Year after year, we head to Moab, Utah to attend Easter Jeep Safari for a week of rock crawling and trail rides with our industry friends and customers in attendance. This year marked the 53rd annual Easter Jeep Safari and if you’re not familiar with EJS, allow us to bring you up to speed. Think of it as the mecca for Jeepers from across the USA who make their pilgrimage to Moab, home to some of the best off-road trails and rock crawling features the country has to offer. Each year the event draws thousands of Jeeps to the small town of Moab, where it’s not uncommon to find yourself in bumper to bumper traffic of only Jeeps on Main Street, which is also lined with off-road rigs parked up and down both sides of the two-way street.
The event which spans nine days provides plenty of time for those who have made the journey from near and far to get their off-road fix. Throughout the week these eager off-road enthusiasts get up before the sun to put their Jeeps to the test on the numerous trails that are scattered throughout the greater Moab area. One of the draws of Moab, beyond the out of this world scenic landscapes, is the diversity of trail difficulties. Trails range in rating from one to ten, a rating of one given to a “County dirt road maintained for high clearance 2WD and 4WD use in adverse conditions” where as a rating of 10 is considered buggy territory and contains the following warning: “Street driven 4X4’s should not attempt this trail. Modified factory vehicles will not be able to complete this trail.” Whether you're a first time attendee in your new Wrangler JL or an EJS veteran in something a little more modified, there’s a trail for every skill level and friendly people willing to help spot you along the way.
DAY ONE: We kicked off our three days at EJS on the Four Wheel Parts run through the Cliffhanger trail, which is a one-way in and out route through an area known as Amasa Back and holds a trail rating of 8. The trail lead us into and through Kane’s Creek, along the cliffside of Jackson Hole and ultimately to a breathtaking overlook high above the Colorado River. Along the route Jeeps climb through seemingly endless steep and uneven obstacles that require the vehicles to have improved ground clearance and maneuverability, in addition to a spotter signaling to the driver which way to orient their wheels to successfully navigate the obstacles. The well-known trail earns its name from a substantial ledge in a narrow portion of the shelf-like trail that overlooks Jackson Hole. While the Jeeps are incredibly capable and incidents are slim to none, if you’re afraid of heights, we’d suggest not looking down during this portion of the trail.
Fortunately for us, the group was being led by none other than MagnaFlow Ambassador, Casey Currie and his crew from Currie Enterprises. When it comes to navigating these trails, there’s no one we’d rather have leading the way than an experienced off-roader like our good friend, Casey. Like many others in the group, Casey was behind the wheel of his Jeep Wrangler JL which has been set up to handle these exact conditions. His JL is a prime example of a more heavily modified vehicle on the spectrum of modification at Moab with a lift, our rock crawler exhaust system for additional clearance, KMC beadlock wheels with larger aired-down Nitto tires and a number of other suspension components that make it plenty competent out on the trail.
DAY TWO: A new day led us to another trail with our friends from ReadyLIFT, this time on the Gold Bar Rim trail which has a trail rating of 6. Gold Bar Rim, the feature for which the trail is named, stands 1200 feet above Highway 191 which goes through Moab Canyon. The trail showcased a number of beautiful landscapes including the La Sal Mountains, the Book Cliffs, and quite a few different views of the Colorado River. A majority of this particular trail is a combination of sand with surface rock with portions of slickrock and rocky wash bottoms. To give you a better idea of the vehicles required for this trail, our group consisted of everything from a couple of rented JL’s with mild modification all the way up to the Fab Four’s MagnaFlow-equipped, Ecotech powered buggy. While the rental JL’s made it through the day with relative ease, it was a fun contrast to watch the Fab Four’s buggy crawl all over absolutely everything and take the most difficult lines all day long.
DAY THREE: Our third and final day on the trails led us to Hells Revenge, known as the premier slickrock trail in the area, with a group from SEMA. It boasts a trail rating of 6, and is quite possibly one of our favorites in the area simply due to its uniqueness in comparison to the other trails. The miles of rolling slickrock make it feel as if you’ve traveled to another planet and provide some excellent landscapes for your viewing pleasure throughout the trail. Undoubtedly one of the most talked about vehicles of the day was the MagnaFlow-equipped 1948 Jeep Willys owned by our good friend Mike Hallmark of Hellwig Products. This classic Jeep which Hallmark built in the weeks prior to Moab is an example of a relatively simple vehicle at EJS which tackled everything thrown at it. In addition to the custom MagnaFlow exhaust fitted on the vehicle, Hallmark added custom Icon Vehicle Dynamic shocks, new Coker tires, front and rear lockers and gave the engine a quick tune up.
While the 2019 Easter Jeep Safari has come and gone, we’re thrilled we were able to make it out to Moab once again for one of our favorite events we attend each year. If you’re thinking about attending EJS for the first time, all we can say is stop thinking and start planning. You won’t regret it!