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Going to Moab

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Several of us are going to Moab in about 3 weeks for a week of riding and relaxation. All bikes, some tagged and most not. Any tips we need to know about? Any good source of maps of open trails with skill levels? We have a fairly large group with several skill levels and we want to be able to break up into smaller groups. Any thing to stay away from or watch out for?

I'll be happy to give Northern Nevada info to anyone who wants it.

Thanks

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I think you need a plate to ride off-road in the Canyonlands area? Maybe someone else can verify this.

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Try doing a search for 'Moab 101'. A while back there was a thread called that with several pages of very good Moab details.

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Check in w/ the ranger station when you get to town. Probally need to purchase an off road sticker of some sort. Most of the trails do not require a license plate. Pick up a trail book by Charles Wells. It's intnended for SUV/Jeeps but will work for motorcycles as well.

Hell's Revenge/Slick Rock bike trail is great. Poison Spider Mesa is great. I heard Kane Creek is great for motorcycles. All the trails are very scenic. It's like going to Mars.

BRING LOTS OF WATER!

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You can look at our web site for pictures of Moab and trail descriptions. MotoUtah.Com. You don't need tags to ride anywhere off -road. We have even ridden our bikes on the road without tags.

Easy trails = Hoorah Pass, Klondike Bluffs, Gemini Bridges

Moderate = Monitor/Merrimac, Bartlett Wash

Difficult = Behind the Rocks, Steelbender, Slickrock, Poison Spider, Kane Creek Canyon

If you want a great deal on a condo in Moab with garage call Travis at 888-TRY-MOAB and mention that you spoke to John from MotoUtah to get a discount. It is usually cheaper to stay in a condo then a hotel. You can check out the condos at Moab Condos. If you stay in Solano Vellajo you will be two blocks from the Steelbender trail head.

John

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We plan to be there the week of Feb. 25th for a few days. Pick up an Easter Jeep Safari news letter. The outline the most popular jeep trails pretty well. That is a good starting point, then some books, maps etc. Kane Creek is a must if you like water crossings, but check conditions first. Klondike bluffs has the Dinosaur tracks. You can spend a lifetime and not see it all!

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My favorite at Moab is the Porcupine Rim Trail. When we did it two years ago we had to lift the bikes up and down some ledges near the end but some other TTers have done it since and they have video od it and they rode the ledges. Very scenic.

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The Moab 101 is a good resource. There is only one motorcycle part shop in Moab it is in back of a guys house in a garage (Arrowhead Parts). DO NOT go to the Harley shop on the Main street. The owner is an ex-Vietnam vet and he is nuts. If you mention dirt bikes, he might even shoot you. :cry: PS.. I'm not joking! It is better if you just bring extra clutch and brake lever, oil and other parts then deal with either one of them.

John

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Hey all,

Glad you like the Moab write up.

Here it is again, and if you have suggestions it is a work in progress

MOAB 101

Moab is located about 30 miles south of I-70 on Highway 191 in Southeastern Utah. Years ago the area was mined for uranium and potash (used in fertilizer). Now only the potash plant and the roads left from the mining operations remain. Nestled at the bottom of La Sal Mountain, Moab is now considered “Mecca” by both mechanized and non-mechanized fans alike. The area is unlike anywhere else in the world and is really special because it is still open to OHV use.

We are at great risk of losing much of this area, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance is working hard to get both Moab and the San Rafael swell closed to all but foot traffic. Honestly, most, if not all of the wonderful areas in the region would never see anyone if it had to be done on foot, it’s just that forbidding of a place and most of the arches and overlooks would take a considerable hike to get to.

How can you help? Join USA-ALL the Utah Shared Access Alliance, they are a grass roots organization working to keep the public lands in Utah open for the public. I urge you to join Blue Ribbon Coalition as well, they are fighting both locally and nationally to keep our riding areas open! http://usa-all.com/ and http://www.sharetrails.org/

Please, familiarize yourself with the cryptobiotic soils found in the Moab area, it is a living organism and tire or foot prints destroy it’s ability to hold the soils in place. Tracks take decades to repair themselves if they re-grow at all. Please, stay on existing trails.

