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Old 08-12-2014, 07:45 PM   #1
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Moab UT, 2WD off the beaten path?

I am thinking about taking a trip to Moab, always wanted (for about twenty years) and haven't. Well the family has vacation shortly and I thought great opportunity to. However, not being very familiar with the area I was hoping someone could weigh in on where I could get off the road and enjoy some of the remote scenery. I am going to be traveling with a 2WD so nothing hardcore. It has no lift, so more like forest service roads would be fine but nothing that will get me stuck. Thoughts on where I might be able to take in the scene and enjoy the outdoors?
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Old 08-12-2014, 11:44 PM   #2
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Re: Moab UT, 2WD off the beaten path?

I took my stock Xterra down the White Rim trail without any issues except hitting the hitch mounted bike rack in a couple of spots. It was a 4x4 but we didn't need it so we left it in 2wd. Not sure what the conditions are now since this was 5 or 6 years ago.
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Old 08-13-2014, 01:30 PM   #3
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Re: Moab UT, 2WD off the beaten path?

I usually encourage 2wd vehicles to try trails, but not so much for the White Rim. Its not so much a high clearance or traction issue, but one of decent angles. I don't know what your setup is, but if it is a heavy van with just a standard gearbox, your brakes could take a punishment going down the switchbacks. We took it in May and the scenery is spectacular.

Take a look at 86Scotty's thread on it. See if you want to go down those switchbacks in 2wd High.
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Old 08-13-2014, 02:37 PM   #4
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Re: Moab UT, 2WD off the beaten path?

Search for "Crown Vic + Moab" on Youtube. There's this old guy driving around the trails in an old Crown Vic Police Interceptor.
Myself, I've put 2WD vehicles in places where they shouldn't be at all. It's all a matter of driving techniques and knowing the limits.
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Old 08-13-2014, 05:38 PM   #5
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Re: Moab UT, 2WD off the beaten path?

While I have, like Karsten says, taken 2wds places they shouldn't go, I do believe that a tx case is needed for White Rim, that is if you are in a heavy van. I would NOT have wanted to be in my previous 10k lb. 2wd E350 on those steep climbs and decents, especially in the summer heat. There's also one more variable which is traffic. It's an open road, and a popular one. You never know when someone is going to come along going from the opposite direction and ruin your momentum, but as Murphy's law states, it will probably be in a switchback so reserve engine power, brakes and traction are nice to have.
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Old 08-13-2014, 05:44 PM   #6
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Re: Moab UT, 2WD off the beaten path?

I once drove my Honda Element around the White Rim......I had a few tense moments but otherwise it was all good.

My running boards got a few good gouges/dents on the underside...but they were already in pretty bad shape.

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Old 08-13-2014, 10:11 PM   #7
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Re: Moab UT, 2WD off the beaten path?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty
It's an open road, and a popular one. You never know when someone is going to come along going from the opposite direction and ruin your momentum, but as Murphy's law states, it will probably be in a switchback so reserve engine power, brakes and traction are nice to have.
So true. Even though the picture below doesn't look too narrow. I had pulled as far as I could up the side of the embankment waiting on a Toyota Tundra to pass. "She" cut it too close to me and ended up with an 18" long gouge in her side. The Propane tank was unscathed!

This was in the Hardscrabble section of the trail.
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Old 08-14-2014, 08:09 AM   #8
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Re: Moab UT, 2WD off the beaten path?

Bill, after thinking about this a little more, you could do what we did near Ouray/Silverton Colorado. Rent a Jeep! You may much prefer the idea of taking your van where you wanted to camp etc. but you can really go anywhere and enjoy it in a rented Jeep. Our cost was about $175 for a 24 hr. rental IIRC and it was well worth it.
If, however, you are meaning going in your own vehicle I think there are still some places you could enjoy. I think you might be fine going down the Long Canyon Rd. but probably not up it.
If you explore the Canyonlands maze district and Dead Horse Lake area you will find lots of gravel roads on both sides of Hwy 313, including the entrance to both sides of the White Rim, you could explore there and just turn around if things look difficult. Long Canyon Rd is where these pics were taken





This should be doable if you go slow, which you'll want to anyway because your camera will be out constantly. It will take you down from Dead Horse Point to 279, which is a beautiful place to explore all the way back to Moab. Unfortunately we didn't go the other way on 279 but will next time.

There are a few forum members who really know their way around the Moab area. REF comes to mind and I'm sure others will soon chime in.

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Old 08-14-2014, 09:59 PM   #9
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Re: Moab UT, 2WD off the beaten path?

Great idea to rent a Jeep. I will for sure study up on visiting MOAB. I might drive through in the next month on a 2200 mile trip. I am trying to squeeze a few extra days to enjoy MOAB as it's on my bucket list.
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Old 08-15-2014, 06:33 AM   #10
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Re: Moab UT, 2WD off the beaten path?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bshillam
Great idea to rent a Jeep. I will for sure study up on visiting MOAB. I might drive through in the next month on a 2200 mile trip. I am trying to squeeze a few extra days to enjoy MOAB as it's on my bucket list.
It's an awesome place. I love it for the quiet, compared to other similar places I've been. Most of the crowds are in town or at Arches in my experience. Arches is definitely worth driving through and taking some pics, but it was a little too crowded for me when we were there in high summer. I would love to be there in the Fall. I'm not sure if it will be much cooler when you are there but hopefully so. We lucked out on a couple of cool, cloudy days on our recent visit but it is most definitely a hot, desert climate. The nice part is it's cool at night but gets windy.

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