(I suggested this trip in Crispyfritter's recent glamping thread, but I'm afraid it may have gotten lost in the shuffle there. Since I was serious about it, I decided to make a dedicated thread to discuss the idea and properly gauge interest. With that goal in mind, here we are.)
Jeeps climbing up the front side of Elephant Hill
Of all the Jeep trails in and around Moab, Elephant Hill ranks as the most scenic. Besides the unique and breathtaking scenery, there are also two easy hikes (one into a slot canyon which is gorgeous in its own right).
We get to hike this slot canyon at our lunch stop
The four wheeling is relatively mild as far as Moab Jeep trails go; this one is rated a 4 (out of 10) and can be carefully driven in a showroom stock 4dr Wrangler (though added clearance from a small lift will provide some peace of mind in a few spots). Locking diffs are not necessary, though 33” or larger tires are recommended. Of course, drivers of Jeeps with substantial mods will find this trail to be quite easy.
The yellow and blue lines (in the green Canyonlands National Park) designate the trail
There are a few things which need to be taken into consideration when running Elephant Hill. These include:
- This is an all-day event. We will leave Moab at 8am sharp, and probably won't return until 7 pm or later.
- The above means you'll spend at least two nights in Moab for this trip. You'll have many options for lodging, from camp sites to RV parks to a variety of hotels. Room prices in Moab vary from Somewhat Expensive to Definitely Expensive to Are You Kidding Me??? Deal with it.
- Absolutely no pets allowed--not even on a leash, not even in your vehicle. If the ranger at the Park entrance sees Fido, your vehicle won't be allowed to enter.
- Each vehicle is required to have a permit to enter Elephant Hill. There are only 24 permits available each day--period. This permit may cost up to $30, and can be purchased online the day before. There may also be a separate fee of ~$10 just to enter Canyonlands Park itself. These fees go directly to park/trail maintenance, which makes them a good thing.
- Theoretically, groups are limited to only three vehicles with space between each group. We might have to be a little creative to get us all in at once, depending how many want to join in.
- There is plenty of room at the Canyonlands Visitor Center for trailers, so you can tow your Jeep from Moab if desired (I'll be doing this).
- Unlike most Moab trails, Elephant Hill has a few stops along the way with pit toilets.
Parking area for the slot canyon hike--note pit toilet in the background
I know this trail well, and am comfortable leading groups through it (I've done so in the past). It's an easy trail to follow, and there is virtually no chance of getting lost and/or suffering any sort of catastrophe. Even if an oddball disaster were to strike, I would be able to summon the county sheriff and/or a Life Flight helicopter via my ham radio (most of the trail has no cell phone coverage). In other words, there is little reason to be afraid of making this run.
If the participants are interested, we might be able to make this a multi-day, multi-trail event. I may be able to have a local friend to guide us along one of the classic Moab trails such as Hell's Revenge or Fins 'n Things (for example) on the following day.
So, who's in?
Are you interested in making this trip? If so, speak up. EDIT: we are currently planning on Monday, Sept 28th. However, I am open to further suggestions from the group.
What say you, TCL?