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4x4 On Safari - Trail Guide Moab Survival Guide

Posted in Features on May 1, 2004
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3-DRating: 3Location: This trail tours Hidden Canyon, Lunar Canyon, and Brink Spring north of Highway 313 and west of Highway 191. The trailhead is about 14 miles north of Moab on Highway 191 near mile marker 141.Description: 3-D winds along beautiful canyon bottoms and past the Entrada sandstone rock formations. A handful of obstacles such as Airport Hill, the Wall, and Mean Hill might pose problems for stock rigs. The trail crosses sandy washes, two-track dirt roads, some slickrock, and a few ledges.

Behind The RocksRating: 4+Trailhead:Lat: 38 26' 24" / Lon: 109 25' 44" Location: From Moab, take Highway 191 south about 13 miles to a county road on the right. Head west. Follow the county road above Kane Creek Canyon to the top of the Pritchett Canyon Trail, then turn up Hunter Canyon.Description: Behind the Rocks is an extreme trail. Rollovers and breakdowns are fairly common. Certain obstacles, such as White Knuckle Hill, cannot be bypassed. This trail also provides some wonderful views of the region's sculpted sandstone domes and fins.

Tip ToeRating: 3-1/2Trailhead: Lat: 38 26' 24" / Lon: 109 25' 44"Location: Tip Toe leaves Highway 191 about 13 miles south of Moab just after climbing a long hill on the highway. The exit is on the right going to the west.Description: Tip Toe is a less-extreme version of the Behind the Rocks trail. With only a handful of minor rock ledges to traverse, this trail is better suited for stock rigs than its bigger brother. It offers similar views as Behind the Rocks, as well as opportunities to watch other drivers tackling High Dive, Upchuck, and White Knuckle hills on the version rated 4+.

Chicken CornersRating: 2Trailhead: Lat: 38 28' 55" / Lon: 109 37' 29"Location: Head out of Moab on Kane Creek Road at the McDonald's on 191. Follow Kane Creek Road for about 11 miles, then take the right toward Hurrah Pass. From there, it's about 9 miles to the end of the trail.Description: As you climb Hurrah Pass, there are some very scenic views of the Colorado River Gorge and Kane Creek Canyon. Once at the top, the trail follows the rim overlooking the Colorado River. Since most of this trail is graded dirt and sandy two-track, there are no serious obstacles. The trail, however, runs very close to the edge of the rim, particularly where you transition from the trail to the rim itself. The drop is about 400 feet.

Cliff HangerRating: 4+Trailhead: Lat: 38 31' 27" / Lon: 109 36' 5"Location: Head out of Moab on Kane Creek Road at the McDonald's on 191. About 1 mile or so after Kane Creek Road splits away from the Colorado River Gorge, there's a small trailhead on the right. This is where Cliff Hanger begins.Description: Cliff Hanger begins with crossing Kane Creek; be sure to check the depth of the water if it has recently rained. As soon as you cross the creek, the obstacles begin, and they aren't easy. Eventually, you reach the cliff section of the trail, which features a series of ledge obstacles and panoramic views of the Colorado River and Jackson Hole. The drop-off here is several hundred feet.

Copper RidgeRating: 3Location: The trail heads east off of Highway 191, about 3 miles north of the Colorado River bridge.Description: Copper Ridge leads drivers through an area just west of Arches National Park. You'll find excellent views of the Klondike Bluffs and a number of red rock arches. Near the end of the trail, there are two steep hills mostly comprised of dirt and rock, and they're the only significant obstacles on this trail.

Crystal GeyserRating: 3Location: The trail turns off of Highway 191, just a little north of Moab.Description: Near the town of Green River, the Crystal Geyser trail runs through the Rainbow Rocks region, Salt Wash, and Little Grand Wash. There are also a handful of mining trails in the area. Unfortunately, the geyser erupts very sporadically, so don't go expecting a miniature Yellowstone.

Dome PlateauRating: 3Location: The trailhead is near the Dewey bridge crossing of the Colorado River, about 30 miles northeast of Moab on Highway 128.Description: Comprised mostly of dirt, the trail meanders through the area east of Arches National Park and north of the Colorado River. There are a number of arches to be found here as well as a nice view of the Colorado River. The only difficult obstacle is Again and Again Hill, which is mostly loose rock.

