Hell's Revenge



In 2009, the week before Easter I headed to Moab, Utah so that we could avoid the Easter Jeep Safari. I wanted to be at the Easter Jeep Safari, but the group I was with decided that the trails would get so busy that Moab wouldn’t be as fun as the week before. I think that plan worked out great because the amount of elbow room out there wouldn’t have been the same with bumping into all those Jeep’s that weekend. Although, I would have liked to see all those Jeeps out on the trails.

The off-road trail “Hell’s Revenge” is a legend in the 4×4 community, not because it is difficult, but because it’s a right of passage. Making it a must for any true off-road enthusiast. The trail head is located 9 minutes from the center of town up on a ridge. The trail intersects many times with one of the most famous mountain bike trails, “Slickrock Trail.” As the name of the mountain bike trail implies, the rock becomes very slick when wet and can easily make trails in Moab jump to the next difficulty level.

The obstacle I find to be the most popular on Hell’s Revenge is “Mickey’s Hot Tub.” Its literally just a hole in the rock that can fit an entire vehicle and the temperatures get hot in there. Approached from the correct side, Mickey’s Hot Tub is extremely difficult and dangerous for short wheelbase vehicles and especially difficult for vehicles with a high center of gravity because of the nearly vertical wall required to climb out of. There are three hot tubs on Hell’s Revenge with Mickey’s being the most difficult of the three. I tried to climb out of the Mickey’s Hot Tub with my Jeep Grand Cherokee back in 2009 but happened to brake my slip-yoke on my rear driveshaft. I jumped on the brakes after a bad bounce hoping to stick it so that I didn’t roll end over end onto the roof. The breakage was no big deal and added to the level of fun when I raced ahead on the trail in front-wheel drive and beat everyone in my group back to the house where we were staying at.

The next obstacle on Hell’s Revenge that needs to be mentioned is “Hell’s Gate.” A dangerous steep climb on the slick rock on to a cliff overlooking the green river. I haven’t included this in my GPS tracks because the climb on Hell’s Gate is optional and also dangerous because of the risk of rolling-over end-over-end in the vehicle.

Finally is “Tip Over Challenge,” which is towards the last section of the trail. Tip-Over Challenge gets its name from the steep incline that you must drive parallel with. I wasn’t much impressed with this obstacle, having driven it in front-wheel drive because I broke my slip-yoke in the hot tubs, I didn’t feel like it was bad. However, if you have a high center of gravity or the rock is wet it could become much more challenging.

In all, Hell’s Revenge is one of those trails that all off-road enthusiast should drive at least once. If your vehicle or you aren’t feeling up to the challenge, don’t worry, all of the most difficult obstacles have a bypass. The scenic views are absolutely breathtaking, with snow cover mountains off in the distance and beautiful high desert in any other direction. Remember to stay on the trail because the Cryptobiotic soil around Moab, Utah is alive and can take up to a century to return to its current productivity if stepped on.