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Discussion Starter #1
Wife and I are road-tripping to Utah again to do the Big 5 and the North Rim over Thanksgiving. Have been to Moab and the Grand Canyon before but wanted to get off the beaten path a little and avoid the summer and fall surges.

What we have planned:

North Rim - Point Sublime
Zion - the normal stuff (narrows, road tour, etc), maybe Barracks Trail if passable
Bryce - Navajo Loop hike, see the viewpoints
Capitol Reef - Cathedral Valley Loop, Fruita, road tour, Trembling Giant (while we are in the area)
Moab - Tower Arch OHV trail, White Rim road, hike the arches in the park

Might do Goblin Valley if time allows.

If anyone has any ideas on what else we should do please advise! We have been to Moab multiple times so not sure is there is a lot left to do there.
 

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Elevation at Point Sublime is 8245 feet. Keep an eye on the weather. See North Rim operations transition to day use beginning in November

If you drive US-89A (going to or coming from) Jacobs Lake, the view of the Vermilion Cliffs and Marble Canyon are spectacular. If going through Page (Glen Canyon Dam), consider visiting Antelope Canyon. It is on Navajo Land, but the hike is awesome.

Finally, if you have time in Moab, Canyonlands National Park is nearby. The Island in the Sky Section is my favorite and Upheaval Dome is a geological wonder. When driving back to Moab, consider coming down Shafer Trail. This is not difficult, but fun and scenic.

There is so much to see in southern Utah, a person should allow a couple weeks to visit.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the advise so far, and yes I am already watching the Arizona DOT for road and weather advisories. Also I've done Shafer and Canyonlands already.

Anyone else recommend anything? Maybe places to eat in rural Utah (seems like things might be kinda scarce out there)?
 

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Thanks for the advise so far, and yes I am already watching the Arizona DOT for road and weather advisories. Also I've done Shafer and Canyonlands already.

Anyone else recommend anything? Maybe places to eat in rural Utah (seems like things might be kinda scarce out there)?
Very rural and sparse restaurants outside Moab. Possibly the best place for a great meal for many miles around is between Moab and Castle Valley, right on the Colorado - the River Grill at Sorrel River Ranch - outstanding, and worth the $$
 

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I plan to visit Horseshoe Canyon (Maze District Canyonlands) when I go next spring (it's only about 50 miles from Capitol Reef). They have BLM camping and a pretty good pictograph scene. Here's a link: https://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/horseshoecanyon.htm

"Horseshoe Canyon contains some of the most significant rock art in North America. The Great Gallery, the best known panel in Horseshoe Canyon, includes well-preserved, life-sized figures with intricate designs. Other impressive sights include spring wildflowers, sheer sandstone walls and mature cottonwood groves along the intermittent stream in the canyon bottom. Horseshoe Canyon was added to Canyonlands in 1971."
 
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Wife and I are road-tripping to Utah again to do the Big 5 and the North Rim over Thanksgiving. Have been to Moab and the Grand Canyon before but wanted to get off the beaten path a little and avoid the summer and fall surges.

What we have planned:

North Rim - Point Sublime
Zion - the normal stuff (narrows, road tour, etc), maybe Barracks Trail if passable
Bryce - Navajo Loop hike, see the viewpoints
Capitol Reef - Cathedral Valley Loop, Fruita, road tour, Trembling Giant (while we are in the area)
Moab - Tower Arch OHV trail, White Rim road, hike the arches in the park

Might do Goblin Valley if time allows.

If anyone has any ideas on what else we should do please advise! We have been to Moab multiple times so not sure is there is a lot left to do there.
My wife and I did North Rim, Zion, and Bryce a couple of years ago in a single trip (in the FJ of course!). We spent a lot of time hiking (down into the canyon in Bryce and clear to Wall Street in Zion) and Mountain Biking, so we didn't visit as many places as you're planning. But it was definitely one of the best weeks we've ever spent. Have a great time!
 

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I will be going with some family friends in the last week of december, 4 people total.

I have no rock crawling experience, and family & friends never driven off the pavement.

Are there any offroad trails beginner friendly? like... no cliffs or big boulder on the path? a quick google search didn't help, lol. I will look into the places mentioned above.


I have a Forester and I could stay on the pavement for the whole time, but I know I/they would miss out a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I will be going with some family friends in the last week of december, 4 people total.

I have no rock crawling experience, and family & friends never driven off the pavement.

Are there any offroad trails beginner friendly? like... no cliffs or big boulder on the path? a quick google search didn't help, lol. I will look into the places mentioned above.


I have a Forester and I could stay on the pavement for the whole time, but I know I/they would miss out a lot.
Are you doing all of southern Utah or just the Moab area?
 

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I will be going with some family friends in the last week of december, 4 people total.

I have no rock crawling experience, and family & friends never driven off the pavement.

Are there any offroad trails beginner friendly? like... no cliffs or big boulder on the path? a quick google search didn't help, lol. I will look into the places mentioned above.


