|3D||4||The 3-D Trail tours the vicinity of colorful Hidden Canyon and Brink Spring, northwest of Moab. It visits the canyon bottom and canyon rim, and, finally, a higher overlook of the area (hence the name 3-D). A few of the hills have been known to challenge stock vehicles, but most of the tour is pleasant, scenic, family four-wheeling.
|Arches National Park Family Run||2||Explore Arches National Park via a little known 4WD route. Once in the park, our group will do the 4x4 loop within the park, stopping for lunch along the way. When we've finished this, you can explore this amazing national park on your own or head back to town. This will be an easy day of wheeling, completely appropriate for stock vehicles. The scenery will be absolutely stunning. Note that you will be required to pay a fee to enter the park.
Because this trail is in a National Park, NO DOGS ARE ALLOWED. This means you and your vehicle will not be admitted to Arches Nat'l Park if you have a dog in it, even if you promise to keep the dog inside the vehicle the entire day. If you are bringing a dog to Moab, you probably don't want to sign up for this trail unless you have made arrangements for your dog to stay elsewhere. This is a U.S. National Parks rule, and we cannot make exceptions for anyone.
|Behind the Rocks||7||The land "Behind the Rocks" is an elevated area south of Moab bounded roughly by the Moab Rim cliffs and the rim of Kane Springs Canyon, which is still farther south and west. The trail follows the most difficult of the several routes in this region.
There is an extremely steep warm-up hill soon after leaving the highway and numerous minor canyon crossings before reaching High-Dive Canyon (optional). This very steep, rough descent is a short walk upstream from a "high-dive" pour off into a lovely pool. The climb out of the small canyon can be either via a tricky ledge or the difficult Upchuck Hill (optional). A few interesting miles farther is White Knuckle Hill, which descends some huge steps from a plateau area to a lower bench. White Knuckle Hill cannot be bypassed. Going down the hill is scary enough, but be prepared for a good show while some see if they can climb it.
The rock layers behind the Moab Rim slope downward, and a virtually impenetrable area of Navajo Sandstone domes and fins is in view most of the time. Canyons, including lovely Hunters Canyon, are cut into older layers. Balcony Arch, Picture Frame Arch, and Pritchett Arch (a distant view) may be seen; other arches and bridges are nearby.
For an easier day in the same area, check out "Tip Toe Behind The Rocks" (note: we don't run this option every year).
|Buttes and Towers||3||This beautiful trail visits the scenic Courthouse Pasture area northwest of Moab to provide participants with a relaxing, moderate 4 wheeling experience along with picturesque views and vistas of the beautiful reddish Entrada rock formations that are plentiful in this area. The La Sal Mountain peaks serve as a backdrop. There are many old trails in this area and this trip combines segments of them to create a pleasant and varied experience.
|4||The Cameo Cliffs trail area is some 25 miles south of Moab near the Jax Trax trail. Jack Bickers (namesake of Jax Trax) explored this area extensively in the 1990s, and this trail is comprised of a combination of several of the old mineral exploration routes Jack discovered. The emphasis for this trip was to provide some mild 4 wheeling while maximizing the stunning views this area offers. Those looking for milder wheeling should enjoy the abundant scenery of this trip.
Bordered on the north by Utah 46, the south by Sandstone Draw, and on the west by US191, there is plenty of scenery on this trip. Some notable places are Cameo Mesa, the Dragon Rock, Yak Rock, the Four Fins Overlook, and the Wilson Arch Overlook. The La Sal Mountains and the Abajo Mountains provide distant backdrops to the desert scenery. There are two track dirt sections, some sand, a few small ledges, and some bumpy rocky sections.
A couple of shelves may require a second attempt by some. The twisty section through Pinion and Juniper trees requires precise maneuvering to avoid the branches, and a short section along a canyon edge may bother those who dislike heights.
|Chicken Corners||2||This will make for a great family day. It's a great break from bouncing around the really hard trails all day, and includes great scenery and spectacular vistas. Kids and adults will have a great time exploring some shallow caves that we'll stop at about halfway along the trail. These unusual caves were caused by erosional undermining of hard sandstone layers. Bring a flashlight for everyone!