Golden SpikeRating: 4+Trailhead: Lat: 38 32' 44" / Lon: 109 35' 43"Location: Head northwest out of Moab on Highway 191. A mile or so past the Colorado River bridge, turn south on Highway 279 (Potash Road). After about 6 miles you'll find the trail; head for Poison Spider Mesa, which shares its beginning section with Golden Spike. The trail winds back above the Colorado River and Highway 279.Description: Originally developed as a connection between the Poison Spider Mesa and Gold Bar Rim trails, Golden Spike is replete with amazing scenery and extremely difficult obstacles. The first part of the trail covers a good portion of the Poison Spider Mesa trail, where drivers face challenges such as the Wedge. The first big obstacles on Golden Spike are the Launching Pad and Suzuki Hill, followed by a long stretch with few challenges, which leaves time to enjoy views of the Colorado River gorge and the fin country. The final section of Golden Spike is famous for such obstacles as the Golden Crack, the Golden Stairs, Double Whammy, and the Body Snatcher. Rollovers, broken parts, and body damage are common.

Elephant HillRating: 3-1/2Trailhead :Lat: 38 8' 31" / Lon: 109 49' 35"Location: This trail is in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, about 75 miles from Moab. Take Highway 191 south out of Moab for about 40 miles, then turn west on Highway 211 and go another 35 miles. Maps can be found at the ranger station.Description: This area is famous for its sandstone rock formations and spectacular views of the Green and Colorado Rivers. The Elephant Hill trail presents a wide variety of obstacles, with some of the more popular being slippery Elephant Hill, Squeeze Play, and the Silver Stairs.

Fins And ThingsRating: 3-1/2Trailhead: Lat: 38 34' 47" / Lon: 109 29' 55"Location: The trail begins a few miles east of Moab on Sand Flats Road. You pass the Moab dump, Lion's Back, Hell's Revenge, and the Slickrock Bike trail along the way. The trail starts shortly thereafter on the right, although there are a number of turn-offs.Description: Most of this trail is slickrock, with some deep sandy sections along the way. The trail wanders through the slickrock fins on the south side of Sand Flats Road heading east, then it crosses the road and works its way to the north side in a westerly direction. One long series of steep climbs and descents, Fins and Things never gets boring. There are also great views of the La Sal Mountains and Porcupine Ridge along the way.

Flat Iron MesaRating: 4Trailhead :Lat: 38 21' 26" / Lon: 109 26' 2"Location: The trailhead is about 18 miles south of Moab on Highway 191. Flat Iron Mesa is the area south of Kane Creek and west of Highway 191.Description: This trail demands some technical driving skill. In addition to loose rock hills and a variety of steep, difficult ledges, there are also some very tight turns that wind along a cliff edge. At its peak, the trail offers a view from about 700 feet down into Hatch Canyon.

Gold Bar RimRating: 3-1/2Trailhead: Lat: 38 35' 59" / Lon: 109 44' 22"Location: The trail leaves Highway 191 to the west, about 7 miles north of the Colorado River bridge. The trail follows Little Canyon, then turns back toward the Rim through Gold Bar Canyon.Description: Always a big draw, this trail takes drivers up to the Gold Bar rim cliff, which sits 1,200 feet above Highway 191 and offers brilliant panoramic views in every direction. The trail also takes drivers to Bull Canyon and offers a nice view of Gemini Bridges.

Hell's RevengeRating: 4Trailhead:Lat: 38 34' 31" / Lon: 109 31' 19"Location: The Hell's Revenge trail begins just a little more than 1 mile northeast of Moab on Sand Flats Road. You'll pass the Moab dump on the right and Lion's Back on the left.Description: This trail takes drivers through vast expanses of slickrock and is comprised of sharp turns and very steep climbs and descents. It begins at the well-known Dump Bump and from there wanders back into red rock country. There are narrow ridges that require very precise driving, and obstacles such as Tip-Over Challenge that have sent many vehicles onto their sides. The final obstacle here is Rubble Trouble Hill. During the course of the day, your trail guide may point out Hell's Gates, two steep, deep crevasses that are extremely difficult for even the best built rigs. The Gates are not an official part of the Hell's Revenge trail, but they're worth checking out.

Hole In The RockRating: 4Trailhead:Lat: 37 29' 47" / Lon: 110 33' 38"Location: This trail is nearly 150 miles from Moab. Take Highway 191 south past Blanding, then take Highway 95 west. At Highway 176, turn left toward Hall's Crossing. The Hole in the Rock trailhead is on the west side of the small airport. The trail itself is 30 miles each way.Description: This trail is amongst the most remote anywhere, so be sure to go prepared. The vast wilderness of sandstone provides an interesting array of non-stop challenges, although the Chute is among the more famous obstacles. At one spot on the trail is an overlook that provides a grand view of the San Juan River. Each side of the trail will take most of a day to traverse.

Hellroaring RimRating: 3Trailhead:Lat: 38 55' 13" / Lon: 109 48' 18"Location: Take Highway 191 north out of Moab to Highway 313, then go west past the Dubinky Well Road. The trail is on Mineral Point between Highway 313 and the Green River.Description: This rim trail provides some spectacular views down into Labyrinth and Hell Roaring Canyons. One of the ridges is high enough that it offers 50-mile views in all directions. Erosion has made this trail more difficult in the past few years, with most trail surfaces consisting of packed dirt, sand, and a little slickrock.

