Moab 2004 Registration, Itinerary, and Trail Guide | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Moab 2004 Registration, Itinerary, and Trail Guide

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Elite Explorer
Moderator Emeritus
February 13, 1999
Reaction score
Tampa, FL
City, State
Chief GPS'um and Still Lost Native Texan
Year, Model & Trim Level
'99 EB 4x4 "Herc" RIP
:bounce: Let's get this show on the road ! :bounce:

To register, email (broken link) with the following info. You are not considered registered for the event until you do this. Simply copy and paste these questions and fill in the blanks. Fill in ALL of the blanks; if the question does not apply, answer it "No" or "N/A".

In the Vehicle information section, some of you will be doing modifications preparing for the event. Fill in the info describing how you expect your vehicle to be during the event, not what it is like now. Pay attention and answer the specific question: for example, note that question 15 asks for suspension lift, so a body lift does not count. I will rate your vehicle according to the answers given. Regardless of the answers given here, all vehicles are also expected to be equipped with at least the basic required equipment listed in the article. Do not show up without all of the Required Equipment! it is called "Required" for a reason, especially for a major event such as this one.

Section 3, Question 20 is where to put your two cents into stating particular trails that you are very interested in running during the event. High priority will be given to scheduling runs that attract the most interest among our members.

Note: No personal info answered in questions 2 through 5 will be released to any outside source or person besides Rick or Gerald.

Section 1: Personal
1. Your Name on
2. Real Name:
3. Address:
4. Phone:
5. Email Address:
6. Total Persons with Your Vehicle (Adults, Minors):
7: True % Probability of Attending:
8. Estimated Arrival Date and Time (Day, AM, Noon, PM):
9. Estimated Departure Date and Time (Day, AM, Noon, PM):
9: Probable Lodging:

Section 2: Vehicle
10. Year, Model:
11. 2WD, AWD, or 4WD:
12. Skid Plates/Rocksliders:
13.Acceptable Body Damage (None, Minor, "Character Marks" OK, or Major):
14. Tire Size:
15. Suspension Lift (inches):
16. Rear Axle (Open, Limited Slip, Locked):
17. Front Axle (Open, Limited Slip, Locked):
18. Winch:

Section 3: Moab Preferences
19. Trails at Moab I have already run:
20. Requested Trails that I would like to run:


Section 1: Personal
1. Website Name: GJarrett
2. Real Name: Gerald Jarrett
3. Address: 101 Hootus St, Hicksville, SC 29605
4. Phone: 864-867-5309
5. Email Address: ******@***.***
6. Total Persons with Your Vehicle (Adults, Minors): 2 Adults, 0 Minors
7: True % Probability of Attending: 99%
8. Estimated Arrival Date and Time (Day, AM, Noon, PM): Friday, AM
9. Estimated Departure Date and Time (Day, AM, Noon, PM): Monday, AM
9: Probable Lodging: Silver Sage Inn or Canyonlands Campground

Section 2: Vehicle
10. Year, Model: '99 Eddie Bauer Explorer
11. 2WD, AWD, or 4WD: 4WD
12. Skid Plates/Rocksliders: Yes/Yes
13.Acceptable Body Damage (None, Minor, ?Character Marks? OK, or Major): Character Marks OK
14. Tire Size: 35"
15. Suspension Lift (inches): 1.5+
16. Rear Axle (Open, Limited Slip, Locked): Locked
17. Front Axle (Open, Limited Slip, Locked): Locked
18. Winch: No

Section 3: Moab Preferences
19. Trails at Moab I have already run: list yours here, I've run too many to list.
20. Requested Trails that I would like to run: Lockhart Basin, Behind the Rocks

Let?s start to get those emails turned in, thanks!

MOAB 2004 !
:bounce: Explorers, We're Gonna Git It Awn ! AGAIN! :bounce:


Jefe spots DiffWhackDaddy down Cliffhanger (photo by Rick Horwitz)

And this year there will be a special surprise :) :smoke:

  1. 410Fortune
  2. AspenX
  3. biggs85
  4. Brett
  5. Brian1
  6. Brother_of_Jefe
  7. Dannyboy
  8. Dignan
  9. GaSouthern1 - cancelled :(
  10. GJarrett and AshliX
  11. glfredrick
  12. goliath
  13. go off road
  14. Greg Fredrick
  15. hvac man
  16. Jefe
  17. jlfredrick
  18. Joe Dietz
  19. Johnstone - cancelled :(
  20. JTX
  21. ld50
  22. MARTY196
  23. Michael - cancelled :(
  24. mrboyle
  25. Msupertek
  26. Mudd*****
  27. offroader_69_me
  28. Perry, Teri, and Pwsx4
  29. PositiveVibes
  30. RangerX
  31. Rick and Char
  32. tdavis
  33. tsgolo
  34. TwoToneX

Friday May 21st - Monday 24th, 2004
This thread is designed to be the central point of complete information for the Explorer Moab 2004 run. It will remain closed, but will be updated as new information develops. Anyone who desires to be a participant can register by filling out the form link in the first post and emailing it to me . Please join the primary discussion thread at Official Moab 2004 Chitchat Thread with any comments, wishes, or suggestions.

