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Easter Jeep Safari: Worth It?

Whenever I talk to someone from the Midwest or East Coast who finds out I have been to EJS or Easter Jeep Safari; they ask me if it is worth it. In simple layman’s terms, yes, but the actual answer really isn’t that simple. 

Wheeling with friends during the 50th Anniversary of EJS in 2016

Let’s explore why this answer is more complex than a simple yes. If you don’t know, EJS was started by the Moab Chamber of Commerce in 1967, and the very first run trail organized was the Behind the Rocks Trail, at least according to the club president it says. Currently, the Red Rock 4 Wheelers runs and organizes the EJS festivities over the entire nine days. Near the end of the event, most of the vendors gather to showcase their products to all the participants. 

End of Pritchett Canyon from EJS 2022

My history started around the mid-2000s. When my family moved back to Colorado in the late 90s, my dad bought a Jeep. This was my first time being introduced to the Jeep world, and I was hooked. At first, it was all about mountain roads and camping. But a buddy of mine bought a TJ and built it with long arms and these huge 35-inch tires, showing me the world of rock crawling. 

Checking out that mad flex from 2016

I can’t remember ever going to EJS until 2010. But almost every spring break, when kids go to beaches, I come home, and we take the Jeeps to Moab to go Jeeping. By the spring of 2005, my dad had bought what is now my LJ, and we took both the 95 YJ and the 05 LJ to Moab for some fun. We were always a week or two early for EJS, but we could see that the town was gearing up as both people and rigs were starting to show up. 

Had to update the flex from the MetalCloak CTI trailer in 2022

Finally, in 2010, I met some friends in Moab and joined them for EJS. This was the first time I saw what all the fun was about. My friends had a camper and had been camping out behind the rocks on the main road and knew all the back roads and how to get around. Each morning, we would go to different trail locations, set up camp at major obstacles, and watch as the main EJS Jeep groups would come through. This also helped me learn how to get around the trails in Moab without the book, which has come in handy later in life. 

One of the Jeep Concept vehicles.

I had so much fun in 2010, and I went back the following year with my buddy Chase and some other friends. I’ve been scrolling through his Facebook and mine, trying to remember which trails we ran and whether we went to Potato Salad Hill or what we did. That was some time ago, and we are getting old. Some things have been forgotten over the years.

Always great seeing friends I’ve met on the Unlimited LJ Adventure

It had been some years since I had gone in 2011, but I wanted to return for the 50th anniversary of the Easter Jeep Safari in 2017; by then, I was living in Oklahoma and had made a friend here who had had a couple of Jeeps over the years. We loaded up my Jeep, and I knew of at least one or two people going to be there, and off we went. This was the first time I met people from the industry. People who work for off-road companies or companies that offer products to the off-road world in some capacity. 

REVKIT Moab Rim EJS 2023 Run

The next opportunity I had was in 2022 and was by far the most unique one yet. By this time, I had started working with companies like Yukon Gear & Axle, Teraflex, Gearhead Coffee, WARN, and Driven Racing Oil, to name a few. I was going on behalf of Gearhead Coffee, working alongside the Jessi Combs Foundation and WARN Industries. It was an experience I will never forget. 

Hells Revenge can get busy during EJS

But here’s the thing. A lot of people do not get that type of experience. Most people who attend EJS do so by signing up via the Red Rock 4 Wheelers website and choosing which trails they want to run and on which days. It can fill up quickly, so you better stay on top of it and know when they open up if you want to reserve your favorite trail. 

Friends pose after a long day of wheeling

Now, we need to get into the nitty and gritty, and why not go? You have heard a little bit of my experiences from the times I have gone, but should you go? Do you like crowds? Don’t go. Plain and simple. It’s crowded. It has maybe gotten a little less since the pandemic, but not really. Every year, EJS has grown, and when the 4-door Jeep was introduced in 2007, sales exploded, and so did the popularity of the event. Yes, it was always busy, but it got really busy after that. I love my beloved LJ, but Jeep sold more 4-door JKs in the first year than they did in 3 years of the LJ. When you walk through the vendor show to talk to your favorite company, sometimes you have to wait forever in line to be able to talk to them. In recent years, some companies have been skipping EJS and not having a booth at the vendor show. So unless you find them out on the trail, you can’t see what they might be debuting that year. Also, the cost. Hotels are double-triple what you might see somewhere else, and Airbnb and VRBO prices are outrageous just because they can.

2023 Jeep EJS Concept Vehicles

So why should you go if it’s so bad? The experience. There is nothing like it. There are some great events all around the country now, and they all have their own twist on things, but nothing is quite like EJS. Nothing has the history, the aura, the wanting to always go back, no matter what time you got back from completing Pritchett Canyon in the dark because your fan relay decided to die on the bumpy easy part after finishing the hard part in under three hours. Even when you don’t move for an hour, the people you meet while talking can be people who become lifelong friends. There is nothing like the off-road community, whether it’s Jeeps, Broncos, or those pesky SXS. Even with crowds and long waits on the trails, I always want to go to the Easter Jeep Safari. Time will tell if I make it to every Easter Jeep Safari, as my Jeep likes to break down over the winter. I couldn’t make it for 2024, but I’ve talked to many friends and a few who went for the first time. It sounds like it was a great time and for the ones that went for the first time, they are now hooked and planning on going next year. 

The friends you make will last a lifetime

Be sure and check out Jeremy Dupper's build:Build image