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Moab Off Road Trail Spotlight: Cliffhanger

Moab, Utah is famous for two things- outstanding beauty and off-roading. The best way to experience both at the same time is by signing up for one of Dixie 4 Wheel Drive’s southern Utah trail rides. We love organizing these trail rides to help off-roaders to get to know each other and to also appreciate the amazing trails that we have. The trail rides are open to both experienced and novice drivers so everyone can learn from each other.

Other than our trail rides, there are other big off-roading events that take place at different times of the year, drawing avid off-roaders from all corners of the country and beyond. As we prepare to take part in one of these- the Easter Jeep Safari- slated for April, we thought it’d be a good idea to highlight some of the popular off-roading trails in Moab that you’re likely to enjoy during the safari. Today’s focus is on Cliffhanger.

Cliffhanger Trail Overview

If you want to use your vehicle to access Amasa Back, you’ve got no choice but to go through Cliffhanger Trail. Amasa Back is a high isolated area that’s fenced in by Jackson Hole, Hurrah Pass, Kane Spring Canyon and a huge loop of the Colorado River. It offers spectacular views of the surrounding area making the trip well worth braving the rugged 8-rated Cliffhanger trail to get there. Additionally, you might catch a glimpse of the petroglyphs found further along the trail, high above the Colorado River.

This trail stretches for 20 miles, 12 of which are off-pavement. To conquer it, ensure your vehicle has adequate ground clearance with tires that are at least 35” tall. You’ll also need front and rear lockers to maintain traction along the way.

Cliffhanger Trail Surface and Scenery

This trail affords some of the best views overlooking the Colorado River. The climb from Kane Creek is quite demanding so you’re likely to enjoy this scenery on the way back. The afternoon view of the La Sal Mountains are simply magnificent and shouldn’t be missed.

Most of the trail comprises loose sand and dirt with some sandstone rock ledges.

Obstacles and other Cliffhanger Trail Details

Steep inclines and declines are prevalent throughout this trail and you’ll need excellent driving skills to get through them. The rugged terrain starts early on in the trail with a steep descent over a series of rock ledges from Kane Creek road to the bottom of the creek. The difficulty of crossing the creek varies according to the creek surface which can go from being dry and sandy to wet quicksand to deep water depending on recent weather. Once you cross the creek, you’ll have to navigate a difficult ledge and then from there, you’ll maneuver a series of steep irregular ledges the rest of the way.

Vehicle or body damage, as well as rollovers, are quite common on this trail. If any of that happens, bring your rig to the Dixie 4 Wheel Drive auto-shop in Moab and we’ll be glad to fix it up for you.

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