The following items are required to participate on this trip and are taken from the "Trail Equipment" article's "Required" list. It is suggested that you read the entire article if you have not already done so. Many other items are suggested and necessary besides the ones on this list. If this is your first time to run Moab, get ready for the fourwheeling trip of your life! Do not shortchange yourself and encumber others by coming unprepared. In addition to this list, if you have a stocker, make very sure you have skidplates installed before even thinking of showing up for Moab (hint ;) ).

> Water, 1 gallon per person per day minimum.
> Card kept on your person with emergency contact info and medication allergies
> Personal supplies for at least twice the time you plan on being out:
If you are going on a morning trip, pack a lunch and trail snacks, beef jerky, fruits, dry/canned food, etc. If you are going on an afternoon or all day trip, assume you may spend the night in the vehicle and pack accordingly: medications, flashlight, batteries, matches/lighter, and blankets & gear appropriate to the environment, area, and season.
> CB: do not even think of showing up without one!
> Fire Extinguisher
> First Aid Kit
> Spare Eyeglasses (if needed)
> Spare Key! kept on your person
> Towstrap, at least 20', bare with no metal hooks/brackets attached
> Full Size Spare Tire, lug wrench
> Standard Bottle Jack with 12" square wooden platform for use in soft ground
> Basic Tool Kit
> Fix-A-Flat and/or Tire Plug kit and air compressor (12 volt plug-in or other)
> Trash bag, for your own as well as other's trash
> Towpoints front and rear, frame mounted

Radio frequencies:
Once in town, these will be our frequencies. If you can tolerate it, we suggest you do not squelch your CB in order to maximize reception.
CB: channel 1
2M Ham: 146.520 Simplex

Lodging and Moab Information: Support this site by linking through the main page "Explorer Bookstore" to 4x4 books and/or and purchase Charles Wells "Guide to Moab, UT Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails". It is an absolutely invaluable resource for the trip and a "must-buy".

To Be Determined
hvac man

go off road

Canyonlands Campground
Rick and Char
TwoToneX (or Silver Sage)
Dignan (or at Lion's Back)

Ramada Inn
Brother_of_Jefe (or Canyonlands Campground)

Silver Sage Motel
TwoToneX (or Canyonlands Campground)
Greg Fredrick

Thursday 20th or before:
Jefe, Thursday noon
Dannyboy, Thursday noon
Brother_of_Jefe, Thursday PM or before
Johnstone, Thursday PM
Msupertek, Thursday PM
Mrboyle, Thursday PM
TwoToneX, Thursday PM
Brett, Thusday PM
Mudd*****, Thursday PM
glfredrick, Thursday PM
Greg Fredrick, Thursday PM
jlfredrick, Thursday PM
GJarrett, Thursday PM
RangerX, Thursday PM
tsgolo, Thursday PM
tdavis, Thursday PM
ld50, Thursday PM
go off road, Thursday PM
goliath, Thursday PM
offroader_69_me Thursday PM
biggs85, Thursday PM
JTX, Thursday PM
PositiveVibes, Thursday

Friday 21st:
Dignan, AM
GaSouthern, AM
410Fortune, PM
Brian1, 2 PM
Joe Dietz, PM
hvac man, PM
Michael, PM
Perry, PM

Sunday 23rd:
Brett, noon
Joe Dietz, PM
hvac man, PM
biggs85, PM
Dannyboy, PM
Positive Vibes, unknown

Monday 24th or later:
Perry, AM
go off road, Monday AM
glfredrick, Monday AM
tsgolo, Monday AM
Greg Fredrick, Monday AM
jlfredrick, Monday AM
GaSouthern, Monday AM
Jefe, Monday AM
Michael, Monday AM
RangerX, Monday AM
ld50, Monday AM
offroader_69_me, Monday AM
Brian1, Monday AM
Brother_of_Jefe, Monday noon
TwoToneX, Monday noon
Mrboyle, Monday PM
Msupertek, unknown
410Fortune, Monday PM
JTX, Monday PM
GJarrett, Monday PM
Johnstone, Tuesday AM
Mudd*****, Tuesday AM
tdavis, Tuesday AM
goliath, Tuesday AM
Dignan, "Last to leave"

TRAIL RATINGS (Moab trails are rated thusly; example trails within category are listed with each rating)
1 All weather road; 4WD not needed. (Sand Flats Road)
1.5 Graded road; 4WD may be needed in poor weather. (Onion Creek)
2 Unimproved or rarely graded road. 4WD or extra clearance needed at times, with no special driving skills required. (Chicken Corners)
2.5 Road rarely maintained, 4WD, good clearance, low gears (4LO) often needed, with some extra care and a bit of driving experience useful. (Gemini Bridges, Secret Spire)
3 Road in difficult terrain, rarely maintained, 4WD, good clearance and low gears essential, with some driving skill and daring required. (Top of the World)
3.5 Road in difficult terrain, probably maintained only by occasional users. Excellent stock truck or utility vehicle required, with considerable driving skill and daring needed. (Steelbender, Elephant Hill, Fins & Things)
4 Trail either never bladed or badly eroded. Stock vehicles are in jeopardy (read: be prepared to accept body damage). Modifications for improved off-road performance and top driving skills needed. (Metal Masher, Poison Spider Mesa, Hells Revenge)
4+ Trails reserved for those not much concerned with vehicle durability or personal safety. It is common to have 10% or more of the vehicles experience major mechanical failures on these trails. (Golden Spike, Cliffhanger, Moab Rim)
5 Relatively new category reserved for only the most extreme of trails. Don?t even think of running one without a winch, 35? tires, lots of lift, both axles locked, and willing to take major body damage. (Pritchett Canyon)