Hey Joe CanyonRating: 3Trailhead: Lat: 38 47' 18" / Lon: 110 0' 5"Location: Take Highway 191 north out of Moab, then turn west on Highway 313. The trail spurs left off the junction with Dubinky Well Road about 1-1/2 miles after leaving Highway 313.Description: This trail takes drivers down through Labyrinth Canyon in the Green River Gorge and through Spring Canyon. The scenery is amazing, especially as you drop down along the ledge road. The trail ends at the Hey Joe Canyon mining ruins, at which point it doubles back through Labyrinth Canyon. Drivers should expect some pinstriping along the canyon bottoms.

Hotel RockRating: 3-1/2Location: Exit Highway 95 just as you climb out of Comb Wash between mile markers 107 and 108. After turning north off Highway 95, go north 2.3 miles. Just before crossing the creek, turn left along the creek's south side. In a few tenths of a mile, you'll go through a gate and there will be a registration box for the Arch Canyon trail. The trailhead for Hotel Rock is within sight of the registration box, but back to the east and on the north side of the creek.Description: Both trails are in Southeastern Utah about 20 miles west of Blanding off Highway 95. Arch Canyon is an easy to moderate trail about 8 miles long that stays in the bottom of the canyon the whole way. It crosses the creek more than 30 times. Hotel Rock is a shorter but much more difficult trail located above Arch Canyon on the north side. Both offer incredible scenery and Anasazi ruins.

Kane Creek CanyonRating: 3-1/2Trailhead:Lat: 38 27' 58" / Lon: 109 36' 2"Location: Head out of Moab on Kane Creek Road at the McDonald's on 191. Stay to the left at the junction where the Hurrah Pass trail forks off to the right. Kane Creek Canyon borders the Behind the Rocks area on the south between the Colorado River and Highway 191.Description: For those who enjoy water crossings, this canyon trail is the ultimate: You'll do so about 60 times. Be cautious of sudden heavy rains in the area because the creek rises quickly. Also, keep an eye out for quicksand. This deep canyon is beautiful and offers a variety of colors and terrain from beginning to end.

Lockhart BasinRating: 3-1/2Trailhead: Lat: 38 25' 45" / Lon: 109 41' 18"Location: Take Kane Creek Road off Highway 191 out of Moab to Hurrah Pass.Description: This is a beautiful trail with a variety of surfaces, from sandy washes to steep, rocky ledges. There are spectacular views of the Abajo Mountains and the Needles area of Canyonlands National Park.

Metal MasherRating: 4Trailhead: Lat: 38 39' 22" / Lon: 109 40' 34"Location: Head north out of Moab on Highway 191. About 7 miles north of the Colorado River bridge, turn west on the dirt road that leadsinto Little Canyon. The trail encompasses the area between Little Canyon and Highway 313 to the west.Description: A mix of impressive scenery and serious obstacles, Metal Masher is a Moab favorite. Rising to 1,300 feet, Arth's Rim offers great views of Arches National Park and a stretch of Highway 191 between Gold Bar Rim and Highway 313. A stop in Little Canyon allows time to take in the high vertical walls and the Goony Bird. Among the obstacles that will threaten your sheetmetal are Widow Maker, Mirror Gulch, Mother-in-Law Hill, and Rock Chucker.

Porcupine RimRating: 3Trailhead: Lat: 38 34' 54" / Lon: 109 24' 55"Location: The trail turns off of Sand Flats Road about 9 miles from Moab. It covers the country north of Sand Flats Road and west of Porcupine Rim, which forms the west wall of Castle Valley.Description: The awesome views of the La Sal Mountains and Castle Valley are the primary draws on this long, bumpy trail. It runs parallel to Negro Bill Canyon before quickly climbing up to Porcupine Rim, where the surrounding views are fantastic. Picture Rock offers a good background for photos, with a 1,500-foot drop-off and the La Sals in the distance.

Moab RimRating: 4+Trailhead: Lat: 38 33' 34" / Lon: 109 34' 56"Location: Head out of Moab on Kane Creek Road at the McDonald's on Highway 191. The trailhead is about 2-1/2 miles up Kane Creek Road on the left.Description: The staggering views of Moab Valley, the La Sal Mountains, and Arches National Park make the Moab Rim trail a worthy challenge, but the steep angles; sharp, irregular ledges; and twists and turns don't make it easy. Obstacles such as the Devil's Crack and the Z Turn lay vehicles on their sides every year. Without lockers, the ascent is almost impossible. At the top, the trail wanders through Native American ruins and is relatively easygoing.

