View Full Version : Canyonlands, again

10-24-2012, 10:59 AM
Going back to Moab for the second time this year, this time pulling the Montana. While there want to attempt the 100 mile 4 wheel drive road. Anyone with expierence on this or the other 4 wheel drive roads in the area??


Gary, Nancy and Molly....

10-24-2012, 12:42 PM
We drove the Potash road to Shafer trail earlier this year. We were staying at Dead Horse Point and went into Moab for some supplies and decided to take the scenic route back.

The Shafer Trail is really a pretty easy trail and doesn't require any technical 4 wheeling. It goes up the switchbacks from the river and comes up top not far from the Islands in the Sky Vis Center.

It's a beautiful drive, can be done in a few hours and has a mix of scenery.

Not sure of your 4x4 experience or tolerance for heights but since you are inquiring about these roads I'll guess that you're ok with heights.

The "100 mile road" you mention is - I assume - the white rim trail. That is a much longer drive and you can figure all day... and depending on road conditions - a very long day. If you are planning on staying at one of the CG's down the bottom it would make it an easier (and much more sensible) drive this time of year with shorter daylight. The White Rim I did about 7 years ago and the road was in rough shape then as it had been a rainy year. I understand the rains were heavy this Monsoon as well so you might want to check the conditions with NPS. If I remember it was about 10 hrs to do the whole thing, but I stayed overnight 2 days down in the canyon. It really would be brutal to do it all at once.

If you do the White Rim, be sure to take some emergency supplies such as food and water. There are usually people along the trail but its better to play it safe and be prepared.

There are also a bunch of great drives over in Arches NP too so if you haven't done them, something else to consider.

Last - theres a road out the backside of Horsethief BLM Campground - its on the road to Dead Horse before the turnoff - that is about 13 miles or so and goes down to a campground and boat launch right on the Green River. It is an easy drive and a nice day (picnic) type trip. I think it was called horsetheif trail or road.

Hope this helps some.

10-25-2012, 04:21 AM
so where are you staying while in Moab? You might hook up with others to go along with you, it happens all the time. Lots of off roading goin on here. Enjoy it all cause its all good.

10-25-2012, 07:13 AM
Will be staying at OK RV Park and leaving Ohio as soon as the proverbial check in the mail arrives.

We stay on the fairly easy drives and had heard to spend 2 days on the White Rim Trail. Have you been to where the movie 127 hours happened/was filmed?

Horse Thief BLM campground? Google earth can't seem to find it....

10-25-2012, 08:03 AM
If you look at google maps Horsethief Campground is about a mile north of where the road into Deadhorse Point SP road meets Ut 313. You pass Horsethief CG just a mile or so before the left turn to Dead Horse. It's a nice campground and cooler than Moab but it's dry camping.

The turnoff for the road down to the river is just past the campground. It is also the end of the white rim trail so if you are doing the whole trail you would go in or come out there.

I never did go to Blue John Canyon. I think it is a bit north of the park at the south end of the San Rafel Swell. We've hiked some slot canyons further South outside of the NP.

2 days is a good plan. That gives you some time to smell the roses... errr rocks....

Theres plenty of places where you have to go over some rocks or gullies where you need to go slow. Other places you can drive right along and if you are not paying attention you git a little gully or bump and hit the ceiling. You might want to check now and see what the reservation situation is at the campgrounds. You need reservations at all the backcountry campgrounds I believe and I'm not sure how busy it is this time of year. They can also tell you about the road conditions. There were some slides the year before last and the road was closed for a while.

Its a fantastic ride and you'll have the time of your life.

10-26-2012, 03:45 AM
guess we will see ya at the OK RV Park and go from there! Safe travels and look forward to meeting you.

10-26-2012, 06:43 AM

Looks like you might have some experience rock crawling. Should be there about Tuesday or Wednesday....save us a nice spot!

10-27-2012, 03:40 AM
Got a little! cya when ya get here. safe travels.

10-30-2012, 03:03 AM
Wow! Strong headwinds for 2 days. Will finally make Page, Az. today and will be there a couple days and then on to Moab...

10-30-2012, 03:32 AM
Where are you staying in Page? Wahweep?

Do the slot canyons if you have time.. Always good to do them at different times of day. Noon and later in the afternoon yield different colors.

10-31-2012, 03:52 AM
Page - Lake Powell RV Park on the hill. Slot Canyons tomorrow, today Zion for the third time and then a 40 mile "shortcut" I originally took in '77 in a new LTD. The Bryce park ranger said no problem, people drive to work on it everyday. It runs from Kodachrome State Park south to 89. Currently there are signs marked four wheel drive only....

10-31-2012, 04:11 AM
OK, I'm guessing that you are talking about Cottonwood Canyon Road.

Let me suggest that you talk to someone else about it. There is the BLM office in Tropic just north of Kodachrome Basin just off of UT12.

I was on Cottonwood Canyon Road this past June and there was no way you would get thru pulling a Monty. About 5 miles south of Kodachrome was a washed out partially flooded gully that I decided to not try in 4wd.