There are two "Chicken Corners." The first is an easily driveable exposed corner. The second is at the end of the trail where you can take a short (optional) hike to the other side of a ridge, and the hiking trail gets briefly narrow. The view is well worth the risk! At the end of the trail, you can look across a deep canyon with the Colorado river at the bottom towards the Thelma and Louise point on the other side of the canyon.
The road begins as gravel but becomes mostly red dirt and sand with the occasional appearances of sandstone bedrock. There are petroglyphs (ancient rock art) at the roadside.
|Cliff Hanger||8||This trail is the only vehicle route onto Amasa Back, a rather high isolated area bounded by Kane Springs Canyon, Hurrah Pass, Jackson Hole, and a big loop of the Colorado River.
The trail gets your attention immediately as it descends a cascade of rock ledges from the Kane Creek Road to the creek bottom and climbs out again over nasty rock ledges. The creek crossing can range from dry sand to deep water, depending on recent weather. The steep, irregular ledges require good clearance and maneuverability. There are no bypasses for these obstacles. Make no mistake: this trail is difficult with many big ledges and challenging obstacles.
As you climb along the base of the sheer cliff walls of Kane Springs Canyon, the Behind-the-Rocks fins and La Sal Mountains come into view. The cliff edge looks into Jackson Hole, an abandoned river course with a central butte. A spur leads to a spectacular Colorado River view toward Moab. The farthest viewpoint, atop a sheer cliff, has a long vista down the river and is a great cliff-edge picture point. We usually have lunch here. Then we head back the way we came in.
|Copper Ridge||4||This trail is a combination of several roads north of Moab and near the western boundary of Arches National Park. It lies east of the Moab Fault, so is in younger rock formations than many of our trails. Its slickrock is the top of the Entrada Formation, and its views are often of erosions into that formation. Prominent scenic exposures are in an area called Klondike Bluffs; you may have seen a preview on your way here from Highway 191. Some of the roads are on the softer Morrison Formation, which can be impassably slippery when wet. There are eroded trail portions that can challenge nearly stock vehicles.
|Crystal Geyser||4||This trail offers breathtaking views of red rock formations and canyons. Crystal Geyser is rocky and has several steep ascents and descents, as well as a few tight turns and narrow sections that require careful navigation. Along the way, drivers will encounter a variety of obstacles, including rock formations, sand washes, and creek crossings. One of the highlights of the trail is the Crystal Geyser itself, a natural geothermal feature that periodically erupts with a plume of water and steam. Throughout the trail, drivers will also be treated to stunning views of the surrounding red rock formations and canyons, with plenty of opportunities to stop and take photos or simply soak in the beauty of the landscape.
|Deadman Springs/Point||3||The Deadman Springs/Deadman Point 4x4 trail is a popular destination for experienced off-road enthusiasts who are looking for a challenging and scenic adventure.
The trail is approximately 10 miles long and has an elevation gain of over 2,000 feet. It starts at the Poison Spider Mesa trailhead and winds through rugged terrain, including steep climbs and descents, narrow ledges, and rocky obstacles. The trail takes drivers through scenic canyons, over slickrock formations, and past towering rock formations.
One of the highlights of the trail is the Deadman Point overlook, which provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including the La Sal Mountains and the Colorado River. The overlook is located at the end of the trail and is a popular spot for taking photos and enjoying a well-deserved break after the challenging drive.
|Dome Plateau||4||Dome Plateau is located 45 minutes on pavement up highway 128 from Moab. It starts out with a taste of the Kokopelli Trail near the remains of Dewey Bridge. The trail has some small steps, some sandy climbs, and a few rocky climbs in addition to unmaintained dirt roads. Bring your camera as an overlook affords spectacular views of the Colorado River, Castle Valley and The La Sal Mountains. We’ll take a look at Dome Arch and explore a couple of caves in the Entrada Sandstone so bring a flashlight for the deeper parts of the cave!
|Elephant Hill||5||The trail enters the beautiful small canyons, called "grabens," in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park and is renowned for its challenge to stock vehicles. The tall cliffs lining the rivers are similar to those seen near Moab. Most of the surface rock formations, however, are of the Cedar Mesa Sandstone, which produces the spectacular colors of the canyons, spires, and balanced rocks that give the Needles area its name. Note that you will be required to pay a fee to enter the park.