Stock: self explanatory, 4wd with low range - up to 3 rated trails
glfredrick (Explorer)

SuperStock: 1.5" lift; 31" tires, skidplates, LSD (limited slip differential) in rear - up to 3+ rated trails

Modified: 2.5" lift, 32" tires, LSD front and rear OR one locker - up to 4 rated trails
Greg Fredrick

Big Dawg: 4" lift, 33" tires, LSD in one axle AND one locker in the other - 4+ rated trails
go off road
Joe Dietz
glfredrick (Ranger)

Extreme: 5.5+ lift, 35" tires, both axles locked, winch, willing to take major body damage - bring it awn, any trail
hvac man
tdavis (mini-Extreme) :D

Meeting Place: For each day's runs we meet at the City Market on the east side of Main St. in town at 8:15am and leave by 9:00


(Numbers following trails are the rating of the trail)
Top of the World (3), return via Rose Garden Hill backwards (3 down, 4 up), Thompson Canyon (3)

Alternate/Late Arrivers after AM
Gemini Bridges (2+)
Fins N' Things, or other (3+)

Stock, SuperStock, Modified
Tiptoe Behind the Rocks (3+)

Big Dawg/Extreme
Behind the Rocks (4+)
Golden Spike (4+) - optional

Klondike Bluffs, Tower Arches (2+)

Elephant Hill (3+)
or, Steelbender and Fins 'N Things (3+)

Big Dawg
Moab Rim (4+)

Pritchett Canyon (5)

Lockhart Basin (3+)

This "addendum" to the Charles Wells Moab guide will give my thoughts from the perspective of doing some of the trails in an Explorer. So far I have run over 30 of Moab's trails that are described in Charles Well's book. Hopefully it might give some of you who are going to Moab for the first time some guidance in deciding which trails you would like to do. I want to make clear that these are only my opinions and I am sure others who have visited Moab may have other opinions on certain trails and favorites.
(photos by Gerald Jarrett, Ashli Jarrett, and Rick Horwitz)

MOAB TRAIL IMPRESSIONS, from behind the wheel of a Ford Explorer

Firstly, here's a couple of lists to make things clearer later on when I mention trail ratings and vehicle abilities:

Stock: 4x4 with lowrange transfer case and skidplates; no modifications
SuperStock: 1.5"+ lift; 31" aggresively-treaded tires, traction-aiding device (limited slip) in rear.
Modified: 2.5"+ lift, 32" tires, traction-aiding devices front and rear OR rear locker.
Big Dawg: 4"+ lift, 33" tires, traction-aiding device front AND locked rear.
Extreme: 5.5"+ lift, 35" tires, both axles locked, winch, willing to take major body damage. Bring it Awn :roll:

1 All weather road; 4WD not needed.
1+ Graded road; 4WD may be needed in poor weather.
2 Unimproved or rarely graded road. 4WD or extra clearance needed at times, with no special driving skills required.
2+ Road rarely maintained, 4WD, good clearance, low gears (4LO) often needed, with some extra care and a bit of driving experience useful.
3 Road in difficult terrain, rarely maintained, 4WD, good clearance and low gears essential, with some driving skill and daring required.
3+ Road in difficult terrain, probably maintained only by occasional users. Excellent stock truck or utility vehicle required, with considerable driving skill and daring needed.
4 Trail either never bladed or badly eroded. Stock vehicles are in jeopardy (read: be prepared to accept body damage). Modifications for improved off-road performance and top driving skills needed.
4+ We can hardly improve on the original description written a few years ago by Jack Bickers: "with driving by World Class Yahoo Jeepers not much concerned with vehicle durability or personal safety." It is common to have as many as 10% of the vehicles experience major mechanical failures (gears, axles, driveshafts) on these trails.

When a trail has made a particularly enjoyable impression on me, I'll offer it a "thumbs up" rating, adding a bounce in each category for the best really fun trail worth planning for. I'll also offer an ohmygosh eek smilie to warn of a couple of scary trails if you are the type who would just assume not die on the trail :D

So this is my trail list, mostly sorted in order of Charles Well's opinion of difficulty, rated easiest to hardest. I do disagree with some of the order and will mention which ones when I describe the trails I think should be rated easier or harder.

Sand Flats Road
Picture Frame Arch
Onion Creek
Hurrah Pass
Shafer Trail
Mineral Bottom
Bull Canyon
Tower Arch
White Rim (includes Shafer Trail's switchbacks and Mineral Bottom trail)
Gemini Bridges
La Sal Pass
Lathrop Canyon (access via White Rim Trail)
Klondike Bluffs
Pritchett Arch
Lion's Back
Thompson Canyon
Top of the World
Tiptoe Behind the Rocks
Kane Creek Canyon
Fins N' Things
Porcupine Rim
Sevenmile Rim
Elephant Hill
Gold Bar Rim
Rose Garden Hill
Steel Bender
Metal Masher
Poison Spider Mesa
Hell's Revenge
Moab Rim
Golden Spike (also includes much of Poison Spider Mesa trail and all of Gold Bar Rim)
Behind the Rocks

Suitable for Stock to SuperStock Explorers
Rated 1 - 1+: these are no more than dirt roads for the most part and suitable for 2wd under most circumstances.

