Best off-road trails Utah: White Rim Trail
The mountain west and southwestern United States are ideal locations for individuals seeking the best off-road trails. The regions are a playground for Jeep, 4×4, and SUV enthusiasts that want to test their off-road skills on a variety of terrain.
Utah’s White Rim Trail is the premier off-road site in Utah. The trail is classed by many experts as difficult. The level of difficulty doesn’t come from the trails being hard to navigate, rather it is the heights and journey experienced along the White Rim Trail.
The trail takes you along the edge of the Canyonlands National Park. You experience breathtaking views as you creep along in your vehicle. The entire trail is unpaved and four-wheel drive is needed to navigate it. The trail was originally created in the 1950s allowing uranium prospectors into the region to mine. The uranium was then used in nuclear weapons built during the Cold War.
The mining has ceased and the trail now welcomes adventure seekers. You will find the trail to be made up of sand and loose dirt that gives way, as well as rock formations. It isn’t just 4×4 vehicles that traverse the trail. Mountain cyclists, e-bikes, and horse riders use the trail. You will also see the occasional hiker and trail runner.
How long is the trail?
The White Rim Trail, also known as the White Rim Road, is 71.2 miles long. The trail sits below the Island in the Sky mesa top. Off-roaders typically take around two to three days to complete the trail. It Isn’t a trail that you want to barrel through, nor can you.
The White Rim is a slow-paced adventure that takes time. It is important to note that there are other individuals on the trail. Mountain bikers are regulars, so you need to watch out for them. Often times, you will see mountain cyclists with a motorized vehicle nearby as support.
Throughout the trail are campgrounds allowing you to stay overnight. There are designated campgrounds for cyclists and motor vehicles. The campsites are within close proximity of one another. Each campsite accommodates 15 individuals and three motor vehicles. The trail has long stretches of dirt, rock and sand to drive over. There are no trees around the trail and shade is non-existent for the most part.
How difficult is the White Rim Trail?
The trail is rather difficult, but not necessarily due to the actually off-road driving. The road is made up of rock, dirt, and sand. What adds to the trail’s difficulty is the hot weather. The sun relentlessly beams down on your vehicle making it hotter in the 4×4 than outside of it. There is no shade for miles.
In addition, there is no water source. Therefore, you need to ensure plenty of water is packed in your vehicle. It is recommended that each person should have 4 liters of water packed in the vehicle per day of the trip. There is no drinkable water found around the White Rim Trail.
All vehicles need to be high-clearance and four-wheel-drive. If you get stuck out there, you can get your vehicle towed, but it is very expensive. Tow charges can cost upwards of $1,000.
What is the trail like?
Large parts of the trail can actually be done in two-wheel-drive. However, there are some sections that four-wheel-drive is needed to get through. The inclines can be nerve-racking. You are likely to experience climbs that are not for the faint hearted or people afraid of heights. Due to the speed in which you must drive, it can take more than a full day of driving to complete the 71.2-mile journey.
White Rim Trail is rugged. It is American mountain west backcountry at its best. Visitors to the trail do need permits to access it. There are separate permits for individuals visiting for the day or staying overnight at one of the campgrounds.
It is wise to make a reservation in the spring or autumn as the Canyonlands get busy with travelers. While water is not in supply in the canyonlands, you can find toilets at the campsites. All toilets are pit toilets, so don’t expect luxurious bathrooms.
Why is White Rim Trail one of the best off-road trails Utah has to offer?
White Rim Trail is a rugged, backcountry off-road trail that challenges drivers and their four-wheel-drive vehicle. It Isn’t just driving the trail that challenges an individual. You must pack enough provisions, especially water, to survive in the Canyonlands.
Exploring the trail means driving at low speeds up inclines, down descents, and over rock formations. It isn’t for the faint hearted. Compared to other off-road trails, White Rim Trail will challenge you from start to finish. Attention must be paid at all times while driving it.