“An amazing adventure in Canyonlands high on a plateau between the Green and Colorado Rivers.”
— Leslie Kehmeier
The White Rim is a popular long-distance bike route in Canyonlands National Park. The route circumnavigates the Island Mesa high above the Colorado and Green Rivers.
The route is best done in 3-5 days with vehicle support, overnighting at designated campgrounds along the way. A 4WD vehicle is required to drive the route
The ride can be done in either direction. Each side of the rim has a long and steep descent - you'll get to climb one of them at the end of the route.
Need to Know
A permit is required for overnight stays along the White Rim: http://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/backcountrypermits.htm
The White Rim is very remote and doesn't have any services other than what's available at the Island in the Sky Visitor Center or in Moab. Be prepared with food, water, fuel and any other gear needed for multiple days in the backcountry.
Campgrounds along the route are designated but primitive. Pit toilets are available.
White Rim Route described in a clockwise direction with campground mileages.
Shafer (mile 7)
You'll descend Shafer, a section of road that is tucked into the sandstone cliffs of Canyonlands. Its steep and exciting and quickly transports you from the top to the White Rim. Bear right at an intersection that takes you to Potash Road.
From here to the turn off to White Crack, the eastern side of the rim provides good views of Deadhorse Point State Park and endless views of canyon country.
Airport (mile 19)
Two highlights along the way are Gooseneck Overlook and Musselman Arch.
Gooseberry (mile 30)
Washer Woman Tower is a highlight. It will be on the right as you're pedaling towards Gooseberry. It's actually a series of three large sandstone spires.
White Crack (mile 39)
The route from Gooseberry to here is uphill but not too strenuous. Turn off from the main White Rim route to access White Crack campground, a favorite for many. The intersection is the transition from the Colorado River to Green River side of Canyonlands National Park.
Murphy Hogback (mile 45)
From White Crack the route is rolling until right before Murphy Hogback. Expect a very steep, grinding climb to the top of the pass. There are great campsites to be had right on the rim.
Candlestick (mile 55)
It's generally downhill and easier pedaling to Candlestick, an open campsite below a prominent spire. The spot is also close to the rim with great views of the Green River below.
Potato Bottom (mile 66)
The White Rim continues it's downhill trend to Potato Bottom. You'll pass a few vertigo-inducing views along the way. As you approach river level you'll notice a few more bits of vegetation.
Hardscrabble Bottom (mile 66)
It's a short distance between Potato Bottom and Hardscrabble with a big loose, technical climb in between. This is where it's obvious that a 4WD drive support vehicle is necessary. The campsite is tucked to your left on the river side once you reach the bottom.
Labybrinth (mile 72)
At the intersection with the road to Taylor campground. Not always a great place to stop for the night when trying to space out campsites equally.
Taylor (mile 77)
Off the main White Rim route. At the intersection with Labyrinth take a right and head inward to find the campground. Access to the Zeus and Moses formation.
Beyond Labyrinth, the White Rim transitions to Mineral Road (aka Horsethief) which winds and climbs back to the Island in the Sky Visitor's Center.