I spent most of Spring break underneath a Subaru – whether it was my little sister’s, my fiance Ben’s or my own. After all was said and done, I had one wrench-free day: Sunday. With my dad, his girlfriend and Ben in tow, we grabbed our CB radios and headed for Knoxville OHV Recreation area in Napa, CA.
Getting there was simple, all a dirt road-loving, puddle seeker has to do is type Knoxville-Berryessa Road into Google Maps and it will lead right to the entrance to the recreation area. Once there, there are trails aplenty to explore. ATVs, dirt bikes, mountain bikes and off-highway vehicles are permitted. From campus, it’s about a three and a half hour drive. It’s not as close as the trail I’ve mentioned a few issues ago, but the trails here are a lot longer and more demanding. For those who have 4×4’s that are hungry for a steady range of challenges to push your car through, this place is definitely a weekend-worthy destination.
My and Ben’s Subaru met quite a bit of challenges here in terms of terrain. My car, only having a 2.5 liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder, didn’t have a high opinion of all the hills I made it climb at low speed and high revolutions per minutes (rpms). By the end of the two-hour excursion, my car had consumed an entire quart of freshly changed oil. On the exterior end of things, my car drove away from the day without a scratch thanks to the 8.7 inches of ground clearance, and it got a cool, brown, iron-rich, organic paint job to boot.
Ben’s WRX, however, didn’t end up so lucky. Despite his aftermarket lift of an additional two inches, his skid plate took an impressive beating. While he’s thankful the skid plate took the hit and not his oil pan, it’s now a repair that needs attention. His WRX is also equipped with bigger off-road tires that rub against the wells when mud piles on top of them. This time, so much mud had accumulated on the tread that it tore off a bit of his side skirt. This isn’t a serious matter by any means, just part of the choice he made in making it a car that’s able to handle going off-road, but it’s worth mentioning to give an idea how demanding this trail was on his car.
Also, since this is a public and well-known place, being careful, going slow and watching for oncoming traffic should go without saying. The main trail that leads back to the road is roughly 4.5 miles long, but there are several trails along the main one. However, most lead to dead ends. To best plot which trails you want to explore, my suggestion would be to consult an atlas. That’s how Ben, my dad and I were able to figure out where we wanted to go. An atlas was especially useful for us since cell-phone reception was spotty.
As an added bonus, there are several restaurants and local markets close to both the southern and northern entrance to the OHV park, so after a long day’s adventure, a warm meal and a refreshing beverage isn’t hard to come across.