Erick,Erick said:Funny Syndicate would mention this, but my friend who was planning on riding along in my X for this trip was just talking to me and he needs to be back by 5:00pm in San Diego. Are there points of the trail, or a location that we can safely split off from the group to head home a little earlier?
According to the Wells guidebook (Guide to So Cal Backroads & 4WD Trails) the route up Rattlesnake Canyon and out Burns Canyon to Yucca Valley is just over 32 miles. They say to allow 4 hours. Last year we stopped for lunch at a great mine site, and with 16 trucks it took us most of the day to get up to Big Bear (we did not Burns Canyon last year). We may be starting earlier this year, but hard to say what the trail conditions will be like.
I looked at the book and don't see any alternate short routes out of there. If we have as big of a group as last year I don't see us making the kind of time you would need to be back in San Diego by 5:00PM. Depending on the route you take your still looking at 2.5 - 3 hours once you hit pavement, whether its Big Bear or Yucca Valley. I guess you could always skip the lunch stop and just power over the trail, but that does not sound like much fun to me.
Might want to check out the trip description in Wells' book, its number 43 and part of 42
Hope this helps.