The Jeep® brand and Jeep Jamboree are celebrating 70 years of extreme off-roading adventure this summer. Since 1953, the Rubicon Trail, known as one of the most difficult off-road trails in the world, has been a lifestyle symbol of Jeep 4×4 off-road adventuring for the Jeep community.
This summer, 450 Jeep enthusiasts and their families and friends, driving a total of 125 Jeep Wranglers and Gladiators, celebrated with a special event on the Rubicon Trail’s seven-decade anniversary by living the off-road adventure of dreams and, in the process, proving that their stock Jeep vehicles can tackle the impossible, drive off the trail and get them back home. A new video posted on the Jeep brand’s YouTube channel gives a taste of the adventure.
“For more than 80 years, the Jeep brand community has defined the Jeep brand and, for 70 of those years, the Rubicon Trail has been heralded by the community as one of the toughest off-road trails in the world, which combined with its beauty has put the Rubicon Trail on every Jeep 4×4 customer’s bucket list,” said Jim Morrison, senior vice president and head of Jeep brand North America. “Conquering the Rubicon Trail is tangible proof that these Jeep vehicles can literally go anywhere and do anything. As you can see in the video, Jeep 4xe vehicles demonstrate how we continue to push the envelope as we develop our next generation of electrified Jeep 4xe vehicles that can take 4×4 capability to the next level and conquer the seemingly impossible.”
The mighty Rubicon Trail is located in northern California, near Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This world-renowned 4×4 playground spans approximately 22 miles of the toughest off-road terrain on the planet – terrain that Jeep Trail Rated 4×4 vehicles are designed and built to overcome. Jeep Jamboree covers 17.5 miles of the toughest terrain on its trail rides. Elevations on the trail range from approximately 5,400 feet to more than 7,000 feet (approximately 1,646 meters to more than 2,134 meters). Today, the Rubicon is widely recognized as the premiere off-road vehicle route in the United States.
“In 1953, when Mark Smith organized the first Jeep Jamboree with 55 Willys and voyaged across the Sierra Nevada Mountains by way of the Rubicon Trail, off-road recreation was born,” said Pearse Umlauf, president and CEO of Jeep Jamboree. “The following year, Willys Motors — then manufacturer of Jeep vehicles — became involved with the adventure, and Jeep Jamborees have been an off-road tradition ever since and continue to grow. Most recently, we’ve seen a huge surge of interest, especially after the COVID pandemic, with a tremendous demand from people who want to experience their Jeep vehicles in open-air freedom.”
Jeep brand engineers have long used the Rubicon Trail to develop and test its most capable SUVs, including the Jeep Wrangler. Adorned with the legendary Rubicon Trail name, the Wrangler Rubicon took the industry by storm in the summer of 2002. The iconic Rubicon model, inspired by the enthusiasts who dreamt about it and often tried to build one of their own, became available to order straight from the factory, not to mention with a warranty. It was equipped with options unheard of at the time and not available on any production Jeep SUV, including Dana 44 axles, front and rear lockers, disconnecting sway bar, rock rails, oversized 31-inch mud-terrain tires and wheel flares, to truly take off-roading to the next level.
The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon continues to be a “proof of concept” for the Jeep brand, where lessons learned from iconic off-road locations like Rubicon Trail and where feedback gleaned from enthusiasts and Jeep brand loyalists continue to push the brand and the entire Jeep lineup forward. Earlier this year, the Jeep brand celebrated with a special 20th Anniversary Edition, revealed at the 2023 Chicago Auto Show.