14th Moab Jeep Jamboree | Steel Bender Trail
Bushwacker is a proud sponsor of the nation wide Jeep Jamboree. Stretching from coast to coast, the “Jeep Jam” offers guided trail drives through some the most remote locations in the country. Each event combines scenic views, obstacles for any skill level, and great people which share a mutual love for Jeepin’.
The 14th Moab was no different. Falling in between the Off-Road Expo & SEMA, the 14th Moab was a great opportunity to connect with like minded enthusiasts, and hit some of the best trails in the world.
Despite issues with our trailer, we arrived in time to register for two separate trail rides; the first being Steel Bender. Don’t let the name fool you, Steel Bender is a fun trail that’s full of technical obstacles and great views. Perfect for all skill levels, Steel Bender offers a variety of lines from easy to difficult, and most obstacles have a bypasses if desired.
I’d recommend taking the trail from North to South if it’s your first time. The South to North route is an uphill battle, and with sandy ledges could be more difficult than it needs to be. Combine that with wet weather and you’ll have a decent challenge in a moderately built Jeep.
Our trail guides started us from the North which took us through Mill Creek. This area is beautiful in the fall and has some of the most autumnal sights in Moab. Although a good part of the trail is flat, there are plenty of ledges, rock climbs, and descents. The first major obstacle you’ll encounter is aptly named “The Wall“, but don’t be intimidated – “The Wall” is negotiable with properly deflated tires, throttle control, the right line, and a high crawl ratio. Lockers don’t hurt either.
Perhaps the most challenging obstacle is the “The Fall”. Be sure to check your brakes before descending the this ledge because all one can do is apply steady pressure, and wait for gravity to take over. It’s about a 4-5ft drop that can rattle you if not approached correctly. Expect to scrape your rear bumper or tire carrier if you drive a short wheelbase Jeep like a CJ, YJ, or TJ. Building a stack of boulders at the base can alleviate some of the carnage, but it’s not completely avoidable.
Immediately following the “The Fall” is a downward switchback with another ledge and several boulders. This is typical of Steel Bender for the remainder of the trail. Seemingly each obstacle provides a variety of lines to challenge your skills. This is what makes Steel Bender trail so much fun to drive.
After a beautiful canyon drive, and a final creek ford, you’ll encounter Steel Bender’s last obstacle. The ascent is steep, sandy, muddy, and nearly put my TJ at a 90 degrees. Fortunately there is a bypass if you’d like. I’d consider the final ledge somewhat difficult for a TJ with 33’s, but something that a LJ, XJ, or JK would find less challenging.
Overall, TrailDamage.com rates Steel Bender an 8/10 if you choose the most difficult lines, and a 5/10 if you opt for bypasses. Regardless of what line you choose, Steel Bender is definitely one to consider next time you’re in Moab.