The White Rim Trail is Canyonlands National Park is a 100 mile back country 4×4 trail that follows an strata of white lime stone along the edge of Island in the Sky mesa Located in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. Back country permits are required for this trail, and although it can easily be taken in one day, the wise traveler takes their time and runs the route in several days and nights. There are several camp grounds offering star gazing opportunities, and the grand vistas and long light in the early morning and late afternoon will inspire the Ansel Adams within you.
The trailhead is reached by leaving the Islands in the Sky Mesa, using the steep and twisty Shafer Trail. The Shafer Trail is a back county route that takes you back to Moab, UT and a fun way out at the end of your trip. The Shafer trail drops quickly and about 700 feet using 6 switch backs. The Shafer Trail and White Rim Trail are well maintained and not very narrow, but the elevation and views give the feeling the route is dangerous.
Once down on the bottom, the well marked Shafer Trail continues on, while the White Rim Trail branches right and to the south. All along the backcountry dirt road there are numerous spur trails, vistas, and points of interest give you much to explore including Lathrop Canyon, Musselman Arch, Washer Woman Arch and the Monster Tower. The entire route is easy to follow, well maintained, well traveled and pure joy to run.
The trail winds along a layer of erroded light colored sandstone called the White Rim which undulates around several smaller side canyons which lead down the the Colorado River.
There are several small primitive campsites throughout the route.
- Shafer – Mile 7 – 1 site
- Airport – Mile 19 – 4 sites
- Gooseberry – Mile 30 – 2 sites
- White Crack – Mile 39 – 1 site
- Murphy Hogback – Mile 45 – 3 sites
- Candlestick – Mile 55 – 1 sites
- Potato Bottom – Mile 66 – 3 sites
- Hardscrabble Bottom – Mile 70 – 2 sites
- Labyrinth – Mile 72 – 2 sites
- Taylor – Mile 77 – 1 site