Drivers who own 200-series Land Cruiser be warned: there is a narrow section called "The Squeeze" that is difficult for these wide vehicles. If your 200 is pristine, you might not want to risk it.
This is a long day. Bring plenty of food (two meals recommended) and lots of water. The trail requires more highway driving than most day trips - about 75 miles each way. Vehicles should be capable of maintaining 55 MPH highway speed. Plan for enough fuel to complete 175 miles of travel.
There are two optional hiking trails that we usually hike during this run, time permitting. The first is through a slot canyon right after lunch, which takes about an hour total (including 15 minutes at a very scenic valley overlook that can only be reached on foot). Later in the afternoon, there's a second, shorter hike up to an overview of the confluence of the Colorado and Green rivers. If you're capable of hiking, you won't want to miss either of these. Bring good hiking shoes (flip flops not recommended).
Because this trail is in a National Park, NO DOGS ARE ALLOWED. This means you and your vehicle will not be admitted to Canyonlands Nat'l Park if you have a dog in it, even if you promise to keep the dog inside the vehicle the entire day. If you are bringing a dog to Moab, you probably don't want to sign up for this trail unless you have made arrangements for your dog to stay elsewhere (and remember, this is a very long day). This is a U.S. National Parks rule, and we cannot make exceptions for anyone.
|Fins and Things||4||The trail is reached via the Sand Flats Road, and the territory it covers is the country east of the Hell's Revenge trail and between Grandstaff Canyon (called Negro Bill Canyon until 2017) and North Fork of Mill Creek Canyon. The "fins" are the Navajo Sandstone slickrock northeast of Moab, and the "things" are what remains as the fins erode. The views near and far are exceptionally scenic. The Navajo mounds and fins are themselves interesting, and the deep canyon system of Negro Bill adds a special dimension. Farther to the east are the red mesa rims at the base of the snow-covered La Sal Mountains. There are a few sudden and steep climbs on and off the slickrock that can be difficult for vehicles with long overhangs.
This is an excellent trail to run if this is your first Cruise Moab!
|Flat Iron Mesa||6||Flat Iron Mesa is south of Moab and is bounded by Kane Springs Canyon on the north, Hatch Wash Canyon on the west, West Coyote Canyon on the south, and Highway 191 on the east. A main road has a BLM sign, but our trail leaves the highway earlier (18 miles from town) and it quickly gets 4WD status on numerous old trails that reach fine canyon overlooks and provide some interesting four-wheeling.
Obstacles are challenging and unique. They include "The Chute" and "Tilt-A-Whirl". "Easter Egg Hill" is off camber obstacle into a large rock which could cause significant body damage with a miscalculation. "The Intimidator" is on the very last part of the trail and is a harrowingly narrow section on a cliff edge that barely allows a full-size vehicle to pass - being small is a comforting advantage. Careful tire placement and experience is critical.
|Gemini Bridges to Long Canyon||2||The Gemini Bridges to Long Canyon 4x4 trail is a scenic and moderate off-road trailthat is a popular destination for off-road enthusiasts who are looking for a fun and relatively easy adventure with stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
The trail is approximately 12 miles long and starts at the Gemini Bridges trailhead, which is located about 10 miles north of Moab. From there, it winds through scenic canyons and slickrock formations, with plenty of opportunities for taking in the breathtaking views.
One of the highlights of the trail is the Gemini Bridges, a pair of natural sandstone arches that span a deep canyon. The bridges are a popular spot for photos and a great place to stop for a break and take in the views.
