Canyonlands National Park

I’ve never seen as many Jeeps as in the small touristy town of Moab, Utah which serves both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. They are all seriously built up, making mine look more like a Honda Civic than a capable off road machine. In hindsight I should not have been surprised to learn that serious 4x4ing is encouraged inside Canyonlands.

I’m not much of a 4×4 enthusiast; I bought the Jeep as a vehicle to get me where I want to be, not so much to tear up the countryside driving it back and forward. That being said, I did some great hiking in Arches and it only seems fair to let Jeep have a run as well. I’m told to take the Shafer trail down 400 vertical meters (1,400 ft.) to the White Rim mesa, explore around for a while and follow the Potash Road out to Moab.

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The Shafer Trail winds down

I first head to the overlook to get a good idea of what I’m in for. No doubt about it, the trail goes down simple smile
The canyon is mighty big and impressive too.

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The scale of the canyon was ridiculous

The trail is a mix of red dirt, loose rock and occasionally flat rock slabs. Never was it an actual test for my Jeep, only how much bouncing and jarring could I tolerate. I slowly drive around the rim and begin the decent into the switchbacks. In first gear the Jeep rolls much too fast and after a little experimenting I find low range second gear to be the perfect gear. A pathfinder passes in the opposite direction, the only other people I would see all trail.

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On the Shafer Trail

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Did someone say it was steep?

Once on the canyon floor I make my way around the White Rim Road a little way to checkout the Colorado River. The short walk out to the lookout is well worth the effort, the mighty river another 200 meters (700 ft.) below.

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The mighty Colorado River

I slowly back-track along the rim and head out the Potash Road. I might have underestimated how long it was all going to take and find the light fading quickly. Before long I’m driving along in the pitch black, bouncing and jarring over unseen obstacles. I guess my way at every intersection and find my way to civilization on the first attempt.

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The lush green river seems so out of place

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The rock formations are amazing

It was an awesome afternoon, and Jeep and I sleep soundly.

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Jeep and Dan loving Canyonlands


9 Responses

  1. Rejeana in Alabama says:

    Great pictures. Be sure to watch out for deer crossing the road in front of you. My sister & her husband were stranded for 4 days in Utah when they hit one.

  2. “not so much to tear up the countryside driving it back and forward.”

    I think that’s a pretty unfair blanket comment. A good majority of the jeepers who enjoy moab and the surrounding area do so responsibly and try to refrain from “tearing up the countryside”. I respect the fact that you enjoy hiking the terrain rather than driving it, but there are some of us who prefer the latter and again, do so responsibly.

    • Dan says:

      Hey Jeeper – hmm, you’re right about that one & I apologize.
      I didn’t see a single bad Jeeper in Moab so it’s unfair to say that.

      • Andy says:

        Dan, I hope to be lucky enough to see MOAB one day with my Jeep. Tons of groups and organizations help to protect responsible Jeepers and their trails. You’d be surprised at how well organized we are :)

        • Dan says:

          Andy – I’m sure you are right, my comment was unfair

          • Andy says:

            Dan, no worries. I wish I were as ambitious as you. Don’t worry about being politically correct or pleasing people. This is YOUR website. People are here because they enjoy reading about your journey. Just be you! :)

            Happy Trails!!!

            • Dan says:

              Andy, I think I’m a little sensitive on the topic becuase I realize that driving 50,000kms solo in a not-so-fuel-efficient vehcile is not a very environmentally friendly thing to do. It’s something I still don’t feel at ease with about my journey & I know it will inspire me to do something different next time around.

  3. Dheep' says:

    We have been to Moab Many times. Up & down the Highway from Moab / Canyonlands & down over Mokie Dugway (spectacular ,but looks like a Superhighway compared to Yunga Road in Bolivia) into Arizona & Monument Valley. So many great places to see.
    Have been on many different Commercial Jeep trips. Always a Blast !
    You have a really nice Blog/Site

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