The Best Of Moab

Our Favorites And Biased Opinions

By Harry Wagner, photography by Harry Wagner and courtesy of Bestop

The very name Moab conjures up images of red rock cliffs, Jeeps, and adventure. The town is most famous for hosting Easter Jeep Safari, but there are 4x4 events in Moab nearly every week of the year from spring through fall. It is easy to see why, with plenty of lodging and camping options, great food, and more 4x4 trails than you could ever run in a week. This is true whether you are a novice off-roader in a stock 4x4, or a grizzled Jeeper in a heavily modified rig. We have been going to Moab for years and still have only scratched the surface on all of the trails in the area, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have opinions about which ones are best.

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Moab is basically split into four quadrants, with the Colorado River running east-west and Highway 191 running north-south through town. The northeast quadrant is encompassed by Arches National Park, which is definitely worth a visit to for its breathtaking scenery and unique geologic formations. The northwest quadrant contains famous trails including Gold Bar Rim, Golden Spike, and Poison Spider Mesa, along with the more mellow Long Canyon and Gemini Bridges. The hardest trails in Moab can be found on the southwest side of town, and include Moab Rim, Cliffhanger, Behind the Rocks, and Pritchett Canyon. If those intimidate you don’t fear, White Rim, Chicken Corners, and Lockhart Canyon are also in this quadrant. The La Sal Mountains are to the southeast of Moab, and between town and the mountain range lie Hell’s Revenge, Fins N Things, Porcupine Rim, and Steel Bender.

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Harry Wagner’s Picks

All-Time Favorite Trail - Hell’s Revenge

To me, Hell’s Revenge is the quintessential Moab trail. It has sandpaper traction, pucker-inducing ledges, beautiful scenery, and challenging obstacles. The fact that most of those obstacles, such as Hell’s Gate, the Escalator, and Mickey’s Hot Tub are option make this trail a great choice for a variety of vehicles and skill levels. Plus, it is super close to town at the Sand Flats Recreation Area (there is a fee, but it is modest) and can be run in a couple of hours. There isn’t much shade on this trail so our preference is to get an early start, run in to the overlook of the Colorado River at the top of Hell’s Gate, then run over to the hot tubs before checking out Escalator on our way out.

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Most Overrated - Kane Creek

This trail is really popular, so hear me out. My gripe with Kane Creek is that for the most part it is a long dirt road with some cool water crossings. If that was all it was I would highly recommend it for less modified vehicles. The issue is that sixteen miles from town you encounter Hamburger Hill, which has ledges that are getting taller and more difficult every year. I feel that the rest of the trail is pretty boring in a built rig, but driving all the way out to tackle Hamburger Hill doesn’t make a lot of sense. You could just go to Potato Salad Hill behind the city dump and have a similar challenge without taking all day to do it.

On My Bucket List - Rusty Nail

I’ve run Gold Bar Rim to Golden Spike to Poison Spider once before, and that made for a long day. I would love to add in Rusty Nail in the future, although the photos I have seen of No Left Turn terrify me. I’ve done Cliffhanger plenty of times so I figure it cannot be much worse than that, but I would like to find out for myself. Rusty Nail is only 1.9 miles long and basically an optional harder trail off of Gold Bar Rim. Where Eagles Dar is a similar optional spur off of Golden Spike that I would like to add in at the same time. Guess I have a reason to go back to Moab again!

Favorite Place to Eat - Quesadilla Mobilla

There are a lot of great places in town to eat, but the popular locations like the brewery get packed during EJS. Currently my pick is actually a food truck located right in the center of town. Quesadilla Mobilla has amazing food at a reasonable price. Since it is a food truck all of the seating is outside, but you are in Moab so is that such a bad thing? The Enchanted Chicken is my favorite, but I haven’t tried anything there that I didn’t like. For breakfast the Love Muffin is my pick, but Eklectica and the Moab Garage are great options as well.