The trail continues through the Long Canyon, a deep and narrow canyon with towering sandstone walls. The canyon is a popular spot for hiking and rock climbing, and visitors can often spot wildlife such as eagles, hawks, and desert bighorn sheep.
The trail is rated as moderate and is suitable for high clearance vehicles with four-wheel drive.
|Gold Bar Rim||6||Gold Bar Rim is a cliff rim that stands about 1200 feet above Highway 191's path in Moab Canyon. Because the rocks behind the cliff slope downward to the southwest, the rim has a 360° vista, including Moab and its valleys, the La Sal Mountains, the Book Cliffs, and parts of the Colorado River canyon.
The most difficult driving is up the final slopes to Gold Bar Rim and returning across Gold Bar Canyon. Some prefer to walk a short distance to the rim rather than risk their vehicles. The trail use has dug out the base of a big rock ledge on the return across Gold Bar Canyon. Many vehicles require help to get up -- but don't worry, we've never left anyone behind!
This trail is also part of the Golden Spike trail as it is the last third of that trail.
|Golden Spike||7||The Golden Spike trail is a combination of these three trails: Poison Spider, Golden Spike, and Gold Bar Rim. This is one of the tougher and longest days on the trail.
Much of the route is near the rim above Moab Valley and offers gorgeous views in all directions. After passing the Poison Spider Mesa obstacles, there is some easy slickrock driving on fins with one very steep uphill (the Launching Pad) and one steep downhill. There are tight turns in a canyon bottom and one short slickrock ledge, followed by a long stretch of ups and downs over broken rock, with a few sharp steps. The Golden Crack marks the beginning of the final nasty mile to Gold Bar Rim.
This is a long day. Bring plenty of food (two meals recommended) and lots of water.
|Hell's Revenge||6||The famous slickrock trail lies northeast of town between the Sand Flats Road and the river. Its nickname is the "Moab Rollercoaster." Large vistas sweep full circle from the La Sal Mountains through Arches National Park to the cliff rims that overlook Moab Valley. The nearby country is an amazing stretch of bare sandstone with clefts and canyons, including the Colorado River canyon. The first clump of slickrock has high mounds and steep descents that lead to a second mound that does the same thing. The major slickrock area includes steep climbs, sharp turns, and a hair-raising descent along a steep ridge with little room for error left or right. "Tip-Over Challenge" is a brief rock hill with a sandy base that requires tight maneuvering, an excellent line of attack, some help in the differentials, or the easy bypass on a slickrock fin.
|Jax Trax||5||Located in the Cameo South area 25 miles south of Moab, Jax Trax is a tribute to Jack Bickers, a legendary Moab 4x4 explorer who rediscovered the old mineral exploration roads that make up this trail back in the 1990s. The trip has been carefully chosen to provide some four wheeling challenges while maximizing the views of the abundant scenery in this area. Those looking for extreme challenges will be disappointed, but novices are advised they may want to choose a different trip also. Approximate mileages 80 overall, 16 off pavement.
The 5 rating gives the hint there won't be many obstacles worthy of names, but Jack did leave us with the "Top Notch" and "El Diablo". The latter, while not technically difficult for most vehicles, can be intimidating to the driver. But don't worry, there is a slightly easier alternate route. The trip starts out in sandy Sandstone Draw that has sections that are pretty brushy. A shelfy little climb gets one up onto a sagebrush flat that offers views of the LaSals, Cameo Mesa and Agate Point before beginning a twisting bumpy descent into the middle reaches of a wash that drains into Sandstone Draw. Next up is a twisting, wandering tour of the area, sometimes down low , sometimes higher up with sweeping vistas.
