Grand County, Utah
View this on the Utah Trailheads Map
Trail Type: Straight Through
Nearby Towns: Moab
Nearby Trails: Fins & Things, Porcupine Rim, Sand Flats Road
Season: Year Round
Trail Length: 7.48 miles
Elevation: 4,476 to 4,780 feet
Named Obstacles: Dump Bump, Lake Michigan, Devil's Driveway, Hell's Gate, Car Wash, Bath Tub, Mickey's Hot Tub, Whale's Tail, Escalator, Tip-Over Challenge
Recommended by Aaron T.
Recommended by Andrew S.
Recommended by Bill S.
Recommended by Chad
Recommended by Dane
Recommended by Jeffrey
Recommended by Joe
Recommended by Julie
Recommended by Matt K.
Recommended by Mike S.
Recommended by Mike S.
Recommended by Pat
Recommended by Roger
This trail is very intimidating, partially because of being near death and white-knuckled for such a long time and partially because of the name. It's not a technically challenging trail if you take bypasses, but there are no bypasses around some areas that are truly terrifying.
When you first enter the Sand Flats Recreation Area you can see the start of it on the left, a massive hill about half the size of Lion's Back that you start the trail by driving up and down the other side. It just keeps going from there.
On your left you see Dump Bump, an optional play area and alternate way onto the trail. It is a large wall of slickrock with sand at the bottom. Check to see if the gate is open -- if it is then you can always get back out if you can't get up the obstacle.
Lake Michigan is here -- when it fills up with water it can be difficult to get through but definitely fun. When it's dry it's flat and nothing to worry about.
Drive slowly up a huge fin, then get a little tippy as you follow the "S" curve down the other side of the fin. Take a second to breathe when you reach the sand again.
Devil's Driveway can be found by following another trail off to your left, barely marked with tire tracks. It is steep and very dangerous.
When you get to the intersection to go see the optional overlook you can turn right to get to the overlook and Hell's Gate, or left to go up the huge dome you'll spend a lot of time on.
Turning right to the overlook, it is not far to get treated to an awesome view. Just before you get to the overlook, turn left to go to the top of Hell's Gate. It is a very steep drop down slickrock, and the way the rock is makes it very easy to roll your vehicle over. Many end-over-end roll-overs have happened on this optional obstacle.
There are too many hills to count -- up one impossibly steep hill only to drive along the edge of the Black Hole, a large cliff that is so buried in shadows it is black. If you follow the tracks and don't look down you'll be fine.
When you get to the top of the fin you'll see the Car Wash, a large hole that you could accidentally drive into if you're not careful. It's easy to get in and difficult to get out on the other side. The path up the left side of the tire marks is probably the least dangerous, and a tow strap on your front end to keep you from flipping over backwards is probably a good idea.
The Bath Tub is off to the side of the Car Wash, off the trail. It is a much smaller "hot tub" and would be easy for anyone who can make it this far. It's still fun to drive through a hot tub, though, so it's worth leaving the trail to go play in it (you'll see the tire marks through it). You can safely go through it in either direction.
When you continue on the trail down a scary bump in the dome you will go around Mickey's Hot Tub. This hot tub is a lot smaller than the Car Wash but it's possibly more difficult. It's definitely more difficult to get in and there isn't any room for error when you come flying out of it.
By the time you're down the final, impossibly steep fin called the "Whale's Tail" you're a shaking mess. Take a break in the flat sand and relax, then move on to more obstacles.
The Escalator is insane and is completely optional. There is lots of space for people to gather and watch the action. It is a series of large holes on a big hill -- a simple obstacle if you have huge tires, or a big challenge for smaller ones.
Tip-Over Challenge sounds scary and looks like it would be easy to roll over. You wouldn't fall far but the rock isn't very forgiving. You can also take the bypass to the right and go around it.
There is a fun Play Hill on the side of the fin that holds the bypass around Tip-Over Challenge. It is steep, sandy and difficult to climb. Expect to slide around a lot.
There used to be a "V" of rocks you could come down, but it was fenced off in 2004. The end has been rerouted again and Rubble Trouble no longer exists.
What a great and stressful trail!
Information last updated on May 20th, 2011.
- May 13, 2011: ran by Austin, Jeffrey, Roger, Terry and Walt
- March 24, 2007: ran by Brad R., Mike S. and Roger
- March 24, 2006: ran by Mike S. and Roger
- May 10, 2005: ran by Ladd and Sean G.
- October 16, 2004: ran by Bob R., Bob S., Eric B., Ladd, Monica and Steve G.
- October 24, 2003: ran by Derek, Ladd, Monica and Tom B.
- May 10, 2003: ran by Kendall, Mike S., Mitch and Monica
From Moab, go four blocks east on Center Street to East Street. Turn right and go south to Millcreek Drive. Turn left on Millcreek Drive to the stop sign at the cemetary. Go straight through the intersection and you will be on Sand Flats Road. There is a fee (usually $5) to enter Sand Flats Recreation Area. The trailhead is just past the entrance booth on the left.
Meet at the McDonald's at Kane Creek Road and Main Street in Moab.