June 12, 2024
White Rim Road - Depositphotos 47562577 750

Depositphotos 47562577 750

The White Rim Road is a stunning route through Canyonlands National Park that offers cyclists, campers, and 4x4 drivers an amazing opportunity to experience the area. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about this popular destination, from the main features to the different sections and routes.

White Rim Road – The Complete Guide to Camping, Hiking, and 4x4ing in Canyonlands

Canyonlands National Park is one of the most popular national parks in Utah. And for good reason: it has something for everyone. Whether you’re into camping, biking, or 4x4ing, Canyonlands has it all.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to make the most of your trip to White Rim Road in Canyonlands National Park.

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What is White Rim Road?

The White Rim Road, (also known as White Rim Trail,) is a scenic and difficult road through the White Rim benchlands near the Colorado and Green River in Canyonlands National Park. The road is approximately 100 miles long and has many twists and turns. It is considered a challenging trail, but the views are spectacular.

  • The best time to go is in the spring or fall when the weather is cooler. Summer can be extremely hot, making the road even more challenging.
  • To have the best experience hiking or camping it is best to do the loop in a counter-clockwise direction.
  • The trail can be done as a multi-day camping trip or as a day ride, but most people choose to do it as an overnight camping trip.
  • Weather extremes are common on the trail-bring clothing and gear for both hot and cold weather.
  • Campgrounds are spaced every few miles.
  • There are toilets at each campground, and packing your “emergency” toilet is expected.
  • Weather conditions can be unpredictable and very dangerous.
  • Due to the difficulty and length of the road, a support vehicle for carrying food, water, camping gear, and bike parts etc. is suggested.
  • Pets are not allowed on the trail.
  • All visitors must have a permit to enter White Rim Road. Permits can be obtained from the Canyonlands National Park website (www.nps.gov).
Wikipedia Map of Canyonlands National Park with White Rim Road marked red
(Wikipedia)

What Can You Do on the White Rim Road?

1. Off-roading 4×4

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You can drive the White Rim Trail as a complete loop. There are sections of the road that are paved, and other sections are dirt roads. You must have a 4×4 vehicle and high clearance to drive the White Rim Road. You must also have a permit to drive the White Rim Road, and you will need to pay an entrance fee. Motorbikes are allowed on the White Rim Road, but ATVs, UTVs, and OHVs are not permitted.

The Open Road is Calling by Pierce Martin is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
The Open Road is Calling by Pierce Martin is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

2. Cycling

The White Rim Trail is a popular cycling route in Canyonlands National Park. The road is approximately 100 miles long and takes about 3-4 days to complete. The route is mostly downhill, but there are some sections that are quite steep. (The trail has four big hills with a total elevation gain of 1000 feet.) It is recommended that cyclists ride the road in a clockwise direction to take advantage of the downhill riding.

  • Cyclists should be aware of other vehicles on the road and be prepared to pull over if necessary. It is also recommended that cyclists have a support vehicle to carry supplies, as there are no services available along the route.
  • Biking is allowed on all paved sections of the road. Bikes are not allowed on dirt roads or on any trail except for The Grand View Point Trail.
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2. Hiking

Hiking White Rim Road is an amazing experience that allows you to see the stunning landscape of the American West. There are a variety of activities you can do while hiking, such as exploring cairns and ancient ruins, photographing the natural beauty, and taking in the amazing views.

There are many hiking trails available on the White Rim Road. Some of these trails include: The Syncline Loop Trail, The Mesa Arch Trail, The Upheaval Dome Trail, and The Grand View Point Trail.

For more information see: Island in the Sky District Trails and Roads

Camp by exquisitur is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Camp by exquisitur is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

3. Camping

There are 20 backcountry sites in total that you can camp at, however, you must obtain a permit and pay the $30 fee first.

Some good campsites to consider are near Potato Bottom or Murphy Hogback and White Crack campgrounds.

If you’re planning on camping along the White Rim Trail, make sure to bring a roomy tent, a plush sleeping pad for extra comfort, and a warm sleeping bag since it gets cold at night.

4. Fishing

Fishing is a great way to spend a day with family and friends. There are many different types of fishing you can do in White Rim Road, including fly fishing, bait-casting, and spinning. Fishing permits and regulations vary depending on where you are fishing, so be sure to check with the local authorities before heading out.

Visitors who fish in the park must have a valid Utah State Fishing License and must comply with Utah State Fishing Regulations.

What are the guidelines in camping, hiking, and 4x4ing in White Rim Road?

