So a group of us from NorCal are going heading out to Moab for our pilgrimage. We are going the last week in May. Plan on doing the hard to scenic trails Moab has to offer. We haven't fully researched what exact trails, but their are some great threads on that here to do so. But what I'm wondering is how many days is a good rule of thumb to spend there? Yea, we'd never be able to to everything but hoping to not leave with the "ah crap, if we only had one more day..." feeling. 3 days full wheeling? 4 days wheeling? Other?
Time - too bad we all aren't lotto winners - only so much of it. Out there we are going to spend at least one day visiting the National Parks also non-jeepwise. Is that enough time or add another day?
We're having this conversation of if we should spend an full extra day out in Vegas while driving to Moab because of house rental availability but could shift it to staying in Moab hotel first night to get an extra day there if necessary.
I am going to assume this will lbe the first time in Moab for you and for the group?? With that assumption, here are my thoughts.
I plan and organize two trips to Moab every year. There are always new people joining the group who have never been there. And I have several that have come every year, so trail selection is a challenge.
A lot depends on the makeup of the rigs on the trip, the skill level of the drivers and the tolerance level for breakage and damage. (LefthandRubi is at the extreme end of the range on all 3!) When you say "hard to scenic" trails, well "hard" is relative. Scenic much less so.
Let's start with the basics. Most popular trails in Moab. Hell's Revenge just seems to be a must do for most. It can be done in a stock jeep or it will challenge the most well built Jeep. (Optional obstacles) Fins and Things combined with Hells makes for a full day. A nice combo and they are adjacent. And then there is the tri-fecta, Poison Spider, Golden Spike, Gold Bar Rim. A long ass day to be sure. Again, can be done in a stock Jeep or will challenge almost any rig. (A stock jeep will have trouble in spots.)
After you get those out of the way, things really open up. I really like Elephant Hill but it is a drive to get to. But if you do it, be sure to take the short hike to "The Joint" - a great slot canyon that is a must see (IM0). I like Metal Masher as it too has some wicked optional obstacles and you can return via Gemini Bridges and stop for the bridges. Another kinda must see. Steel Bender is a great trail as well. And so on. Moab Rim, Cliffhanger, etc, etc.
If you want hard, challenging trails, certainly Pritchett Canyon has to be on the list. Be prepared for it though. Area BFE as well. Hard, challenging wheeling requiring 37s, lockers, damn good sliders, etc, etc.
As for the parks. Well if you do Elephant Hill, that gets you into the Needles district of Canyonlands. You can drive thru most of Arches and see the sites. Short hike to the signature arch. I would highly recommend the Fiery Furnace guided hike in Arches National Park. You will need to make reservations months in advance. That is a great hike and having a guide is all the better. Make sure you get there early to check in on the day of your hike - they don't wait for stragglers (ask me how I know).
Now for time.....one day in Arches is a minimum. You can do the hike and see most of the main sites in one FULL day. Canyonlands mixes nicely with doing Elephant Hill. One day is good there. (Too far to drive again anyway.)
Personally, three days on the trails in Moab is about right. Two is too short. Four can be a stretch. I think it depends on how hard core the group is, but 3 day of straight trails is usually enough for most people. My theory is you want to leave "wanting to stay". If you leave "wanting to leave", then it was too long. Two days of trails, a day in Arches and then a day in Canyonlands doing Elephant Hill is a great trip. People will leave wanting to stay. Three days of trails, a day in Arches then a day in Canonlands will make a really full, great trip.
Need a guide??