Motorized Routes

Cliffhanger Trail

There are thousands of miles of 4-wheel drive routes in Grand and San Juan counties. These routes now provide recreational opportunities for jeepers, ATVers and dirt bikers. Most routes are unmaintained relics from mining or prospecting for minerals. Some routes are used in current mining and grazing activities, and major access roads receive some maintenance from the county. Others are repaired just enough to get through, and provide every sort of route condition, from the easy to the extremely challenging. Moab's four wheel drive routes have great variety in scenery and provide a range of challenge to the off highway abilities of every type of motorized vehicle.

The Moab Field Office marks popular backcountry roads. In addition, the BLM maintains the main entrance roads in the Canyon Rims Recreation Area (the Needles Overlook and Anticline Overlook Roads, both of which are State Scenic Backways).

Many other motorized routes within the Moab Field Office (MFO) are used for recreational purposes. The most popular motorized routes include any of the 630 miles of the Jeep Safari Route system (this figure includes dirt roads within the field office that are permitted for Jeep Safari use). This network of backcountry routes has been popularized in guidebooks and on maps as well as by club use. A good source for trail descriptions, difficulty ratings and recommended equipment can be found on the Red Rock 4-Wheelers website.

Motor Assisted Bicycles: The Moab BLM has determined that motor assisted bicycles (electric, gas or diesel) are motorized vehicles. Use of motor assisted bicycles is only allowed on motorized trails.

All routes open to motorized use are depicted on the maps
posted on our Travel Management Plan page.


Sevenmile Rim Metal Masher Hells Revenge Fins and Things Poison Spider Shafer/Long Canyon Gemini Bridges Chicken Corners Moab Area Jeep Trail Locations

Route Descriptions
The eight routes on the map above have been chosen to indicate the variety and scope of the many four wheel drive routes in the Moab area. Whether you choose one of these, or some of the many other available routes, always remember to STAY ON THE ROUTE, preserving the scenery for those who will follow you. Chicken Corners, Gemini Bridges, Poison Spider, Metal Masher (Arth’s Rim), Hell’s Revenge, Sevenmile Rim and Fins and Things are suitable for four wheel drive vehicles, dirt bikes and ATV’s. Only licensed vehicles may drive the Shafer/Long Canyon Loop. 

 "Rules of the Routes”
Whatever your form of motorized recreation – full sized four wheel drive vehicle, dirt bike or ATV – make it your goal to always stay on the route. In the MFO, motorized travel is limited to designated routes. Remember, hundreds of thousands of people come to see the scenery and enjoy the backcountry by vehicle. They do not come to see YOUR tracks. Keep your vehicle on the route – if the route is too difficult for you, please turn around and find another one, rather than trying to go around obstacles. The Moab Field Office has routes to suit every type of vehicle and every skill level of driver.

ATVs and Dirt Bikes
All Terrain Vehicles and dirt bikes are welcome on any of the four wheel drive routes in Grand and San Juan counties. (Non-licensed vehicles, which include all ATV’s and some dirt bikes, may not travel on paved roads.) There are some trails specifically designated for ATV’s or dirt bikes. In addition, many of the old jeep routes make very challenging and enjoyable outings.

ATVs and dirt bikes are governed by laws and rules promulgated by the State of Utah. Among these rules are:

  • Children under the age of 8 are NOT allowed to operate off-highway vehicles
  • Children from the ages of 8 – 16 must possess an OHV education certificate
  • All drivers and passengers under 18 years of age must wear a helmet
  • OHV’s must display a current OHV registration sticker
  • All OHV’s must have a spark arrester

Utah Off-Highway Vehicle Laws, Use, Safety and Ethics

Trail Marking
While the BLM strives to mark the popular routes, it is always wise to carry a map or guidebook which describes the route you are trying to follow.

Visit the Canyonlands Natural History Association website
 to purchase maps and books of the area.

Route Difficulty
Rating the difficulty of four wheel drive routes is almost impossible. Not only do vehicles vary in their capability, but the experience of the driver is also a factor. The easiest of the trails described above (Shafer/Long Canyon Loop) is barely out of the two-wheel-drive class. The most difficult (Poison Spider, Hells Revenge) requires first-rate off-road equipment. The other routes are well within the capabilities of stock four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Precautions
As with many activities, 4 wheel driving, ATVing and dirt biking fills its enthusiasts with the notion that more risk equals more fun. Be aware that difficult 4 wheel drive trails entail some risk of damage for the vehicle and occupants. Novices are advised to develop experience on easier trails first and to seek advice for reducing risks on difficult terrain.

Getting lost or having a vehicle stuck or disabled is a special risk in this desert country. Although the routes described here are not very remote compared to some, the safest procedure is to travel with more than one vehicle. Next best is to be sure someone knows where you are going and when your return can be considered overdue. It is essential to have a good supply of water, and one should never attempt to walk for help in the hot months without carrying plenty of water. Other sensible equipment is also important, including sun protection, adequate clothing for cool nights, first-aid supplies, insect repellent, a spare tire, and mechanical equipment to keep the vehicle mobile.

Courtesy
All of the routes described here are on public lands--some state parcels--but mostly on federally owned land administered by the BLM under a policy of promoting multiple uses. While we enjoy use of the roads built mostly by mining interests, we often find that we are sharing with ranchers who lease the land for grazing. That is why you'll find fences throughout the area. A prime courtesy for our fellow users, therefore, is to leave each gate open or closed, as we find it.

Other users of the roads--miners, ranchers, riders of pedaled or powered cycles, and hikers--should find the routes as clean as you would like to see them. Unfortunately, the courteous people always clean up after the discourteous, so please carry out more than you carried in.

The occasional muddy conditions found in this area should not be considered part of the four-wheeling challenge. These roads can be severely damaged by use when they are muddy, while it takes only a little patience—usually about one dry day--to avoid the problem. If you are not convinced by courtesy considerations, be advised that a heavy shower can make many of these roads impassable, and even dangerous.

You may see vehicle tracks off the trails made by irresponsible travelers. These off road tracks are the worse form of garbage and destruction. Our desert plants have learned to grow in pace with the little moisture they receive, and they are slow to recover from a tire track. No one has yet claimed to have traveled all of the designated routes in the area, so there should be no need to go off of them. Staying on the route is not only a matter of courtesy and consideration, it is the law. Off road travel is a citable offense, and citations will be issued. Please remind your fellow drivers and riders to preserve the scenery you all came here to see by staying on the route.

Please Note
Paleontological resources are known to be present. Treat these resources with respect; it is illegal to remove them without a permit. The Paleontological Resources Preservation Act of 2009 protect them for the benefit of all Americans. Any person who, without authorization, excavates, removes, damages, or otherwise alters or defaces any paleontological resource located on the public lands of the United States is subject to arrest and penalty of law.

Minimum Impact Practices

Backcountry Safety Tips

Coloring Pages