The Cherokee Conquered Canyonlands National Park - Page 3 - 2014+ Jeep Cherokee Forums
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post #21 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-14-2015, 09:34 PM
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Krug, I was just in that area with my new Trailhawk and saw the trailhead to Fins and Things. I was also advised by the woman at the entrance booth, after seeing my Trailhawk, that I would need high clearance. The first few feet of the trail has a climb up a steep rock bank out of water, and looked like I might scape the front end if I entered. Was that a problem for you? Are those type of climbs typical for a moderately rated Jeep trail in this area? To be honest, even though I love getting off-road, I'm not particularly thrilled about adding scrapes and dings to my new $40K Jeep.

Along the same line of thinking, there was a short trail up a steep rock slope on the left side of the road shortly after passing the entry gate. I can't remember the name, but it was clearly visible from the road and marked by black tire tracks going up the spine. I think this was considered an easy trail for this area, and yet it looks like a slight mis-calculation could send a Jeep over either side. Is this a typical climb for the slick rock trails in Moab?

As a point of reference, I went down Long Canyon over Pucker Pass and loved it. This is a dirt road with rocks, but not the typical Moab slick rock. There were a couple of steep sections at the top. When I got down to Shafer Road, I explored a bit on some side treks and climbed some steep 35 - 40 degree hills with loose rocks. Once I engaged the rear locker, this amazing vehicle crawled to the top, no problem.

Thanks for your input!

Last edited by Fotodog; 05-14-2015 at 10:13 PM. Reason: Additional info
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post #22 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-14-2015, 09:35 PM
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Congratulations. I love Canyonlands, especially the Needles district. We did Elephant Hill in a Touareg with Air Suspension and lift years ago and I can attest to the difficulty of that trail. Very impressed you made it with the TH.

Now you need to get a permit for the White Rim Road in the Eye of the Sky District. It's a 4-5 day off road adventure with breath taking views. Well worth the effort to get the permit.
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post #23 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-14-2015, 09:39 PM
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Awesome Pics @taatmk!!!!

I hope to get out that way later this summer. Your write-up and pics may have sealed the deal.

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post #24 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-14-2015, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Great write up and pics. What were those trails rated? I have a limited with A/T tires but know that I would need an easier trail when I go their in a few months.
Low range is essential. The TH rear locker helped immensely as well. Elephant Hill is rated as very difficult by most trail guide authors I have read. It is doable in a stock Cherokee, but having just run it, the two most important things I would say are low range and ground clearance.


Which leads to the question: When will someone find a way to lift the Cherokee???

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post #25 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-14-2015, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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Taatmk, great write up. Was headed that way today until the rain started. Headed to Sand Flats instead to run Fins & Things.
Had my eye out for a Mango Tango TH. But we never crossed paths. Sounds like my wife and I timed our trip perfectly. Was raining off an on for the way down. Had clear skies for the three days we were there, and hear that its raining again.


Hoping you are having fun! Moab has lots to offer...

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post #26 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 12:27 PM
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Low range is essential. The TH rear locker helped immensely as well. Elephant Hill is rated as very difficult by most trail guide authors I have read. It is doable in a stock Cherokee, but having just run it, the two most important things I would say are low range and ground clearance.


Which leads to the question: When will someone find a way to lift the Cherokee???
congrats on doing Elephant Hill! I personally have never seen that trail but have heard it is pretty gnarly. Good to know that a TH can handle it. I have been on/seen numerous other 4x4 trails in SE Utah and was curious too about its defined difficulty. According to this site:

traildamage.com

It is in the more moderate range. Of course, compared to some trails out there, which can be extreme, I guess it could be moderate???

anyways... a couple questions for you....

