The word utopia first came to light in an old, boring book written in Sir Thomas More in 1516 as an imaginary island whose society enjoyed perfection in religion, politics, and law. By definition, this term is meant to represent an ideal place or state and many Jeepers might be picturing parts of Utah to enjoy a utopian lifestyle by raging over some of the most extreme, challenging, and picturesque off-road trails in the good ole USA.
While most of these trails are way gnarly, not for novices, rated up to severe and extreme in some cases, there are still a couple of “moderate” or “easy” trails included near the end because of the breathtaking scenery and spectacular views. So without any further adieu, here are THEE top seven trails to explore in the Great State of Utah.
1. Hells Revenge Trail
Moab, 6.5 miles, duration of about 4 hours with a rating of Difficult-Severe
Due to the large religious population and reputation of Utah, we just couldn’t resist the urge to list the ironic and iconic Hells Revenge Trail at the top of this roster. So download the “Hells Bells” track off of the retro classic AC/DC’s Back In Black album to musically motivate your journey through the slick rock trails with a roller coaster ride over natural, petrified sand dunes or “fins” as they’re called. More gnarly, namesake obstacles include Hells Gate, The Hot Tubs, including the Car Wash, Micky’s Hot Tube, before climbing onboard The Escalator and ending on the Tip-Over Challenge.
Majestic Moab: As you continue through this list, you’ll see the majority of these trails are located in Moab which is considered a premier destination for four-wheelers with some people calling it an “off-roader’s paradise.” If you only have the opportunity to choose one of these treks in Moab, Hells Revenge is a bucket-worthy trail and for many, it’s thought of like having a Jeep Badge of Honor for those conquering this rocky pathway.
2. Fins and Things 4×4 Trail
Moab, 9.4 miles, duration of about 4 hours with a rating of Moderate-Difficult
Before attempting to tackle Hells Revenge, many off-roaders will hone their skills and warm up their wheels on the Fins and Things 4×4 Trail. Here off-roaders will get a feel for the difference in traction Sandstone brings to the 4×4 experience. Known as “slick rock,” by airing down Jeep tires a bit, some are amazed at being able to climb 50-60% inclines with less slippage up, around, and down these slippery surfaces.
Trivia Time: When settlers were coming out west, they were attempting to use wagons with steel rims pulled by oxen or mules to tackle this terrain. They found these rocks were slicker than snot hence the name “slick rock.” On the other hand, “fins” are the Navajo sandstone formations found northeast of Moab and the “things” are what remains as they erode. The fins began some 200 million years ago as wind-blown sand dunes that were eventually cemented into sandstone and coming back full circle to sands blowing in the wind.
3. Pritchett Canyon
Moab, 4.5 miles inside the canyon, duration ranges with many difficult obstacles to conquer with a rating of Extreme
Pritchett Canyon really deserves the top spot on this list as it’s very well known in the 4×4 community as the trail-of-all-trails to conquer in Moab, Utah, the United States or anywhere else in the world for that matter. The rating of extreme fits this canyon to a tee as it’s full of insane and epic rock crawling challenges pushing even the most experienced drivers and their rigs to their limits.
Badge of Honor: Those that are able to tackle this extremely rough terrain and conquer this trail should seriously get a medal of honor or at the very least a t-shirt commemorating the completion of this epic experience.
4. Metal Masher Trail
Moab, 10.6 miles, duration of about 6 hours with a rating of Difficult-Extreme
As the name suggests, the Metal Masher Trail is a real ball-buster with the potential of crunching up an OHV in a matter of moments. For well-seasoned 4×4 enthusiasts, this “hard” trail is comprised of slick rock surfaces, sand, dirt, and more. Two of the obstacles worthy of some real wariness and are often not completed during the first attempt include:
- Mirror Gulch: This narrow gulley is notorious for damaging full-width vehicles and is also hazardous for those with long front or rear overhangs.
- Widowmaker Hill: A challenging incline that will trip up long-wheelbase vehicles that often become high-centered midway through the journey.
Enjoy the View: Breathtaking arches and other rock formations in the landscape along with snow-capped mountains in the background are among the many rewards of traipsing through this challenging trail.
5. Top of the World
Moab, 5.5 miles, duration of about 5 hours with a rating of Difficult-Severe
You’ll really feel like you’re on the top of the world looking down on creation and that’s not the only expectation that you’ll find with this lame reference to a really old Carpenters song. But the lyrics to this elevator musical classic continue to ring true on this trek as the end result will offer views equal to the nearest thing to heaven that you’ll see. At the top, 360° views offer unique photo ops off jaw-dropping cliffs looking down on Onion Creek Canyon and overlooking Fisher and Titan Towers.
Make Room for the View: Be sure you have an abundance of space available on your hand-held device to take plenty of pictures when you tackle the Top of the World trail. While the breathtaking views are unforgettable, you’ll want to have them on hand to make fellow Jeepers turn green with envy.
6. Chicken Corners Trailhead
Moab, 12 miles, duration of about 2 hours with a rating of Moderate
Chicken Corners Trailhead is one of the more popular and easier trails in the Moab area following a beautiful shelf road that leads to a run alongside the Colorado River. Near the end of the journey, there are sensational, straight-down views of the river whose route was transversed earlier. Combine this trail with the more difficult and remote regions of Lockharts Basin for an overland trip through the desert to arrive at the Canyonland Needles.
7. Cane Wash
Green River, 16.3 miles, about 1 hour and 50 minutes with a rating of Easy
Often used as a shortcut from Buckhorn Draw Road over to Fixit Pass, Cane Wash runs through the San Rafael Swell with green areas near Locomotive Point after passing through barren parts of the desert. There is some incredible scenery to soak up along with bonus features including abandoned mines and a plethora of hiking trails to explore. Although a straight trek through this terrain will typically last less than two hours, travelers could take days exploring the area.
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