Behind the Rocks Trail - Moab Utah

25th March 2009

 A most beautiful day to go wheeling - the sun was shining, the phones were silent and we beat a group of XJs to the trail head. As it turned out they wouldn't have held us up as they were good drivers with excellent rigs including a very new FJ Cruiser that would later entertain us to no end.

The Red Rock 4Wheelers describe this trail as ""an elevated area south of Moab bounded roughly by the Moab Rim cliffs and the rim of Kane Springs Canyon, which is still farther south and west. The trail follows the most difficult of the several routes in this region, and gets its renown and its high rating mostly for White Knuckle Hill. Going down the hill is a bit scary but on the easy side of 4+. It may be the most difficult hill hereabouts that is ascended on a fairly regular basis, although the regularity is diminishing as it erodes. In the reverse of the normal direction, the most difficult obstacles must be climbed, which calls for locking differentials front and rear.""

The trail starts off with a bang with not the type of rock cropping that I wanted to test the JK out on the first day out but it managed it quite nicely. It is known as Guardian Hill and is a very rocky, sandy and steep hill that if you cannot make relatively easily then you are in deep dark doo doo for the rest of the ride. This trail has some of best names for obstacles in the Moab area - Guardian Hill, High Dive, Upchuck, Hummer Hill, and White Knuckle Hill.

Once the adrenalin slowed down from tackling Guardian Hill it was a nice relaxing and beautiful cruise over to High Dive Canyon and the Hive Dive itself. It has a bypass but it's a secret. Dave C. in his wacko, crazy, heroic, insane method of pre-running trails decided to just plod on down it. Our other companion for the trip, Colorado Chris advised a different line but Dave decided he wanted to try a different one. It wasn't long before he was about to go rubber side up but Colorado Chris jumped to the rescue. Sadly his 250 lbs of muscle were not enough and cried out for my 230 lbs of fat gut to assist. I wanted to keep videoing but damn it I caved in and went to help.


 

 

I made it down without incident with some good spotting by Dave. The other side of the canyon was "Upchuck" which is a slick, steep hill with a significant crack in the middle that needs to be straddled as you climb it or you will end up with body damage. Chris deposited some u-joint parts climbing "Upchuck" but claimed vehemently that they were not his. A short time later he bailed off the trail to go back to town to purchase some u-joints.

Once past Upchuck you cruise a long a sandy road that heads toward Prostitute Butte, you can see Balcony Arch and Picture Frame Arch if you take some of the off shoots. Now you think that this would be a time to relax and it was until Chris called out that I was dragging one of my brand new shiny Walker Evans Racing 500-16-010 10" Travel Compression Adjustable Reservoir Shock Absorbers that someone forgot to tighten the upper nuts and bolts. I was veritably irritated, pissed off and aggravated. Yet again I was being sidelined because someone went to lunch and came back and forgot where they left off. Fortunately the XJs that were following us had a bin full of nuts and bolts so a Dave performed a special trail fix got us under way again. A side note that was entertaining was to watch Dave groveling in the sand under the JK getting sands in cracks and other places that would cause him discomfort for the rest of the day. On a sadder note I now owe him many kegs of beer and not the good stuff either but some bloody awful swill of a Weise beer that only those with destroyed taste buds can enjoy.

I believe we went up Hummer Hill and never found out why it was called that but it is a very steep slick rock. Then on past the Rollercoaster and toward the infamous White Knuckle Hill. It's a Duzy!, Dave when over first very easily and I followed very cautiously but the long wheelbase of the JK made it look easy. Dave spotted me while videoing but he forgot to point the camera at the Jeep but I now have a very nice video of his feet.

 

 

Photographs don't do the obstacle justice until you look back from a distance and see someone else going down it and then realize that if you totally screw up you can be paying for the mistake for several hundred feet which is handy if you feel it necessary to say a few Hail Marys or Our Fathers.


We took a side trip to Hunter's Canyon but don't remember a damn thing about it. I am told it is quite a technical section of trail and you have to watch your roof line.

I think this is Hummer Hill because the guide book says you should travel vertically up and down the slickrock - hence the white paint stripes which of course you cannot see once you start up the hill.

We stopped off at some sand dunes close the trail's end and watched the aforementioned FJ Cruiser doing some jumps. His buddies were furiously taking photos before the suspension came loose but they build those Toyotas well so apart from good photo opportunities it was uneventful. No more parts fell off the my Jeep and we were also able to find out why the CB didn't work. Yet another one of those "I must remember to re-hook the ground wire when I get back from lunch oversights".

It was great day and Dave was happy to have pre-run the trail that he would lead on Big Saturday and I was even happier to have been able to follow him around, sand in his butt crack and all.

©  McNeill/Jeepingoffroad 2016