Sand Flats Road (partial access to Porcupine Rim, Fins N' Things): nothing of note except for the interesting campsites available in the rock formations and area along the road. This road is the means to get to the better trails connected to it.

Picture Frame Arch: this is an easy trail to a well-known arch in the area, but nothing special on its own as a 4x4 trail. The Wells book mentions that you can try to drive up to the arch, but I was on the way to another trail and did not check that possibility out. If you can really do that, this trail may be one that none of us have done before that could result in some cool new photo ops of your vehicle in the arch. It's close to town and may be worth a quick run to check out if someone has a couple of extra hours one day.

Onion Creek: This trail is also a 2wd road that although it had some neat views was still kind of boring, but it is used to access Fisher Towers, Thompson Canyon, and Rose Garden Hill. It is about 20 miles out of town. I wouldn't plan a drive just to go on this trail as a standalone destination without using it to go to the others.

Hurrah Pass: (partial access to Kane Creek) An easy trail with interesting Indian Petroglyphs to look at. I left the trail at the entrance to Kane Creek Canyon and did not go all the way to the pass, so I cannot comment on the view from there.

Trail Rating 2 - 2+: now we're going to have to use 4wd

Shafer Trail: (partial Shafer switchbacks on White Rim Trail) The switchbacks are not very intimidating to a person who has run Black Bear Pass in Colorado, but it is still scenic. See notes on the White Rim Trail, the views are great.

Mineral Bottom: (partial part of White Rim Trail) Likewise; see notes on White Rim Trail.

Dead Link Removed White Rim: This is a two day run. You will put about 120 miles in the dirt before you hit asphalt again. As an easygoing adventure suitable for stock 4x4 Explorers it is well worth the trouble to schedule it if you have the time. The remote beauty of the White Rim far away from anything else will impress upon you the type of memories that words fail to convey.


White Rim Trail

I ran this trail with Peter Weber and Leebo during my "Herc Tour" and here is the link to my report where you can read our impressions of that run:

Lathrop Canyon: (access via White Rim Trail) We went down this trail for our lunch break on our first day on the White Rim Trail. Coupled with the fact that you get some great early views of White Rim and must run the Shafer switchbacks to get to this trail, it would make an interesting stocker day run. The trail goes from the high White Rim walls and Shafer switchbacks all the way down to the Colorado River. Dangling your toes in the river while eating your sandwich after making a descent like that makes for a fairly memorable lunch break.

Dead Link Removed Gemini Bridges, Bull Canyon: This trail is a fairly easy stocker trail that most of us have run. It is close to town and convenient, and offers the chance for some great photo ops if you have the guts to drive out on the bridges.


On Gemini Bridges

Gemini Bridges and Top of the World are probably the trails that the most of us have gone on when participating in a Moab run. One fond memory of my first visit to Moab was on this trail. At 4,500 ft elevation on the trail, as I was crawling up a steep 4x4 climb in lowrange, a mountainbiker passed me pedaling uphill. Man those guys are in way better shape than I ever was! Bull Canyon is the lower approach to the Gemini Bridges. Use it for a great photo op looking upward to the bridges, but as a 4x4 trail it is lame.

La Sal Pass: This trail climbs up the La Sal Mountains south of Moab and could be used for a shortcut to Colorado in the summer and fall. AshliX and I tried to use it to do just that after we left Moab before Memorial Day in 2004. However it was still snowed in before we got up to the pass and we had to turn around and come back, so I would not plan on trying it unless it is at least mid-June or later in the year. It was quite a contrast to get into that much snow that late in the year and that close to the warmth of Moab's desert that was in clear view below us. The trail does offer good views of Moab and the desert below as you climb through the aspen groves on the way up to the pass. This trail has a very distinct Colorado Rocky Mountain trail look and feel to it unlike any of the other trails in the Moab area that consist of desert and redrock formations.

Dead Link Removed Klondike Bluffs, Tower Arch:


These are trails #1 and #2 in Well's book and I am listing them together. Located in Arches National Park, these make a great stocker run, especially if you have kids with you. There are innumerable formations and arches for the rockhound in you, and the Klondike Bluffs run offers the singularly unique experience of being able to drive alongside real dinosaur tracks right on the trail. That's right; you 4x4 on rock formations and can look down out your window and see real dinosaur tracks right there beside you.


Dino Tracks on the trail

These trails, while easy, can have a few rocky sections that will test a stock Explorer's skidplates and begin to offer some wheeling challenge. NOTE: the Wells book is usually extremely accurate, but in this case it describes a connection to combine these two trails together that is real murky. While this is definitely the way you will want to drive these trails, the book's description of the connecting trail between the two is ambiguous at best and wrong at worst; you can easily make a wrong turn trying to get from Klondike Bluffs to Tower Arch. It is best to have a trailboss that has run those two trails before, or else plan for extra time to make a wrong turn or two and sort it out.

