The White Rim Road is a 71.2-mile-long (114.6 km) unpaved four-wheel drive road that traverses the top of the White Rim Sandstone formation below the Island in the Sky mesa of Canyonlands National Park in southern Utah in the United States. The road was constructed in the 1950s by the Atomic Energy Commission to provide access for individual prospectors intent on mining uranium deposits for use in nuclear weapons production during the Cold War. Large deposits had been found in similar areas within the region; however, the mines along the White Rim Road produced very little uranium and all the mines were abandoned.See White Rim Road and all Canyonlands National Park has to offer by arranging your trip with our Canyonlands National Park journey planning tool.
The road surface consists of loose dirt, sandy dry washes and sandstone rock formations. Four-wheel drive vehicles and mountain bikes are the most common modes of transport though horseback riding and hiking are also permitted. Typical excursions at a modest pace take two days by four-wheel drive vehicle and three days by mountain bike. Street-legal, registered motorbikes are also permitted to travel on the road. The National Park Service (NPS), which administers the park and maintains the road, recommends bicyclists have a motorized support vehicle to carry extra water. No potable water is available anywhere along the road and there are few river access points. The Green River is accessible at spots along the western end of the road but Lathrop Canyon is the only access point to the Colorado River near the eastern terminus. Hikers may access the White Rim from the Island in the Sky by hiking down steep trails leading to seven points along the road.
Roads leading to the White Rim Road are Mineral Bottom Road, also called Horsethief Trail, in the park's west side and Shafer Trail in the park's east side. Both roads are junctions off the Island in the Sky park road, which is an extension of Utah State Route 313. A shorter alternate from Moab is Potash Road—Utah State Route 279—in the east side of the park which connects at the junction of White Rim Road with Shafer Trail.
Like the Shafer Trail, White Rim Road is also sometimes referred to as a trail since a common term for a four-wheel drive road is a Jeep trail.
Create an itinerary including White Rim Road
White Rim Road reviews
Great day exploring Canyonlands. Road is not for the faint of heart. Took about eleven hours including the potash road entry. Some places you needed a spotter. more »
Never completed the whole trail. Wanted to stay in Gooseberry Camp but the White Rim Trail in it's totality was not meant for a Ford 350 with camper. Glad we drove as far as we did. Very exciting. more »
Plan your trip to Canyonlands National Park
Get a personalized tripA complete day by day itinerary
based on your preferences
Customize itRefine your trip. We'll find the
best routes and schedules
Manage itEverything in one place.
Everyone on the same page.
Popular things to do in Canyonlands National Park
Side trips from Canyonlands National Park
Nature in Canyonlands National Park
Hidden gems in Canyonlands National Park
Trails in Canyonlands National Park
Trips to White Rim Road by other users
22 days in United States BY A USER FROM ITALY Denver Moab Canyonlands National Park 8 days in Moab BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES Canyoning & Rappelling Tours Off-Road Tours Deep Desert Expeditions 30 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES Sun Valley Grand Teton National Park Yellowstone National Park 6 days in Canyonlands National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES Island in the Sky Mesa Arch Grand View Point Overlook 8 days in Moab BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES Double Arch Arches National Park Canyoning & Rappelling Tours 38 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM Phoenix Sedona Grand Canyon National Park