The descent down to the "Top Notch", and from there past Kokopelli Point and on down to Hook and Ladder Wash is interesting. Then the brushy, sandy bottom of Hook and Ladder is used to transition to the start of the trail named "El Diablo". That trail brings the trip up onto Cameo Ridge, and from there along the south side of Cameo Mesa to reenter Sandstone Draw close to the start at Steen Road.
|Kane Creek Canyon||7||The trail follows Kane Creek along the bottom of its canyon (officially named Kane Springs Canyon on the maps) between its mouth at the Colorado River and Highway 191. It runs in and out of the creek - more than 50 crossings - but in one area, climbs high on the canyon wall. Wet or dry, plenty of brush grows in from the sides of the road allowing for potential paint damage. The lower portion of the canyon is narrow, tortuous, and beautiful. Farther upstream, it becomes wider, straighter, and deeper (1,000 feet), but it changes character again above the junction with Hatch Wash. There, the water is clear, the bottom is gravelly rather than sandy, and the canyon is more intimate. After a storm, the creek crossings may be impassable. Ends up south of Moab.
Please note: we do not run this trail if it is raining, due to the possibility of flash floods.
|Kokopelli (double overnight run)||6||The Kokopelli 4x4 trail is an approximately 150-mile long route (starting 30 or 50 miles on the highway from the nearest gas station) that closely follows the popular mountain biking trail with the exception of a few places that aren’t passable in a 4x4. It covers a huge variety of terrain ranging from easy two-track and sand to technical rock crawling. You’ll be traversing large washes, rocky climbs, steep descents, long stretches of wide open space, obstacles, and ledges. The elevation ranges from 4,000 feet above sea level along the Colorado River to over 8,500 feet in the La Sal mountain range.
This trip will be 3 FULL days and 2 nights on the trail. We meet at Rabbit Valley at 8:30 AM Day 1 and arrive at Cruise Moab HQ late afternoon on the evening of Day 3. Previous years schedules have been:
Day 1: Castle Rocks, Bitter Creek, Westwater Ranger station, and camp at Fish Ford.
Day 2: Cisco wash, Yellow Jacket canyon, Dewey Bridge, Top of the World, and camp near Roberts Bottom.
Day 3: Colorado River Road, Onion Creek Road, the La Sal mountain road, and descending into Moab via Sand Flats Road (passing the famous trails Porcupine Rim, Hell's Revenge, and Fins & Things trails) late afternoon or evening (time not guaranteed).
You may camp at the Jouflas campground in Rabbit Valley the night before departure (on a space available basis) and meet fellow Cruise Moab participants. (Recommended, but optional)
Trip 1 will depart Monday morning and arrive in Moab on Wednesday.
Trip 2 will depart Tuesday morning and arrive in Moab on Thursday. This overlaps by one day with the other Cruise Moab trail runs (so don't choose another run for Thursday when selecting trail runs).
New in 2022: the trip will NOT include Rose Garden Hill (“RGH”). RGH has always been an adrenalin pumping challenge, but like so many Moab-area trails, it just keeps getting harder every year. It is truly challenging. The Kokopelli Double-Overnighter is an Overland style self-sufficient trip and the start of your Cruise Moab week. RGH no longer fits that description. The alternative route will have us drive 10 miles of the spectacular Colorado River Road and 10 miles up spectacular Onion Creek Road to rejoin the Kokopelli Route.
Each year’s run may change things up slightly, but the trip will be legendary as in years past.
A few things to note:
1. You can camp in Rabbit Valley the night before departure or get a hotel in Grand Junction, CO. It's up to you. The group will meet up at 8:30 a.m. on departure morning, so you'll want to be nearby.
2. Your trip leader will contact you prior to trip.
3. If you can safely carry gasoline in a legal container (outside your vehicle) an extra 5 gallons if recommended. Advise your trip leader in advance if you cannot carry extra fuel.
4. This trip traverses rugged and remote terrain where emergency assistance will not be fast or convenient. You are expected to be in suitable physical health and prepared.
You can read about past trips on www.i8hmud.com including this thread from 2019.
|Lockhart (Overnight Run)||5||The Lockhart basin trail is a long rugged and incredibly scenic route that travels South of Moab and out past Canyonlands National park. Beginning along Kane Creek Road, the track meanders along the Colorado River and turns to dirt before descending the canyon and crossing the springs. Diverging west and outward below the Anticline overlook, the path crosses Hurrah pass and opens up to the amazing views overlooking the Colorado River and beyond. In the distance, one can behold Dead Horse point, the White Rim trail, and the Islands in the Sky.
