Fins and Things

Moab, Utah (Grand County)

Last Updated: 04/08/2022
4.8 / 5 ( 57 reviews )
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Highlights

Highlight: Fins and Things
Are you looking for a trail close to Moab that optimizes the Moab experience? Then head directly to Sand Flats Recreation Area for Fins and Things! This is definitely one of the first slickrock style trails you must try to experience the difference in traction that the sandstone gives to the 4x4 experience. The "slickrock" isn't slick at all, and by airing down your tires, you will be amazed to climb 50-60 degree inclines without any slippage. This particular trail packs in a tremendous amount of fun and big views of the La Sal Mountains in the background while driving on the mysterious-looking "Fins and Things." "Slickrock" was phrased when the early western settlers crossed this sandstone with wagons with wood wheels on steel rims. They didn't have the traction that you will have out here; as a matter of fact, they found it rather "slick." Imagine facing down a 50-degree slope on wood and steel wheels! "Fins" are the Navajo Sandstone slickrock formations northeast of Moab, and the "things" are what remain as the fins erode. The fins started as wind-blown sand dunes some 200 million years ago, they got cemented into sandstone, and they are now going full circle back to sand blowing in the wind.

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Route Information

Advanced Rating System

Recommended Vehicle:
Stock SUV with High Clearance and 4 Low
Concerns:
Summary:
This trail has multiple steep and rocky sections, giving it the mandatory"4" rating. Several climbs are between 45 and 55 degrees which are optional for the high rating of a "6".

Technical Rating

MANDATORY
4
MODERATE
OPTIONAL
6
DIFFICULT
Typically, more rock or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 18" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 18" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 36" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep and off-camber.
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Community Consensus

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Description

Fins and Things is almost entirely on slickrock or very sandy dirt. A few of the climbs are aggravated by a loose sand approach, with the sand being deep or shallow. Please remember to stay on the marked route and follow the one-way signs, as vehicles are allowed only on designated roads within the Sand Flats Recreation Area. This trail can be accomplished by most 4x4 vehicles, and most more challenging obstacles have a bypass. Following the trail: Fins and Things is a two-stage trail. Stage 1 is on the south side of Sand Flats Road and is one-way travel, whereas stage 2 is on the north side of Sand Flats Road. Once finishing stage 1, you will travel east on Sand Flats Road for a short distance to reach the stage 2 trailhead. The entrances and exits do change from time to time but are well-signed. Always follow the signage versus the GPX in the event of trail alignment changes. The trail is marked with painted dinosaur (stegosaur) symbols or stripes. If you are uncertain about the direction of the trail on slickrock, follow the black marks and white paint. Location: Fins and Things is located within the Sand Flats Recreations Area and managed through a partnership between Grand County and the BLM. All 4X4s, ATVs, motorcycles, and bikes must remain on designated roads and trails. There are no open play areas within Sand Flats. Penalties for violations of trail use can include, among other things, forfeiture of vehicle. Please Stay on the trail! Remember, indiscriminate vehicle tracks represent the theft of beauty that you came here to see. Fee: There is a fee to use this recreation area. The fee is $5.00 a day or $10.00 a week per vehicle. You can also purchase an annual pass for $25.00. There is a pay station at the Sand Flats Recreation Area entrance.
Avoid when ice and or snow are present.