Pritchett Arch: I did this trail just to do something different one time when I drove late into town and hadn't made a reservation. I camped out on the trail. It had one ledge that I took a little too fast and banged the crap out of my underside, but otherwise it was not too tough. The trail offers so-so views of other trails, and the arch requires a 15 minute hike to go see it. If you are not specifically interested in looking at that arch, there’s not much reason to run this trail; there are others with better obstacles and more scenery.

Trail Rating 3: Superstocker, or Stocker w/help
:eek: Lion's Back: This is more of an obstacle than a trail and it is hard to categorize its difficulty. Technically it is not that challenging, but its unique characteristic of being fatally unforgiving of any mistake or mechanical breakdown could earn it a 4+ rating.


Gjarrett on Lion's Back

There's been plenty talked and written about Lion's Back so I won't add to it; you'll either have the guts (or stupidity, depending on your opinion) to try it or not. It is for adrenaline junkies only, that's for sure. I did it once, got the tshirt, and am not going to ever do it again.

Thompson Canyon: This trail was fairly easy when we drove it in 2006 and based on that I would rate it easier than Charles Wells did in his book. He has it rated as the trail right before Top of the World in difficulty but when we drove it it was much easier than Top of the World. It does climb up very high and is a good way to cool down from the summer Moab heat. The scenery is more Colorado-like than "Moabish". The neat thing about this trail is that it could be used to start a combined Thompson Canyon - Rose Garden Hill - Top of the World trail run that would give modified Explorers a full day run that would be a much more interesting path to the Top of the World than we normally take. We haven't done that yet, but it's an interesting possibility.

Note: we made the mistake of trying to use the map in the Charles Wells book to connect from the end of Thompson Canyon and travel over to the Geyser Pass/La Sal Pass trails and found a mistake in his book - the map on page 176 is wrong and we spent quite awhile lost in the outback while trying to get back. Don't trust that map where it shows Thompson Canyon emptying onto Castle Gateway Road and Taylor Flat Road.

Dead Link Removed :bounce: Top of the World: This trail is a lot of fun, offers a unique photo op that is hard to resist, and is also about the limit of what a stock Explorer can do.


On Top of the World


View to the right from the ledge

The 360 degree view covers four states and a peek over the ledge looks straight down a 3,500 ft drop to the Colorado River canyon far below. The effect is not unlike a view out of an aircraft.

During our yearly events, more Explorers have probably done this trail than any other one. More Explorers have had their photo made on its ledge than at any other single place in Moab, and this run has always been scheduled sometime during the weekend every year. If this is your first year to Moab, it is almost a given that you do this run. The disadvantage though is that it is 30 miles out of town and pretty much takes a day out of your schedule. If you have a stock/superstock Explorer, what many of us have done is go to the Top of the World and then when returning to town with time to spare, go up to Gemini Bridges to finish the day and put another run under our belts. The last mile or so to the Top of the World is a loop to the ledge: stockers will need to take the counterclockwise loop up to the top, but superstockers will want to take the more challenging clockwise loop up the ledges. If you have a modified Explorer or better, stay tuned, I have figured out a way to have plenty of fun going to Top of the World and making it a challenging worthwhile day (see Rose Garden Hill below).

Top of the World is a special enough place that it is where AshliX and I decided to get married during the Moab 2004 Explorer event. :) While we were planning our small wedding, we discussed the fact that some of our friends had gotten married in a home or small chapel. Then it occurred to us that it would be much more special to be able to tell people years from now that we got married on "the top of the world" so that's exactly what we did. We got married right on the ledge :)


We felt honored by all of you that took the trouble to come out to the 2004 run to witness our wedding - thanks so much! :)

Tiptoe Behind the Rocks: (see the 4+ rated Behind the Rocks trail description below)
This trail uses the 4+ Behind the Rocks trail and branches off to parallel it and bypass the major obstacles of the tougher trail. It offers the unique opportunity for a non-Big Dawg vehicle to run alongside the Big Dawgs and watch them tackle the tough obstacles while being able to bypass those obstacles. It does have one unavoidable spot at the very start of the trail that is the toughest obstacle I have seen stock Explorers successfully conquer. Upon seeing it, I thought there was no way the stockers would make it -- but with a lot of work, good spotting, and sometimes scary amounts of go-pedal, only one needed a strap. Very impressive! Once past that first obstacle, the rest of the trail is easy.


Going up Tiptoe Behind the Rocks' first obstacle

Suitable for Modified Explorers; SuperStock Explorers may be capable w/occasional help
Rated 3+

Kane Creek Canyon: I don't feel very confident that I can give an honest trail report on this trail. I ran it in July 2003 on the way out to the "Rubicon Stealth Run" in California. Lesson Number One: do not ever go to Moab in July. It was 118 degrees in the canyon and the creek was dry as a bone. However, I could tell that this would be a heckuva fun run at any other time. Interestingly, I noticed a dozen or so single people scattered along the end of the trail sunbathing and reading and relaxing apart from each other in the riverbed, like this is some sort of place for hermits in the summer. There were no other vehicles in the area and I have no idea how far they hiked to get there.

Several of our group ran Kane Creek during the 2001 run and they reported a great time was had by all. The thing that makes the trail special is the dozens of water crossings that are part of the trail. If you enjoy river crossings, this is the trail you want to do.


