White Rim Road

In the spring and fall permits for the White Rim Road sell out fast.  It’s no wonder why. The adventure on White Rim Road in the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands offers more than just off-roading.  Tack on canyon rim camping, mountain biking, and hiking over a minimum of 2 days and 1 night and you’ve got some wild fun.  $30 permits can be reserved up to 4 months in advance but thanks to the cold off season we acquired ours the afternoon before we began our first real off-roading adventure.

Because it was our first true off-roading experience, no words can describe what a freakin’ BLAST it was, albeit sometimes nerve-wrecking and stressful.  Now that we’ve driven it we cannot recommend doing it in a Toyota RAV4 even with a V6 and 4-wheel drive.  We’ve probably done more damage to the vehicle than we can see.  Next time we’re renting a Jeep.

The remainder of this post below will showcase mostly pictures from White Rim Road.  Unfortunately, the famous, windy Schafer Trail down to the rim from the national park was closed due to ice so we entered from Moab via Potash Road. Much of the road hugged cliffs and the canyon rim, including steep switchbacks on loose gravel with boulders to one side and steep drop offs to the other.

Just the beginning on Potash Road along the Colorado River:IMG_5888

Super close to the edge at Gooseneck Overlook!IMG_5892 20151122_101741

We made brief stops to see wonders such as Musselman Arch:20151122_102905

We were surrounded by breathtaking desert beauty the entire drive. IMG_5903 IMG_5905

Roads like these were exhausting.IMG_5924

But views like these made the effort worth it.IMG_5927 20151122_14090120151122_133255

Lunch break at Gooseberry.IMG_5933 IMG_5935


Our first day ended with a drive up this steep, bumpy road.IMG_5941

We set up camp at Murphy Hogback along the canyon rim.IMG_5943 IMG_5945

Even before the sun set, temperatures dropped tremendously.  Temps dropped to below freezing that night, so we spent most of the evening huddled in our sleeping bags.

Considering we were in our sleeping bags before 9pm, it was no surprise that we were up before sunrise.  The hot kettle was used for making hot beverages and warmth.IMG_5950

Sunrise in the distance.20151123_070428

After witnessing the canyon being flooded with sunlight, we broke down camp to drive the remainder of White Rim Road.20151123_072409-PANO

More awesome views and drop offs.IMG_596820151123_082135

Narrow roads between rock formations reminded me of a theme park ride.IMG_5971

Before getting off White Rim Road we made one final excursion by hiking the short 3-mile roundtrip trail to Fort Bottom Ruin.  The day before we were rewarded with views of the Colorado River; now we had views of the Green River.IMG_5976

Getting to Fort Bottom Ruin required a short stroll over an incredibly narrow mesa top.IMG_5982

Fort Bottom Ruin, a tower structure once home to ancestral Puebloan people.20151123_110446IMG_5978

Upon returning to the car after the hike to Fort Bottom Ruin, we finished off the last several miles of White Rim Road by driving on relatively easy dirt road along the Green River.IMG_5986

Nothing more could have topped off our 2-day/1-night excursion on White Rim Road other than an evening back with Scromp.  After spending the previous night shivering in our sleeping bags in below freezing temps, we fully appreciated the warmth and coziness of our trailer.  The gorgeous sunset that night was also icing on the cake.IMG_5991

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3 Responses to White Rim Road

  1. Clayton says:

    Wonderful shots giving us a feeling for the trip. Brave way to start off-roading.

  2. Dayl Brinkman says:

    We have been taking our RAV4 on more and more tails like this. I love the bumpy stuff and ledges, but wife, not as much. I am still looking forward to taking the RAV4 on White Rim Road…

    • Jean Nguyen says:

      LOL power to you! I hope your RAV4 is lifted with off-road tires. We won’t be taking our stock RAV4 on white rim road again. 😀

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