White Rim Trail (Utah)
The White Rim Trail is part of a 107-mile loop that completely circumnavigates the Island in the Sky plateau in Canyonlands National Park. Located about 45 miles northwest of Moab, the trail is bound to the east by the Colorado River and to the west by the Green River and ranges in elevation from a high of about 5,200 feet down to river level at about 4,000 feet. The trail, built by uranium prospectors after World War II, varies from relatively flat to very steep and from several hundred yards to only several feet wide. Don’t let the National Park Service’s “moderately difficult for high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles” off-road rating fool you: The White Rim Trail is not for the faint at heart.
Under favorable weather conditions it’s difficult, but during the rain or snow, the steep, exposed sections of the Shafer Trail, Lathrop Canyon Road, Murphy’s Hogback, Hardscrabble Hill, and the switchbacks in Mineral Bottom can become treacherous and require aggressive shifting. Largely because it is such difficult driving, many roadtrippers believe the Trail to be the most scenic four-wheel drive destination in the country. Scenic views don’t hurt.
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