Ray Hutchinson at one of Kane Creek's countless river crossings

The Wells book is somewhat misleading at the 0.4 mile point on the trail, saying "The road should soon head south". It does NOT, it heads in a southeasterly direction as confirmed by the map on page 139. Continue to follow the main trail and do not try to find a south passage like I did, or you'll be sorry. :rolleyes:

I will offer a different rating opinion of Kane Creek Canyon. Top of the World is rated as a 3 and Kane Creek is supposedly a 3.5. I can tell you that when I was there that it had a couple of particularly challenging sections that were definitely 4 trail material and were much tougher than anything that Top of the World has. I can't help but believe that under normal circumstances and a wet trail, it would be just as tough if not moreso. I rate this trail a solid 4 in 2003. Rick and others ran it again in October and confirmed the 4 rating as a result of two particularly difficult obstacles. The Red Rock 4Wheelers club has once again rated in 3+ for 2004, so maybe some trail "maintenance" has now been done in those two places.

Dead Link Removed Fins N' Things: What a FUN run! If you like rollercoasters then you will love Fins N' Things. It's like taking your Explorer up and down rollercoaster hills on the slickrock of Moab. Hang on and enjoy!


Kenny's Climb on the Fins N' Things trail

Sometimes the angles are so steep that you cannot see anything but sky out your windshield and you have to rely on spotters to assure you that you are on the right path. The hills are abrupt and steep enough that good approach and departure angles are needed to run the trail, otherwise it is fairly easy since the traction is so extreme that the steep climbs do not require lockers.

Porcupine Rim: a good run with one of the great views overlooking the area, but problematical for 4x4s, especially on busy days. This is a love-it-or-hate-it trail. The trail itself is wonderful and in a short time takes you up to an awesome view from atop a bluff overlooking some of Moab's most famous rock formations. The downside is that it is also one of the mountain/extreme bikers favorite trails. The trail is barely wide enough to hold our vehicles. During a busy weekend filled with bikers, 4x4s have to deal with all the traffic and it takes FOREVER to drive the trail with all of the bikers everywhere riding all around you. During a weekday this would be one of the first runs I'd like to do again, but I'll never go on it during a busy weekend again. Also, it is ROUGH, a trail with lots of rocks that jar you. Not huge rocks that force you to rockcrawl, but medium - sized ones that jar your teethfillings out while you're cruising over them. I rattled both of my front shocks out of their mounts while vibrating down the rim and had to re-weld them into their custom mounts once I got back to Moab (courtesy of Dave Meisner using Rick Horwitz's onboard welder).

Sevenmile Rim: We got lost on it but what the heck we still made it back. Trailfinding is an absolute b!tch on that trail but we got what we wanted and hit all of the major points. The offcamber section will pucker you bigtime but Johnstone did make it with his spare tire up top without rolling - so don't be worried and go for it.


Johnstone goes offcamber on Sevenmile Rim

Wipe Out Hill is on this trail and is one of the most adrenaline-pumping obstacles in the area. IMO it is also one of those obstacles that looks almost impossible but favors long wheelbase vehicles (like ours :D ) and so it is a GREAT obstacle to join a Jeeper group and show them up on - when your almost-stock Explorer outperforms their built Jeeps, LOL.


Johnstone tackles Wipe Out Hill

Dead Link Removed Steel Bender: I think this trail is easier than Charles Wells ranks it so I am putting it here. Steelbender is the trail that really hooked me to realizing that I can do some very fun fourwheeling in my Explorer. I can probably blame the time I ran this trail on all of the rest of the money and effort I have put into Herc from then on, LOL.


Ray Lobato on Steelbender

I have run this trail both ways; south-north and north-south. It is a solid 3+ but a superstock Explorer should be able to negotiate the whole trail with one exception; a difficult ledge in the middle section of the trail. Ray Lobato and I did it as superstockers our first year in Moab, and the fun thing is that we only needed real assistance at that one ledge, but the rest of the trail offered enough alternate challenges to keep the better-modified Explorers more than happy. It is one of those trails that you can make harder if you want to, but lesser vehicles can still survive on it. Steelbender is close to town and a great choice for a modified run. I nearly gave it the bounce smilie as the best mid-level run; it may deserve it more than Elephant Hill depending on what mood I am in at the moment :)

In 2003, we ran this trail again and it has been lengthened and improved! Just north of the difficult ledge, Steelbender takes an eastward detour off of the original Flat Pass bike trail that adds several more miles to the trail and includes some fun sections. I now consider this one of the "must do" trails if you have not run it yet :)

I also learned a little about the area's fragile kryptobionic crust that we are warned to not walk on (supposedly it takes decades to reform once destroyed). There is a deep sandy section in the north part of Steelbender that many of us did donuts in during the Moab 2000 trip. That part has now been roped off and protected in order to promote vegetation, and guess what? A mere three years later it boasts well-formed cryptobionic crust! Just another proof that Mother Nature is much more resilient than many would have us believe.....

