If you've never taken a Hummer (H1) tour on the slickrock just east of Moab, Utah, put it on your bucket list. Our tour started with a climb up a route called Devils Backbone and the name alone gave us a small hint of what was to come. On that particular route, the driver told us that the Hummers can climb at a 70-degree angle, but this pitch was "only" about 40 degrees. You couldn't see anything beyond the top of the rock, as we inched our way upward.
Later we were told that the day before two passengers asked the driver to back down because they didn't want to go any farther. We did keeping going, but at times we wondered if the hummer would maintain its grip on some of the descents. Over the course of the ride, we climbed up 45-degree pitches on massive rocks, and on one roller coaster section, we even flew down a 50-degree pitch!
The slickrock is actually Navajo Sandstone that was laid down approximately 200 million years ago and hardened over time. It's perfect for gripping tires, be they Hummer, Jeep, ATV, motorcycle or mountain bike, all of which are used in the Sand Flats Recreation Area on a regular basis.
The trails for bikes and cycles are well marked and heavily used. As you ride along, the route follows a wide black line over the rocks, markings from tens of thousands of tires indicating just how popular this activity really is. We were told that someone once did it in a Crown Victoria, which seems nearly impossible when looking at the route from a 4x4.
Our first stop was at the top of Devil's Backbone, where we discovered fossils, bird tracks, and dinosaur footprints. Our driver knows the history and geology of the area and he kept up a fascinating, running commentary throughout the trip.
What to Expect
We rode up and down over some of the craziest pitches and did some serious bumping and jostling along the way. Sections of this route make some carnival rides seem smooth and comfortable in comparison. If you have back problems I suggest you ride in the Hummer's original seats, rather than those added to support the paying customers.
Between the rocks in numerous areas are long runs of loose sand, which we drove through at higher than sane speed. Just something to make the kids scream and the adults swallow hard while gripping onto the vehicle as tightly as possible.
The rock formations around this part of Utah are spectacular, but the views from up on the slickrock are really special. There are great canyon views, glimpses of the 12,000 foot La Sal Mountains to the south, a peek into Arches National Park, and even one of Moab in the distance, as well as a cliff hanger view of the Colorado River.
Sunset Hummer Safaris
This particular excursion was billed as a sunset safari. During the ride we made a 20 minute stop for snacks and drinks while watching the sun sink in the west. There are many great photo opportunities along the way with the sunset being one of the best. You'll definitely want to bring a camera to capture all of the fun.
And just when you thought things couldn't get any more exciting you'll begin the descent back down. It's just as exciting as heading up, but the rocks look different. Add in the fact that it is starting to get dark, and you'll realize that your heart is thumping even faster than before.
Booking a Hummer Safari in Moab
Numerous companies in Moab offer Hummer slickrock tours. We went out with the Moab Adventure Center - (866-904-1163) - on this tour and they impressed us as a first class operation.
When you book a trip ask about specials and rates for kids. Kids car seats will attach to the Hummers, but verify they are so equipped before you book. Also ask about clothing. Moab gets really hot in the summer, but at other times you may want a sweater or a jacket.