Moab: The Town

Some information about Moab. From end to end, Moab is small (I’d guess 5,000 people) and easy to get around in. There is a full size grocery store, and lots of lodging options. My personal recommendation for meals is Moab Diner for breakfast; Pasta Jays is pretty good for dinners as is Eddie McStiffs but sample some of the local places for food. There are most of the popular fast food places as well. For some, getting off the main street and into some of the other establishments can be it’s own reward.

Both Eddie McStiffs and the Moab Brewery have local micro brews, if you like a good adult beverage. Remember this is Utah, they have “different” liquor laws than the rest of the country.

For non-riders there is plenty of sight seeing, hiking, Jeep rentals and tours as well as river rafting available, shopping is limited to mostly tourist type stores and there is no Wal-Mart (there is a God!) If you make this trip you owe it to yourself to go to Arches National Park (sorry can’t ride in there) it is awesome!!!

Jet for 4,000 to 6,000 feet, usually 2 steps down on the main and one clip leaner will put you in the ballpark. (Moab is about 4,200’ and you’ll be riding up to about 6k) If you are riding up on La Sal Mtn. you will be much higher but I have heard much of the trails on the mountain have been closed.

There is only one motorcycle shop in Moab that caters to dirt bikes; Arrowhead Motorsports has some stuff. If you need 2-stroke oil, or no-toil or generic stuff, they'll probably have it. Here is their site: http://www.arrowheadmotorsports.com/

Another option in a pinch may be Dale at Elite Tours he may have an odd or end but no real “shop” per se.( He did have an XR400 throttle cable for me one time) So it’s a good idea to bring what you may need, levers, cables etc… Closest big bike shop would be in Grand Jct. CO. (I-70 business loop south of town) and that is about 1.5 hours away by car.

If you want to do Moab via a tour, Dale is first rate. He can tailor your ride to the amount of miles you want to cover and your abilities. http://www.elitemotorcycletours.com/

DO NOT put new tires on for the trip…Slick Rock eats tires. The set of meats with one or two rides left sitting in your shed are your best bet. You may want to bring a clean filter, as the sand in Moab is very fine and clogs filters fast.

Moab is really big with the Mtn. Bike crowd and the Jeepers, everyone gets along for the most part but some of the pedal bikes will look down their noses at you. Remember the Slick Rock trail was made by dirt bikes 30 years ago but the pedal guys think it is theirs! But be cool and you’ll have fun. Pleas stay “off the pipe” when passing pedal bikes. If you come up on a pedaler who is trying to clear a tough section, pull off and let them get by, you have the advantage of horsepower!

My friend Mark Weaver put it best when he said:

“Have fun while you're there, and take the effort to impress people by:

a) being less of a redneck goofball than some of the jeepers, and

:cry: being less of a Subaru-driving yuppie knee-jerk greenie weenie than most of the mountain bikers.”

This is High Desert; you absolutely must have a drink system. People have died on these trails due to dehydration, carry as much water as you can and drink it!! Even in the spring and fall temperatures can reach 100 degrees with 20% humidity. Most people prefer the area in April and May or in September to October as the weather is at it’s best. I tend to avoid the two weeks around Easter, Easter Jeep Safari is in town and you’ll be sharing the trails, restaurants and lodging with 2000 Jeeps. The week following Easter is the big car show, while the trails will be less crowded the town is full.

Continued...

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Riding Moab

The easiest way to ride Moab is to be dual sported, you can ride to almost all of the trail heads from town (areas like Top of the World are 30 miles out of town and a bit far on a dirt bike) but trailering to the riding areas is not a problem as the region is pretty confined. *Usually* the local law will look the other way when riding through town if you don’t have a plate (a state trooper on the highway may have other ideas though) as long as you are not drawing attention to yourself. I would doubt though if a quad could get away with it.