Dead Link Removed :bounce: Elephant Hill: First, the bad news. This trail is down by the famous ancient Newspaper Rock Indian petroglyphs in the Canyonlands Nat'l Park Needles District, a 75 mile drive southwest out of Moab. By the time you leave town and go there, do the run, and come back, it will be a very long day. Now the good news. It is worth every minute it takes to get there and do the run. Charles Wells wrote "This one-way loop is one of the most enjoyable trails I've ever driven" and I strongly second that opinion. If you have a well-built superstock Explorer it will test the upper limits of how well you can drive your 4x4 and provide you with the ultimate challenge for you and your 4x4 Explorer. If your rig is better equipped you'll simply giggle and have a blast. We finally scheduled a run on it in 2003 and I am fairly confident that everyone who went on it had a lot of fun. It's unfortunate that it is so far out of Moab. If it wasn't, I can guarantee you that a lot more of us would be running this trail a lot more often.


Explorers on the Elephant Hill Trail

Gold Bar Rim: Gold Bar Rim has a dropping ledge at the entrance that acts like the "Gatekeeper" obstacle on the Rubicon trail: it is steep and prevents non-modified vehicles from entering unless they want to plant their grill into the landscape. I had to quit the first year I went to Moab, but that one ledge was one of those obstacles that gave me incentive to modify just a little bit more :) so I could do it next time. See you there when you can get there. :)

Suitable for BigDawg Explorers; Modified Explorers may be capable w/occasional help
Rated 4:

Rose Garden Hill: I suggest that this is the ultimate alternative to running the Top of the World trail if you have a more prepared vehicle. A great day run could be scheduled by taking Thompson Canyon trail to go to Rose Garden Hill on the way up to the Top of the World - I'm thinking of doing it again even though I've already been to Top of the World several times. IMO a Thompson Canyon/Rose Garden Hill/Top of the World would be a really cool day spent on the trail with a group of fellow Explorers.

This trail is rated 4. In Charles Wells' book he rates it as easier than the 3.5 rated Steelbender. Wrong. Pay attention to the rating, not the book. You will NOT complete this trail without 33" tires and at least one locker. I'll repeat that: you need a locker to climb it and nothing less. Rose Garden Hill is a third of a mile long, very steep, consists of loose shale rock the whole way up with a couple of knee-high+ rock ledges, and never once lets up with any level section at any point until you get to the very top. Once you hit the gas, you are committed, and if you bog down in the shale or on a ledge somewhere, some BigDawg in front of you will have to figure out how to back down a quarter mile in reverse and now pull out not only himself back up again, but with your 2 ½+ ton butt strapped to his behind.

Maybe - just maybe - you could make it up with a limited slip. But, while a slightly-less equipped wheeler that needs an occasional helping hand usually doesn't cost much to the group during a run, this is different. If you cannot successfully conquer Rose Garden on your own, it will take a LONG time to get you up that hill. Multiply that by several vehicles and it will turn this trail into an all-day marathon on this one single hill. I strongly suggest that Rose Garden Hill be a scheduled run for Moab first-timers because it is such an awesome way to go to the Top of the World but that you also heed my warning and make sure that the lesser vehicles take the normal route that we always have, and only the more-capable ones take the Rose Garden Hill route.

Other 4 rated trails have tougher obstacles, but many of those have bypasses, and the obstacles that don't have them are short - a winch line or strap will pull you up if stuck and enable the run to continue. I am rating this trail as the hardest of the 4s because there is no bypass to the hill and failing it will cost so much time to the rest of the group to continue onward, and it is so far from town. If you bring the wrong vehicle on this trail and it breaks on that hill, plan ahead and pack tents, because you'll be spending the night there.

Metal Masher: A good run for modifieds. There's extreme stuff like Widowmaker and Rock Chucker that only BigDawgs can do, but there are bypasses for both obstacles, and it is fun watching the show and knowing that your vehicle is good enough to travel there to watch. :smoke: A great modified run, and close to town and near other trails such as the Golden Spike trio of trails and Gemini Bridges, etc.


Rockranger tries out Widowmaker

Poison Spider Mesa: A classic Moab trail with famous obstacles such as the Wedgie. IMO a great place to show Jeepers how well Explorers perform. The Waterfall obstacle is what gives the trail its 4 rating, but the rest is easier and more like a 3 - 3.5 trail. My impression was one of being unimpressed - okay, so what's the big deal? It was easy! Bring it Awn!


Jefe gets some air at Poison Spider Mesa’s Wedgie

Hell's Revenge: Another classic famous Moab trail. I've heard it described as "Fins N' Things on steroids" and that fits. Do not go on this trail without experience or a guide. You will get lost during the second half of the trail, even with directions. Hell's Revenge is unique. The main trail is fairly easy, but I have never seen so many alternate courses to go Explorering. It is a 4, with several optional obstacles that are 4+. You can take this trail easy, or get hurt bad on it. This is the trail that has many world-famous obstacles like Escalator, Hells Gate, Mickey's Hot Tub, etc on it.


Grabbing Vertical Air at Hell’s Gate

Rating 4+:
Dead Link Removed :bounce: Golden Spike: (also includes much of Poison Spider Mesa trail and all of Gold Bar Rim) This trail is supreme fun and is probably my favorite. There is way too much to begin to describe. It includes world-famous obstacles like the Golden Crack and Double Whammy.


