Do Moab area roads warrant a high clearance vehicle?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Do Moab area roads warrant a high clearance vehicle?

    We're planning a trip to Moab this spring. I have an Explorer and a Jetta TDI. The TDI gets about 3 times the gas mileage of the Explorer but has pretty low ground clearance. Gravel roads would not be a problem but I am wondering about getting in and out of parking areas. Do I need the ground clearance of the Explorer? Are there any must ride moderate difficulty trails that this would prevent us from getting to?

  2. #2
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    2 illustrative images

    some roads are tougher than others:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/9169486...7594386624542/

    sometimes it is better to ride the the last mile to the trailhead:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/9169486...7594170117110/


    That said, a Jetta will be fine in Moab. We take out Passat down there all the time. Just drive slow, don't put a hole in your oil pan and have the ability to describe where you are if the tow-truck can't find you :-)

    Cheers,
    C
    I only attempt to change the world in the appropriate World-Changing venues and forums.

  3. #3
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    Are long stretches of sand like that typical? My Jetta has lower clearance than a Passat and I hate riding through sand.

    Great pictures. What are your thoughts on full suspension? It didn't look like your bikes had FS. I have a GF Paragon 29'er and want to ride it unless I would regret not having suspension in the back. I've never gone over more than a 2-3' drop with it. The rest of my buddies have FS bikes or are planning on renting one.

    The Jackson's hole loop ride looks great. How long did that take? There will be 7 or 8 of us in our group. We are all intermediate middle aged riders. I know I get winded climbing at 9,000+ feet, I'm not sure what affect 4,000' will have on me.

    How high are the "Ledges" talked about in the trail description? Would it be foolish to take someone on this trail who doesn't like having space between their wheels and the ground?
    http://http://www.utahmountainbiking...ls/jackson.htm

  4. #4
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    - lots of sand in Moab, some trails are sandier than others. P.R. isn't really sandy at all, Poison Spider is known for sand. The Jackson's Hole loop has some long, very sandy stretches.

    - Next time I do the Jackson's Hole loop, I am taking a light XC bike. Most of the ride is fire road, almost no singletrack until you get to the top of Jackson's Ladder and head down Amasa Back. Lots of pretty views, almost no classic Moab technical riding, and having a heavy "play" bike sucks when hiking up the ladder.

    - FS in Moab is the best way to go. I have ridden a lot of different MTBs down there, and am always happiest with FS. The hardtails are fun, but you get pretty beat up after a few days.

    -
    Quote Originally Posted by Bona
    like having space between their wheels and the ground?
    Most of Moab involves trails where you have to ride up or down ledges at some point. If your friend is cool with getting off of his bike every once in a while, he should do ok. Might want to try some of the mellower trails first - take him on Klondike Bluffs - if he likes that one he will like Moab. If he doesn't like it, then maybe send him to Arches...
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  5. #5
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    Of the trails I've been to, Amasa Back, Klondike Bluffs, and Slickrock had little to no off-pavement driving. Porcupine Rim is a longer drive on a 2WD gravel road. Sovereign Singletrack is a little bumpier, but it's short and still fine for a passenger car.

    The road to Bartlett Wash, however, has a sandy wash that you have to cross. I've driven through it in a 2WD Honda Element and a AWD Subaru Outback without any problems. You could probably call up one of the bike shops and ask their opinion.

    Hope this helps.

  6. #6
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    I take my 94 golf up to Bartlett with no problem but if it rains??????

  7. #7
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    I'd say as other's have you can get your jetta or explorer either to or close enough to all the major trails. I've had my s10 blazer all over moab with no problems, though I have to admit there's been a few times I'm happy I've had skid plates on it. However it's never been getting to a trail, always messing around. Some of the back roads high up in the la sals would be pretty iffy without 4wd and some clearance but in spring they are probably snowed in anyway depending on when in spring.

    If it rains there may be some spots where you'd want to park further out and ride in. Sovereign and Klondike are two I can see as being bad if muddy with a jetta. However spring is not moab's wet season, and it's so dry there that on the trips I've been there even in their "monsoon" season I've never seen a downpour that really ruined the roads. If it does rain heavy there, road flooding in low spots I would image could be a real problem. I can think of a couple spots on the klondike road and hurrah pass road that I would not want to try and cross with a vehicle after a heavy rain.

    Of course there are trails that anything short of a seriously modified rock crawler won't get to and even then they break them frequently. In general though all the roads to the major trails are pretty good. If you take it slow and use common sense the jetta should be fine, and it really cuts down on the trip costs. I know whenever I go in the blazer, gas is by far my biggest expense if I had a TDI jetta I'd take it in a heartbeat.

  8. #8
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    Cars OK

    Of the most popular trails, as mentioned, Bartlett is the only one that might be iffy, and then only if it rains. But if it does rain, watch out. The Blue Hills Road is like snot when it rains.

    For Klondike, you can always park next to the highway.

    Hurrah Pass has a couple of water crossings if it rains. A friend wanted to bypass the gravel grind and drove out to the base of the climb to ride over the pass and down to Chicken Corners and back. It rained while he was riding, and he ended up having to wait several hours for the water to recede.

    That's one of the nice things about Moab. Great trails without huge long drives to the trailheads (once you are there, of course).

    It is important to be aware of flash floods in Moab. It doesn't matter what you are driving if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. I've heard some harrowing stories from people who are very backcountry saavy. Check this out:

    http://www.flashoffroad.com/Articles...flashflood.htm

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