Steel Bender Trail Report at EJS 2016 in Moab - Day 2
An iron forming Moab trail
Steel bender is one of those trails that just keeps popping up on our Easter Jeep Safari radar, and for good reason. It’s close to town and a darn good time. Getting to the trail head is pretty easy. The trail is just south of town near the golf course and starts just after dropping down into one of Moab’s beautiful creek areas. Tall cottonwoods and sage brush line the trails as you cross Mill Creek a few times. Then the trail wonders into an area that alternates between slick rock (with fun obstacles) and sandy rolling trails. The trail its self is about 15 miles long and has plenty of places to play and at least one decent that nearly always gets our dander up. Known as The Fall, you’d better be ready for this one. Make sure your brakes are in good order and be ready to have your nerves tested. Dropping off this ledge would seem easy on flat ground, but its just off camber and right next to a rather steep drop off. Still despite the uncomfortable feeling you’ll get from The Fall, the trail is a ton of fun. This year we ran Steel Bender with our friends from Dynatrac and Falken tire. Both great companies that make products that can help anyone build a rig to tackle Steel Bender. Next time we’re going to run it backwards for a change…then we can drive up The Fall rather than falling down it again.
The area near Mill Creek is beautiful like most of Moab. There are a few creek crossings which are always fun.
Next is a fairly simple drop off.
After some more winding through the trees the trail gets suddenly very rocky and widens to several car widths. This area has lots of different lines to play on.
Steel bender is not the easiest trail, and many will want at least 33s and lockers, but Ned Bacon and his wife Kat brought out their beautiful and very early CJ-2A. The Jeep is nearly all stock, and made it through the trail…with some amazing driving and by taking many bypasses.
From here the trail meanders for a while with a few climbs, drop offs, and switch backs. The scenery is beautiful and the trail keeps a driver interested. UA Alumni Kevin Stearns showed up for this run over Steel Bender in his Crawlerado. The truck is much the same as on UA 2015 with more trimmed fenders and 40-inch tires (with bead locks).
The fall is nothing to be sneezed at and it’s probably best to have a good spotter stand down below you to help with your decent. Ride the brakes hard till you drop. If the rear gets really light you might have to throttle out. Yikes!
We fell in love with Jim McGeen from Dynatrac’s beautiful Commando Green JK. The rig sits on big tires with Mopar high-clearance flairs. The Jeep is used as a test bed for some of Dynatrac’s confidence inspiring parts.
The trail continues to entertain with obstacles till the end.
An obstacle called the witches Step is makes for a fun and challenging climb. There is a bypass if you’d prefer.
More ledges provide entertaining places to play along the trail.
As the end nears the trail wiggles around a cliff and through an old fence. Soon after this the trail drops back into Mill Creek Canyon.
Wet your tires in Mill Creek right at the end of the trail. Here is one more ledge that is pretty gnarly. Give it a try or drive around to the left. The trail then heads hard right in this image. From here the trail becomes a road that leads out towards Ken’s lake.