Little Rattlesnake Trail #680

Little Rattlesnake trail #680

Distance: 4.35 miles
Aprox. Running time: 2.5 hours
Difficulty: Most Difficult

Size Restrictions:  95" Wheelbase, 75" Width

Direction: One way only for 4x4 vehicles & ATVs, East to West.

Pass Needed: NO

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Closed in 1998 due to concerns over habitat destruction and water runoff issues the Little Rattlesnake was reopened in 2010 after many years of work by several local off-road groups and the Forest Service.  Due to it's closure it is probably the last of the old time tight and technical trails that haven't been destroyed by full size 4x4s.  In an effort to keep it that way the Forest Service has placed strict size limitations and directionality on this trail, please abide by them.  THIS IS NOT A TRAIL FOR FULL SIZE VEHICLES!  Enforcement is out and they are measuring, the fine can be fairly stiff so if you own a full size rig go somewhere else, there are plenty of other trails out there for you.

The Little Rattlesnake trail is not about horse power, it's not about articulation, it isn't about those new 37" tires or having a bigger lift than your buddy.  It's not about having a snorkel, lockers or any of the other most often installed accessories.  In fact, the only thing that this trail is about is being narrow.  Even though we were under the size restrictions by a couple of inches in each direction we found ourselves making multiple point turns A LOT and rubbing a lot of trees.  The reason for the directionality of this trail for Jeeps is well understood once you get there.  There is NO room to pass another vehicle at all on this trail.  Knowing when to shift back to 2-wheel drive is advantageous so as to get the most turning radius possible.

There are several bridges along the trail to span ravines, they can be a bit spooky as they have no "curbs" on them and the drop is a long way down if you are not paying attention to tire placement.

Our recomendations for this trail are as follows:

  1. DO NOT bring your hard top.
  2. If you have a soft top, put it down and remove the plastic door surrounds if you have them.
  3. Remove padding from roll cage bars.
  4. Remove your doors, use Tube doors if you've got em'
  5. Rocker protection is usefull
  6. This trail is all about a narrow rig and a GOOD driver.

No real lift, articulation or huge tires are necessary here so theoretically a stock Jeep TJ, YJ, CJ or Suzukis' will do better on this trail.  That said, having tires that are slightly wider than the fender flares (but still under the 75" width restriction) are necessary if you want to keep damage to sheet metal (or plastic) to a minimum.

Size restrictions are measured from outside of tire to outside of tire for width and center of axle to center of axle for wheelbase. The question has come up about what if your tires bulge wider when you air down so as to make you over the width restriction aired down but not of you are aired up? The answer is if you are over the width when they catch you, aired down or not you will get a citation.




Getting There:

From Hwy 410 (Nile Rd detour route) turn west on FS1500 (Bethel Ridge Rd), continue for just over 1 mile and watch for a sign that says "Little Rattlesnake" pointing to the left. Turn left onto FS1501 and follow Little Rattlesnake Creek uphill.  At 5.2 miles FS 1503 bears off to the right, stay left on FS1501, the road turns to gravel at this point.  At 7.7 miles FS1518 bears to the left, stay right on FS1501.  At 9.7 miles FS1501 comes to a dead end at the trail head for the Little Rattlesnake Trail.

Once finished exit the trail straight ahead onto the 1500 (Bethel Ridge Rd) and follow down hill to Hwy 12 near Rimrock Lake.  If you wish to run the Bethel Ridge trail back to the west make a left onto FS324 about .8 mile from the end of the Little Rattlesnake trail off of FS1500, there is a sign here that simply says "Microwave".   From the turn it is 2 miles up hill to start the Bethel Ridge trail.