It’s every off-roader’s dream: rugged terrain, incredible vistas, and over 150 trails incredible, rock-crawling trails from Onion Creek to treacherous Pritchett Canyon. It’s no wonder Moab, Utah boasts 3 million visitors annually—not too shabby for a town with a population of just over 5,000.
But off-roading in a place as popular Moab isn’t without its challenges—both logistically and skill-wise. This is what to know before going off-roading in Moab, Utah to make the most of your trip.
Your Skill Level and Your Car’s Clearance
If your off-roading experience only extends to some backroads mud puddles, take a sober assessment of your skills before planning a trip to Utah. Rock-crawling is one of the hardest types of off-roading, requiring the most precision with the highest risk if you make a mistake.
On top of that, rock-crawling requires far more clearance than other forms of off-roading. If you’re still in the process of modifying your 4×4, make sure you keep the steep inclines and huge rocks in mind when you’re choosing a lift kit for your vehicle.
When You’re Going
When we think of hitting the trails and going camping, most of us think of going in the middle of summer when we have more time. But Moab is in the desert. In other words, it gets hot. On top of that, it’s monsoon season from July to mid-September, which can put a damper on your off-road plans.
The best times to go to Moab are in the spring and later fall. You avoid the temperature and weather extremes.
Where You’re Staying
With Moab’s high popularity and low population, it isn’t always easy to find a place to stay. Hotels and campsites fill up fast.
Make your reservations early if you’re staying in a hotel, rental, or yurt. If you’re camping, keep in mind that the campgrounds are first-come-first-serve. Stake your claim early in the evening to avoid needing to pitch a tent in no man’s land.
Whether You Have the Paperwork
If you have a street-legal vehicle, you don’t need a permit to hit the trails. However, if you’re driving an off-road specific vehicle like an ATV or non-street legal UTV, you’ll need a license from your home state and a Utah non-resident permit for the trails. Fortunately, the permits are only 30 dollars and last a whole year.
Who You’re Bringing With You
They say that off-roading is always better done with another person, and the same is true to know before off-roading in Moab. The trails may be crowded on most weekends, but you may end up in stretches of land where there’s no one around. If you get in a jam, a friend can get you out of it.
Even when you aren’t in the middle of the wilderness, having an extra set of eyes on the passenger’s side can help you navigate some of Moab’s trickier obstacles. That way, you spend less time stuck and more time blazing trails.