Elephant Hill Run with Superwinch at 2013 Easter Jeep Safari

Mar. 27, 2013 By Josh Burns
Nena Barlow near the top of Elephant Hill just as the sun started to set.

With all the amazing off-road trails surrounding Moab, Utah, it’s always a treat to head out on an organized trail run during the Easter Jeep Safari each year. This year, we had the chance to join Superwinch on a run to some remote trails outside of Moab with a finish back through Elephant Hill.

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We headed over outside of town to the Needles area, passing by Newspaper rock before heading out on a long, remote dirt road that took us on some remote sections not often seen by Easter Jeep Safari attendees. The road led us around Bridger Jack Mesa toward Elk Ridge, and our ascent to over 7500 feet meant we hit the patches of snow that still stood after recent storms.

Ed and Janice Helmick has an eye-opening moment when they were getting pulled by our guide Bill Burke through a deep snow bank and nearly took a spill off the edge. The Superwinch came to the rescue and got the yellow TJ back on the road and through the bank.

As we traveled through this remote area, we realized after we passed the snow banks up around Elk Ridge the chances of seeing other off-roaders out here were slim. The only two others we came across were on dirt bikes – a U.S. Forest Marshall who stopped to chat with us and his riding companion, both of which chose to rides bikes because they were unsure of making it around the snowy pass. They were a little surprised we made it through.

This one snow bank forced three of our six vehicles to winch out due to its sneaky depth. We actually used Superwinches on a Superwinch run - who knew?

We visited a number of ancient Indian ruin sites, including remnants of towers and houses. Making our way back toward Needles, we traversed down SOB hill, a few other rocky sections, and squeezed through a tight, rocky pass. We were then treated to Native American wall writing dating back to the 12th century.

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The group made its way down Silver Stairs.

We made our way through the Silver Stairs section and over to the Confluence overlook, which after a half-mile walk shows an impressive view of the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers – something we carefully viewed from the roughly 1500- to 1800-foot overlook.

Native American petroglyphs, or writing, can be found all through the remote trails outside of the Needles area.

The Confuence Overlook shows where the Green River (lighter to the left) and the Colorado River meet.

On our way out of the park, we traversed the unique Elephant Hill, which directs the driver to back up to attack certain climbs, and exited out of the park. We aired back up as the sun was going down and made the long trek back. Although a little more than half or our travel was on road, we covered 203 miles on the run. We made it back into town after 9 p.m., so it was certainly what you would call a full day of wheelin’.

Hugh Phillips of Safari Limited of Colorado navigates his 1983 Land Cruiser Trooper Carrier through this tight pass.

SOB Hill was one fo the sections that provided a little more challenge, although it certainly looks tougher heading up.

As Wayne Miller demonstrates, Elephant Hill requires some patience since you have to back up in sections to proerly line up for the climb up.

Thanks to Superwinch for having us along, and thanks also go to professional off-road trainer Bill Burke and Nena Barlow. For more information about Superwinch and its products, visit Superwinch.com. For more on Bill Burke and his guided tours, get more info at http://www.bb4wa.com/. If you're out in Arizona in the Sedona area, Nena Barlow's Jeep rentals is your place for off-road rentals and tours, and you can find more info at http://www.barlowjeeprentals.com/.

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