Return to Moab

Moab is a special place for Jeepers and all offroad or outdoor enthusiasts alike. My second trip back to Moab found me in a group of friends, some new some old, in October of 2017. We ran some of the toughest trails Moab has to offer, and overall had a fun and relaxing time at it.

The Video

I tried my hand at videography for the first time on this trip, so this post includes my first attempt at a video. I’d love to hear your feedback, as I’m just dipping my toes into the videography world for the first time.

I was one of the smaller Jeeps in the group, but the experience showed me how capable of a build I really had. Sure I had to work a little more at certain obstacles than some of the rigs with bigger tires. I find the use of momentum and skinny pedal to be part of the fun of wheeling, so I didn’t mind.

Group of jeeps overlooking Moab

The Trails

I was lucky enough to not repeat any of the trails I had run the first round in Moab, and got to check a couple of new trails off my list. For this trip I wheeled for 3 days and covered the following trails:

Day 1 – Pritchett Canyon and Behind the rocks

Pritchett Canyon had been on my list since the first trip out, so I was extremely excited to finally get to run it. However, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous starting the trip off with it. Pritchett has a reputation for being one of the hardest trails in Moab and I don’t have the best track record when it comes to not breaking on the first day.

Thankfully I made it out unscathed and without winching. As you can see from the video there were definitely some times I had to work at the obstacles, but I was able to make it up everything under my own power. All in all a really fun trail and I even got to put my coilovers to the test at the end, as there’s a long road to get back to civilization.

In leiu of running the desert road all the way back, we chose to take a shorter route to swing over to run Behind the Rocks backwards. This allowed for more wheeling and less desert driving. It was a good decision and great end to the day.

Day 2 – Cliffhanger and Metal Masher

Cliffhanger was another trail high on my list and it did not disappoint! Not so much in the difficulty, but the sheer terror that can come from driving along a shelf road with what has to be at least a 1000′ drop to certain doom. To complicate matters even further, there’s what I’d consider a notable obstacle partway though the shelf road. Going down on the way in isn’t too bad, but on the way back out its a climb that requires careful tire placement with a ledge not too far away.

The best part of Cliffhanger though is the views. Absolutely spectacular scenery for the majority of the trail.

Metal Masher was a fun trail, on the easier side, especially when compared to the other trails we were running.  The one exception being the optional obstacle ‘Widowmaker’.  

Jeep on steep wall Moab WidowmakerWidowmaker is a tall and very steep rock face, that while not terribly dangerous, has a treacherously placed boulder at the bottom. Upon first attempt its easy to get a straight shot, but after that you’re committed. Deciding to back off in defeat is not really an option because during that first attempt your tire has now slid over and that aforementioned boulder is ready to flip you over backwards. 

As we all stood around debating whether or not to give it a try, I jumped in my Jeep saying “Sure, I’ll put my tires on it”. At first my spare was catching in the dirt, but after strategically relocating a few rocks to help my small tires stay on the wall…

I made it up!

Several others decided to give it a try, and we were impressed how many JKs we were able to get up.  We had one real close call as my friend Matt lost momentum and had to back up.  Exactly as feared his rear tire caught on the rock and front end started to lift. Thankfully, he was able to get it in reverse and back up enough to get the front end to come down.

My biggest regret was in all the excitement I forgot to video tape any of this action, so I don’t have any footage of what was probably the most exciting part of the trip.

Day 3 – Area BFE

The last day of wheeling most of the guys in the bigger Jeeps and Buggies went to run Rear Steer (aka Big Balls) which was a newly opened trail in Moab outside Area BFE. I had arrived a few days late to the trip so had missed the Group’s trip into Area BFE. My friend Joe and I (and his wife Cassie) decided to run around and have some fun in BFE.

We had a great day and in retrospect I’m extremely grateful we decided to do this. Since this trip, Area BFE has been closed by the land owners for renovations, but everything I’ve heard through the grapevine points to it either not reopening or not opening in the manner it previously was. I’m really glad we had the chance to explore it when we did.

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