Step 1: Choose your location

The White Rim Road is a beautiful drive that should not be missed. It can be driven in either direction, but it is best to go counter-clockwise, starting from the Shafer Trail Road. There are many great camping, hiking, and 4x4ing opportunities along the way.

Step 2: Get to know the area

When visiting White Rim Road, be sure to be prepared for a self-reliant experience. Hiking, camping, and 4x4ing are all great activities to enjoy in the area.

The Gooseberry 2-site campground is a popular spot for tourists because of the beautiful sunsets. It’s about a 3 minute walk to get to the edge of the canyon where the sunrise can be seen. The distance from the visitor’s center is 30 miles.

When camping, hiking, or 4x4ing in White Rim Trail, it is important to be prepared for the journey. The trail is long and challenging, and it is your responsibility to stay safe. Carry your own supplies and be self-reliant.

Step 3: Choose your dates

Guidelines for Camping, Hiking, and 4x4ing in White Rim Road:

  • Permits must be obtained in advance from recreation.gov.
  • The White Rim Road is open to vehicles from April 1 to November 30. Annual closures typically occur from December 1 to March 31.
  • All vehicles must be equipped with high clearance and good tires.
  • Visitors should always have a map and compass with them while hiking, camping, and 4x4ing in White Rim Road.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings at all times, and be prepared for any weather conditions that may occur while in the area.
  • Leave no trace – take only pictures, leave only footprints.

Step 4: Make a packing list

When camping, hiking, or 4x4ing in White Rim Road, it is important to bring along a cooler with ice, a camp stove, and pots and pans. Pre-prepare food at home to reduce packing needs on the trip. Make sure you have plenty of water, food, and gear when camping, hiking, or 4x4ing in White Rim Road. Pack your camping gear in a vacuum sealed bag and freeze it for when you go. Carry a 3L water reservoir with you to easily access drinking water throughout the day.

Step 5: Set up camp

  1. Obtain a backcountry permit if you plan to stay overnight.
  2. Choose a roomy tent that will comfortably fit all of your gear and camping companions.
  3. Make sure to bring a sleeping pad and bag, as well as a backcountry permit-these are essential for camping on the White Rim Trail.
  4. There are 20 different campsite areas along the trail, each with its own unique features-take some time to research which one would be best suited for your needs.
  5. Potato Bottom and Murphy Hogback campgrounds are two popular choices for car camping on the White Rim Trail – both offer stunning views and plenty of space to set up camp.
  6. Be sure to properly dispose of all garbage and waste in order to keep the area clean for other campers.
  7. Campfires are not allowed anywhere on the trail, so be sure to pack accordingly (i.e., bring a portable stove for cooking).

Step 6: Enjoy the outdoors

When you are on the trail, take your time and enjoy the scenery. Be sure to stay on marked trails and don’t take any shortcuts. Remember that 4x4ing can be dangerous if you are not experienced. If you are driving, always follow the rules of the road and yield to other vehicles.

Campers should also bring plenty of food and water, as well as a first-aid kit in case of emergencies. By following these tips, you can ensure that your trip will be safe and enjoyable.

Step 7: Be prepared for weather changes

Be prepared for weather changes while hiking or camping in White Rim Road by bringing appropriate gear, including a sturdy bike. Always check the weather before heading out, and be prepared for mud, rockfall, and wash crossings. When hiking or camping in White Rim Road, be prepared for unpredictable weather changes that can make the road impassable.

Step 8: Be prepared for emergencies

If you find yourself in an emergency situation while hiking, camping, or 4x4ing in White Rim Road, try to ration your supplies as much as possible. If you have a camp stove, use it to cook food and boil water.

If possible, signal for help by making noise or lighting a fire. Make sure you are visible from a distance so that rescuers can find you. Stay calm and wait for help to arrive.

Step 9: Leave no trace

When camping, hiking, and 4x4ing in White Rim Road, it is important to follow the Leave No Trace principles. Planning is key – make sure to consult the Leave No Trace website for more information. To protect the environment, be mindful of your camping and hiking habits when visiting White Rim Road. Be prepared for your trip by packing the right gear, and follow Leave No Trace guidelines when out in the wilderness.

  • Plan ahead and be prepared: Know the area you are visiting and research any potential hazards. Bring the appropriate gear for your activities, including a map and compass.
  • Pack out what you pack in: This includes all trash, food scraps, and used toilet paper. Carry a bag or container to store your trash until you can dispose of it properly.
  • Leave what you find: Don’t disturb wildlife or cultural artifacts. Take only photos and leave only footprints.
  • Be considerate of other visitors: Respect other people’s property rights, quiet hours, and claims to solitude.