I have a Forester and I could stay on the pavement for the whole time, but I know I/they would miss out a lot.
One of the most spectacular green (easy) trails in Moab is Long Canyon. I would recommend you go down it, both for superior views and given your intended vehicle. The entrance is not far from the northern gate to Canyonlands so could be an add on. Not long after you leave pavement there is a sign, “No camping beyond this point” - pull off to the right and go take in one of the most spectacular views in all of Moab, just a short walk to canyons edge :smile If there’s snow on the ground, don’t go any further because it gets steep and could be treacherous, even though they recently grated and repaired the only challenging section. You can also turn around at the first steep downhill section if you don’t think the Suby can make it :wink Once through the steep, narrow chute you will be treated to driving under the huge leaning boulder :grin Great for pics! Remainder of the drive is switchbacks down the canyon and along the stream, all maintained, all scenic, followed by a beautiful drive on pavement along the Colorado back to town. Check with the Visitors Center on Main st for updates on road conditions before you head out, and have a great time! :blueblob:
 

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The Colorado FJ Cruisers group is doing a Thanksgiving in Moab this year. Several days of group trail runs. Join the group on Facebook and check out the event they created, you might be able to do a trail run with them. As of now I plan on going but I'm having a lot of medical and vehicular issues at the moment so I might not make it.
 

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Long Canyon is one of my favorites as well. It's a great non-technical trail and is a big shortcut between the Canyonlands Island in the Sky District / Dead Horse Point State Park and Potash Road / Moab itself.

 

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I will be going with some family friends in the last week of december, 4 people total.

I have no rock crawling experience, and family & friends never driven off the pavement.

Are there any offroad trails beginner friendly? like... no cliffs or big boulder on the path? a quick google search didn't help, lol. I will look into the places mentioned above.


I have a Forester and I could stay on the pavement for the whole time, but I know I/they would miss out a lot.
There are lots of trails you can do in the Moab area. Get the Charles Wells guide book.

https://www.amazon.com/Guide-Moab-Backroads-4-Wheel-Drive-Trails/dp/193483825X
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Since we will be coming from California for 1 whole week, we are open to all easy area/ideas.

Thanks, @debFJVT, I love those big boulder!
I'll let you know how some of the other roads are outside Moab we do, but for the most part a lot of what I've done in Utah you wouldn't want to do in a Suby on street tires, especially if you haven't wheeled before. However, you can always rent a side by side or other vehicle while you are there.
 

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Gemini Bridges is a good Subaru trail in Moab. Yellow Cat Flats is a good area too with flat roads and a lot of uranium mining history and relics scattered about. You can visit the La Boca Arch and Covert Arch from the Yellow Cat area and a Forester will easily make the trails back there.
 

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My bed, Potash Road is a great beginner road too. The Schafer switchbacks to/from Island in the Sky might be closed due to weather or for other seasonal reasons but you can still drive the rest of it from Moab up to the base of the Schafer switchbacks.

If it’s snowing don’t try Long Canyon, Overland Bound has a good video about that. Keep in mind rainy weather makes these roads slick in places. Well worth it if you “have” to get some easy off-road driving in.

There are so many things to see in Moab that for a 1st timer in a car, I think I wouldn’t worry about any other roads/trails besides Potash or Long Canyon.

The days will be short in Dec, so go see Arches, Island in the Sky, Deadhorse Point, drive both the East and West sides of the Colorado River to enjoy their views and do some of the short hikes to see some of the other arches outside of Arches National Park.

Also spend a little time in town to rest up and enjoy the setting. This will give you a good all-around idea of what’s in the area so maps wil make more sense and you can plan to do other things next time you come back.

There are other things to see North and South of Moab too but it’s impossible to fit it all into a week. Next time come back in the Spring or Fall to explore other things and do some easy trails.
 
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Just found out we will be staying the southern side of utah for that week, mainly Zion and Bryce.

I guess Moab will be next time
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Well got back almost a week ago. Trip was great, highly recommended that anyone who does this do it this time of year. Zion and Arches were still somewhat crowded, but less so than peak season and the North Rim, Bryce, Capitol Reef, and Canyonlands were largely empty.

Things we did:
- all 5 parks plus the North Rim of the Grand Canyon
- North Rim is perfect this time of year, saw more buffalo than people.
- Point Sublime trail at GC (fantastic, didn't see anyone. Awesome place to camp)
- Zion, great but still lots of people. Almost hit a buffalo herd early in the morning driving in.
- Bryce, awesome. Do the hikes (Navajo Trail), well worth it for the different perspective.
- Capitol Reef, small but underrated. Fair warning, Torrey really shuts down this time of year. Food and lodging can be a little tricky (I usually do Hilton Club, but the Red Sands Hotel is great).
- Cathedral Valley Loop, a must do and easy. Saw no one, great weather and sunrise.
- Canyonlands and Dead Horse, views seem better in the fall and look especially good with the mountains snowcapped in the distance.
- Long Canyon (did it twice), some family met us and mom has never wheeled, thought this was a good one.
- Gemini Bridges, take the lower loop, good trail
- Tower Arch Trail, only place in Arches we didn't get crowds but had a couple of newbs moving really slow in rented Jeeps.
- La Sal Loop, tried and got over the pass but snow turned us back. Started to slide on the downgrades and chickened out (no winch). Really underrated up there, will be great in the spring and summer with the lakes (Lake Oowah was frozen solid haha).
- Sand Flats, just did the usual. Not a lot of people though, should've brought a dirt bike for this time of year.
 
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