Ride the Rim: Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Travel to these destinations for tons of open space—and it's all yours

Apr 4, 2013
Outside Magazine
white rim canyonlands travel solitude national park vacation camping hiking

The White Rim, Canyonlands.    Photo: Kevin Lange

The White Rim Trail is a 100-mile mountain-bike route with clear views of the Land of Standing Rocks, the Needles District, and Musselman Arch, located just below the park’s Island in the Sky mesa. In other words: our kind of commute. It’s possible to hammer out the whole trail—an old prospector’s jeep road—in two days, but we recommend taking three nights to savor the sights and swap turns driving the trailing 4WD vehicle with your supplies. Start by heading east from Shafer Trail and drop 1,000 feet down a series of switchbacks to the White Rim Trail.

Make the side trip to the Goosenecks overlook, a sinuous spot of the Colorado River canyon that nearly bends back upon itself, and pitch a tent at White Crack campground. The ride finishes with a trek to the Holman slot canyon and a merciless 1,000-foot climb up the Mineral Bottom Road switchbacks to the mesa rim. Permits sell out fast for the best spring and fall dates ($30), so start planning now. Or sign up for a spot on one of Magpie Adventures’ trips ($915), and let the guides take care of cooking up your fish tacos.