Poison Spider MesaRating: 4Trailhead: Lat: 38 32' 1" / Lon: 109 36' 24"Location: Head north out of Moab on Highway 191. About a mile past the Colorado River bridge, turn west on Highway 279. The trailhead is about 6 miles ahead on the right.Description: This trail is relatively close to town and offers a wide range of terrain and obstacles. There are a variety of rock ledges and steep slickrock, but many of the most difficult obstacles have bypasses. Along the trail, you'll have views of the Colorado River Gorge and the Behind the Rocks area, as well as a panoramic view from the 1,000-foot cliff rim.

Pritchett CanyonRating: 5Trailhead :Lat: 38 32' 8" / Lon: 109 35' 55"Location: Head out of Moab on Kane Creek Road at the McDonald's on Highway 191. The trailhead is about 4-1/2 miles ahead inside a campground. It lies just south of the Moab Rim trail.Description: Although it is only 3 miles long, this deeply walled canyon trail is one of the most difficult in Moab. Large bedrock steps form most of the obstacles, and only a couple have bypasses. Names such as Rocker Knocker, Rock Pile, and Yellow Hill have become well known to the hard-core four-wheelers who traverse the canyon, and even those with well-built machines find that winching is almost a necessity here. Once at the trail's end, it is 17 miles back to Highway 191.

Rose Garden HillRating: 4Trailhead: Lat: 38 41' 20" / Lon: 109 13' 12"Location: Take Highway 191 north out of Moab, then head east on Highway 128. After about 21 miles, follow the dirt road heading south that marks the beginning of the trail.Description: Rose Garden Hill is a shorter, more difficult version of the Top of the World trail. It provides some great views down into Cottonwood Canyon, but the most beautiful scenery is on an optional route on the return trip through the Onion Creek Narrows. The Rose Garden Hill obstacle is a long, steep hill with bedrock steps and loose, eroded rock that makes for a difficult ascent. The trail then climbs onto the southern part of Waring Mesa, where the Dolores River Canyon comes into view.

Secret SpireRating: 2-1/2Trailhead: Lat: 38 41' 4" / Lon: 109 54' 56"Location: Head north out of Moab on Highway 191, then turn west on Highway 313. Follow 313 to the Dubinky Well Road, which exits to the northwest. The trailhead is just this side of the Dubinky Well about 7 miles from Highway 313.Description: Covering the so-called island area between the Colorado and Dolores Rivers, this trail consists mostly of sandy dirt and is relatively easy. The steeply-walled canyons are very interesting, as it's the tall sandstone spire that gave the trail its name.

Strike RavineRating: 3-1/2Trailhead: Lat: 38 26' 24" / Lon: 109 25' 44"Location: Strike Ravine leaves Highway 191 going east about 12 miles south of Moab.Description: This trail covers the terrain east of Highway 191. It features rocky creek bottoms with occasional boulders and ledges, with one difficult hill climb. The variegated canyon walls are unique, and occasional views of the La Sals are spectacular.

Seven Mile RimRating: 3-1/2Trailhead: Lat: 38 40' 48" / Lon: 109 41' 29"Location: Head north out of Moab on Highway 191 about 11 miles. The trail begins just north of Highway 313.Description: Much of this trail is on two-track dirt roads that wander past the massive Monitor and Merrimac Buttes, and provide some great views of Uranium Arch, Determination Towers, and the Book Cliffs. The difficulty rating is due to some obstacles on the south side of Merrimac Butte and a sandy hill near the end of the trail.

Steel BenderRating: 3-1/2Trailhead :Lat: 38 32' 16" / Lon: 102 28' 23"Location: Steel Bender starts on private land immediately northeast of the Moab Golf Course. It lies between Highway 191 and the La Sal Mountains.Description: This trail follows a historic wagon road that works its way to elevations as high as 6,000 feet. It features two creek crossings, numerous steep ledges, and two challenging rocky climbs that have bypasses. There are great views of rock canyons, mesas, and the La Sal Mountains.

Top Of The WorldRating: 3Trailhead: Lat: 38 48' 38" / Lon: 109 18' 16"Location: The trail splits off of Highway 128 just before the Dewey Bridge, about 30 miles northeast of Moab.Description: This trail takes an entire day to traverse, but it peaks at 7,000 feet, providing panoramic views. On the way out, drivers will go through Onion Canyon Narrows, which is also beautiful and unique.

Wipe Out HillRating: 3-1/2Trailhead: Lat: 38 43' 37" / Lon: 109 43' 18"Location: The trail begins about 14 miles north of Moab on Highway 191, near mile marker 141.Description: This trail features a variety of terrain, from sandy washes to steep, rocky ledges. Wipe Out Hill itself is the most challenging obstacle. Grand views of Determination Towers and the Monitor and Merrimac Buttes make the trip very scenic. The trail exits onto Highway 313.

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