Trail Report - Moab Rim

Report and photos by: John Nutter

Moab Rim - Moab's "Trail to the Top"

Trail Rating: 4+
Location: The Moab Rim trail is located about 2 1/2 miles off Highway 191 on Kane Creek Road.
Trail Condition: Mostly slickrock with some off camber sections, rock ledges, stair steps and broken sand. Spectacular views of Moab and the La Sal Mountains from the top.
Obstacles: Devil's Crack and the Z-turn
Approx. Mileage: 7 off-road

The Moab Rim trail is a difficult trail. Breathtaking views often times overshadow the potential dangers of this trail. The lower section of the trail takes the driver close to the edge of the trail where a lapse in concentration could result in a very long drop to the valley floor below. Further up the trail, the Z-turn is a series of stair steps and rock ledges. Vehicles without lockers will have a difficult time here. Once at the top, the views looking down into the town of Moab and across the valley to the La Sal Mountains are spectacular.

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Dora Fang on the Moab Rim Trail.

Moab Rim was billed as "an easy warm up" for the group I was with, but it didn't turn out that way.

The group consisted of 4x4Wire staff and friends from the Minnesota Trailriders and Mad XJ 4wd clubs. The trail was a good eye-opener for the folks that hadn't been to Moab before, starting off with a steep slickrock climb on the edge of a cliff. The Devil's Crack was non-event, the most difficulty was had by Courtney Kerr in his stock TJ, he needed to back up and try it a second time with a spotter. No big deal.

The next major excitement after the Devil's Crack is the Z-Turn. I was in the lead and provided some excitement right away. I managed to drop a tire in the hole near the boulder at the bottom of the Z-turn and simultaneously hit a high point on the rocks with the opposite tire. My wife and I looked at each other as we hung in our seats with the Jeep laying on it's side. My two year old daughter was quiet in the back, until her bag of snacks started to spill. I climbed out the top - which was now the driver's side door and soon the Trailriders and Mad XJs were helping Janet and Sierra get out of the Jeep.

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Moab Rim Trail

Chad Barney from Colorado was recruited to winch my Jeep back onto it's tires since all of my group was below and I had effectively blocked the obstacle. Tracy Michaels from Colorado was with the Mad XJs, and he was recruited to coordinate the uprighting of my vehicle since he's been around more than a few rollovers. The Jeep was going to just roll back if we only winched it into the same spot, so I drove a few feet up the trail with the cable still attached and it was over. I had to pound out the dent on my hood because it was dangerously close to the positive battery cable (do I need a battery roll bar?), and my soft top was trashed, but there was no other damage and believe it or not no oil spilled out of my drivetrain.

The rest of the group took their turn at the Z-turn while I was busy with my Jeep. Dora Fang of the Mad XJs made a spectacular show of hopping up the ledges to the right of the boulder at the Z-turn and several of the Trailriders walked up with little difficulty. Rob Eide broke a U-joint on his XJ, but that was soon repaired - or so we thought. The forward part of the group went up to the top of the Rim to enjoy the view while Rob fixed his U-joint. We got a CB call when we are the top, Rob had broke the rosette welds free on his Dana 35 rear end and the center section had spun and pointed the pinion way up.

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John Nutter on the Z-Turn.

Chuck Bydlan had a cordless battery powered wire feed welder in his Jeep, but I had the welding helmet in mine, so I needed to come back down. Rob's pinion was still pointed up when I arrived and no one could figure out how to get it pointed in the proper direction. I had Rob put his Klune-V box and transfer case in low and his transmission in reverse, then stand on his brakes and gas it. It worked perfectly, Rob's pinion angle was actually set better after this maneuver than it was before he broke. Rob spent some time under his Jeep with the welder. The crackle of the welder sounded great from the start, and the weld quality was excellent. We proceeded to the bottom of the Rim after Rob was done welding and were soon back at the Slickrock Campground enjoying dinner.