The route along Chicken Corners is another marvelous attraction before embarking on the most challenging obstacle of the Lockhart Basin trail. This difficult section ascends a narrow canyon with uneven terrain and large exposed rocks before turning right and offering another awesome rewarding vista. There is no bypass for this route and stout protection from rock sliders and skid plates is a wise precaution in the interest of vehicle preservation. W
Progressing on, the trail will ease up and continue along narrow ledges thought persistent rugged terrain for significant time and distance with ever present grandeur. Depending on our pace, we may explore and camp in nearby Lockhart Canyon, a spur road that eventually accesses the river below. As we cruise on from there, the route eventually eases up to smooth dirt track crossing past and through Indian Creek before reaching pavement again. After the opportunity to air up, we will drive out past the famous Newspaper rock and another 50 miles of paved highway to Moab. This track will cover around 135 miles and much of it is at low speeds with less than ideal fuel economy. Fuel might be available at the Needles Outpost at an inflated price, but it’s best to plan accordingly to reach Moab round trip.
Be prepared with a qualified vehicle (minimum 33” tires & ATRAC or one locker and no trailers), plenty of fuel, and plan to pack out every bit of solid material that you bring.
|Metal Masher||6.5||A major trail goal is Arth's Rim, which overlooks Highway 191 about 1,300 feet below. The route first angles up the sloping part of the cliff to a gap in the rim rock. It follows Little Canyon partway into the mesa to resume the climb along the more gentle slope of the tilted rock strata. Much of the trail is routine four-wheeling, but the approach to the rim though Mirror Gulch is difficult and threatens sheet metal, especially for wider vehicles. The road portion on the slope beneath Arth's Rim climbs to increasingly fine views of Arches National Park, Moab Valley, and the La Sal Mountains. That is just a warm-up for the later perch on the cliff top. Little Canyon has beautiful vertical walls, and a few arches may be spotted by alert riders.
|Moab Rim||7||The Moab Rim is the cliff rim seen just to the southwest of town. The four-wheel-drive-only entry point starts just downriver from town. Highlights among the many steps in the first mile are the Devils Crack and the Z-Turn. A long climb of tight, tippy, and extremely difficult ledges requires excellent driving skills and a very capable four-wheel drive rig.
The trail continues along the slope of the tilted rock layers with increasingly high overlooks of the Colorado River gorge. The rim view includes the La Sal Mountains, Moab and Spanish Valleys, some of Arches National Park and distant features such as the Book Cliffs. Behind the rim are displays of rock domes and fins and some of the rims of the Colorado River gorge farther downstream.
Please note: we do not run this trail if it is raining, due to the possibility slipping off a very high ledge and falling to your death.
|Poison Spider Mesa||6||Poison Spider Mesa forms one of the cliff features that is part of the Moab landscape northwest of town. The mesa is bordered on the east by Moab Valley and on the south by the Colorado River.
After some switchbacks, a sandy canyon leads to "The Waterfall" about two miles into the trail, where ascent is over several rock ledges. There are steep Slickrock climbs and some sand hills.
It has deservedly become one of the more popular trails because it has great scenery and because the wheeling is just challenging enough to be fun without quite being a vehicle buster. The vista across the fins of Behind the Rocks toward the La Sal Mountains is as fine as they come. The rim view overlooks Moab 1,000 feet below and includes a panorama of about 300° (which is where we usually stop for lunch).