The Great Pumpkin shows off its flex at the Golden Crack

It is a consistent 4 - 4+ trail with far too many obstacles to remember individually. It is a full day of the best of hardcore wheeling - leave early and expect to get back in town late. If you have a BigDawg Explorer and only one single day to run Moab, I don't think anyone would disagree with my opinion that this is the trail that you need to take.

Dead Link Removed :eek: Moab Rim: Ack, the trail that took me to my knees. Moab Rim contains what is undeniably the most intense mile that I have ever wheeled anywhere. It scared the stuffings out of me. As Wells writes: "This trail wastes little time getting down to business. The first mile scares the wits out of most people." If you have a weak stomach and an IFS don't even think of trying this trail. If you have modified your Explorer to have some flex, you should be able to run this trail with less worry than me, but if you have a limited flex IFS like mine when I did this run, be ready to be terrified. And once you get to the top, you have to come back down the same way you came up, and going down is even more scary than going up. I felt like crawling out of my Explorer and kissing the ground when I got off that trail. :notworthy

I ran with a very capably built Jeep TJ that launched into a threewheeling pose 40 degrees offcamber (we know it was 40 degrees; he had an inclinometer that registered the angle). He froze in his seat and remained absolutely motionless until I was able to hike down to him to stand on his bumper and weigh him back down. He did it ten yards from the edge of the cliff leading straight down to the Colorado River bottom far below. 40 degrees offcamber is way more than enough to flip an Explorer, and the only reason I didn't do it is because he was in front. I observed his wrong line and learned from him. If I were first, I could have been him.

Try planting your Explorer on the side of a cliff several hundred feet above the river below, while your tires are clawing over a thigh-high offcamber ledge that is trying to slide your backend off the cliff while negotiating the famous Z-turn. And that's just the entrance. Welcome to Moab Rim. :roll: I have seen several SAS modified Explorers perform now and believe that this trail would be the perfect one to show off their advantage; any SAS Explorer would probably flex and climb their way up the rim with much less of an adrenaline requirement than lesser Explorers will experience. If you have a SAS this trail should be one of those near the top of your list to run, I think you may be able to simply claw right up it with very little problem, and tell me I am a wuss :D

:eek: Cliffhanger: We finally did this trail during the Moab 2003 Colors Run. Much of the trail is cut into the side of a high cliff, and the scenery was spectacular - offering a unique view of what might be called "fingers" type of formations.


It was rated 4 when Charles Wells wrote his book. In 2003 the Red Rock Fourwheelers upped its rating to 4+ because of additional erosion. Two obstacles make this trail as difficult as Moab Rim and one of them - the "Cliffhanger" from whence the trail gets its name - is more terrifying than anything you will face on Moab Rim.


No picture does the "Cliffhanger" justice. Rick stated without hesitation that it is the most intimidating obstacle he has ever encountered. You must tackle it both ways - going down on the way out, and back up on the return trip. It is now an 8 -10 ft slanted verticle ledge with huge boulders, perched just 3 feet from the edge of a 500ft sheer dropoff. Upon first seeing it, our group had a very serious discussion as to whether we should turn back instead of risking that obstacle. But we continued on and lived to tell the tale :)

Locked front and rear and on 35" tires, I still hung thoroughly up on the two major obstacles. Those with me were similarly equipped but with their higher suspension lifts, had much more undercarriage clearance than me and had little trouble on the trail. This one is for true BigDawgs only; do not even think of trying it unless you have a fully modified BigDawg Explorer and the kahunas to face that obstacle.

:eek: Behind the Rocks: A true 4+ trail for Big Dawgs, the highly-intimidating and well-named White Knuckle Hill is on this trail. The thing that makes this trail unique is that is has a parallel sister trail (Tiptoe Behind the Rocks, see trail description above) that allows less-capable vehicles to run alongside the Big Dawgs and watch them take on the major obstacles. High Dive, Upchuck and Hummer Hill are other obstacles on this trail, but the one that gives it its reputation is White Knuckle Hill :eek: which can accurately be described as driving off the ledge of a short cliff.


Brother of Jefe at White Knuckle Hill (with apologies to the site for posting a photo of a J**p)

Upon reaching it, our group took longer discussing whether or not to try it than at any other obstacle I have ever encountered (as a matter of fact we initially decided to turn back and not try it). I had just married AshliX the day before on the Top of the World trail and when she saw White Knuckle Hill she flat out told me don't even think about it - so we nearly had a fight the first day of our honeymoon, LOL.

It is a vertical cliff - even Rick's rig would have planted its front bumper when hitting the ground at the bottom - and the odds of doing a front flip when going over the edge looked to be a certainty. After a LONG discussion we came up with the idea of doing some rockstacking at the bottom to allow our vehicles to roll out without planting our front bumpers in the ground, and having Positive Vibes park behind us to connect his winch line to our rears and easing us down the obstacle. The strategy worked. After doing the obstacle, I can attest that any 2dr Explorer Sport (and/or any other vehicle with its wheelbase or less) will in fact do a front flip going over the ledge. You could watch the back wheels of the 2 door Explorers (and the Jeep and Suzuki in our group) lift off with the only thing preventing a flip being the winchline holding them back. However, after viewing several photos afterward, I do believe that a 4 door Explorer would not be in any danger of doing a flip. That's easy to say now, LOL, but I reserve the right to take that statement back if I ever see it in person again :D

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