Off-Roading In Moab: A Utah Adventure Worth The Nerves
As someone who had arrived in Utah with little off roading experience, I was admittedly nervous about getting behind the wheel among some of Moab’s most rugged scenery for this year’s Easter Jeep Safari drive. Jeep parts retailer Quadratec, has been making the pilgrimage to Moab for this event since its inception 30 years ago and has partnered with a local tour company Outlaw Jeep Adventures, to supply its products to outfit the company’s various Jeeps. I had the opportunity to get to know the landscape firsthand over the course of two action-packed days. The Jeep Wrangler I drove was the perfect stepping stone towards getting used to the feel of an off-road vehicle. The Hell’s Revenge and Top of the World trails, both ultra-popular destinations, had enough terrain and elevation change to challenge me, but plenty of scenic panoramas and an incredible final viewpoint to make the effort absolutely worth it.
Moab itself is an outdoor haven, with hiking, climbing, mountain biking opportunities and more drawing visitors from across the country any time of year. Grab breakfast and morning coffee at Love Muffin Cafe and head out to one of the country’s most renowned national treasures, located right in Moab’s backyard.
Only a ten-minute drive north of town, Arches National Park is a must if you’ll be spending a few days in the area. While the park is open 24 hours, if you’re visiting in April through October, you’ll need to get a timed entry ticket in advance. The park’s spectacular rock formations and palette have made it one of the most visited destinations in the American West, so try to arrive early to avoid the crowds. Sunset is also a magical time to venture out on a short hike, especially for night photographers. After a day of braving the trails and the heat, stop by Antica Forma for an authentic Italian pizza pie and a much-deserved glass of wine.
If you’re looking to step out of your comfort zone and get to know Utah’s red rocks from an entirely new angle, a day trip in a rented UTV or Jeep is your key to discovering what you’re capable of. The seasoned veterans at Quadratec, made sure I was in a vehicle I felt comfortable in; after my first steep uphill climb in one of the Jeeps, the rig was confidence inspiring as I maneuvered the wheel to navigate steep descents and climbs.
When booking an Outlaw tour, you have the choice of Guided Tours, Ride-Alongs, You-Drive experiences, and the Hell’s Revenge Sunset Tour, no matter your experience level. Choose the You-Drive option to take full control of the vehicle yourself, or sit back and relax as your guide stops at incredible overlooks on a Ride-Along. Tours range from half to full day options; book early to secure your spot! Don’t miss the Hell’s Revenge Sunset Tour for a photo opportunity like no other. A Jeep Badge of Honor trail, Hell’s Revenge counts over six miles of slick rock and sandstone that traverses stunning red rock country just north of town.
When I tackled Hell’s Revenge on the first day of my Moab adventure, Quadratec’s Rob Jarrell helped make sure we got to the “summit,” or end of the trail right at sunset, where I was able to wind down and take in the colors after the sheer adrenaline rush of the climb. The overlook towers over the winding Colorado River and scenic Highway 128, with views of Grandstaff Canyon, Abyss Canyon, and the La Sal Mountains on the way up.
Day Two took me slightly further east, to the 7,000-foot lookout at the Top of the World Trail. Ascending in a Jeep JL, I focused on the climb up Waring Mesa as the landscape stretched out on all sides and loose rock thundered under the tires. The cliffside viewpoint at the end of the trail offered 360-degree views of Onion Creek, Fisher Valley and the La Sal Mountains in the distance. Before heading back to town, I switched from the JL to riding shotgun in Quadratec’s custom-built 30th Anniversary “YJL” build for the descent. With all around views and a more varied surface, the Top of the World complemented the previous day’s Hell’s Revenge ascent well.
My experience in Moab introduced me to one of the automotive world’s most enthusiastic communities. Off-roading has its own network of trails, events, and traditions that span the country and the world; and there’s no better place to participate than the West’s outdoor hub. Just soaking up Moab’s atmosphere motivates you to get out there and immerse yourself in something you never thought you’d try.