2012 Jeep Wrangler in Moab: Top of the World
April 11, 2012
Driving the Jeep Mighty FC concept may have been fun and all, but I was here to drive our 2012 Jeep Wrangler on some Easter Jeep Safari trail runs.
This year some 30 trails were available throughout the 9-day event, and the usual way to tag along on a formal guided run and be part of the event is to register online ahead of time with the Red Rock 4 Wheelers via their website and pay $50 per trail. Industry rides simultaneously occur on trails the RR4W isn't using on a given day, and a well-timed Facebook like might get you a spot in a smaller group.
I was able to tag along on a small 9-vehicle run hosted by Superwinch on the Top of the World trail.
The Top of the World route starts at Dewey Bridge, some 25 miles up the Colorado River form Moab itself. Bill Burke, a Camel Trophy participant in 1991, led the day's activities from his well-worn Range Rover. Yes, the Easter Jeep Safari
tolerates welcomes non-Jeeps.
Just four years ago, however, a runaway campfire destroyed it once again. All that remains now are cables and an ironic plaque proudly commemorating its restoration, saying "Dewey Bridge is Utah's longest suspension bridge." Sadly, was seems to be the operative word today.
We had time to contemplate all of this while we dropped the air pressure in our tires for the rocks to come. Folks that run BFG Mud-Terrain KM2s like mine say that 15 psi is a good place to start. I would simply have to ignore the low tire warning on the dash until I aired up again later.
The Top of The World trail was fairly easy most of the way and scenic for its entire length, but there were several 12-inch rock steps and ledges as well as a couple of moderately difficult rock and frame-twist obstacles. Our Wrangler was able to tackle all of them with its open diffs and I didn't have to unbolt its front stabilizer bar to get through any of it.
They tell me that at one point my left front hiked itself 18 inches in the air as I teetered over a particularly large rock, but you'll have to take my word for it. The trouble with driving without a passenger is you can't take pictures of yourself.
Top of The World trail is and out-and-back loop, and the turnaround is a dramatically overhanging ledge that you've seen in commercials. I wasn't first in our congo-line of Jeeps, so I didn't arrive soon enough for the prime parking spot on the precipice which, come to think of it, is no bad thing.
Even the guy who hogged the prime spot didn't get too close.
On the way back down we took a detour on a very easy graded dirt road to visit some old cowboy graves. My picture didn't come out, so I'm substituting a photo of some cowboy caves I saw the day before when I was driving all of those Jeep concepts.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 13,250 miles