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JohnnyJ
September 22nd, 2004, 08:27 PM
This Summer I made it back to Paragon for another weekend of wheeling. It is an excellent place to wheel with lots for different levels. I've been there when my TJ was on 33s with a 3" lift, on 35s with 5.5" RE LA, and this last time on 39.5s with a modified 5.5" RE LA; all times with lockers/limiteds/spools in both axles.

Each time I've hit more of the park and reran some of the same trails with new lines. I would really like to spend 3 or 4 days of wheeling there one year, and I'm sure I wouldn't get bored. (unless I broke on day 1) I know there are trails that anybody from stock to highly modified would find enjoyable.

Web site is pretty good at www.paragonap.com, contains maps of the place that are getting easier every year to follow as they clean up signs

Some things I've noticed over the past couple of years, and some basic info.

1) If you're camping, then Red Ridge Lake Campground is the place I'd recommend. They are pretty full-size 4x4 friendly (the weekend we were they had an early bronco run that was staged there) It has flush toilets and showers, so even if you're there a few days it makes it nicer.

2) If you're staying at a hotel, I would *not* recommend the Hazleton Motor Inn. The first time I went we stayed there and it was kinda dumpy. There are some national chain hotels just up the 81 that were driving time closer and nicer than the HMI. They are listed on the paragon web site.

3) If you plan to drink at the camp fire, you should BYOB. That area doesn't sell beer & liquor in the stores, but you can buy up to 2 six packs at any of the bars; but it does cost more. (Also, don't ask for a 12-pack.. you have to ask for 2 6-packs. :blink: ) There are also some beer stores, but that's a lot of effort. Obviously if you can buy beer from the bar, you can also drink in them, too.

4) Paragon had some new rules this year that they were trying to be strict with, although the enforcement was a little different from day to day for our group. Anyway, here are a few that stuck out:
a) 4x4s have to travel in groups of 3
b ) you must have a spare tire, although in a group of three of us they only pushed the non-beadlocked vehicle to make sure it had a spare
c) make sure your battery is tied down, this one they've been enforcing the last couple of years, but they are very consistent with this check
d) bring your flag from silver lake or the badlands, you'll need it here and if you don't you'll be buying one
e) they have a new policy where at least one person in your group has to have "group leader training"; which entails watching a 20 minute video and signing an extra waiver besides the one you used to get in the park.
f) more rules are on their site, but this covers the gotchas.

5) They are very strict with their closing times. We were about 2 minutes late (seriously) and they gave us a hard time about it.

6) Drive time: mapquest claims about 8 hours from the Detroit area to Hazleton, PA; but when going as a group and towing trailers, it seems like it's around 9-10 hours with stop included (at least). The route I've always taken is I-75 South to I-280 East to go around Toledo, then follow the I-80 all the way until you hit the I-81 right near Hazleton. Then follow the directions from the site into the park.

Some pics, I'll try to get the ones from this year up soon.

Paragon April 2002 (http://www.msg4x4club.com/events/paragon0402_1.htm)
Paragon May 2003 (http://www.msg4x4club.com/events/paragon0503.htm)