An abandoned Jeep Wrangler on a trail in the South Hills Preserve. Photo courtesy of Jun Castro on Facebook.

Abandoned Jeep Teeters Precariously on a Loma Linda Ridge

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Here is a desert mystery: How will the owner of this Jeep, now abandoned on a narrow trail near Loma Linda, ever get it down?

The Jeep made its debut on the Hemet News Facebook page. Jun Castro shared several photos on the page and asked, “Anyone have any idea how to safely recover this Jeep?” Castro clarified that while it wasn’t his Jeep, he’d be interested in the outcome.

The Jeep is stranded in the South Hills Preserve, where a series of 25 trails beckon “mountain bikers, hikers, bird watchers, and nature lovers,” according to a 2009 article detailing the mapping and naming of the trails, one of which happens to be named Jeep Hill, but that was not intended as an off-roading invitation. The West Ridge Trail, which is where auto site The Drive believes the Jeep is stuck, is apparently the highest point in the hills.

We called the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department to see if they were working on getting the Jeep down. Public Information Officer Jodi Miller said the driver had already reported the situation only to find out that the Sheriff’s Department can’t help. There’s just no way to get a tow truck up there and then, you know, back down. Some good news is that no one was injured.

At a glance, it does seem like rescuing this Jeep is an impossible task. Every direction looks particularly treacherous, considering the steep hillsides flanking the trail. There’s really no good place to turn around and go back the way the driver came. Pressing forward seems ill-advised, and it’s clear the driver chose not to do that either. This Jeep is basically a horror movie character who ran up the stairs and now has nowhere to go but their grave. A “final girl,” this Jeep is not.

The Drive has compiled a list of readers’ ideas for how to get the Jeep down, however. They include both helicopters and a team of mules.

Fun fact: A portion of this trail system also overlooks the Olive Dell Nudist Colony. They had to postpone their 2020 Bare Burro Nude 5K in April due to COVID-19. But don’t worry: it’s now scheduled for Oct. 25.

Los Angeleno