Waypoints

1. Fins and Things Trailhead (0 mi)
Stay on the Sand Flats Road for two more miles, and turn right into Campsite Cluster E. The trail starts to the right of campsite #6. You will find the start of the trail easily, and it is well marked.
2. View Point (0.6 mi)
You are forced to climb your first slickrock formation almost immediately, and it seems a little daunting. Just follow the black marks from past vehicles to the top. Note: If you don't air down your tires to between 8-15 lbs. you may experience some tire yelping as you climb the fins on this trail. Using your 4x4 low range and aired-down tires will make this seem effortless, and your vehicle will thank you.
3. Steep Climb (0.7 mi)
Another steep climb with a couple of different bypasses.
4. Steep Climb with Bypass (0.9 mi)
This more minor obstacle is made a little trickier with uneven shelving thrown in. There is a bypass to the left.
5. The Wall (1.9 mi)
This uphill section is the steepest yet/with about a 55-degree incline. It helps the driver have a spotter as seeing where you are going is almost impossible at this angle. Slow and steady on the gas, let the tires find their traction points; you might encounter some tire yelping. There is a bypass to the right, but give it a try if you have a ground guide.
6. Another Hill Climb (2.6 mi)
This one is fun, a little longer than the last, but navigable without a guide. You will then proceed down into a Campground called "Loop H" and then out to "Sand Hill Flats Road" to head for stage 2 of this trail.
7. Sand Flats Road - Turn Right (2.7 mi)
Here you will intersect back further up "Sand Hill Flats Road." Make a right turn and go about .6 miles to continue. The trail starts again on the left. Note: This is a "one-way" trail system; you cannot go back the way you came.
8. Trail Entrance - Stage II (3.1 mi)
This is the entrance to continue on Fins and Things, Stage II.
9. Very Mini Lion's Back (3.2 mi)
Here you will be on top of a "Mini Lions-back" with a 50-degree downgrade and very steep 60-70 degree side drops. The key here is just to follow the tire tracks, be in Low-1 and allow the transmission and braking to bring you down. For those with "Descent Assist," this is a perfect place to use this feature and relieve some anxious feelings.
10. Porcupine Rim Trailhead (4.2 mi)
Here you will encounter a T - intersection. The trail coming in from the left is another entrance to Fins and Things from the Porcupine Rim 4x4 trail. Turn left here to stay on the trail.
11. Vista View (4.7 mi)
This spot was given a Waypoint for its spectacular views in all directions. Stretch the legs and grab your photographs!
12. Tricky Descent (5 mi)
This obstacle is made a little scary with a 1- 2-foot ledge at the end. Careful braking at the drop makes it pretty easy. Don't forget about your rear tires; slow and cautious will keep your tail-pipe from becoming a "duck-call." There is a bypass if you stay to the left, but come on, give her a try!
13. Intersection - Overlook Spur (5.5 mi)
This intersection is with an interior trail that leads out to an overlook for pictures. Stay to the right and up the hill.
14. Early Exit to Sand Flats Road (5.6 mi)
This trail intersection takes you back out onto Sand Flats Road if you want an early bail-out point. For the brave…..stay right.
15. Hill Climb/Elbow Right (5.7 mi)
This hill climb is long and steep, with an elbow turn to the right. It looks more challenging than it really is. Stay on the tracks that have been made on the rock and hang on. Again slow and steady on the gas.
16. Scenic Overlook (5.7 mi)
This Waypoint was put in for its beauty in all directions—another excellent place for pictures of the area.
17. Hill Climb with Shelves on Top (5.8 mi)
This hill climb seems tough but no worse than what you've already accomplished. Keep gentle and even pressure on the gas and let the tires and gearing work for you.
18. Brontosaurus Rock (6.6 mi)
Brontosaurus Rock is a rock formation that looks like a dinosaur; it is very interesting, to say the least. There are other beautiful gully pics, and the possibility to explore on foot is always there.
19. Optional Hill Climb (6.9 mi)
This hill climb has a slight ledge. The trick to this is to keep momentum, so your back wheels bump up and over in a smooth fashion. If your back tires get caught on the ledge and do not go over, your fronts will pull you to the left or right: which is what you do not want to happen. Just back down and try again with a little more even and steady momentum to get the rears up and over safely. The bypass is to the left if you don't want to chance it.
20. Steep Descent (7.3 mi)
This hill descent has about a 2-foot drop at the end. Just carefully let yourself down, and don't forget to be gentle to the back wheels as well.
21. Scenic Overlook (7.4 mi)
Another place for the spectacular views.
22. Scenic Descent (7.7 mi)
This is a long slow descent over several fins and makes a perfect picture if you are following others down this section.
23. Skinny Bridge (7.8 mi)
This section looks scary until you realize that the rock is not loose on either side of the bridge-looking formation. Just stay centered and go slow. If you are driving a vehicle with a wider stance, this might be a little tougher because your tires will go low on both sides of this narrow bridge. Please use a ground guide and be careful.
24. Kenny's Climb (8.2 mi)
This is the last steep climb on the trail and is known as Kenny's Climb. The bypass is straight ahead and loops around to the top of this climb. It looks a lot steeper than it is.
25. Fins and Things End (9.2 mi)
This is the end of the trail. Turn right back onto Sand Flats Road; It's just a few miles back to where you started.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Moab, Utah

From the middle of downtown Moab, go four blocks east to 400 East Street. Go south to Millcreek Drive and turn left. Go straight at the stop sign near the cemetery and follow Sand Flats Road 1.7 miles to the entrance booth of the Sand Flats Recreation Area. Stay on the Sand Flats Road for two more miles, and turn right into Campsite Cluster E. The trail starts to the right of campsite #6.