When I rate these trails it is from an average rider standpoint. I love this sport and ride when I can. I know my skill level (mediocre at best). What I find hard may be a walk in the park for you. I have ridden these areas with A enduro riders who felt the trails were tame, with fast east coast guys who loved it and with weekend riders on XR650’s. When reading published trail guides make note if the ratings are for Mtn. Bikes or Jeeps, 5+ double diamond on a jeep may be a bump in the trail for a skilled cycle rider. Again Moab is as much about where you are riding as the ride itself!

Here is a great site that shows some of these: http://www.4x4now.com/mu4wd.htm remember it is written from the Jeep standpoint

Here is my list of "must do's"

Slick Rock/Hells Revenge/Porcupine Rim

Poison Spider/Golden Spike/Golden Crack

Kane Creek (if you like technical connect it to Pritchett Cyn!)

If you have time Monitor and Merrimac and Klondike Bluffs (these are great starter trails)

I have been hearing good things about the Sovereign trail, which is a relatively new 15-mile single track (until the quads find it) north of town. I have not ridden it but do a “Google” search on “Sovereign trail” and you will find information or look at this site: http://www.chpc.utah.edu/~mcuma/images/fall03/moab/sovereign/

You can find maps to all of the trails in Moab but I really recommend the “Latitude 40” maps from http://www.latitude40maps.com/ get both Moab east and Moab west, the Slick rock map is not needed.

There are many other trails such as Hurrah Pass, Amassa Back, Chicken Corners, etc… all are listed on the maps above and all have their good points. The trails listed below are the most popular and thus see the most traffic…but they also offer the best views etc…I list them because In my opinion they give the best bang for the buck if your stay is limited in the area.

Easier trails:

Klondike Bluffs (about 9 miles north of Moab) Difficulty 3, View 8+

Spur trail, this has a bit of everything, sand, hard pack and slick rock. There are two trailhead options, park at the highway (leave gate as you found it please) or drive in to the 2nd lot and cut off about 3 miles of dirt road. Most of it is Jeep or ATV track and the first few miles (to the second lot) in can be done with a car if it is not muddy. The last couple hundred yards is a little tight but not hard. There are Dinosaur tracks just off the trail as soon as you hit the big slick rock expanse (look for the ring of rocks to the left of the trail) Follow the trail to the end and you'll come to a gate with a "No motor vehicles sign" this is the edge of Arches Nat'l park. Park the bikes and hike in (pain in MX gear but totally worth the view!) it's probably a 1/4-mile hike to the overlook. This is usually the first ride I take people on who have not been to Moab.

Gemini Bridges/Monitor and Merrimac (4 +/- miles north of Moab) Difficulty 2, view 4

Loop trail. This is one of the more "Wide Open" areas of Moab. This area features more dirt roads, where you can open things up. But there is also some great slick rock, and a couple of cool arches. The area is criss-crossed with trails and if I remember there are a couple of technical places on the M/M portion but nothing tough on the Gemini side. (I have not ridden MM since ’99-’00 so I’m working from memory)

*I re-rode the Gemini trail 5/04 and the road has been graded to allow low clearance (Subaru) 4x4 (or 2wd truck) access to the bridges. Not a technical route but a neat chance to get to an arch you can walk or ride across. You can also do the Bull Canyon Spur (marked on the Gemini trail) and get some sand riding and a neat view of the Gemini arches from below.

You can also connect to “Metal Masher” from the trails in the Gemini area; it is 24 miles long and has some good obstacles that would place it in the moderate trail area.

Continued

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Moderate Trails:

Slick Rock/Hells Revenge/Fins-n-Things/Porcupine Rim

These four trails are in the Sand Flats Recreation area on the east side of town (there are blue directional signs pointing you to the area on the main street in town) This is a user fee area, it’s approximately $5 per vehicle (camper/van etc or 2 bucks for a bike if you are dual sported and ride in) the pass is good for 3 or 4 days. You can camp in the area (designated sites) but it is very wide-open and offers little shelter from wind or sun. Take a few minutes to experiment when riding the slick rock, traction is amazing and wheel spin is non-existent. Be aware that looping your bike over is a real possibility on the up hill sections if you grab too much throttle. It is possible to stop using your brakes in the middle of all but the steepest downhills.

