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Moab Utahs Off Roading 4X4 Trails


There’s no doubt that Moab, Utah is the undisputed Mecca of off-roading. Don’t believe those who say that it’s not the same as it used to be. Having lived here for decades, we at Dixie 4 Wheel Drive assure you that it’s only getting better as time goes by.

Sure some trails are affected by erosion but that simply means they become more challenging and exciting to tackle. Sometimes the trails get a bit crowded but that’s what happens when lots of people want to experience world-class off-roading.

What Makes Moab the Center of Off-Roading Experiences?

Moab is an iconic place in southwest Utah. The history, breathtaking views, unique slickrock, beautiful red rock formations, and enduring off-roading culture all combine to draw hundreds of avid off-roaders to this corner of the country each year.

We have the miles of old mining trails near and around Moab to thank for the popular off-roading trails we enjoy so much today. The trails vary in rating and range from scenic drives to the toughest, gnarliest trails you’ve ever come across. There’s something for everyone here from novice off-roaders to veteran rock crawlers.

Moab’s Trail Ratings

That’s why we started highlighting the local trails in the area. We aim to give our customers and anyone else the latest, updated information on the trails so that they know what to expect when they get out there.

We use the same trail ratings as the Red Rock 4 Wheelers, the local Moab off-roading club. Using this system, the trails are rated from 1 to 10 in ascending order of difficulty. Those rated 1 or 2 are trails that are nothing more than country dirt roads that can be tackled using high-clearance 2WD with low gears and mostly 4WD in case conditions get diverse. A stock 4WD vehicle can handle these with no problem.

The fun 4 Wheeling starts on the higher-rated trails with those rated 4, 5 and 6 requiring 4WD, enhanced suspension, adequate ground clearance, good driving skills and tall tires at least 35 inches high. Traction enhancing devices are advisable.

Once you get to trails that are rated 7, 8 or 9, the carnage starts. Most of these are extremely tough trails that are great for technical rock crawling. You have to be an experienced driver with a modified rig to successfully tackle one of these. There are plenty of off-camber sections, steep inclines, and declines as well as ledges and steps exceeding 48 or even 60 inches. These trails are definitely for those who know what they’re doing and even then, roll-overs and vehicle body damage are likely.

Trails that earn a 10 rating can only be handled by buggies and street-driven 4x4s shouldn’t attempt them.

Off-roading Trail Etiquette

Now that you know the trail rating, you can go read the ones we’ve highlighted and decide which ones to include in your itinerary.

Before planning your off-roading trip, you need to know how to behave and interact with others on the trails.

Here are the Dixie 4 Wheel Drive top 10 rules of etiquette for off-roading:

  1. Pack it in, pack it out.

This means no littering including throwing out cigarette butts. We encourage off-roaders to pick up after themselves and even collect any trash they find out on the trails. By leaving the trails better than we found them, we can ensure they remain pristine for the next generation.

  1. Stay on designated trails.

Blazing new trails is strictly forbidden. Go over (rather than around) obstacles, through any mud or take bypasses where possible. Also, cross streams at designated crossing points. This helps to preserve the environment and minimizes our impact on it.

  1. Slow down.

When off-roading, slow and steady wins the day. Instead of speed, you’ll need steady and consistent throttling to crawl over obstacles. Slow speed also gives you ample time to respond to the trail conditions and keeps the dust to a minimum.

  1. Yield to vehicles heading uphill.

When you encounter other off-roaders, the one going downhill has to give way. Going uphill needs momentum and it’s difficult and dangerous to back down on a narrow, steep hill.

  1. Research your intended routes beforehand.

Know what types of routes you’re capable of handling then research well ahead of time. Get to know who owns the land the trail is found on as well as any rules, fees or permits required to drive there.

  1. Know your vehicle.

Off-road vehicles are extremely capable but sometimes drivers just aren’t familiar enough with their vehicles to know how to operate them. Familiarize yourself with your ride- know its strengths and weaknesses, its ground clearance, approach and departure angles, etc. Take it to an auto shop where the mechanics can check it out and ensure it’s trail-ready.