Camping

Designated
Camping is in designated sites only, and visitors must abide by all posted rules. Over 120 campsites, in 9 camp-grounds marked ‘A’ through ‘H’ and Juniper, are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please see the map on pages 8-9 for campsite locations. Campsites have picnic tables, metal fire rings, and nearby vault toilets. Unless noted, campsites are limited to 10 people and two vehicles per site, and all vehicles must park in the parking areas provided. Campers will need to bring drinking water. Checkout time is 11 a.m. GROUP CAMPSITES SFRA has two group campsites that can be reserved. The maximum number of occupants in a group campsite is 20. To make a reservation, call 435.259.2444. Groups of more than 20 people cannot be accommodated in Sand Flats and should contact the BLM to reserve a group campsite along the Colorado River. Call the BLM at 435.259.2100 for reservations or visit their website. www.blm.gov/ut/en/fo/moab/recreation/campgrounds/group_campgrounds.html
Camping: Fins and Things

Trail Reviews (73)

Questions & Answers (4)

Q: The fee page says the Federal America the Beautiful pass is accepted, can you confirm?
–Fritz (05/26/2022)
Q: It says a permit is required, but when i try go to the link - the website comes up but there's nothing that asks about paying for a permit for the day to do this trail. when i call the office there, it goes to a prompt and when i hit zero to talk with a customer service rep, it transfers to a disconnected line. Is a permit actually required for this trail?
–David (09/03/2021)
A: Hi David, You will pay a $5 per vehicle fee when entering the area for day use, $15 for camping/night. The entrance shack is usually manned, sometimes in off-hours, it is not. In the event no one is manning the entrance gate, you can pay via leaving the cash in an envelope. So bring cash just in case!
–Todd (09/03/2021)
Q: I've seen conflicting opinions but is Fins doable in a stock suspension 2020 Tacoma? Bed rack, RTT and gear in bed (aprox weight 250-300 ls total). Protection = Front skid plat and rock sliders. Going to Moab in Nov.
–BRITT ALLEN (10/29/2020)
A: If you look through the various trip reports above, you will see a ton of different vehicles that run Fins. It's pretty much the easiest slick rock trail out there. It gives you a great taste of what to expect for Hells Revenge. You might drag the rear on a few of the steep obstacles but I think you'd be totally fine.
–Ryan Boudreau (10/30/2020)
Q: FYI....The permit information link above isn't working..
–Neal A. Tew (10/03/2018)
A: Thanks! Its a fee to enter the area. You can find information here: https://www.grandcountyutah.net/296/Fees
–Todd (10/16/2018)

Writer Information

Tim Palmer

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Tim lives and works in Northern Colorado. He has owned and driven 4X4 vehicles his entire adult life including Jeeps, pick ups, ATVs and UTVs. After high school, Tim's first 4X4 was a 47 Willy's CJ-2A with a flat 4 and a 6-volt electrical system. Typically wheeling in Northern Colorado or Southern Wyoming, Tim loves being in the mountains and the back country. Because of a desire to enjoy and promote responsible off-roading and to keep it available for the future, he belongs to a local 4X4 off-road club. Being part of the Trailsoffroad.com community furthers that goal as well. A love for off-road adventures, camping, fishing, and hunting keeps Tim away from pavement and always exploring. While his wife likes the comfort of a Jeep Grand Cherokee, Tim prefers the ruggedness of the Jeep Wrangler. Although most off-road time is spent in Colorado and Wyoming, an occasional trip to the Moab area is common. Tim will spend the summer going topless and enjoying the value of the great outdoors. Amateur Radio Technician license call sign: ke0npg
For individual use only, not to be shared.