The Ultimate Off-Road Adventure, No Experience Necessary
A good adventure is one that goes as planned, gets you some pictures and gets back to your desk on schedule. A great adventure however, is one that tests your limits, results in an unforgettable story and has you itching to do it again! If you have ever wanted to drive off-road, we offer the following trail tale to pique your interest in recreational 4×4 driving, in style!
The first step to getting off-road is go to the source. Moab, Utah essentially invented the sport. If you’re a city dweller, prepared to be awe struck with the miles of unmatched scenery right from the main road. You don’t have to take our word either; Moab is a mere 10-minute drive to Arches National Park and a bit farther to a second National Park, Canyonlands.
So you want to drive over boulders, forget where the pavement begins and ends; maybe impress your friends? You’re going to need a Jeep. Others will do, Toyotas and Land Rovers are formidable options, but these ladies love Jeeps. Most ladies love Jeeps, and after all, we’re here to guide you to drive like a lady and have an adventure!
So Jeeps it is. Jeeps, plural, are the truest statement here as well. Let’s say you made it to Moab in your daily driver but “you got this.” You also “got to get this Jeep” back home in one piece. No trailer, no spare Jeep waiting for you when you bend your frame, you want to have fun, but you’re not foolish!
Stock Jeep Ready Trail: Kane Creek Road
There are trails for every level of experience in Moab. If you have a little clearance from the ground, four-wheel drive and a good all-terrain tire with ample traction, you can get off the pavement in Moab.
Our favorite trail is the road to Kane Creek, which is located just west of the heart of Main Street. Unlike many trails in the area, Kane Creek Road begins at the McDonalds. You can’t miss it! This 13.2-mile trail snakes through Kane Creek Canyon with several water crossings. There is a little bit of everything to see and do on this trail in terms of obstacles, elevation changes, and tricky switches.
Now that you’ve successfully gotten off-road, you’re ready for something with a little challenge. This is where the multiple Jeep part comes in as well. With safety in mind, it’s best to off road with friends!
Two vehicles is the responsible approach to recreational 4×4 driving. In the event that you get hung up, you will always have a recovery vehicle nearby to assist with spotting, winching, or driving you back to town. Secondly, you might want to hop into a Jeep with larger tires and more clearance for a tougher trail than Kane Creek. Luckily in Moab, year round, there are friends and Jeeps available for borrow.
Jeep Rubicon Ready Trail: Fins & Things
We chose Fins & Things for our advanced trail option. We also traded our daily driver Jeep for a brand new Jeep Rubicon, which in its stock form was more than sufficient.
Fins & Things is just over 9 miles long, and east of town but also nearby. Follow signs for the Sand Flats Recreation Area. Upon entering you can opt for a $5.00 daily fee or a $10.00 weekly pass (the fee supports area maintenance, such as trash removal and on-site restrooms, so tread lightly so the usage costs remain low). The views from here are a bit different than the west side of town; you’ll see the snow-capped La Salle Mountain Range in the distance.
The Jeep Girls Ladies Run
As always, we wouldn’t send you out on a step-by-step off-road adventure without getting out there and conquering these trails ourselves first.
So here goes our personal trail tale!
Once a year Jeeps and Jeep enthusiasts gather in Moab, Utah during a week that is creatively referred to as “Jeep Week.” It’s like summer camp; you see old friends, make new ones and adventure in your Jeep with Jeep friends! This week also gathers influential drivers, historians, critics, and makers all in one place for a few days. Some bring their partners, and along came the bright idea to get the non-drivers behind the wheel!
Girlfriends, wives, pals all switched seats for the day. We drove our Jeep Commander with three other 4x4s in tow to the bottom of Kane Creek Canyon in the morning to gain our sea legs. We knew that if our 2008 Jeep Commander, (which we drove out from Phoenix, Arizona) could successfully do Kane Creek Road, other drivers would immediately gain the confidence to hit a technically challenging trail in the afternoon. What we learned on Kane Creek, is that the key to success on a new road is trusting in your equipment.
Tip: As you descend to the bottom of this canyon, the road transitions into wide switchbacks. The majority of the drive is unpaved, and covered in loose gravel. The key equipment to conquer Kane Creek is a solid set of tires with ample tread life.
Ready for round two, we met with about a dozen other Jeeps and their teams who were amped to conquer Fins & Things. Ashley, with her partner Fred Williams led the pack with his Ultimate Summer Camp Jeep, (a Willy’s Flat Fender/JK or modern Jeep Wrangler powered by an 8-cylinder motor).
Brittany drove Tony from Detroit in a brand new Jeep Unlimited Rubicon. If you are looking for a great out of the box option that you can drive to work and adventure, this is it. The 3.6L 6 cylinder motor at just under 300 horsepower performs above average off road. What we like about the Jeep Rubicon however is the additional equipment that is included direct from the factory. The Jeep Rubicon is equipped with front and rear locking differentials, an auto sway bar disconnect, a 4:1 crawl ratio and BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM in 32 inch size for the factory 17 inch wheel.
Tip: Aside from the numerous different expressions of this new group of drivers (some scared, some screaming, some ecstatic), having this group of very experienced drivers as guides and spotters really brought it all together.
Aside from the numerous different expressions of this new group of drivers (some scared, some screaming, some ecstatic), having this group of very experienced drivers as guides and spotters really brought it all together.
No matter how many times you have conquered the trails, it goes without saying that there will always be room for growth. Confidence without cockiness will have you trying new things and learning about yourself, your vehicle and your co-driver.
Bottom line: If you want to get off the pavement, begin with a willingness to learn, solid equipment and someone you trust. The rest you will learn along the way!
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