That soil along Cottonwood turns into a thick slippery impassable clay goo with just a modest rain. Even if that one gully that I mentioned was dry, there is no way my rig with its rear overhang would be able to go up the other side of the gully without the rear of the trailer getting buried. An that is still in the tame part of the road.

I've done most of the road from either end. I've boon docked up the road from the south, and I've rocked crawled all over the west most of my life. I'll pull my 5'ver a lot of crazy places. I wouldn't pull my 37' monty down that road without driving the whole thing first. FWIW JMHO

10-31-2012, 04:14 PM
Not sure what the name of the road is and from 89 could not recognize the southerly entrance, the only thing in the area I thought might have been it is now a paved subdivision entrance. We were going to enter from the north anyway.....

Did not mean to imply that I was hauling the 5er there, it was safely parked at the CG.

Zion was still overcrowded and we ended up getting out to late to try the 40 mile shortcut and opted to stay on the paved roads back to Page. Antelope Canyon in the morning....

11-01-2012, 10:49 AM
I believe you need a permit for the White Rim Trail.

11-02-2012, 03:46 AM
guess we will cya later today! safe travels.

11-02-2012, 01:27 PM
Made it to Moab safely and met Ron...

11-03-2012, 03:59 AM
and it was a pleasure to meet you and your wife, enjoy your visit! Hows the view???

11-04-2012, 01:58 AM
The view is excellent and Molly the hyper puppy has officially graduated to a mountain dog. She led us on a 4 mile canyon hike yesterday up Negro Bill Canyon. Why is the whole state of Utah not a National Park???

11-04-2012, 02:04 AM
How was the hike up Negro Bill Canyon?

We stopped last year while scouting out the BLM campgrounds along the river and contemplated taking the stroll but it was over 100 degrees.

I know what you say about all of Utah being a national park. From my trucker days I used to say if you don't like the scenery just wait 20 miles.... it'll change.

11-05-2012, 04:51 AM
The hike was very enjoyable for us, a few narrow high places where falling off the edge would "hurt", some up and down sections although nothing that stopped me with my copd. I did get on O2 when we got back. There are numerous stream crossings, high top water proof hiking boots are a must. In some areas there was sand covering rocks that made them hard to see but easy to twist your ankle on. A couple 4 to 5 foot high ledges to climb made it challenging. Two days later we are still sore but as my grandmother used to say, "We are no longer spring chickens". The lady at the info center in town recommended it for someone in our age group and physical condition, and she was not condescending either.
Every one we passed were a lot younger.
As you alternated from sun to shade the temp would change 10 to 15. It was in the low sixties and we went from sweating to chilled quickly, keeping moving helped. We plan on doing it again in a day or two.
We also went to Gemini Bridges. While you can drive in from 191 I don't recommend it. It is an easy 4 wheel drive trail but in a 2500 HD GMC all you did was bounce while barely moving over fist sized rocks. Not enjoyable and no 4 WD challenge either. Come in from the top off 313, a short drive and cars can easily do it. The bridges are spectaculer, you can walk across them, although don't go if you are afraid of heights.

11-05-2012, 05:41 AM
We'll have to give it a shot next time we are out. Probably this fall. This winter we are headed to the desert for a couple of months.

I see Molly is a Doodle too. Both of ours are Mini Australian Labradoodles. About 25 & 28 lbs. Don't you just hate when they get those cockleburs caught in their hair??

11-25-2012, 12:47 PM
Also highly recommend the Shafer Trail but recommend you start at the top (near Canyonlands) and work back down to near Moab. It's much easier that way. Plus, it's a single-lane road for much of it and I'd think it not as much fun to trying to pass while going uphill.

Also, within Arches NP, highly recommend Willow Flats Trail, a 4wd trail we did several times in our 4x4 2005 Ford. After you take it from one direction, turn around and go the reverse. It looks entirely different.

11-26-2012, 12:57 PM

We are storing our RV at OK RV Park in Moab for the winter. That way we can continue were we left off when we get back.

thanks for the tips!!

11-27-2012, 04:08 AM
and we await your arrival! all is good and RV is safe.

11-27-2012, 07:47 AM
Here's a couple of pictures of the Willow Flats Trail in Arches and a one of the top portion of Shafer Trail. Also the toughest part. You can see why I recommend starting at the top.

This is the toughest part of the Willow Flats Trail in Arches. It is not as tough as it looks. We did it with a pure stock 2005 Ford F250 4x4.

This is the top part of Shafer Trail. It starts near the entrance to Canyonlands and ends on the road following the Colorado river west out of Moab. Yep, that's the trail zigzagging down the mountainside.

Last is a shot of one of the hairpin curves on the Shafer Trail. This is by FAR the worst of the trail, at least the day we drove it. It's not difficult, just slow. Don't let this picture scare you off. This was taken April, 2006, I believe. I know it was early April.

02-06-2013, 12:16 PM
Looking forward to heading back to Moab around the first of March. Am so ansy now I am trying to figure out a way to not work and just leave now.....

02-07-2013, 03:24 AM
cya soon! safe travels and all remains OK!

02-16-2013, 05:25 AM
Back again!