White Rim Trail

 30 votes
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Featured Ride

100.7 Miles 162.1 Kilometers



5,949' 1,813 m


-5,937' -1,810 m


6,183' 1,885 m


3,948' 1,203 m



Avg Grade (1°)


Max Grade (25°)

All Clear

14 days agoUpdate

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.


Rate Featured Ride


4.5 from 30 votes

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Apr 11, 2017
Mark Martindill
Mar 20, 2017
Cindi Hillemeyer
Mar 20, 2017
Evan J
Two nights of camping, with support vehicles. Amazing scenery! 100mi — 48h 00m
Mar 10, 2017
Dan C.
Feb 28, 2017
Marc-andré Perrault
Oct 22, 2016
Don Leinweber
One day. CCW from camp at top of Horsethief. Shafer was tough, but the end of the hard part with 20 or so easy, mostly downhill road miles to finish. 110mi — 13h 00m
Oct 14, 2016
luke demuth
Sweet one day ride! Clockwise from top of mineral. Everything rideable 102.5mi
Sep 16, 2016
Blake Gansborg

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 30 votes


  4.5 from 30 votes
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All Clear 14 days ago
Dry: Ideal conditions this past weekend. Lots of hard baked clay, mild-moderate sandiness, less loose gravel than I've seen before
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Camp at the bottom of Shafer (just outside the park boundary). Ride up Shafer at dawn. Getting the biggest climb out of the way first makes the one-day loop much "easier." Jan 4, 2017

I've done this in chronological order in both 3 days (clockwise) and 2 days (counterclockwise) with a crew of friends and a personal vehicle in support, as well as unsupported (counterclockwise) in ONE day. All are a great red rock canyons immersive experience and great fun! My first experience was my first real MTB trip to Moab and was excellent. 2 days is the way to go. One day? TOUGH! Mar 29, 2017

Amazing ride in Canyonlands NP. Not the most exciting in terms of biking - it is a dirt road, after all. But the views and solitude are ridiculous. Shafer Trail is a blast to ride up and down. Endless views and photo opportunities at every part of this trail. Apr 15, 2017

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