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Hi All,
Yesterday my PRO4X got to pop its offroad cherry. I am hugely impressed by this trucks ability.
TL;DR: This truck is a beast. I learned a lot about off-roading. Brought my truck home with no damage other than some very minor clear coat scratches that can be buffed out. I ran out of confidence well before the truck did. I think Nissan has made a new fan out of me with this truck.

Tray Mountain Rd in north GA is supposed to be a pretty popular road. The "front" way up is a well maintained forest service road. Its very well graded and graveled so its accessible. When you reach the summit, there's a mud pit and a first come first serve camping site. There's a way down Corbin Creek Rd which is similar to the front way up per my reading. Unfortnately on this adventer we did not get a chance to try that way down.

Tray Mountain has a "back way" up the mountain that starts off of Chimney Mountain Rd. This is a very popular trail with the Jeep crowd in GA and is regarded by them to a large part to be a beginner/moderate trail that stock Jeep's can handle. I have several co-workers who are huge Jeep fans, have owned them for a long time and have always claimed that even a stock Wrangler Sport can out do almost anything else "off-road" rated on trails so I was a little skeptical doing this. Especially more so since at the end of this adventure was my first time doing any proper off-roading (not FS roads).

Here's a map of what we did



We started at 1326 Chimney Mountain Road. Headed in about a mile or so, smooth sailing to this point and stopped at a unused camp site for lunch. Continued North from there till the marker that reads "Unnamed Road". Things were ok till here. Some rough stuff but nothing that was too intimidating. I did have my wife spot for me, I guess it was a good spot for me to learn the truck a little and for her to get a crash course in spotting. From the Unnamed Road waypoint on the map is where things got real rough. I was sweating and stressing out. The trail was very very washed out. Lots of big rutts in the mud. Rocky area's with rocks that were not the most well positioned for someone who was unexperienced. There was also rocks sitcking out 8-10" off the ground with nothing around them so you could drive over them but I was nervous about "bottoming out" on something and having the rock damage something on the undercarriage. We did see a few such rocks with scratches and even some with oilstains on them so looks like the did ruin someone's day. Brush on the passenger side, cliff on the driver side. The wife and I both had our oh-**** moment here. This is a 2-way trail but no place to turn around. We very carefully forged on stopping to catch our breath, calm each other down and kept going. She spotted me over the rocks and rutts in the trail multiple times. Between Unnamed Trail and Tray Mountain Road Waypoint took us 2/3 of the time we spent driving the trail. When we got up to the Tray Mountain Waypoint, I spoke to a few folks stopped there and they did admit the trail had gotten a lot more washed out since before. We made it to the end of the rough portion with just some minor surface clear coat scratches form the overgrown shrubery that can be detailed out. No damage to the truck. The truck performed well beyond my expectations. I bet in the hands of someone more experienced the PRO4X would have made this look and feel like a beginner trail.

We didnt take many pictures cuz of obvious reasons but here's a few examples (google search) of stuff we had to power throgh
Pic 1
Pic 2
Pic 3 - This one we took and were able to drive around, later only to end up driving through a lot of stuff like this both made of dirt and made of rocks, on the straighter areas and through the curves. I was a nervous wreck doing that.

  • This is definitely a 4WD trail.
  • I would say this is not a beginner trail unlike what you read online. I saw maybe 2 stock jeeps out of over a dozen jeeps on this trail and 1 modded 1st gen T4R and 2nd Gen Tacoma TRD Sport.
  • Knowing your trucks abilities would make this a lot more enjoyable.
  • Better to do this with a few other rigs, we went solo.
  • Better preparedness would help. We didnt have any equipment, just our phones, extra water and granola bars.
  • This truck has a lot more ground clearance than I thought it did.
  • These tires are awesome. Situations where I thought for sure we'd be stuck, it ate up the trail like a breeze after we assessed and picked a line.
  • I felt like a lift would have definitely made some of the rougher parts a lot easier to deal with given some of the odd sharp rocks sticking out.
  • I left this having more questions about what we can and cant do picking a driving line than anything else.
    [*]What sort of tools and equipment do you pack for a day trip like this?
    [*]What sort of mods would make the truck more capable off-road. I feel like sliders and possibly a 2" lift would have made me a lot less stressed.​
Here's a few of the pix we took before the mood got a little tense.

Poser shot after all the fun



First obstacle that we were very proud of crossing after a couple of miles of driving. Dropped into a ditch about a foot down that was muddy and wet. Truck slid on my approach down and then ploughed though it out while the wife spotted



Took a little break in Helen for restrooms and a snack after we were all done. Dirty truck is dirty


All in all, this truck is freaking awesome. I learned a lot about driving off road. Would love to do more but have some prepping to do.
 

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Looks like you had a great first off-road experience.
Couple of suggestions .... well traveled routes like the one that you ran are fine to wheel alone usually ... I would caution about wheeling anything more difficult than forestry roads or trails close to "civilization" alone. Parts and pieces break, trucks get stuck, people get sick, etc. it's always good to have another vehicle (at least) with you.

Keep in mind that a level lift kit (package) will actually not give your truck any additional clearance. It will basically change the clearance above and around your tires, but the clearance from the diffs to the ground will remain unchanged. Typically a level type of lift, or a body lift is used to be able to run larger tires (gives you more clearance around the tires) .... the taller tires then give the vehicle more clearance.

