Not everyone has a 4×4 Razor or Jeep to explore Moab or Utah in general. However there are off road adventures in Utah for 2wd SUV’s and or Van that YOU can do! We put together the TOP 3 Off Road Adventures in Utah that you can do in your CAR. All these Off Road Trails we did in our 2wd Diesel Van and we had a blast! Of course, these off road adventures are not for the faint in heart. They are down right scary in some places but are all reletively safe if you follow proper common sense and don’t try to be a daredevil.
So let’s start out with a few parameters here: We have a high clearance Van. It is NOT a 4×4. But the high clearance was helpful at times. Just food for thought. Also we have limited OfF Road experience and were still able to negotiate these roads fairly easy.
TIPS: When doing these roads make sure you have plenty of water, a spare tire, (and know how to change it), snacks and or lunch. There are some amazing places you will want to pull over and take in the beauty.
Our favorite was probably the Shafer Trail that goes down 3,000 feet. It’s also the site where the famous Thelma and Louise jump off was filmed. Not in the Grand Canyon by the way. The Shafer Trail is an 18 mile road that starts from the Canyonlands Visitor Center (Island in the Sky) and travels down next to the Colorado River and all the way into Moab, Utah. This is a great trail for someone who is looking for an off road experience, but doesn’t have access a highly modified rock crawler. Do not travel this road in severe weather conditions. The Shafer Trail road was originally built by uranium miners to transport ore extracted from the Triassic Chinle Formation during the middle part of the twentieth century. The mining road followed the path of a large natural rockfall that buried part of the typically cliffforming Wingate Sandstone.
It was a great ride for sure. Took 2 hours to do 18 miles.
Another favorite was the Valley of the Gods 17 mile loop. That takes you to some of the most breathtaking views in Utah. It’s also has FREE dispersed camping sites for Vans and RV’s. This road can be done easily with a car or van. If you are passing through Bluff, UT this is a must stop. You will NOT be dissapointed.
Of course if you do the Valley of the Gods, you might as well do the Moki Dugway. “Moki” is a local term for the ancient Puebloan people who inhabited the Colorado Plateau hundreds of years ago. “Dugway” is a term used to describe a roadway carved from a hillside. The Moki Dugway Scenic Backway is a stretch of Highway 261 in Utah where the blacktop turns into a dirt road that drastically switches back and forth down the side of a cliff at an 11% grade. This offers one of the BEST VIEWS in Utah. At over 5,000 feet you are going to see it all. There are no facilities along the Moki Dugway stretch of Hwy 261. The dugway is open year-round. The route is safe and passable for vehicles of all types, but you should drive with extra caution.
Watch our entire VIDEO of doing ALL 3 of these roads. You will understand why these are our TOP 3 Off Roads in Utah that YOU can do.