White Rim Road

White Rim Road, a 100-mile long dirt, gravel, and slickrock road

The White Rim Road is a one hundred mile long unimproved, off-road vehicle route through the White Rim bench lands below the upper plateau of the Island in the Sky District between the Colorado and Green Rivers, in the Canyonlands National Park, located in southeastern Utah near the town of Moab, USA.

Don’t forget your camera! The 100-mile White Rim Road loops around and below the Island mesa top and provides expansive views of the surrounding area.  Every inch of the way is surrounded with outstanding scenic beauty. Trips usually take two to three days by four-wheel-drive vehicle. All vehicles must remain on roads. The drive is ideal for adventurers in four-wheel vehicles or mountain bikes, with steep and exposed sections sitting alongside the mesa-like beauty.

How difficult is the White Rim Trail?

Portions of the road may be temporarily closed due to road work or inclement weather. Under favorable weather conditions, the White Rim Road is considered moderately difficult for high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles. The steep, exposed sections of the Shafer Trail, Lathrop Canyon Road, Murphy's Hogback, Hardscrabble Hill, and the Mineral Bottom switchbacks make the White Rim loop a challenging ride, and require extreme caution for both vehicles and bikes during periods of inclement weather. During high water conditions on the Green River, sections of road on the west side can flood, making a complete loop impossible. The trail is a moderately rough, but decently maintained 4WD jeep road.

Can you drive the White Rim Trail in one day?

The weather on this zone is harsh and highly unpredictable. The White Rim Road has long rocky streches, deep sand, and little shade. Bring at least 1 gallon of water per person, per day - more if you'll be active. Plan for a minimum of 10-12 hours of driving. This drive is best attempted in spring and fall. If you stop on the way, trips usually take two to three days by four-wheel-drive vehicle or three to four days by mountain bike. All vehicles and bikes must remain on roads. ATVs and non-street legal dirt bikes are not permitted. Pets are also not permitted, even in vehicles. 

The road is winding, in some places only wide enough for one vehicle, and in many places bordered on one side by cliffs and on the other side by a drop of hundreds of meters (many hundreds of feet) unprotected by guardrails. This multi-day back country epic is the perfect way to explore all that Canyonlands National Park has to offer. Highlights along the route include Musselman Arch, expansive overlooks of the Colorado River, Washer Woman Arch, Airport Butte, Soda Springs Basin, and views of the Green RiverThe road was built in the 1950s by the Atomic Energy Commission in search of uranium to fuel the Cold War arms race.

Details:

• Distance: Approximately 100 miles.
• Average Time of Drive: 2-3 days.
• Difficulty: Moderate
• Trail Type: Point to Point
• Trailhead: Access from either Mineral Bottom Road or Island in the Sky Visitor Center.

Pic: J Calvert