Hells Revenge: Difficulty 5 view 4-5 This trial crosses the Slick Rock trail and is open to ATV and Jeeps, As soon as you enter the recreation area (just after the toll booth) you’ll see the trail marker on the left. This trail offers some of the steepest climbs/descents in the area and may be a bit intimidating if this is your first slick rock experience. “Campfires” painted on the rock mark the trail. The trail will loop around and drop off outside the tollbooth on the road leading to Sand Flats where you went in.

Slick Rock: Difficulty 4-7 view 6 is the “definitive” Moab Mtn bike trail. It is open to two wheeled vehicles only. All slick rock (petrified sand dunes) the trail (actually a painted track on the rock) was created by dirt bikes in the late 60’s (well before the first Mtn. Bike). Most of the pedal bikes are cool and often look at you longingly as you power up things they struggle with. That said, we can be one happy family, you may get a few sneers, but let it roll off your back. The trail is divided into two sections, the practice loop (about 3 miles) and the main loop (around another 10). It is really important to not be “on the pipe” when passing the pedal bikers, if they are working hard at an uphill section please wait for them to clear the section. There are Dangerous areas (marked with yellow danger signs painted on the rocks) where there are steep drops. It is also important to follow the painted lines. This area is only about 20 square miles but a young man was lost out there and was not found for a week as he had ridden off of the marked trail, and there are a couple of spots where you top out on a climb to find the trial does a 90 degree right or left and straight ahead, goes straight down!

Fins-N-Things: Difficulty 4 view 4 This trail is a little bit “lesser known” I have no idea why, it is about 1/4 mile down the road from the entrance to Slick Rock. On the right side of the road you’ll see the trail marker stating Fins-N-Things. If you pass the first entrance, the second will come up on the left. This trail crosses the road at least once so watch for traffic. Once on the trail, follow the painted “stegosaurs” on the rocks. The trail forks several times, options are marked either Sand Flats Road (the paved road to Slick Rock) or Porcupine Rim. Following the PR route will place you on Porcupine Rim approx. 200 yards from the main trail head and the paved road.

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Porcupine Rim: Difficulty 5-6 (9 if you go all the way through) View 9 If you don’t use Fins to get to PR, you can stay on the paved road. Follow the paved road past Slick rock until it dead ends.

Spur/Long loop if you go all the way through, Most ride this out and back because most will turn around at the single track but if you go through you will end up on the old highway along the Colorado River, on the North end of town It’s a good idea to be dual sported and ride back through town. Riding the single-track back is an option only for the seriously hard-core or seriously talented rider, and remember traffic will be heading your way if you try to do it backwards (there are no “passing zones” on the side hill).

PR is a lot of fun, but really rocky. IMO it's different than any of the other popular trails. This is one trail where you really need to be aware of the pedal bikes, there are areas with little visibility and you can’t hear them coming.

Not much slick rock but lots of "baby heads" and ledges. You will feel sore after this one! About 3/4 of the way through you'll find a sign reading something like "Motorized vehicles not recommended past this point*" the trail turns into a pretty tough single track for the last 2-3 miles (absolutely NO quads past the sign!) and dumps into a canyon that is rough. The pedal bikes "hike a bike" through this section. It will end up at the highway on the north of town if you go all the way through. I have seen an A enduro rider clear the last section, but anyone of lesser skills will need to manhandle the bikes down some steep ledges. There is zero room for error in the last section.

Also note, there is usually a photographer just before you reach the highway (look for the umbrella) taking pictures of bikes going off a rock jump, if you do this give some space between riders to get a good picture. The Photog is used to Mtn. bikes and may need to back up to compensate for the speed of the dirt bikes; you may want to have him/her take two pictures. The pics are available in town if you choose to purchase them.

If you choose to do the route out and back, you will come to a fork, one leading up and one leading down. Staying to the left will place you at the PR trail head and onto the paved road back to Slick Rock. Taking the right (downhill) will place you on the “Fins-N-Things” trail.