  1. Know when to yield the right of way.

You’ll share some of the trails with other users including motorbikes, horses, and hikers. When you meet them, be considerate, slow down, give them plenty of space and avoid unnecessary honking or kicking up dust.

  1. Give other off-roaders plenty of space.

Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you especially when you are navigating obstacles, climbing steep inclines or there’s low visibility. This way, you’ll be safely out of the way should the other vehicle lose traction or rollover.

  1. Keep track of the vehicle behind you.

If you’re in a group of vehicles, keep an eye on the one behind you. Vehicles tend to space out widely on the trail and you don’t want anyone to get lost.

  1. Never wheel alone.

Never hit the trails on your own. You never know what might happen –your vehicle might breakdown or you could run into some other kind of trouble and need help bailing you out.

We hope that you’ll check out as many of the local trails in Moab as possible and have the best off-roading experiences!

Moab Utahs Off Roading 4X4 Trail List

  • The Golden Spike, Where Eagles Dare trail variation adds the Where Eagles Dare loop to a popular off road trail. This extension takes you high into the desert bowl of the Navajo sandstone to catch a glimpse of the railroad below and the stunning vistas in all directions. The course is demanding and requires a vehicle that is mechanically sound along with an experienced driver. 

  • If you're new to off road trailing then the LaSal trail pass is an excellent way to get started and sample some of the incredible Colorado vistas at the same time. While more experienced off-roaders might want to check out the Golden Spike: Where Eagles Dare trail for a thrill ride, the LaSal pass gives you a relaxing if not gentle way if exploring the same landscape. 

  • If you're looking for an off road trail that combines challenging terrain with stunning vista views then the Poison Spider Mesa trail is the one for you. You will need a suitable vehicle for this trail, one that is mechanically sound. You will also require some experience since the trail is rated a grade 7 trail. However, the Poison Spider Mesa trail really does deliver and is further enhanced by the spectacular Where Eagles Dare extension.

  • The Top of the World Trail is a 30.4km back trail located near Moab, Utah. It's moderately trafficked out and offers spectacular, scenic views to all who get to the top. It's called the Top of the World because of the sheer height and breathtaking view from the top, and this back trail is rated as a difficult one! Mostly used for hiking and biking, off road drivers will love taking this trail due to its accessibility and adventure.

  • If you’re looking to build your off-roading skills, then you need to look beyond the popular trails in Moab. Other lesser-known trails will give you a chance to practice and get better. Here at Dixie 4 Wheel Drive, we organize Southern Utah trail rides for just this reason. We like to mix up participants so that those who are just starting out can learn from more experienced off-roaders.

  • The off-roading trails in Moab always deliver, depending on what you’re looking for. If you want an adrenalin-filled day, then some of the popular trails in Moab will satisfy that craving. However, if you are looking for some mild off-roading to hone your skills, then you should look at some of the less popular, but still interesting trails.

    One such trail that delivers some mild off-roading challenges and fantastic scenery is the Seven Mile Rim trail.

  • Being the premier full-service 4WD auto shop in Moab means that we are involved in the off-roading community. We get lots of clients who come to our shop to upgrade or modify their rigs and they often ask about the best trails in the area. Some want scenic drives with mild challenges while others prefer hardcore off-roading, pitting their machines against the toughest, most-rugged trails there are.

  • As the premier auto shop in Moab, we often get plenty of visitors asking about off-roading in the area. We are always ready to help with maps of the southern Utah trails as well as helpful advice on how to navigate trails in the area.

  • The great thing about off-roading in Moab is that you have the option of choosing between a variety of off-roading trails ranging from the easiest to the toughest. Some of the trails that offer the most fun aren’t even ranked among the most famous trails in Moab.

  • When people come to Moab for off-roading, they often want to test out their rigs on the toughest trails around. These are the trails that put Moab on the map. As one of the leading 4x4 auto shops and off-roading enthusiasts in Moab, we at Dixie 4 Wheel Drive encourage people to explore and discover this wild part of our country.

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