Bestop CEO John Larson creeps down a ledge on Strike Ravine in Area BFE.

Bestop CEO John Larson creeps down a ledge on Strike Ravine in Area BFE.

It’s not everyday you get to hop in the passenger seat of a living legend’s Jeep, but that’s what happened when I grabbed a ride in Off-Road Hall of Fame member Curt LeDuc’s Skyjacker JK today at the Bestop trail run at Area BFE. It was a very full house today at Area BFE, as multiple trail runs were scheduled for the off-road park just outside Moab. Luckily for us, Bestop invited us to join their run and we were the first on the trail.

Casey Currie works on his way through this line on Green Day.

Casey Currie works on his way through this line on Green Day with Area BFE Park Manager Valerie Douglas spotting.

The newest Bestop team member Casey Currie led our run today, and he and other team riders sported some of the newest Bestop gear on their rigs, like the Bestop Trektop NX we tested last year. Our caravan of 40-or-so Jeeps left the staging area and headed toward Green Day. Since Area BFE is on private land, the trail system is not governed by any local laws or federal agencies, which means there is far less red tape for companies to organize trail runs with friends in the industry and loyal customers.

Curt LeDuc shows us how it's done.

Curt LeDuc shows us how it’s done.

“People come out to Area BFE because they want a different experience with a more hard-core trail and more adventurous trails,”  said Area BFE Park Manager Valerie Douglas. “We’ve got every type of trail from 35-inch tires to 54s. We’re trying to create an experience out here so you guys have some place fun to play where you’re not going to have to worry about the Sheriff’s department or the BLM coming out to ask you what you’re up to.”

Area BFE has 320 acres of private land with 16 different trails open all year long.

Area BFE has 320 acres of private land with 16 different trails open all year long.

The trails of Area BFE are open for anyone to enjoy year round. The park just asks that you help out by leaving a donation or purchasing gear from the shop to help keep it all running.

“This is all private property,” Douglas said. “We have 320 acres to play on and we’re only on the front half of it – we haven’t even touched the back half.”

Skyjacker's Lonnie McCurry leans the JK out over the ledge.

Skyjacker’s Lonnie McCurry leans the JK out over the ledge.

The trails vary in difficulty considerably, though most require at least 35-inch tires to tackle. Green Day has some pretty challenging spots even for seriously equipped rigs, though some of the tougher sections have bypasses. Normally even a shorter trail like Green Day takes a few hours with a group our size, but we managed to breeze through it in a hurry (which says a lot about our drivers in our group and their abilities).

Curt LeDuc put his years of race experience into helping develop the new line of coilovers for Skyjacker, and we were impressed with how good they felt on the trail today.

Curt LeDuc put his years of race experience into helping develop the new line of coilovers for Skyjacker, and we were impressed with how good they felt on the trail today.

Riding with LeDuc was a treat, and we were fortunate to have Skyjacker’s Marketing Manager Lee McGuire along with us as well. We’ve met LeDuc a few times over the years, most memorably having covered a pre-run of 2011 SCORE Baja 1000 with he and the #84 Got Milk? Trophy Truck of Nick Vanderway. Just a few days later we were at the finish line to interview LeDuc for the team’s second-place finish in the race. He’s a wealth of off-road knowledge on so many levels and has a great sense of humor as well. He filled us in on his newest endeavor south of the border with guided tours in Baja, and we also had the chance to get a feel for his line of Skyjacker coilover shocks that he helped design and tune.

Some of the Readylift crew joined us during the run as well today.

Some of the Readylift crew joined us during the run as well today.

We ended up taking another trail run that is milder on the difficulty scale in Strike Ravine (though it’s still challenging by most people’s standards) since we made such good time on the first trail. The day ended back up top with an awesome lunch and conversations about the day’s adventures. Much like the Easter Jeep Safari events throughout the week, today was all about getting on the trail and having fun with fellow off-road enthusiasts. We are also looking forward to getting back to Area BFE to explore some of the new trails they are developing to add to the 16 already built.

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