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10 Things To Know Before Visiting 'America's Off-Road Capital', Moab, Utah

Moab, Utah is often referred to as America’s Off-Road Capital for good reason. Firstly, there are lots of trails both in and around Moab, suitable for all kinds of drivers from novices to experienced ones. These trails range from scenic drives to heart-dropping, machine-wrecking ones rated 8 or 9 and even those rated 10 that are only suitable for buggies. Most of these trail surfaces will have you driving over slickrock which gives adequate traction to enable rock crawling feats of all kinds.

In addition to the trails, Moab is also known for its breathtaking beauty. The beautiful scenery coupled with the fascinating rock formations and red rock canyons will constantly have you stealing glances from the trail. You won’t be able to resist taking copious photo stops along the way to try to capture the splendor of your surroundings.

But perhaps what attracts most to Moab is the strong off-roading culture that exists. Several different off-roading events are held annually, attracting people from all around the country and the world to come and sample the finest trails the southwest can offer.

Here are 10 things you should know if you intend to visit Moab:

  1. It lives up to the hype.

You’ve probably seen Moab in a lot of photos or movies but that’s nothing compared to experiencing the wonderful environment for yourself. Driving in Moab is an adventure like no other as you tackle trails surrounded by magnificent red canyons, wind-formed shapes and fascinating rock formations. The area is also steeped in history with dinosaur tracks, rock art and several other historic sites guaranteed to enrich your experience.

  1. The trails only make up a small area of Moab.

When you think of Moab, you probably picture extremely challenging terrain that calls for experienced driving to get through. However, such trails are concentrated in a 25 square mile known as the Sand Flats Recreational Area. There are even more trails outside Moab e.g. in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks though these are less commonly known. The trails outside and around Moab are not often not as crowded and they provide as much adventure as those within the town.

  1. Slickrock offers a unique driving experience.

Some people have compared slickrock to driving on sandpaper. The surface gives you exceptional traction, enabling your rig to crawl over rocks and obstacles on the trail. You should be careful however as the slickrock on Moab usually gives way to sand quite suddenly in some spots. Although the sand is often hard-packed in most places, it can be quite soft in others and you might get stuck if you don’t know how to drive on it.

  1. You don’t need a souped-up truck to enjoy yourself.

You can still have the time of your life on the trails if your ride doesn’t have all the latest modifications and upgrades. Just ensure that you have adequate ground clearance and good tires and that you choose a trail that matches your vehicle and driving abilities. Additionally, ensure that your rig is running right by bringing it to the Dixie 4 Wheel Drive auto shop in Moab for a checkup before hitting the trail.

  1. A winch isn’t really necessary.

You don’t really need a winch if you’re going to stick to the easier trails as the sand isn’t too deep and the approach or departure angles aren’t too steep. However, you might need one if you’re planning on tackling more challenging trails.

  1. Get there early to enjoy the trails.

As mentioned before, the trails in Moab are some of the most popular in the country and they attract hundreds of avid off-roaders annually. To beat the crowds, you can visit Moab during the off-season. Alternatively, you can decide to wake up and hit the trails earlier in the day to avoid encountering hordes of people who might ruin your experience.

  1. Be prepared for a lot of slow driving.

Off-roading in Moab involves a lot of slow driving with high revving at low speeds. After all, you can’t crawl rocks at high speed. Most of the trails are also tight and technical, calling for slow, steady driving. Also, prepare to negotiate tight corners while hanging over cliff edges and ledges with precarious drops. All in all, give yourself about 3-4 hours to complete some of the tougher rated trails.

  1. Never travel alone.

One common rule we have in Moab is that you never hit the trails on your own. You’ll need a spotter to help you know where to place your wheels on the trail as well as to help you choose the easiest way of getting over obstacles. Besides, off-roading adventures are more fun if you have someone to exchange stories with over a campfire at the end of the day.

  1. Accommodation is available outside the campsites.

There are times when the campsites around Moab get full really fast but don’t let that stop you from visiting. There are plenty of accommodation options in Moab from luxury hotels and budget motels to Bed and Breakfasts. You’re sure to get a place that suits your needs and budget where you can relax and unwind after a hard day out on the trails.

  1. Wheel responsibly.

Finally, learn what it means to be a responsible off-roader. This includes keeping to designated trails, maintaining off-roading etiquette on the trails and respecting other users you encounter. It also involves ensuring that you don’t litter and if camping outside, make fires at designated places and also clean up after yourself and leave the campsite better than you found it.

We at Dixie 4 Wheel Drive are honored to be part of the off-roading community in Moab and we delight in welcoming visitors to our corner of the country. Don’t hesitate to contact us or visit our full-service off-road superstore for all your 4x4 needs next time you visit Moab. We’ll be glad to assist you any way we can.

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