Peak(s):  White Rim Trail - 5,000 feet
Date Posted:  03/31/2014
Date Climbed:   03/26/2014
Author:  rijaca
 White Rim Trail- Canyonlands National Park  

White Rim Trail (Canyonlands National Park, UT)
March 26-29, 2014
Mileage: White Rim Trail in Canyonlands(85 miles), adding the Mineral Bottom Rd/UT 313 to complete the loop (100 miles)
Elevation Gain/Loss: 6000’ (est., based on something I read somewhere on the interweb)
Mode of transportation: Mountain Bikes.

The White Rim trail is a ‘jeep’ road that loops around the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park. It is considered a test piece for the ultra set of mountain bikers that are strong, fast, and motivated to complete the loop in one day. Being slow, old, and wanting to maximize my time in the Park, we did the loop in four days/three nights.

Day 1 March 26 (30 miles): We’re doing the route clockwise, so the first thing is the 1000’ drop down the Shafer Trail to the White Rim. Image

A bit of riding and we get our first glimpse of the Colorado River: Image

A bit more riding and Musselman Arch: Image

The views while riding:Image

Washer Women and Monster Tower Image

Finally arriving at Gooseberry camp Image, anxious for a cold beverage (the last 10 miles have been while battling a strong head wind).

Day 2 March 27 (10 miles)
We’re off Image
Monument Basin Image
Someone in their happy place Image

Only 1.4 miles to go (3512). The White Crack campsite sits on the point of a mesa perched above the confluence of the Colorado/Green Rivers. Image
Throne with a view Image

Day 3 March 28 (30 miles)
Someone in a white pickup kept following us around, and we couldn’t shake him. Image
Day 3 included two hard (read unridable) hills, Murphy Hogback and Hardscrabble Hill.

The long and winding road. Image
Candlestick Tower Image
There were some fast descents Image Image
Finally we reach the Green River Image and our camp at Hardscrabble Image Image.

Day 4 March 29 (10/20 miles)
Last day of riding Image Image Image.
One last climb Image. 25 (1162)

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

So Jealous!
04/01/2014 04:12
Car support is definitely the way to do that ride.

Did you guys check out black crack? I hear that is more impressive than the white one.....What camp sites did you end up using?

We still need to ride green mountain one of these days!


04/01/2014 12:55
Did this trip last April in two nights. Beautiful, and I would do it again without hesitation. The views from the White Crack campground are surreal - you were lucky to score that site ! I can remember the deep sand around the Hardscrabble causing me to curse like a sailor. I was also in Moab mountain biking last week, same days as you.


04/02/2015 19:45
Not a mountain biker, but this makes me want to give it a shot at some point. What views! Thanks for posting.

Steve Knapp

Fun ride, incredible place
04/01/2014 18:15
Hi Ricky, glad you got to go do this again. Great pics. Who did you ride with? How were the temperatures? Looks kind of cool based on the long sleeves and coats you are wearing. Better than 100 degree heat though. Ah, great memories of my two White Rim rides years ago.


04/01/2014 19:29
I've wanted to do this for a long long time! This is awesome! Lots of sandy spots or was it mostly rideable? Did you go with less inflated tires?


04/02/2014 02:45
Guys/gals, thanks for nice comments!

NPS limits camping to 20 sites along the White Rim trail. They can be reserved 4 months in advance. We camped at Gooseberry, White Crack, and Hardscrabble. We felt blessed to have gotten White Crack. Where's Black Crack?

My darling daughter, her boyfriend, and Mr. F. Charming were my teammates for the trip. Mr. Charming graciously drove the SAG vehicle. Two other friends were to go, but one broke her leg two days before the trip. Daytime temps were in the 60s, in the 30s at night. If it weren't for the sustained 15-20mph headwinds on the first two days the temps would have been perfect.

Although a passenger car could do about 95% of the road, 4wd/high clearance vehicle is necessary for Murphy Hogback, Hardscrabble Hill, and a couple other small sections. I couldn't climb Murphy Hogback/Hardscrabble Hill. The only other unridable area was a 200 yard stretch of deep sand between Hardscrabble and the Mineral Bottom road where the road and a side wash were one and the same.

I've done the White Rim twice, now. I would repeat the trip in a heartbeat.


04/02/2014 04:38
wow that monument basin looks incredible. thanks for sharing!


White Rim Awesome!
04/07/2014 23:16
You Da Man Ricky! That is a fantastic ride, a 3 to 5 day trip is perfect way to see all the other attractions along the trail. Like Steve said, we did it twice together in a day and didn't have any time to do side trips. Besides my *** was killing me, and then climbing up Shafer Rim almost put me in the grave! Mineral Bottom climb wasn't as bad, but still hurt! You always seem to meet all kinds of interesting and helpful people along that road!

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