Trail Rating System
We use the same 1-10 rating system as the Red Rock 4-Wheelers, the local Moab club. While our ratings are similar, we have adjusted the ratings of a few trails based on our recent experience. We calibrate our rating with the notion that “4” is the highest rating that should be attempted by a stock 4X4 (stock tires & suspension). The following ratings are for Moab area roads in dry conditions. The effect of snow or rain varies greatly depending upon terrain and altitude. More notes are listed below this table (please read the whole page).
|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||Arches Nat'l Park Family Run|
Gemini Bridges to Long Canyon
|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||Buttes & Towers|
|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|
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 or A-TRAC would be a plus. Water and mud are possible.||Novice||31"||Rear locker recommended but not required|
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 aid devices (lockers, limited slips, A-TRAC) are recommended. Above average driving skills are desirable.||Intermediate||33"||Rear locker recommended but not required|
|6||Flat Iron Mesa|
Gold Bar Rim
Poison Spider Mesa
San Rafael Swell
Top of the World
Metal Masher (6.5)
|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) and a rear traction aid devices (locker, limited slip, A-TRAC) are required. A winch would be a plus. Enhanced suspension travel and ground clearance are helpful. Excellent driving skills are recommended.||Intermediate||33"|
35" and up strongly encouraged
|Rear locker or A-TRAC required|
|7||Behind the Rocks|
Kane Creek Canyon
|Trail consists of rock; sand and considerable slickrock with many steps exceeding 30". Steep inclines and declines are prevalent. Enhanced off road equipment is required including differential lockers (front & rear), tall tires (35"+ required), maximized vehicle ground clearance and suspension suspension travel. A winch is advisable. Excellent driving skills are required. Vehicle mechanical or body damage is likely. Roll over possibilities exist.||Experienced||35"||Rear locker required.
Front locker recommended.
|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"|
37" and up Strongly Encouraged
|Two lockers required.|
|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||37" or larger||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.||Expert||37"|
The bigger the better
|Two lockers required.|
Rising Sun attempts to keep the trail ratings current, based on our own assessments of each trail as well information from the Red Rock 4 Wheelers Club in Moab. However, weather and usage constantly alters the routes. For example: at a past event, heavy rains changed Kane Creek from a tough 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 sometimes the best choice where the option exists.
Please choose your trails 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.
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. Please read the trail descriptions for specific difficulty information for vehicles that may be long, wide, or have other unique limitations.
No system can accurately compare trails for all vehicles in any weather. We assign numbers based on the experience of our trail leaders driving (and observing others driving) these trails. Still, we have trails that are only moderately difficult for short wheelbase vehicles but are difficult for pickups, while some of our most difficult hills (like White Knuckle and the optional Double Whammy) are easier for long wheelbase vehicles than short. 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.