White Rim Road Opinions

Scott Chandler

Wildness is a necessity- John Muir
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I'm curious about people's opinions about the White Rim Road in Canyonlands. One problem with Canyonlands describing roads as 4WD is that I have seen a lot of variance within that descriptor across the park. How would those of you who have been on it describe the 4WD? Can a Subaru handle the road? Or, is it worth the hassle of wondering?

Thanks in advance for any input!
 

Artemus

I walk
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x2 on finding Asher's report. The road varies extremely in quality this time of year. He is a hard man for soloing around it in relatively poor winter conditions. In good conditions a well driven outback can make it I'd bet.
 

IntrepidXJ

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Depending on condition... It can be just fine for a Subaru at times, but there are other times when a Jeep might have problems getting through. Most of it will probably be fine, but there are some sections that could be washed out that might turn you back.

Not sure when you would plan to attempt it, but I would caution against trying it now or during the winter. Spring would probably be your best bet before the monsoon storms start in the summer.
 

Scott Chandler

Wildness is a necessity- John Muir
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Ah yes! It was that report that had planted the seed that it may be doable. It had been a while since I'd seen it though and I had begun to wonder if I had just seen it in a dream or something.

Thanks for the input everyone.
 

Scott Chandler

Wildness is a necessity- John Muir
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Not sure when you would plan to attempt it, but I would caution against trying it now or during the winter. Spring would probably be your best bet before the monsoon storms start in the summer.

Yeah I'm in the same boat. I was thinking that with me being in the area I can better gauge how the weather may be affecting the road, but in all actuality I will have no clue. With how the weather has been I may not go for it anytime soon. Tackling the road in a suboptimal vehicle, I would want the best conditions.
 

Dave

Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey"
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Doing the White Rim in a vehicle with street suspension is slow and uncomfortable. You'll spend a lot of time just creeping along to avoid scraping. Approach and departure angles over relatively minor obstacles are important. There's a stretch of sand on the far end that could be dicey after a storm.

I have a skid plate and outback lift on my wagon. It's also wearing all terrain tires. It has a 16 gallon tank and averages about 20 mpg. That fell to about 8 mpg due to the slow speed. I carried supplemental fuel. Mud on the hogback made me extremely uncomfortable. I nearly became stuck in a couple of places where mud and inclines combined.

A week after I finished, major rockfall blocked the road between Mineral Bottom and Hardscrabble. Had it been there when I came around, the only choice would have been turning back and doing the whole thing backwards.

I'm sure others have done the trip in a plain-Jane Subaru with no troubles, but these were my experiences with a December trip. I chose December because permits were available and I didn't want to encounter much other traffic.

 

Artemus

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Watching our video @ashergrey brings back memories. I've been around the loop 6-8 times and I can x4 on "mud on the hogback would make me extremely uncomfortable"....
 

MVS

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When I did the White Rim Road in My 2014 I rented a Jeep at Canyonlands Jeep Adventures in Moab, and it was great. Why risk your own car when you can rent a jeep, even if the cost is $175 a day? To me the difficulty of the trip was exaggerated, and while there were very dangerous parts, I had no difficulty managing the trip, despite being inexperienced in a Jeep or off-road (but then I didn't do it in winter or when it was really muddy). It was a great trip, and I would only recommend taking a few days to enjoy it so that you can take some side trips, such as Lathrop Canyon or Taylor Canyon.
 

Artemus

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Yeah that is always the problem. Backcountry roads like The White Rim or The Smoky Mountain Road are often easy when dry and graded with people going by every 10 minutes. It is when it is freeze/thaw conditions in the winter or rainy seasons that they can switch to impassable and nobody goes by to save your hiney.
 

DrNed

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I would only recommend taking a few days to enjoy it so that you can take some side trips, such as Lathrop Canyon or Taylor Canyon.

I'm planning a White Rim Bike trip the week of Memorial Day. I'm curious what other side adventures would you (or others) recommend
along the White Rim?

I've seen images of a slot canyon somewhere near the road. Is that Lathrop or Taylor?

Much thanks.
 

Artemus

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I'm planning a White Rim Bike trip the week of Memorial Day. I'm curious what other side adventures would you (or others) recommend
along the White Rim?

I've seen images of a slot canyon somewhere near the road. Is that Lathrop or Taylor?

Much thanks.
Neither. It is out in the middle of the route and the road goes right over the head of it. Have to check a map...
 

Cool Danish

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I'm planning a White Rim Bike trip the week of Memorial Day. I'm curious what other side adventures would you (or others) recommend
along the White Rim?

I've seen images of a slot canyon somewhere near the road. Is that Lathrop or Taylor?

Much thanks.

I think the slot/narrows are in Holeman Spring Basin.. Also seen it referred to "Wilhite Wash Narrows". The slot starts right at the white rim road. The slot/narrow drains into the Green River by Valentine Bottom, but there is suppose to be a huge drop off at the end.

38.395193,-109.959181
 

Artemus

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I think the slot/narrows are in Holeman Spring Basin.. Also seen it referred to "Wilhite Wash Narrows". The slot starts right at the white rim road. The slot/narrow drains into the Green River by Valentine Bottom, but there is suppose to be a huge drop off at the end.

38.395193,-109.959181
Cool, that is the one I was thinking of. And I now see there is trail that goes up to the paved road on the plateau above. Wild. The Wilhine?
 

Eric O

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We ran it in October in a 2015 F150 4x4. It took us about 8 hours which included some fun high speed stuff and a ton of hikes to take pictures and look at the stunning views. I'd imagine that if it hasn't rained in a long time the road should be in pretty good shape and doable in a Subaru but it would be very slow, very bumpy and a LONG day.

With recent rain it would be very tricky in almost any street worthy vehicle due to some of the steep grades and narrow portions of road and areas that get rutted out and extremely muddy.

Personally, I would not want to take a stock subaru on it unless I had a lot of time to kill and wasn't in a rush. The road is simply gorgeous and we had a BLAST. It's highly recommended but go prepared and make sure the weather is going to cooperate.
 

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
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I think the slot/narrows are in Holeman Spring Basin.. Also seen it referred to "Wilhite Wash Narrows". The slot starts right at the white rim road. The slot/narrow drains into the Green River by Valentine Bottom, but there is suppose to be a huge drop off at the end.

38.395193,-109.959181
Very cool! Thanks for the GPS data too - it will make it that much easier to find.
 

MVS

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  • I got a copy of "Canyonlands National Park Favorite Jeep Roads and Hiking Trails" by David Day. It's a good guide that I'm using to plan my White Rim trip in October. Available on Amazon. I would recommend it because there are guides to the different trails throughout Island in the Sky, but also Lathrop Canyon and other trails just off White Rim. I'm using it to p0lan my next trip in October. No doubt you will enjoy your trip as much as I did mine.
 

Cool Danish

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Messages
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  • I got a copy of "Canyonlands National Park Favorite Jeep Roads and Hiking Trails" by David Day. It's a good guide that I'm using to plan my White Rim trip in October. Available on Amazon. I would recommend it because there are guides to the different trails throughout Island in the Sky, but also Lathrop Canyon and other trails just off White Rim. I'm using it to p0lan my next trip in October. No doubt you will enjoy your trip as much as I did mine.
I agree with @MVS that the David Day book is great. Nice description of trails (hiking and 4x4).. lots of good pictures.
And if you want a lot more detailed information of both trail and local history, I highly recommend:
Hiking, Biking and Exploring Canyonlands National Park and Vicinity, by Michael R. Kelsey (2nd edition,February 25, 2013).
Kelsey's writing style (Layout) takes some getting used to, but tons of information.
 
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