There are few wheeling destinations as well known as the off-road mecca that is Moab, Utah. This is partly due to the annual Easter Jeep Safari that thousands of 4x4 enthusiasts flock to each year. Motorcycle riders have Sturgis, Jeepers have Moab. With over 30 designated OHV trails and amazing scenery everywhere you turn, Moab is one of the most enjoyable and picturesque places you can wheel.
We understand that wheeling a new place like Moab can be a bit intimidating and overwhelming, so we’ve compiled a list of our favorite red rock wheeling spots. Many of our top picks don’t require an overly built rig, so don’t feel as though you have to be Mr. Hardcore on your first trail ride. Conversely, some of our most well-liked trails have obstacles that will keep even the most skilled driver and rig on their toes.
If you are looking for the complete Moab experience then we suggest signing up with the Red Rock 4-Wheelers (www.rr4w.com) for next year’s Easter Jeep Safari. Regardless of what you wheel, signing up for the Safari is a great way to learn the trail system with a group of like-minded enthusiast and trail veterans. No matter how you choose to explore Moab’s trails, we suggest never doing it alone. The old adage of seeing isn’t looking is important to remember. If you are unsure of what’s ahead, it is always better to get out of the vehicle and double check. Moab is a beautiful place full of high-top mesas, breathtaking scenery, and white-knuckle wheeling. Enjoy the scenery—just be careful not to become a part of it!
Difficulty ratings are from Red Rock 4-Wheelers and based on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the most difficult.
Despite the aggressive name, the Hell’s Revenge trail is an easy way to get a taste of what Moab is all about. The trail consists of a host of fins, steep climbs, and Moab’s famous slickrock that is traction rich to say the least. A stock 4x4 is more than capable of completing the trail, but you may have to bypass some of its famous obstacles like Hell’s Gate, Escalator, or one of the many hot tubs. Depending on traffic, expect to spend a few hours on the trail, but it’s generally a quick run. This is one of our favorite trails and a great place to soak in the scenery while testing your skills behind the wheel.
GPS Coordinates: 38, 34’, 31”/Lon: 109, 31’, 19”
Difficulty Rating: 6
If you are up for a challenge and have a day to commit, then Pritchett Canyon is the place to go. This rocky and off-camber trail is one of Moab’s most challenging and requires wheeling prowess and a properly modified rig. The more famous obstacles include Rocker Knocker, Rock Pile, and Yellow Hill. Most of the more difficult obstacles have bypasses and/or winch points so you can safely make it through. Body damage is likely on this trail and a good spotter will be priceless on some of the more off-camber spots. In this modern age of cell phone cameras and YouTube videos, you can find countless clips of people wheeling some of the more famed spots along the trail. Stock rigs stay at bay.
GPS Coordinates: 38, 32’, 8”/Lon: 109, 35’, 55”
Difficulty Rating: 9
No, 3-for-1 is not the name of the trail, but it is what you get when you start out on Poison Spyder Mesa and end on Gold Bar Rim. As luck (or careful planning) would have it, Poison Spider Mesa, Golden Spike, and Gold Bar Rim all connect. The trail trifecta requires an all day commitment, but you will encounter such famous spots as Golden Crack and Double Whammy, all while overlooking some of the most amazing scenery in Moab. Small-to-large ledges, along with a series of fins will keep your eyes sharply glued to the tracks ahead. In total, there are just enough obstacles along the way to keep you hardcore guys entertained, but with enough scenery and bypasses that less modified rigs can enjoy the journey as well. This isn’t a trip we would try in a stock rig by any means, but a good wheelman can pilot a modestly modified vehicle through the entire trail trio. Again, this is a long day, but well worth it.
GPS Coordinates: 38, 32’, 1”/Lon: 109, 36’, 24”
Difficulty Rating: 5 to 7
This dead-end trail will get your blood racing, but the challenges are more mental than vehicle trying. A series of ledges and climbs will keep you on your toes from the start and will likely provide your rear bumper with some new trail scars. While a 1,300-foot rise in elevation will give you a tremendous view of the creek below, the closest you come to cliff hanging is the off-camber left at the end of the trail. It will feel much worse than it actually is. This has become one of our favorite night wheeling trails as it’s close to town and you can get in and out (depending on trail traffic) in relatively short time.
GPS Coordinates: 38, 31’, 27”/Lon: 109, 36’, 5”
Difficulty Rating: 7
As the only trail that has Moab in its name, it is a must do for the person looking to get a taste of the high-elevation wheeling that Moab has to offer. This may be one of the spookiest trails in all of Moab as you are forced to tackle an off-camber section that pitches you towards the Colorado River—oh, and a nearly thousand-foot drop! This trail is not for the novice wheeler or faint of heart, but like most of Moab, much of the challenge is mental. Once you shake your nerves, you will enjoy the view and wheeling to be had. We say do it at least once so you can have that notch on your belt.
GPS Coordinates: 38, 33’, 34”/Lon: 109, 34’, 56”
Difficulty Rating: 7
Kane Creek Canyon
At 20 miles, Kane Creek Canyon is no short jaunt. Expect to spend a fair amount of time getting to the trail as well. The trail stays true to its name and snakes along a creek bed and passes through dozens of creek crossings—some of which can get pretty deep. Don’t be surprised if you find a little mud along the way, which may be a relief since Moab can be especially dusty. Towards the end of the trail the elevation will rise, and as the scenic view increases, so will the difficulty.
GPS Coordinates: 38, 27’, 58”/Lon: 109, 36’, 2”
Difficulty Rating: 6
The Upper Helldorado trail may be one of Utah’s most well known. This short trail is actually located inside Area BFE, which is a private wheeling park that sits just on the edge of town. The park is free to ride (donations are gladly accepted and put to good use) and open year-round. Upper Helldorado is a mesh of huge boulders, windshield crushing squeezes, and an epic waterfall obstacle at the end. If you have the wheelbase and skills, driving out of the trail unscathed and winch-free is possible. If Upper Helldorado sounds like more than you want to bargain for, don’t count out Area BFE completely. Along with the famous hardcore trail selection is a bevy of other trails, ranging from very mild to downright extreme. Like most of Moab, this is not a place that you want to wheel alone.
GPS Coordinates: 38, 24’, 21”/Lon: 109, 24’, 24”
Difficulty Rating: 8