More info: Leave No Trace

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FAQs

Q: What is the White Rim Road?

A: The White Rim Road is a 100 mile drive through Canyonlands National Park that offers an experience of a lifetime. The drive has narrow cliff edges, scenic overlooks, and breathtaking views. There are many hikes and campsites along the way, perfect for enjoying nature. Traveling the White Rim Road gives a new appreciation for the park and its beauty.

Q: Why is it called the White Rim Road?

A: The trail gets its name from the layer of white sandstone on which it sits.

Q: How was the White Rim Road first created?

A: The White Rim Road was first created for mining uranium, but it wasn’t successful, so the mines were abandoned.

Q: What can I expect to see on the White Rim Road?

A: The drive has narrow cliff edges, scenic overlooks, and breathtaking views.

Q: How long does it take to complete the White Rim Road?

A: It depends on how many stops you make along the way. The average time is 3-4 days.

It is possible to drive the full loop in one day, but it is a big day. If you want to drive the White Rim Road in one day, start by driving a portion of it and seeing how you feel. Driving the White Rim Road in one day is an amazing experience and should not be underestimated.

Q: What kind of vehicle do I need to complete the White Rim Road?

A: A 4×4 vehicle is required to complete the White Rim Road.

Q: Are there any permits or regulations I need to be aware of before completing the White Rim Road?

A: Yes, all visitors must obtain a permit from the Canyonlands National Park office before beginning their journey on the White Rim Road. More info on the Canyonlands National Park Regulations page here.

Q: What is the best time of year to travel the White Rim Road?

A: The best time of year to travel the White Rim Road is in the spring or fall when temperatures are milder. Summer can be extremely hot, and winter can bring snow and ice which can make driving conditions treacherous.

Q: How long does it take to complete a trip around White Rim Road?

A: It takes around 12 hours to complete a trip around White Rim Road.

  • You will need food, water, emergency supplies, and enough energy to complete the trip.
  • A 3-day minimum is recommended to really enjoy the journey.
  • Biking is possible on an overnight trip, but is tough and not for complete beginners.

Q: How long does it take to drive the entire length of the road?

A: It takes approximately 3-4 days to drive the entire length of road, depending on how many stops are made for hiking, camping, or other activities along the way.

Q: Where can I stay while traveling on the White Rim Road?

A: There are many campsites along the way, perfect for enjoying nature. Make sure you have the right gear. There are 10 campgrounds with a total of 20 campsites. Pets, fires, and generators are not allowed.

Q: What is the best time to drive the White Rim Road?

The best time to do the White Rim Road is in the spring or fall, when the roads are dry.

Q: What are some of the things you can do on the White Rim Road?

A: There are many hikes and campsites available on the White Rim Road, as well as stunning views. You can also drive short detours to explore more of the landscape.

Q: What are the list of things to do on White Rim Road?

  • The White Rim Road is long, so be sure to print and carry maps for offline use.
  • You must print and sign your permit before heading out, and remember to bring it with you at all times.
  • Mice are common on the White Rim Road and can be a nuisance. It is a good idea to bring along food items that can be stored in hard-sided storage, and to bring along a neck gaiter or Buff.
  • The White Rim Road is a dusty road, so it is important to bring along supplies such as eye drops and nasal spray.
  • Google Maps drive times are highly inaccurate, so you will need to print and carry maps for offline use.
  • Finally, keep in mind that it can take longer than you think to travel the White Rim Road. Be sure to plan accordingly by bringing plenty of water and food with you, and be prepared for a long day.
White Rim Road Island in the Sky by Canyonlands NPS is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.
White Rim Road Island in the Sky by Canyonlands NPS is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking for an adventure on two wheels or four, the White Rim Road is the perfect place to explore. With this guide in hand, you’ll be able to make the most of your time in Canyonlands and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Happy Trails,

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WHITE RIM TRAIL: The big CRASH! Travel the whole 100 MILE loop in one day by 4×4 Jeep and motorcycle

Watch on YouTube | Channel: Got2Go

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White Rim Road
32556; -109.91417 The White Rim Road is a 71.2-mile-long (114.6 km) unpaved four-wheel drive road that traverses the top of the White Rim Sandstone formation

Canyonlands National Park
traveling the rugged, remote trails within the Park. The White Rim Road traverses the White Rim Sandstone level of the park between the rivers and the Island

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