Some people can’t stop talking about their kids. Others always want to show you pictures of their pets. But you — you harbor profound affection for something quite different from the norm: your Jeep.
Indeed, Jeep owners, more than other drivers, tend to cherish their vehicles to a humbling degree, and you proudly place your Jeep on a gleaming pedestal. Still, if you want to show your Jeep the love it deserves, you should spend more time with it. Here are five excellent vacations Jeeps (and Jeep owners) will definitely enjoy.
1. Moab, Utah
Most avid off-roaders have heard of the legendary trails on Moab, Utah — and for good reason. America’s off-roading capital earned its precedence for its supreme Southwest beauty, substantial size, and technical challenges. Utah’s famous slickrock boulders grab tires like coarse sandpaper and allow all sorts of crawling and creeping. Tracks will take you through the stunning wind-formed rocks, over sheer canyons of red rock, and through scrubby dessert with plants and animals you’ve never seen before.
Though Moab is beloved among off-roading enthusiasts, you should be warned that this destination is not for speedsters. The tight corners, blind edges, and ever-shifting terrain make driving difficult, so you should strive to move slow and steady, or else risk hurting your precious Jeep.
2. Ouray, Colorado
Located in the southwest corner of the state, in the middle of three vast national forests (San Juan, Uncompahgre, and Rio Grande) Ouray, Colorado is an uncommonly green space for four-wheeling adventures. Tracks take drivers up into the Rocky Mountains, allowing for uninterrupted vistas of the verdant valleys below. Some trails even lead to abandoned mines and ghost towns, where you can get out and explore the history of the region.
If you enjoy outdoor activity besides off-roading, you may be interested in Ouray for another reason. The next canyon over holds America’s most beloved ski destination: Telluride. Though you may not have the opportunity to ski — prime off-roading season in Colorado is in the summer and fall, well before snow — you can still visit the big city for hiking, rafting, and more.
3. Lake Tahoe, California
Like Moab, Lake Tahoe is a pilgrimage every off-roader must one day make. Tahoe is a picturesque vacation town during every season; in the winter, the mountains around Tahoe are swarming with skiers and snowboarders, but in the summer, the tourists move to the lake leaving the hills free for rough-riding four-wheelers. Make sure to bring your hammock straps as there’s plenty of great views to be waking up to!
The notorious Rubicon Trail — from which one of the most rugged Jeep Wranglers gets its name — is arguably the most difficult track in America. The 22 miles of trail take drivers onto loose rock, through rushing streams, and over sharp boulders, demanding both precision and power. The Rubicon is no carefree jaunt through Tahoe’s backwoods; it is the ultimate challenge for off-roaders looking for infinite bragging rights. Of course, the route offers gorgeous views of Tahoe and the surrounding forest — if you can take your eyes off the track long enough to see them.
4. Las Cruces, New Mexico
Perhaps the largest area for off-roading in the nation, 5.4 million acres of land with more than 45,000 miles of four-wheeling roads and trails makes the area just outside of Las Cruces, New Mexico a more than worthwhile Jeep vacation. Though the southern half of New Mexico generally has little to offer tourists — miles upon miles of dry, rocky desert doesn’t interest most indoor folks — off-roaders will likely never tire of this region, which promises new adventures with every trip. Plus, the nearby Organ Mountain National Recreation Area provides gorgeous camping sites, picnic spots, and a few four-wheeling trails, as well.
5. Whipsaw Trail, British Columbia
Crossing two mountain ranges, frequently socked in by snow and ice, and hours away from a sizeable city, British Columbia’s Whipsaw Trail is not for the novice off-roader. However, this backcountry road certainly does offer adventurous four-wheelers some of the best scenery on the continent. British Columbia as a whole is notoriously beautiful, and the forests and meadows around Whipsaw are particularly breathtaking. Though the trail alone takes only about a day to complete, most drivers roll over the finish line after two days of exploring and lounging in the pristine Canadian wilderness.
The climate in this region of the world is rather unpredictable, and any type of inclement weather can make Whipsaw impassable — or at least exceedingly miserable. You should plan your trip for July and August, when temperatures are highest and rainfall is lowest.