Cruise Moab, brought to you by Rising Sun 4WD Club

Trail rating system

We have updated our rating system to the 1-10 scale used by Red Rock 4-Wheelers, the local Moab club. Our ratings are similar to theirs, but some trails are rated differently by Cruise Moab, so please read carefully. Here is our guide and vehicle requirements for the new rating scale.

No system can accurately compare trails for all vehicles in any weather. We assign numbers based on the experiences of our trail leaders driving (and observing others driving) the various trails. Still, we have trails that are only moderately difficult for short wheelbase vehicles but are almost impassable to pickups, while some of our most difficult hills (e.g., White Knuckle, Double Whammy) are easier for long wheelbase than for short wheelbase. Rain changes sand from difficult to easy, but changes clay from easy to impassable. Sandstone "slickrock" gives good traction when first wet, but after it is tracked with sand, it can be like driving on tiny ball bearings.

The rating number is based on the MOST DIFFICULT obstacle. DO NOT EXPECT OBSTACLES OF THAT LEVEL ALL DAY. The rating is not meant to be a challenge, but is often a warning about one or more difficult places on an otherwise easier, scenic ride. READ THE TRAIL DESCRIPTIONS FOR SPECIFIC DIFFICULTY INFORMATION for vehicles that may be long, wide, or having owner concern about the paint.

Trail leaders often calibrate their rating with the notion that 4 is the highest rating that should be attempted by a stock 4X4.

The following ratings are for Moab area roads in dry conditions. The effect of snow or rain varies greatly depending upon the altitude of the roads and the type of soil the bed consists of. Driver Beware!

Guidelines for our difficulty ratings are as follows:

Rating

Trails at this rating

Description

Driver Experience

Minimum Tire Size

Lockers

1

 

County dirt road maintained for high clearance 2WD and 4WD use in adverse conditions.

Novice

stock

Not needed

2

Chicken Corners

County dirt road with infrequent or light maintenance after rain or snow, 2WD high clearance with low gears, otherwise light duty 4WD.

Novice

stock

Not needed

3

 

Road with frequent use, but seldom maintained. Dirt, sand and slick rock surfaces, with mud holes possible (note: maybe impassable when wet due to soil composition.). 4WD recommended under most circumstances due to ruts or wash erosion.

Novice

stock

 

4

Elephant Hill

Fins & Things

Road surface consisting of loose rock, dirt, and sand with some slickrock surfaces. Erosion, washes, gulches and rock steps no higher than 12". 4WD is recommended with good ground clearance and driving skills. Aggressive tires and limited slip would be a plus. Water and mud is possible.

Novice

31"

 

5

Flat Iron Mesa

Gold Bar Rim

Poison Spider Mesa

Porcupine Rim

Wipe Out Hill

Road surfaces are rutted, rocky and sandy with steps not exceeding 14", with considerable slickrock surfaces. Water not exceeding 12" with some mud possible. Good vehicle approach and departure angles are helpful. Tall tires (33" plus) and traction added device (lockers, limited slips) is recommended. Above average driving skills are desirable.

Intermediate

33"

Rear locker recommended

6

Cliff Hanger

Hells Revenge

Kane Creek Canyon

Metal Masher

San Rafael Swell

Kokopelli

Roads are difficult with considerable erosion damage repaired just enough to be passable. Water in excess of 12" is possible with mud conditions. Steps not exceeding 24". Tall tires (33" plus) with traction added devices (lockers, limited slips) are recommended. A winch would be a plus. Enhanced suspension travel and ground clearance are helpful. Excellent driving skills are recommended.

Intermediate

33"

Rear locker required

7

Behind the Rocks

Golden Spike

Moab Rim

Trail consists of rock; sand and considerable slickrock with many steps exceeding 24". Steep inclines and declines are prevalent. Enhanced off road equipment is required including locking devices (front & rear), tall tires, maximum vehicle ground clearance, and tow hooks. A winch is desirable. Excellent driving skills are required. Vehicle mechanical or body damage is likely. Roll over possibilities exist.

Experienced

33"

Rear locker required.

Front locker recommended.

8

Pritchett Canyon

Extreme trail similar to #7 except a bit more extreme. Excellent driving skills are required. Vehicle damage is likely. Equipment or mechanical damage is probable.

Experienced

35"

Two lockers required.

9

 

 

Extreme and beyond, similar to #8. Vehicle damage is likely. Excellent driving skills are required. Roll over is very common. Winches, spare parts and tools are recommended. Be prepared to spend the night on the trail. Beyond the capability of most modified stock vehicles.

Experienced

35"

Two lockers required.

10

 

Let the carnage begin! Buggy territory. Street driven 4X4’s should not attempt this trail. Modified factory vehicles will not be able to complete this trail.

Experienced

35"

Two lockers required.

 

NOTE: Rising Sun attempts to keep the trail ratings current, based on our own assessments of each trail as well as the assesments by the Red Rock 4 Wheelers Club in Moab. However, weather and usage constantly alters the routes. In 2007, heavy rains changed Kane Creek from a moderate trail to impassable in an afternoon. It is always wise to obtain the most up-to-date information prior to departing for a trip, and be prepared. Remember, turning back is usually an option as well.

Please choose your trail wisely, with honest appraisal of your equipment and experience in this terrain. We urge you to err on the "easy" side during Cruise Moab. Feel free to stress your rig to the breaking point any other time of the year.