If you have a dog in your vehicle, please bring a leash or rope to use at the lunch overlook. We don't want your dog accidentally jumping off a cliff.
|Porcupine Rim||6||This trail leaves the graded Sand Flats Road above the Slickrock Bike Trail and drops down to a ledge above Grandstaff Canyon (called Negro Bill Canyon until 2017). It crosses the headwaters of that canyon and is the only vehicle access into the vicinity of Coffee Pot Rock, a prominent landmark seen from several other trails. The climb is gradual to the cliff rim, called Porcupine Rim, above Castle Valley. The trail has good variety with some challenges for stock and slightly modified vehicles and some of the best scenic vistas in the area.
|Pritchett Canyon||9||This trail has become so difficult that it inspired a new rating of 9. Two locking differentials are required, a winch is required, 37"+ tires strongly recommended. This run is for the rock buggies, custom builds, and expert drivers. Typical mortality of vehicle parts is very high, leave the fenders and sheet metal at home. There are no easy bypasses. If you can take your eyes off the obstacles long enough, you'll find a splendidly beautiful, narrow canyon. The trail climbs the lower part of the canyon and exits via a side canyon over a divide into the Hunter Canyon system. Expect carnage.
|Rusty Nail||9||The Rusty Nail 4x4 trail is a challenging off-road experience for experienced off-road enthusiasts. It is important to note that this trail is not for the faint of heart. This trail is known for its rugged terrain, steep inclines and declines, and narrow ledges that require precise driving skills. The trail has portions with a 3-foot width, making it a tight squeeze for larger vehicles. This difficult rock crawling 4x4 trail is a “shortcut” to the most popular, and most difficult obstacles on the Golden Spike & Gold Bar Rim trails. This trail will challenge the most seasoned veteran wheeler both physically and mentally. Large, off camber, undercut ledges, true to the Moab testament, make up the majority of the obstacles on Rusty Nail. Although there are only 4 names obstacles, the trial is riddled with numerous challenges and no bypasses. There are alternate routes on a couple obstacles, but those alternate routes prove to be just as difficult if not more difficult than the main route.
|San Rafael Swell|
|6||Our annual overnight run to the San Rafael Swell is again being led by the fine folks from Wasatch Cruisers. We'll be heading to the back country of the San Rafael Swell, where two thousand square miles of narrow, circuitous canyons, scenic cliffs and towering buttes make up one of Utah's best outdoor playgrounds. Trail Leader Kurt Williams of Cruiser Outfitters has spent a great deal of time exploring this area, so you'll get to see some of the most stunning and remote parts of the Swell. It's know for being an absolutely amazing trip!
Kurt Williams of Cruiser Outfitters is once again leading the San Rafael Swell run, with plenty of support from the Wasatch Cruisers club.
|Sevenmile Rim||5||The Sevenmile Rim trail passes the old Cotter uranium mine and switches back to reach the cliff rim above the mine. The intense mining activity left a maze of core-drilling roads on the mesa top, and the trail seeks the most interesting of these. The rim views include Sevenmile Canyon, the Arches National Park area, and the Book Cliffs to the north. The trail joins other roads in the vicinity of Merrimac Butte, Monitor Butte, Determination Towers, and Big Mesa. Most of the trail is easy but has an optional climb near Uranium Arch and a sandy hill near the end that is sometimes full of holes. A sidehill slickrock portion around the south side of Merrimac Butte may be intimidating, but all of us have completed it unscathed. The last part of the trail, if used, runs the reverse direction of the Wipe-Out Hill trail in the Tusher Canyon system, and finds easy hills of the Wipe-Out trail to be hard and vice-versa.
|Steel Bender||6||The trail lies between Moab and the La Sal Mountains in the vicinity of Mill Creek, a major drainage from the mountains. It crosses the creek a few times and travels a lovely part of Mill Creek Canyon. It overlooks the North Fork of Mill Creek as it climbs to the base of South Mesa on the skirts of the La Sal Mountains. Portions of the trail are in two beautiful, but different-looking, parts of Mill Creek Canyon. Other portions ride the higher country toward the mountains and overlook canyonlands vistas toward the west from a 6,000-foot elevation. This trail's difficulty rating keeps moving around as the conflicting forces of erosion and trail repair modify the obstacles.