1. Sounds like you did the Elephant one way... how would you feel about doing the other way?

2. Based on some of your subsequent comments, it sounds like maybe the TH was at its limit for minimal damage/solo offroading... would you agree? Or in other words, would you be willing to do something harder?

obviously, clearance is the #1 limiter.

thanks!
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post #27 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 12:31 PM
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here is the correct link/URL... sorry.

http://www.traildamage.com/trails/index.php?id=65
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post #28 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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1. Sounds like you did the Elephant one way... how would you feel about doing the other way?

2. Based on some of your subsequent comments, it sounds like maybe the TH was at its limit for minimal damage/solo offroading... would you agree? Or in other words, would you be willing to do something harder?
Good questions. First, a note on difficulty. The term is entirely subjective. It is based on the opinions and assessment of the author's experiences. I read several guide book descriptions of the Elephant Hill trail before taking this most current adventure and have also had two previous experiences passing the trail.


In my humble opinion, I would say that Elephant Hill is considered difficult. Is it the most difficult trail in the Moab area? No, it is not. Not even close. In fact, there were some unnamed obstacles on the Elephant Hill trail itself that I consider more challenging than Elephant Hill. One I described in my narrative that I think was much more challenging than Elephant.


Elephant Hill is passable in a stock Trailhawk. Would higher ground clearance help? Most definitely. And high clearance would take the difficulty factor down.


Most trail guides, such as traildamage.com are run in lifted Wranglers, so their assessment would be much different for a stock Cherokee KL owner. Would anyone not agree with that?


This past trip, I ran Elephant Hill proper one way. Both ways require you to go up first, across the top, and then down. The steeper uphill portion is on the way we did it. The Switchback Hill section is on the side we did. The uphill portion doing it the other way is much less steep. Doing it both ways is still very challenging.


For an unlifted TH, I agree that Elephant Hill would be pushing the limit. Elephant Hill itself being not necessarily the most difficult obstacle of the trail. It was tough in and of itself, but I think a portion of the trail called SOB Hill was a little tougher. And, if one were to reverse the route I took, and depart Canyonlands to the south and go up Bobby's Hole Hill, that would be a definite challenge for a stock TH.


I chose to go the route I did in order to descend Bobby's Hole Hill (sometimes referred to as Impossible Hill) and not have to go up it.


Doing something harder? Good question. I am considering doing a route called "Top of the World" next. It has a series of ledges that must be climbed. A neighbor of mine has done it in a stock Wrangler and told me its tough. Equal to are a tad rougher than Elephant. That's next on my list. I don't know if the wife is ready for me to put any more scratches on the TH just yet.


Bobby's Hole Hill pic

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Last edited by taatmk; 06-02-2015 at 02:55 PM.
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post #29 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 02:01 PM
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Impossible Hill looks just that... impossible! :-)

thanks for the informative response. I agree wholeheartedly that defining "difficulty" is completely subjective and depends on tons of factors (vehicle, trail condition, weather, driver ability/mood etc etc). For me, the use of traildamage (or any other well used online guides) would provide a consistent basis for determining what trails may be doable in the stock TH (even if "their" rating is based on a lifted/tricked out Wrangler). So if they rate it 4/5 and you call it difficult and near the TH limit, I would figure that most other 4/5s on traildamage would be similar. And to be honest, 4/5 on the traildamage scale was what I figured would be around the "safe" limit for the TH based on other trails I know about and checked on their site. Maybe that's too simplistic but I don't know how else to go about determining a relative difficulty, because like someone else responded, I am trying to find trails where I can work up the scale of difficulty.

I am familiar with Top of the World... again not one I have done myself but have heard much about it and know the location well (have done Kokopelli etc). I will be very curious to hear how you rate that one!

Last edited by monkeyboy; 05-15-2015 at 02:18 PM.
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post #30 of 41 (permalink) Old 05-15-2015, 05:51 PM
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Great write up and wonderful pictures. I plan to head to Moab in a few weeks, but w/o sliders will not be doing any trails as difficult as Elephant Hill. Maybe next year . Thanks for sharing the experience!

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