For those of you looking for the most challenging trail in Moab, look no further than Upper Helldorado. Located in the rockcrawler's paradise known as Area BFE, this 1/4-mile stretch of canyon provides plenty of action-packed carnage for the extremist in all of us.
This year, we tagged along with a very capable group of industry pros including Walker Evans and Mac McMillan of Fab Fours. The very first obstacle separates the men from the boys, as lockers and ample flex are required equipment. Next, a slightly off-camber accent with a large under-cut ledge ensures only the smallest of rigs will progress without bruises. The third obstacle forces drivers to choose between one of two lines, both of which make the toughest section of the Rubicon Trail look like child's play. Either take the route to the left and hope your bellypan doesn't get hung on a large boulder with very abrupt drop-offs on three sides, or take the squeeze to the right and admit that carnage is almost a guarantee. From there, the canyon floor is a simple 200-foot jaunt until sands succumb to a 14-foot granite dry waterfall, which happens to be one of the more photo-friendly venues in Moab. The waterfall has been driven a number of times without use of a winch, though many more have ended up on their lid attempting the climb.
Helldorado is not for your daily driver, and if you decide to run it, plan on stopping off at the Area BFE's donation station, because, after all, BFE Films purchased this land to keep it open for all of us to use. Don't forget to carry trash bags.
Location: Area BFE (south of Moab)
Length: 1/4 mile from start to finish
Time to run: 1/2 hour to 3 days, depending on equipment and driver skill.
How to get there: (from downtown Moab) Go south on Hwy. 191, approximately 13 miles. Just after the uphill passing lane comes to an end, take the first left (this comes quickly, so be prepared). Follow the maintained dirt road and signs for about 3 miles to the cleared parking area on the left. The trailhead can be accessed by a narrow ledge-road leading down into the canyon below. The trail is marked by a fabricated metal sign.
Trailhead GPS waypoint: N 38 24.352,80', W 109 24.414,66'