With endless miles of rugged deserts to explore, the best Utah 4×4 adventures are some of the most exciting in the US – even the world. There is great off-roading in Moab, Zion and more that provide vast expanses of unique landscape, with challenging terrain including marshes, snow-capped mountains and sandstone escarpments.
It’s little wonder that people travel from all over the US and further afield, to enjoy an off-road adventure in Utah. But before you set off, you need to remember to clearly display your OHV registration sticker if you’re bringing your own vehicle in to the state. Plus, most national parks do not allow off-road vehicles within their limits so be aware of the boundaries.
However, national parks aside, there are still thousands of miles of trails to explore.
The wilds of Utah can be pretty rugged and remote. So, it’s very important that you take your safety seriously. That means following a few rules. For a start, always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back. Make sure you bring extra gear and supplies to deal with any emergencies that might arise.
Know your vehicle and what it is capable of – in terms of clearance especially. And, if possible, travel in pairs so that there is someone else there to help you out if you need it. Keep safe and you’ll have a great time on the Utah trails. This article has plenty of useful tips for off-road driving in Australia that are just as valid in Utah.
Obviously off-roading can lead to very dirty vehicles. If a standard wash, or even a full on valet, won’t do then you may want to go for the detailing option. Providing a much deeper, longer lasting and paintwork protecting finish your mucky 4×4 can look like new again. Check out Onsite Detail in St George in the South of Utah for great service.
Here are some easy trails and adventures for off-roading in Moab, Zion and further afield.
This trail heads out from Apple Valley in Utah to the Cane Beds in Kane in Arizona. Along the way you’ll be able to see Zion National Park and from Elephant Butte you’ll see the views across Elephant Gap.
The Gemini Bridges trail covers a region between US Highway 191 and SR 313. This three-hour drive provides some grand vistas and access to plenty of other trails. The highlight is the spectacular twin arch of Gemini Bridges on the edge of Bull Canyon.
The Hurricane Canal to Zion Vistas ride starts in La Verkin. The Hurricane Canal is a 7.5 mile waterway clinging to the sheer walls of the Virgin River Canyon. Built by pioneers to open up the land, the canal was finished in 1904 after 11 years of gruelling labour. Visit Eagle Crags for a unique view of Zion National Park, then head to the Smithsonian Mesa on the way between Rockville and Apple Valley.
Another easier route, Diamond Valley to Stateline Mine, Hackett Ranch and Jenny Mine, heads out from St George on Highway 18 toward Enterprise. Continue to the junction of Beryl Junction and Highway 56, then head west to Modena on the Canyon Road. You’ll then head towards Hamblin Valley, passing through the mining ghost town of Stateline.
If you want a more challenging Utah adventure then check out the trails below.
The Flagg Point to Seaman Canyon route takes highway 389 toward Fredonia and Kanab. Head along Johnson Canyon Road through some pretty deep sandy sections. Explore the Native American village remains and pottery. At Flag Point, there are some old dinosaur tracks and more petroglyph to check out.
The Chicken Corners trail is around three to four hours. It starts at Colorado River Canyon just below Moab and follows a stunning route through Kane Springs Canyon. You’ll climb the Kane Creek to Hurrah Pass and drop down to benches above the Colorado River for more spectacular scenery. The trail finishes at Chicken Corners above the river, just across from Dead Horse Point.
This trail starts on I-15, taking exit 27 onto State Route 17. Turn onto Spring Street shortly after the bridge for the next 6 miles to the falls (high clearance is recommended). After half a mile, the pavement ends and the road becomes gravel. Carry on the track as it winds and loses lots of elevation, staying right at the first fork you come across. It’s then 3.5 miles to Toquerville. It’s very scenic and while not that technically difficult includes some relatively steep and rocky sections.
Below are some of the most challenging off-roading in Moab, Zion and more
Fins and Things is a one-way trail starting two miles from the Sand Flats Entrance Station near Moab. OHVs (Off Highway Vehicles) are allowed on the Sand Flats Road and the trail is marked with signs and by symbols painted on the rock surface. It’s recommended only for experienced drivers as the terrain is very hazardous.
A rugged dirt and rock hybrid, littered with petroglyphs and Pig Rock. Little Arch is the big reward at the top of the trail and, if you have more time, continue on to Golden Spike and Gold Bar Rim for more some more technical driving challenges.
A tough trail recommended for very experienced drivers and vehicles with lifts, lockers, big tyres and a healthy attitude to some bodywork damage. Even the bypass routes are extreme.
The most notorious trail in Moab, and not just because it has a scary name. The highlights of this trail include the amusingly named Hell’s Gate, Mickey’s Hot Tub and Escalator. More technical than Fins & Things and a real challenge for any driver.
All of the above are amongst the best Utah 4×4 adventures. If you’re planning on going off-roading in Moab, Zion and other areas of the state, the above selection has a little something for everyone. But there are plenty more besides, including Pritchett Canyon, Copper Ridge, Golden Spike and Cliff Hanger.
Just remember to avoid the national parks and make sure someone knows where you are going before you leave. You won’t see much other traffic out there on the trail so be prepared for every eventuality.
We hope you found this guide to off-roading in Utah interesting and useful. If you plan to visit the state check out these Utah activity holidays for plenty of other ideas.