White Rim Road

Moab, Utah

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1 Review
5 out of 5
Before driving this road you should be sure to spend some time at the overlook points on the Island in the Sky Mesa south of the visitor center. The thread of the White Rim Road can clearly be seen from all of these vantage points, as it winds its way across the White Rim Plateau 1,200 feet below the mesa. The views are extremely impressive, and few observers will not feel a pang of excitement at the prospect of following the road through the canyon below. The views are particularly striking from the Grandview and White Rim Overlooks at the south end of the Grandview Point, where the White Rim Road skirts around Monument Basin and Gooseberry Canyon above the western side of the Colorado River. The White Rim Road and the White Rim Plateau were both named after a thin but very hard layer of White Rim Sandstone that was deposited some 225 million years ago at the top of a geologic layer called the Cutler Formation. Millions of years later new layers of shale, mudstone, and sandstone were deposited over the White Rim Sandstone; then, after the Green and Colorado Rivers were formed, these softer overlying layers began to erode away.
Canyonlands National Park: Favorite Jeep Roads & Hiking Trails

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Canyonlands National Park: Favorite Jeep Roads & Hiking Trails

by David Day (Rincon Publishing)

Before driving this road you should be sure to spend some time at the overlook points on the Island in the Sky Mesa south of the visitor center. The thread of the White Rim Road can clearly be seen from all of these vantage points, as it winds its way across the White Rim Plateau 1,200 feet below the mesa. The views are extremely impressive, and few observers will not feel a pang of excitement at the prospect of following the road through the canyon below.

The views are particularly striking from the Grandview and White Rim Overlooks at the south end of the Grandview Point, where the White Rim Road skirts around Monument Basin and Gooseberry Canyon above the western side of the Colorado River. The White Rim Road and the White Rim Plateau were both named after a thin but very hard layer of White Rim Sandstone that was deposited some 225 million years ago at the top of a geologic layer called the Cutler Formation. Millions of years later new layers of shale, mudstone, and sandstone were deposited over the White Rim Sandstone; then, after the Green and Colorado Rivers were formed, these softer overlying layers began to erode away.

©  David Day/Rincon Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Off-Highway Drives
Nearby City: Moab
Distance: 111.8
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Difficulty: Difficult
Duration: 3-day jeep ride
Season: Year-round, best spring and fall
Local Contacts: Canyonlands National Park
Local Maps: USGS Musselman Arch, Monument Basin, Turks Head, Upheaval Dome, Horsethief Canyon, Bowknot Bend, Mineral Canyon, The Knoll
Driving Directions: Directions to White Rim Road

Recent Trail Reviews

9/11/2012
1

My family and me took this wonderful trail down into the canyon where we were able to get a true sense of scale for the surrounding landscape. Standing on the top of the rim looking down more than 1000ft. is awe inspiring especially when you know you will be down there with only the provisions you bring along. Our family of four boys along with my wife booked a campsite about half way long the trail and gathered provisions prior to ever entering this wonderful 100 mile adventure. The only comforts of life are the pit toilets along the way which are located near the campsites. There is no water along the trail so bring enough for the trip. We did the trail in two days, if I were to do it again I would plan on doing the trial in three days with taking more time for side hikes and picture taking. Our Ford Excursion fit well on most parts of the trail, however there were a couple of switchbacks where I needed to do a three point turn. A standard 4wd SUV with low range is sufficient for this trail. Prior to our departure we inquired about the condition of the trail as there was unusual rain that occurred prior to our arrival and a portion of the trial was closed due to it being washed out. The trail was repaired and perfect for our adventure. Once in the canyon the landscape becomes larger than life. There are times when the landscape becomes mundane especially when you average 8 miles per hour. We saw several mountain bike groups along the way which would also be a great way to see the geography. Most of them had support vehicles making for a great vacation with friends and family who love the outdoors. if you are plan to take on this adventure make sure you purchase any one of several books about the trail as this will give you history and side hike ideas.



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