Four-wheelers headed across the slickrock during last year's Red Rock 4-Wheelers Labor Day Campout and Safari. [Photo courtesy of David Adams]

Four-wheel drive aficionados from across the United States and Canada travel to Moab in September to attend the annual Labor Day Campout and Safari, sponsored by the local Red Rock 4-Wheelers club.

From Saturday, Sept. 5, to Monday, Sept. 7, a variety of four-wheel-drive vehicles will spend the three-day weekend cruising up a variety of trails each day.

“We cover four trails on Saturday, four trails on Sunday and three trails on Monday,” Red Rock 4-Wheelers vice-president Mike Kelso said. “All of our trails are rated one to 10, from easy to hard,” to accommodate all levels of drivers.

During the club’s larger Easter jeep safari event, drivers come from Belgium, Australia, Spain, England, Canada and Lichtenstein, according to Red Rock 4-Wheelers club information officer Ron Brewer. The Easter Jeep Safari is the biggest four-wheel-drive event in the United States, he said.

Some out-of-towners, however, come specifically for the fall event because it is a smaller gathering, Kelso said. The Labor Day campout and safari draws roughly 250 participants, compared to the springtime jeep ride that brings in thousands of four-wheelers, he said.

“The Labor Day event is an easy way to come out –especially if it’s your first time,” he said. “You get to know people better. It’s calmer; an easier pace. We have people who come from back East. They make this a regular trip because of the slower pace and more family atmosphere.”

The four-wheeler club rents the Moab Rim Campark, 1900 S. U.S. Highway 191, where campers are based for the weekend. A non-hookup campsite comes with the registration fee; for a discounted fee, campers can acquire a hook-up site. All sites are first-come, first-serve, so participants should get there early, Brewer said. About 120 vehicles have signed up so far.

Drivers will see a mix of terrain, including slickrock, piñon pines, red rock canyons and the Abajo Mountains, said Kelso, who will lead one of the trails on Sunday.

The $150 fee includes two breakfasts and a dinner, plus three days of guided trail driving. Each trail is limited to 25 vehicles. Breakfast includes pancakes, bacon, eggs and hash-brown potatoes, Kelso said. One of the club members is donating dinner. Participants are responsible for bringing their own food and water for the hours spent driving on the trails.

All participants receive a raffle ticket for the Saturday night drawing for an array of jeep-related accessories such as lighting kits or bumpers.

Each 25-vehicle group has a leader and a “tail gunner” – a person familiar with the trail who serves as a helper who “keeps everything going from the tail end,” Brewer said. If anyone breaks down, it is up to the tail gunner to get the party out.

It’s common to see families with kids turn out for this event, Brewer said.

“The kids just have a ball,” he said.

Neither motorcycles nor all-terrain-vehicles are allowed at this event.

Locally, club membership is around 100; while worldwide, membership hovers around 1,000, said Brewer, who has been a member along with his wife Linda since 1985.

Labor Day Campout and Safari returns this weekend

“The Labor Day event is an easy way to come out –especially if it’s your first time … You get to know people better. It’s calmer; an easier pace.”

When: Saturday, Sept. 5, through Monday, Sept. 7

Where: Meet at Moab Rim Camp Park, 1900 S. Hwy 191

Cost: $150

For more information, or to sign up for the weekend event, go to www.rr4w.com.