*On 5/’04 the “motorized vehicle not recommended” sign was gone. If you are not interested in the hard single track turn around when the trail obviously starts to narrow at the canyon.

Poison Spider/Golden Spike/Gold Bar Rim (Just north of Moab on Potash Road) Difficulty 5-6 View 7

Drive out of town to the north; as soon as you cross the bridge (over the Colorado River) take your first left onto Potash road. Follow it back about 2-3 miles past the Indian carvings and the rock climbers; You’ll see the trail head/parking area on the right side. The first mile or so is just rocky jeep road then you’ll end up on a sand road. Follow it into the canyon and then you’ll go up a big “waterfall” (no water, you’ll know it!) At the top you’ll need to make a hard right to find the trail! (Lots of people have trouble with this spot) the trail is hidden behind a rock ledge. Follow it up the two sluice boxes and up to the slick rock dome. Note the arrows on the rock! Right goes to the “little Arch” and left continues up the trail. Once you follow the trail to the top of the mesa, you can look down on the town of Moab. Now you have a decision to make. After you get to the overlook where you can see the town, you can follow the trail to the north and it will “T”. If you go left it will take you through the Golden Spike trail and back to Poison Spider to make a loop. (this is a fun trail) There is one sandy hill climb that is pretty steep and has a bit of a rock lip at the top. It can be tough on a smaller bike.

If you go to the right it will take Golden Spike north to the Golden Crack trail and eventually dump you out about 5 or six miles north of town on the highway. A lot of this trail is marked only by cairns (stacks of rocks) and rubber marks on the rock. So keep and eye out. There is nothing on GS or GC harder than you’ll find on PS, but you do have to get across the “crack” and it can be intimidating (you can do it by hand if you need to (I have!) This trail will put you out at the big parking area that is the trailhead for Gemini Bridges.

Kane (or Cane) Creek trail (there are three ways to access this trail) It is a spur trail unless you connect it with Pritchett Canyon trail (see difficult trails). Difficulty 5 higher if there is a lot of water (there is one rocky downhill that can be tough) If you connect it to Behind the Rocks/Pritchett Canyon it becomes a 9 but mostly it’s just a plain old fun trail! View 4

If you run this as a spur trail, you can access it either from highway 191, south of town, (the only way I’ve done it) or from Kane Creek road (turn west at the McDonalds in town and follow it to the trail head. Stay left at the turn off for Hurrah Pass.)

If you go from the highway (191) side, follow the highway about 13 miles (+/-) to the south from town. You’ll see a Rest area on the left side of the highway the entrance to Kane is directly across the road. Once through the gate take an immediate left and down to the river bottom. If you get to a store called “Hole in the Wall” (good place to get water/ice). You’ve gone too far. This trail crosses the stream many times, and if there is water, expect to get wet! There are a few ledges and two good down hill “tough spots” until you get into the ravine then it’s just plain fun, but watch for oncoming traffic this is a two-way trail! Also be aware there is a barbed wire gate at the end of the water section, so watch for it! Once through the water section you’ll be on a dirt track (Jeep trail/fire road) through the canyon. Ride is pretty easy with no real obstacles but there are dips and wash outs on the trail so be prepared if you are going to go fast! Going all the way through puts you out on Kane Creek road, on the other side of the river from Poison Spider, and 4 or so miles farther west from the Pritchett entrance.

* I rode this on 5/’04 and noted that the quads have blazed some new trails through the brush on the north side of the Kane Creek trail, it is fun two track and as close to “tight” riding as can be found in the area. But this is not official trail and should be treated as such.

Top of the World: Difficulty 5 view 100! In my opinion this is the best view in Moab. The trail is a long way out of town so I try to do it on the way back to Colorado. Take the old highway out of town (northeast) about 30 miles. The parking area is on the south side of Dewey Bridge. Park, unload and take the dirt road 5-6 miles in. The second “spur” off to the right off the road is the TOTW trial. Lots of rocks and ledges but when the trail dead ends, you better stop or you’re in free fall for about 1500 feet.