I enjoyed your photos
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Looks like you had a great first off-road experience.
Couple of suggestions .... well traveled routes like the one that you ran are fine to wheel alone usually ... I would caution about wheeling anything more difficult than forestry roads or trails close to "civilization" alone. Parts and pieces break, trucks get stuck, people get sick, etc. it's always good to have another vehicle (at least) with you.

Keep in mind that a level lift kit (package) will actually not give your truck any additional clearance. It will basically change the clearance above and around your tires, but the clearance from the diffs to the ground will remain unchanged. Typically a level type of lift, or a body lift is used to be able to run larger tires (gives you more clearance around the tires) .... the taller tires then give the vehicle more clearance.

I enjoyed your photos
Good to know about the lift. One thing I struggled with was the odd rock sticking up 6-10" off the ground. I know the truck can drive over them but I was constantly maneuvering around them. Is it ok to drive over them? Tire directly over them? Or if I know its low enough drive directly over it with the wheels square apart.

Here's pix form another group that did a trail raid yesterday too form a local facebook group

What the terrain was like, the rutts I described. It was this way with dirt and rocks as well other than the rocks sticking out of the generally flat drivable area.
Pic 1


I also dont plan to go do real wheeling alone. This trail was supposed to be a beginner trail, I think it was more daunting than what I expected.
 

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One thing I struggled with was the odd rock sticking up 6-10" off the ground. I know the truck can drive over them but I was constantly maneuvering around them. Is it ok to drive over them? Tire directly over them? Or if I know its low enough drive directly over it with the wheels square apart.

You can definitely drive over rocks that size with a tire. If you aren't 100% sure the undercarriage will clear, don't straddle the rock - put the tire over it instead. If you misjudge the amount of clearance you have, smacking your frame rail on a rock is much better than smacking any part of your undercarriage on it.

Be aware that loose rocks (as opposed to rocks embedded in the ground) can shift unexpectedly when you drive on them, so sometimes it's a better idea just to steer around them.
 

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The trail that you ran is only about 3 hours from me. Maybe we can get a planned run together .... post it here on CF and see if we can get some folks together for the day. Add in that it is near Helen, GA. should be a plus for us "out of towners"
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You can definitely drive over rocks that size with a tire. If you aren't 100% sure the undercarriage will clear, don't straddle the rock - put the tire over it instead. If you misjudge the amount of clearance you have, smacking your frame rail on a rock is much better than smacking any part of your undercarriage on it.

Be aware that loose rocks (as opposed to rocks embedded in the ground) can shift unexpectedly when you drive on them, so sometimes it's a better idea just to steer around them.
Thanks Jennifer, I'll need to start looking at more driving techniques to familiarize myself with things.

The trail that you ran is only about 3 hours from me. Maybe we can get a planned run together .... post it here on CF and see if we can get some folks together for the day. Add in that it is near Helen, GA. should be a plus for us "out of towners"
That was my intent with trying that road. Some of the folks form GA had expressed interest in going up to the North GA mountains and hitting up some trails.
 

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You can definitely drive over rocks that size with a tire. If you aren't 100% sure the undercarriage will clear, don't straddle the rock - put the tire over it instead. If you misjudge the amount of clearance you have, smacking your frame rail on a rock is much better than smacking any part of your undercarriage on it.

Be aware that loose rocks (as opposed to rocks embedded in the ground) can shift unexpectedly when you drive on them, so sometimes it's a better idea just to steer around them.
What she said.

Also, never be afraid to slow down or stop to think or even get out and walk it before proceeding. It is not a race.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
What she said.

Also, never be afraid to slow down or stop to think or even get out and walk it before proceeding. It is not a race.
We did that quite a few times. If we approached an area that we werent sure about (happened a lot, we got out and discussed lines and I had my wife spot and guide me. It was a huge help. It was her first time spotting as well but she learned quickly and was very good with guiding me.
 

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How long did it take you to run the whole trail?
Took two and a half hours. The way back (down the front side) was about 15-20 mintues since its a very well graded gravel road. Majority of the time was spent getting to the top where Tray Mountain Rd and Corbin Creek Rd meet.
 

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Saw your post on reddit too! Nice write up.
 

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I still want to get up there and do this. I want to try it, and if we get a group of guys to go then my 4*2 has a better chance of making it through! I'll drive it like a 4*4 to get through it! Lol ?

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We need to get a dedicated date later in either October or early November. Anyone from ga here should join the ga frontier club on Facebook. Get a group message going there and plan something out

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Saw your post on reddit too! Nice write up.
Thanks man!

I still want to get up there and do this. I want to try it, and if we get a group of guys to go then my 4*2 has a better chance of making it through! I'll drive it like a 4*4 to get through it! Lol ?

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We need to get a dedicated date later in either October or early November. Anyone from ga here should join the ga frontier club on Facebook. Get a group message going there and plan something out

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Are you in the group on there? Get something started. I'll join it.
 

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Yea I'm on there. Name is Damian. So if you see that, just jump in there. And if anyone else here wants to join, say so here or in that Facebook group

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I clicked on the "Join" button on the FB page
 
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What's you first name. I'll vouch for you

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Are you wanting to meet up with us in Helen?

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Bob Howdeshell
Yes .... I live not too far from the proposed run
 
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