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Favorite Place to Stay - Pack Creek Ranch

If I am camping I try to stay along the water, since dry camping for more than a few days can be tough. Hunter Canyon Campground on the way to Kane Creek is the most beautiful camp spot in my opinion and has lots of shade (a rarity around Moab) but it is small and fills up quickly. It is also kind of far from town, so I usually end up camping along the Colorado River east of Moab. There are several campgrounds in this area right on the water, but not a lot of shade so bring an EZ-Up or awning.

If I am getting lodging, Pack Creek Ranch at the base of the La Sals is my favorite. Again, it is a little far from town but being 2,000 feet higher in elevation than Moab it is typically cooler, and it only takes 15 minutes to get there from the south end of town. There is no cell service at Pack Creek Ranch, but I think that is part of the appeal too!

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Cassie Hughes’ Picks (Bestop Marketing Specialist)

Favorite Trail - Pritchett Canyon

When it comes to picking my favorite trail in Moab it gets a bit challenging. Pritchett is a top one on my list, as it is challenging rock crawling that is continually changing each time I go. For example, During EJS 2018 the lines I took on Chewy Hill were nowhere near the lines I needed to take during our Fall trip that year in November. The downside of Pritchett is the exit… a very long bumpy ride out, with no obstacles or flat areas to really go fast. If I am looking for a beautiful yet fun ride, I can’t go wrong with Moab rim. I usually try and hit this around sunset for some stunning views and fun wheeling.

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Most Overrated - Top of the World

Top of the World hands down for me. I’ve done this trail twice and that is enough for me! With the trail head north of town, it takes some time to get to. It is also a very long and bumpy trail, with no difficult rock crawling or obstacles. The view at the top is always breathtaking, but not worth the trek up or down if you have already run the trail once.

On My Bucket List - Kane Creek

I don’t really have a trail left that I would consider “bucket list” in Moab. However, I would like to run Kane Creek again with far less than 50 Jeeps! It was a longer trail but kept your interest between steep drops, water crossings, and a few boulder climbs. This trail with a smaller group would be a great time, especially after a few rain storms!

Favorite Place to Eat - Pasta Jay's

My favorite in Moab is Pasta Jay's – hands down. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love some good pasta? The wide variety on the menu fits perfect for anyone in your group, and it tastes amazing! Peace Tree Café is also a great option for breakfast/Lunch or even a quick stop for a smoothie.

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Favorite Place to Stay - Depends

My favorite place to stay really depends on what I am doing in Moab. If I am working all week for EJS, a condo in town is ideal. You can walk to most of the restaurants as sometimes parking is a nightmare, also being able to shower all week is nice then having to interact with customers and coworkers J If I am heading out with a smaller group of friends, camping at Kane Creek is amazing. Plenty of trees for shade, close to some good trails and the best part – zero cell service! When we go with larger groups, we rent a house on the outside of town that has plenty of parking and places to sleep.

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Lee Loughery’s Picks (Bestop Marketing Specialist)

Favorite Trail - Trifecta

When it comes to picking my favorite trail in Moab it gets a bit challenging. Pritchett is a top one on my list, as it is challenging rock crawling that is continually changing each time I go. For example, During EJS 2018 the lines I took on Chewy Hill were nowhere near the lines I needed to take during our Fall trip that year in November. The downside of Pritchett is the exit… a very long bumpy ride out, with no obstacles or flat areas to really go fast. If I am looking for a beautiful yet fun ride, I can’t go wrong with Moab rim. I usually try and hit this around sunset for some stunning views and fun wheeling.

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Most Overrated - Hell's Revenge

Is it sacrilegious to list Hells Revenge here? It’s just flat out too popular and heavily trafficked.

On My Bucket List - Flat Iron Mesa

I had electrical issues and had to bail out halfway through Flat Iron Mesa once. I need to return to finish the trail.

Favorite Place to Eat - Zax

Peace Tree for breakfast/lunch, Zax for dinner.

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Favorite Place to Stay - Condo

While camping there is beautiful, several full days of wheeling earns one a proper bed. Condos are the way to go in Moab.