, 02:13 PM
sounds like we'll be ok. I have '96 grand cherokee that I don't care if it gets scraped or dinged or dented.

We'll also have to include the road condition in the trip report.

06-23-2005, 02:19 PM
With a Grand Cherokee you will not have any issues at all. Just don't try to go 50 mph down the road unless you reallyt want to test your anti-sway system!

06-23-2005, 02:24 PM
But Bob, it's just so much fun :D :D


06-23-2005, 03:47 PM
Something about being behind you and eating your dust (literally) just didn't sit right with me :> Bad enough that you hike faster than I do, but did ya have to drive faster as well ? My fragile ego was smashed that day! :rolleyes:

But Bob, it's just so much fun :D :D


06-23-2005, 08:59 PM
The passenger would like to chime in with a belated "Aiieee!"

06-24-2005, 06:02 AM
At least the bridges are in better shape than in the mid 90's. On one trip I blew both tires on my drivers side 2.5 miles in.

06-24-2005, 08:28 AM
The condition of Caribou Valley Road varies in cycles depending upon logging activities. There were some adventures on this road described at our first Gathering in Eustice and on one trip I took there were about six bridges in serious states of disrepair, the worst being the one reduced to two I-beams ... which I crossed in an SUV ... a rental at that! The journey up to the AT was like some sort of ride at Disney World.

Washouts can deteriorate the road really fast so my suggestion is to enjoy the challenge but have a plan B.

06-24-2005, 02:50 PM
ok, I'll post back here after tomorrow and let everyone know what the conditions are. It can't be much worse than Chaos Turnpike back home.

Oh, and I'll try to keep it under 50. :D

06-26-2005, 11:43 AM
On lower end of the road, I might have gone as fast as 25. Once you get into where the logging starts, the road conditions decline rapidly. There are a couple of washed out spots that are very rocky. Some of the approaches to some fo the bridges are washed out too. The rise right after the metal bridge is very loose and rocky. There are also some muddy spots with standing water in them, some shallow, some quite deep. Some of the culverts are coming up out of the road, while they are still covered with a little bit of dirt, they make rather large speed bumps.

If you pay close attention you can avoid most of the hazards. A few places I drove on the very left edge of the road, other places on the right edge. I would be very nervous about going in there if rain was forecast, and I wouldn't want to be driving on it after dark if I could avoid it.

Make sure you have good tread on your tires. They will eventually get caked with mud and you'll lose traction. I was in rear wheel drive for the first 3 miles or so, but switched over to full-time four wheel drive (aka all wheel drive) as the mud built up.

Keep an eye out on the weather this week if you're headed up there next weekend. Heavy rain could really make the washed out spots worse.

06-26-2005, 05:45 PM
ok, I'll post back here after tomorrow and let everyone know what the conditions are. It can't be much worse than Chaos Turnpike back home.


Or I-5 between Seattle and Tacoma. Try that some time, really gnarly. :)

06-26-2005, 06:09 PM
Seriously though I never drove that road I only crossed it when I hiked the AT in Maine. I recall the road into the Bigelows just a bit away was nasty. I drove in there once when we spent two weeks as caretaker in bigelow Col. As for the above stretch of I-5 I have seen logging roads in better shape.

06-26-2005, 11:25 PM
Whenever anyone mentions Caribou Valley Road, I always like to show the pictures we drove the road over in a Jeep Cherokee in 1981. See this. (http://community.webshots.com/photo/251949167/251949167ZiyDvN) and the next two photos.

06-27-2005, 07:59 AM
Aaron, I first drove Caribou Valley Road in that same time frame, I remember a gate across the road at the AT crossing, do you recall seeing it?