Pritchett Canyon

We Think: Pritchett is unofficially the “hardest” trail in the Jeep safari line-up. The 2 things that contribute to this honor is that most of the “tamer” vehicles (meaning 35″ tires, locked in both sides but not quite a rock buggy) will make it down the first drop off shelf on the first 100 yards into the trail no problem. They may also have some trouble making it up the Rocker Knocker unassisted. The dilemma is that if Rocker Knocker, the Rock Pile, or any other hard spot proves to be too much of a challenge, then the shelf that was “dropped into” at the beginning of the trail now has to be climbed back out of which, depending on the time of year, can be the hardest obstacle on the trail!  This situation often traps vehicles in the trail and you may be in for a bit of a hike if this happens with no one around to assist.  The shelf has been filled in with dirt several times to prevent this from happening but inevitably it gets dug back out by hundreds of vehicles.

Pritchett Canyon is one of the most scenic trails and is a slow ascent up a wash.  Several spots are narrow enough to cause a large group to come to a halt if a vehicle breaks in the trail but most areas are wide enough to bypass stuck rigs.  Over the last couple years there has been a new obstacle developing right before the Rock Pile that has proved to be quite nasty and is currently deserving  it’s own name.  Youtube hosts several rollover videos on this obstacle.  It reminds me a little of Potato Salad Hill only it has to be taken at an angle to climb it making it even trickier than PSH.

If you know anything about Pritchett, know this…. Once you climb out of the wash that ends up on top of Blue Hill, there is a reeeeealy long stretch of scenic yet bumpy and uneventful dirt road that has several confusing, unmarked forks in the road that can take a couple hours to get over to reach the pavement by the turn off to Area BFE.  If you’re not a fan of getting your teeth rattled out of your skull then I would advise the popular method of turning around and exiting the way you came in.  Obviously during events like the Jeep Safari or holiday weekends the amount of traffic may not make this an option.   The 2 highlights to continuing on the trail  (and if you can find them) are climbing White Knuckle Hill and the sand dunes.  White Knuckle is officially part of the Behind the Rocks Trail but can also be accessed by the Pritchett exit road.  Closer toward pavement are the sand dunes that are a great time if your vehicle isn’t limping too badly by this point.  All of these obstacles mentioned above are plotted out on our map.

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2 Responses to “Pritchett Canyon”

  1. Jeff says:

    Nice website! But, the Pritchett trail info is very outdated. The first drop-off at the start of the trail was graded smooth by the county several years ago. It is now starting to erode again, but is still easily climbed.

    There is a very major obstacle (we call it Chewy) that has developed over the last couple years, which you fail to mention.

    Rocker Knocker has a bypass (although it can be very difficult).

    The “un-named obstacle” you mention that is just befor Rock Pile is called Axle Hill (aka “suicide hill”).

    There have not been any rocks at the base of Rock Pile for years.

  2. admin says:

    Indeed the first obstacle was graded smooth and usually is regraded every spring but by the end of the Jeep Safari week it usually looks like it did 7 years ago and turns into an obstacle once again. Chewy is an obstacle that is very controversial with the BLM and environmentalists in the Moab area. Since it’s a touchy subject I don’t want to perpetuate any friction between the 2 groups. Yes it exists and it is a lot of fun but every time sensitive trails like Pritchet are “expanded” then we run the risk of drawing too much attention where it isn’t necessary.

    Rocker Knocker’s bypass is very hard and depending in the wheelbase is potentially harder than the real thing. A fun obstacle none the less but also is starting to draw a lot of attention from people looking to close Pritchett to all off road vehicles.

    The unnamed obstacle has several other names as well (“side dive” among others) but seems to change names by the year so I guess any one of those names will work.

    Rock Pile is actually a little easier without all the rocks there but for some reason someone will take hours out of their day to replace the rocks. It seems to happen every year. The guys from one of the local shops have, on several occasions, removed the rocks far from the obstacle but there are people out there who are still under the impression that those rocks will help so they mysteriously keep showing up. Thanks for the comment and keep ‘em coming!

What do you think?