This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
So many thrill-seekers flock to southeastern Utah's deserts the week or two before Easter that the spring-break pilgrimage has given rise to its own term:
The public lands between Price and Monticello become jammed with thousands of hikers, bikers and off-roaders.
Ground zero for all this wildness in the wilds is Moab. Spurred by the 50th annual Easter Jeep Safari, which begins Saturday and runs through March 27, crowds from across the country and, indeed, the world will descend on the old mining town.
"The town this time of year gets full," said Robert Riberia of the Moab Area Travel Council. "Jeep Safari participants often book their accommodations a year in advance. It is definitely the busiest week of the year for Moab."
Riberia said last-minute visitors should check motels and campgrounds on the area website, http://www.discovermoab.com, for last-minute cancellations.
So those hoping to find a room at this point will have to luck out and find a cancellation or check other towns in the region, perhaps Green River, Monticello, Blanding or even Price. It also means arriving early in the day and early in the week in order to secure one of the more than 430 developed Bureau of Land Management campgrounds or an undeveloped area where camping is allowed.
Moab BLM spokeswoman Lisa Bryant estimates that nearly 20,000 people will be recreating in and around Moab during the Easter holiday. She said developed recreation sites fill up early in the week, often by Wednesday or Thursday.
"The BLM welcomes visitors and encourages everyone to explore their public lands safely and respectfully, staying on designated roads," Bryant said. "Please plan ahead. Be prepared with proper clothing, food, equipment and plenty of water to make sure you go home with great trip memories."
The BLM encourages motorized recreation users to stay on designated roads and routes. Federal land managers praised the Red Rock 4-Wheelers, who organize the annual Jeep Safari, which draws about 1,700 vehicles and 4,000 people a year.
"The Red Rock 4-Wheelers have been a great partner, helping with many local volunteer projects throughout the year and teaching proper trail etiquette and respect for our amazing public lands," said Lance Porter, the BLM's Canyon Country district manager.
According to the Red Rock 4-Wheelers, the Moab Chamber of Commerce began the event in 1967, using only the Behind the Rocks Trail. The Moab Rim Trail was added the next year.
The Red Rock 4-Wheelers, organized in the early 1980s, has slowly grown into one of the state's premier off-highway vehicle organizations.
Cost to register is $50 per vehicle per trail per day. Trails are listed on the group's website at http://www.RR4W.com and are rated by difficulty. Some are appropriate for stock vehicles while others require heavy modifications for serious four-wheeling.
Red Rock 4-Wheelers President Bob Humphreys said that all trail rides for the 2016 safari are reserved, but noted that cancellations occur and those hoping to find a last-minute trail to ride should check the website periodically.
"This being the 50th annual Jeep Safari, we expect a sellout crowd," Humphreys said. Participants are encouraged to be courteous to all recreation users in the Moab area, he added, pointing out that the club emphasizes wise land stewardship.
Headquarters for the event are at the Old Spanish Trail Arena just south of Moab, where vendors also gather with a variety of products.
Business also takes off at Arches and Canyonlands National parks and Dead Horse Point, Green River and Goblin Valley State parks as well as the BLM's Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry and agency lands in the San Rafael Swell and Temple Mountain areas.
In fact, crowds were so great last Memorial Day at Arches that the road into the park had to be closed at times because there was no parking left inside the boundaries.
Information on Southeastern Utah Easter recreation
Moab Area Information • http://www.discovermoab.com
Easter Jeep Safari • http://www.RR4W.com
BLM Motorized Recreation • http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/moab/recreation/motorized_routes.html
BLM Dispersed Camping and Recreation • http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/moab/recreation/campgrounds/where_else_can_i_camp.html
BLM Volunteer Contact for Price Area: email@example.com