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Red Rock Recap: We Take You Through the Streets and Trails of the 2018 Moab Easter Jeep Safari

Posted in Moab Experience: 2018 on May 9, 2018
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Photographers: Four Wheeler Staff

The annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari is a certainty for us at Four Wheeler. It’s a fuel-injected week of off-road obsession we cement into our calendars 364 days in advance. The event draws Jeep and 4x4 enthusiasts to Moab, Utah, from across the globe. The hours of sleep are few, the miles of dusty trails are many, and the stories are endless.

Rather than write a novel extolling the virtues of this fabled slickrock utopia known as Moab, we’ll take you on a photographic tour of our week at the 2018 Easter Jeep Safari. Read on to see some of the highlights of this incredible week.

After a one-wheel Jeep wave, this driver completed the Gatekeeper obstacle at AreaBFE’s most challenging trail—Helldorado.
Part of the fun in Moab is prowling the parking lots for cool rigs before they venture off onto the trails. We found this fully outfitted Land Rover Defender 90 parked while the pilots gathered supplies at the market.
Even though this was Jeep Safari week, there were still plenty of non-seven-slotted vehicles to ogle at. We caught one of the elusive Volkswagen Synchro vans washing off. The van was loaded down with water, fuel, adventure gear, and of course, four-wheel drive.
After 11 years of wrenching, this Trooper finally made its way from Georgia to the Moab slickrock. The owner swapped in a solid front axle, a 4.3L V-6 GM engine, a 700R4 transmission, Toyota transfer case, and traded the stock rear axle for one out of an Isuzu Rodeo.
With a winch, bumper, and larger tires, this Jeep Commander from Iowa went from totaled to trailworthy. The owner told us he bought the rig after it had an unfortunate collision with a deer.
Photo: Rick Péwé and Traci Clark
On a trail called The Pickle, we found a Land Rover Perentie 6x6 making this waterfall look simple, thanks to the two extra tires it had over the usual competition.
Photo: Rick Péwé and Traci Clark
Shorter wheelbase vehicles, like this flatfender Jeep, put on more of a show climbing The Pickle’s waterfall.
We spent some time just south of Moab at AreaBFE. This 320-acre recreation park is open all year and is free to the public (donations are accepted, however). We caught up with participants of the Patriot Crawl as they navigated the Helldorado trail. Even Jeeps with locked axles and sticky tires came close to tipping on the Gatekeeper obstacle. This Jeep’s passenger-side decal kept the day’s events in perspective.
The Helldorado trail finishes with a near-vertical waterfall that almost always requires a winch.
Photo: Andrew Huang
Baja Designs hosted a night run through the outskirts of AreaBFE. The driver of this Jeep backed away from Suicide Hill, avoiding damage.
Photo: Rick Péwé and Traci Clark
Of all the JL Wranglers we saw in Moab, the military-green Code1 had some of the largest tires. The 42-inch Maxxis Trepadors gave this Jeep more than enough clearance to descend the infamous ledge drop on the Steelbender trail.
Photo: Traci Clark
The ledge climbs on the Steelbender trail can send your tires toward the sky if you pick the wrong line. This Jeep needed some help from a winch to put the rubber side back down to the rock.
Photo: Stuart A. Bourdon
Our colleague Verne Simons told us his strategy for The Gravy Bowl was to crawl into the hole, dry off the tires, then climb out. The 505ci big-block engine in his ’49 Wicked Willys rig must have gotten thirsty for oil during this climb, because it developed a nasty tick. To avoid launching a piston through the hood, he limped the truck back to the trailer. Upon dissection, Verne told us he found more chunks of chewed-up bearings in the oil pan than he’s used to.
Photo: Trent McGee
The Kane Creek Canyon trail is nearly 20 miles long and for the most part, is a leisurely cruise in and out of Kane Creek’s many water crossings. The trail earns its difficulty rating in the last couple miles, where it climbs from the creek bed and out to the highway along a narrow shelf road. This F-250 Super Duty made the first ledge look easy. A quick hike into the canyon below might afford you a peek at the remains of a wrecked Jeep of yesteryear.
Photo: Stuart A. Bourdon
A trip to Moab is never complete without a loop around the Hell’s Revenge trail. We caught up with a Red Rock 4-Wheelers run as the Jeeps descended the trail’s steepest slickrock plunge. No fancy equipment necessary for this obstacle, but nerves and brakes alike are certainly tested.
Photo: Verne Simons
Moab offers nearly all possible types of terrain—the famous slickrock, miles of dirt roads, snow in the upper elevations of the La Sal Mountains, and even sand dunes. We found this lifted JL Wrangler slinging sand with its 40-inch tires near Moab.
Cool off-road toys sometimes require even cooler tow rigs to get them to the trailhead. We found an International KB-5 with what appears to be a truckload of turbocharged diesel power.
This third-gen Ford Bronco had six cylinders in a row, a sharp blue paintjob, and was conquering a pucker-inducing section of off-camber trail at AreaBFE.
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