Continued

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Hardest trails:

Pritchett Canyon: Difficulty 8-9 (Kane Creek Road to Behind the Rocks) 6-7 (Behind the Rocks to Kane Creek Road) view 3: From town turn west at the McDonalds onto Kane Creek Road, approximately 3 miles in you will see a parking area on the left for the trail, if you get to the Harrah pass exit, you’ve gone too far. The first portion of trail is in private property and the owner asks for a $2 donation to use his land. While I know some bypass this step, the owner could just as easily close the access. Be aware there is also a barbed wire gate you need to watch for in the first 100 yards. Please leave it open or closed as you found it.

This trail has lots of tricky parts, climbs, ledges and technical junk (the first 100 yards has a 4 foot ledge). There are 7 major obstacles in the span of about 3 miles only one of which has a bypass. The degree of difficulty varies with the amount of traffic the area has seen and how many of the spots have rocks stacked in the area from previous visitors If you go all the way through it will dump you out on the “Behind the rocks*” trail.

If you ride through to Behind the Rocks you will come to a “T” intersection. Turning left will continue to the technical side of “Behind the rocks” and you’ll find a handful of nice tough spots, turning right at the intersection will put you on the easy route to the highway, mostly graded road. The large red rock is called Prostitute Butte (yes it’s real name) and has three arches in it. This is a good camp area if it is available (open primitive camping). Following the road to the northeast will place you on Hwy 191 10 miles south of town. Turn left to go to Moab, Right to get to Kane Creek or the Hole in the Rock Store.

I have only ridden this trail the ”hard way” from Kane Creek Road through Pritchett Cyn. to Behind the Rocks, down the highway to Kane Creek and back to the start point. If you were to ride it the opposite direction the difficulty level drops some as all but two of the tough spots are now down hill instead of up hill. If you plan to go this direction, follow the signs on Behind the Rocks trail marked “Pritchett Arch”

Moab Rim: Difficulty 9 view 8 Moab Rim is located on Kane Creek Road (turn west at the McDonalds in town) and follow the road back next to the river. The parking area is about 1-2 miles in or so. There is a large sign that warns the Jeepers that this is a 5+ trail and that 90% of the vehicles that attempt this suffer body damage. It is very short, but intense. It goes to the top of the mesa and the trail is jeep wide. But you have a wall on one side and a 300 ft drop on the other and you’re climbing 3-4 foot steps all the way up. Pretty technical.

If you want more info let me know.

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Check out www.utahsplacestoride.net

You do need to be street legal in cayonlands, White Rim Trail, Arches.

Only if you are riding the road. Arches doesn't allow any off-road, so take your car and leave your bikes behind. Canyonlands has some road crossings, but mostly dirt roads and no tags needed. White Rim? Since when? It's in the middle of a desert!!

I have been going to Moab since 1993. I have never seen a ranger, I have ridden my YZ without tags through town several times, and between trails on state highways a few times with no problems. I am not promoting you to ride through town on a dirt bike and risk a ticket, but if you see some of the other vehicles cruising the road that are held together with bailing wire and no lights, you will understand my comments.

By the way.. we are going to be there the first weekend of March if anyone wants to ride.

John

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Canyonlands has some road crossings, but mostly dirt roads and no tags needed. White Rim? Since when? It's in the middle of a desert!!

Since we lost all the posts from yesterday...

Yes you do need to be plated to ride White Rim LEGALLY

White Rim is in Canyonlands National Park, even if it is in the "middle of the desert". You can get onto WR via Potash Road, but if you were to run into a ranger you can be ticketed.

If you were to go into the park via the main road, you will not be able to enter the park, they will stop you at the main entrace.

As far as not being dual sported in other areas, the local law Usually looks the other way if you are being cool riding through town, but a Ranger in the park or a State trooper on the highway may have other ideas.

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To bad your probably off by a week of me going down there (Feb 17th to about the 25th). I make my way down there from Idaho as often as I can with my bro who lives in Bountiful Utah. He goes down to Moab practically every other week as he has some friends that live in Moab. We could have shown you around. The place is awesome, you will have a blast.

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