We look forward to this week like a child waiting for Christmas morning. Meetings were postponed, our 4x4s were packed up, and we set our sights on the 53rd Moab Easter Jeep Safari. Every year we join thousands of Jeeps as they flock to southern Utah for a week of trail rides, friends, concept vehicles, and some of the most iconic four-wheeling available west of the Mississippi River. The week was spent both behind the wheel and behind the camera lens, working tirelessly to document the happenings around Moab, whether it was uncanny rigs in town or action from the various trails outside the city limits. If you were at the 2019 Moab Easter Jeep Safari, you might see yourself amongst these pages. If you couldn’t make it, don’t fret—read on for some snapshots of the action.
Part of the fun in Moab is prowling the parking lots and streets to look for cool rigs before they venture off onto the trails. Shortly after landing in Moab, we saw this massive Jeep truck conversion from Dakota Customs. Powered by 6.7 liters of Cummins diesel goodness and rolling on 54-inch Mickey Thompson Baja Claws, this truck was definitely impressive and built for the challenges of Moab.
Four-door Jeeps not enough for you? We found one with two more doors than usual and a groovy green paintjob to match.
Do the occupants of this Jeep enjoy a certain type of soup or is this license plate referring to the 1-ton axles beneath the rig? Perhaps both? Sadly, they cruised past before we had time to ask.
Photos: Traci ClarkJeepers gathered for the 12th annual Dynatrac Bunny Run and proceeded through Moab’s famed Kane Creek Canyon. The trail begins with some paint-rubbing squeezes and ditches, continues in and out of Kane Creek for over 10 miles, and then, when the canyon narrows and the shelf road climbs above the creek, it finishes with a series of challenging climbs before returning to the highway. Seasonal high water can make this trail impassable, and the last couple of miles have been known to turn away all but the most seasoned off-roaders.
Photo: Sean P. HolmanWith the Jeep Gladiator making its debut, we were anxious to see how the platform would be treated by customizers. Mel Wade of Off Road Evolution was behind the wheel of this overland-capable Gladiator that was loaded with a payload of adventure gear and crawling the trails on 40-inch Nitto Trail Grapplers.
Photos: Harry WagnerThough mentioning the name “Hell’s Revenge” might strike fear into the hearts of the uninitiated, don’t let the moniker completely fool you. This trail has been described as the quintessential Moab Jeep trail, and it is, in fact, accessible to most stock 4x4s. Verne Simons proceeded through the slickrock with Jeeps old and new, small and enormous. No, that is not a tiny human. It’s Big Willy—a 1.648:1 scale version of a Cummins-powered, rear-steering, custom-built Willys Jeep crawling the red rocks on 52-inch tires.
Watching these flatties ascend and descend the Moab Rim trail was nothing short of inspiring. They might not have 40-inch tires or 1-ton axles, but they sure conquered obstacles in a style untouched by rigs of the present day. Sometimes, however, they needed a friendly push to get over the hump.
It might be Jeep Safari week, but that did not stop 4x4s off all sorts from hitting the trails and getting tires in the air (and safely back down to the red rocks).
Photo: Stuart A. BourdonKat and Ned Bacon made a lap of Moab’s Fins ‘N’ Things trail before running this Roxor in the Pioneer 4×4 Class of the NORRA Mexican 1000 race. With leaf springs front and back, 96 inches of wheelbase, diesel power under the hood, and a manual transmission, this rig has the old-school cool necessary to please onlookers and enough brawn to survive the race.
Photo: Christian HazelSome rigs travel to Moab on trailers, and others travel with doors sealed, seats reclined, and climate controls dialed. 4-Wheel & Off-Road Editor Christian Hazel and his co-pilot, Caelin, drove the venerable Cummins-powered UACJ-6D 800 miles through rain and snow to Moab. Four Wheeler staffer Jered Korfhage left his JK’s hardtop and doors at home and took a different route to Moab; he found rain and snow on his route through northern Arizona.
Photo: Stuart A. BourdonSteel Bender combines water crossings and white-knuckle drops, and you have the ability to amend trail plans for a half- or full-day excursion, depending on if you choose to run all the optional sections of trail. This climb is known to put unprepared drivers on their lids. Thankfully, this rig kept all four on the floor.
The expert drivers at Xtreme 4×4 Tours have the lines memorized on every obstacle and know just how to tilt the rig to make passengers (and onlookers) gasp and hold their breath. This machine, which used to be a Suburban, successfully plunged off High Dive on the Behind the Rocks trail and gave everyone a show.