The major obstacle on this trail is a steep drop nicknamed “Tail of the Dragon,” which will cause anxiety for drivers of short wheelbase vehicles. The 6- to 8-foot (depending upon current trail condition) sheer drop does have a bypass, but it’s not much less intimidating with its off-camber rocky descent. We will drive this obstacle with extreme caution, one vehicle at a time. From there, the trail returns to normal, with sandy sections interrupted by rock ledges and a final creek crossing before returning to gravel road.
|The Pickle||8||The Pickle trail begins in a narrow wash that is full of obstacles. It emerges from this wash to tour the colorful Hidden Canyon northwest of Moab before climbing out to explore an exposed section of the Entrada rock formation named the Moab Tongue. It then connects to the 3D Trail to tackle the major obstacles of that trail. It then departs from the 3D Trail to tackle a thrilling descent of a rocky hill with a sharp ledge that is guaranteed to test a few skid plates.
This trip starts up a sandy wash bottom to traverse a little jaunt known as the Pickle. The obstacles start with the Dill Pickle that just hates the shorter wheelbases. A winch may be employed here a few times. Next up is a narrow passage that opens up to the Pickle Slicer. Body damage is quite possible at this obstacle. Once past this, a couple of smaller obstacles keep the drivers alert until finally, the Jalapeño Pickle will combine a climbing challenge with a sneaky thrust at the right front fender.
Departing the Pickle begins colorful Hidden Canyon and its sandy roadbed. Once through this area, a side trail is used to get to the Mashed Potatoes section. There are unending small little mounds to climb or twist around, and the Gravy Boat offers a chance for some to play. After Mashed Potatoes is left behind, the Wall and Mean Hill on the 3D Trail are encountered.
Finally, after departing from the 3D section, I Drill Hill is soon reached. It is a steep, rock-strewn hill with a sharp ledge in the middle that must be descended. If there is enough time the leader may offer the opportunity to attempt a climb of this hill.
|Top of the World||6||This trail is known for its stunning panoramic views, challenging terrain, and thrilling off-road driving experience. The trail is approximately 20 miles long and is rated as difficult, making it suitable for experienced off-road drivers with high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles. The trail starts at an elevation of around 6,000 feet and climbs up to over 8,000 feet, offering breathtaking views of the La Sal Mountains, Canyonlands National Park, and the surrounding red rock desert.
The trail features a variety of obstacles, including steep inclines, rocky climbs, narrow ledges, and deep ruts. Drivers need to navigate carefully around tight turns and steep drop-offs while dealing with loose rock and challenging terrain. Along the way, there are several opportunities to stop and enjoy the stunning scenery, including overlooks and scenic viewpoints.
One of the highlights of the Top of the World Trail is the final ascent up to the summit, where drivers can enjoy an incredible 360-degree view of the surrounding area. From the summit, you can see the snow-capped peaks of the La Sal Mountains, the vast expanse of the red rock desert, and even the distant peaks of the Colorado Rockies on a clear day. Overall, the Top of the World 4x4 Trail is an unforgettable off-road adventure that combines challenging terrain with breathtaking views of one of the most beautiful landscapes in the United States.
|Wipe-Out Hill||5||This trail tours a region south of Canyonlands Airport and west of Highway 191. It uses portions of Bartlett Wash, Tusher Canyon, Courthouse Pasture, and the south cliff base of Big Mesa. Variety is its strong point, with a wide range of scenery and trail surface and a couple of challenging hills. The landscape varies from the drab hills near the airport to the tall cliffs seen from Moab. In between are beautiful canyons having colorfully banded Entrada Sandstone walls, Determination Towers, and Monitor and Merrimac Buttes. The trail traverses at least seven major rock formations (Morrison, Entrada, Navajo, Kayenta, Wingate, Chinle, and Moenkopi) that were deposited over a period of more than 100 million years, beginning about 200 million years ago.
The main obstacle is a very steep hill on slickrock towards the end of the trail, which you must go down to proceed. There are good lines for short wheelbase vehicles on an alternate route down the hill.
This is a fun day and is a shorter trail.