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Shafer Trail

Shafer Trail

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Shafer Trail

Page Type: Trail

Location: Utah, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 37.99616°N / 110.39062°W

Trail Type: Mountain

Technical Difficulty: Medium

Aerobic Difficulty: Hard

Layout: Out & Back

Route Quality: 
 - 1 Votes


Page By: Cedar

Created/Edited: Oct 11, 2007 / Oct 18, 2007

Object ID: 262255

Hits: 5681 

Page Score: 79.78%  - 11 Votes 

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Shafer Trail Road is located in Island in the Sky of Canyonlands National Park, UT. The road, accesible to 4-wheel drive vehicles, winds along Shafer Canyon.

The trail (road) is rather wide and can be slightly slippery in winter. In summer, Shafer Trail is the access point for many vehicles planning on driving the White Rim Road below so be aware! (Although mountain bikers regularly ride that trail as well)

In winter, the trail may appear to be covered with ice and snow but on most days, that ends when you go down the trail. What's left is a scenic view.

Trail Description

Shafer Canyon Again
Shafer Canyon
Shafer Trail starts (or ends) near the Shafer Canyon Overlook Trail (foot-only) in Canyonlands National Park. It starts a series of switchbacks as it descends down the east side of the Shafer Canyon. The trail then slowly descends as the canyon widens. It finally ends at a Y-fork intersection with Potash Road leading to Moab and White Rim Road, which continues on the White Rim.

Heading up the canyon can be strenous. Just retrace your steps up and back to the starting point.

Getting There

There are two ways to reach the road: by the paved Canyonlands park road and by 4-wheel drive Potash Road. From Moab, Potash is by far, the closer. However, due to it's unpaved surface, it recieves far less traffic than the park road.

Potash Road is easily accessed off of US191 from near downtown Moab. It is paved at the intersection but road quality quickly deteriorates as you drive on. The road ends at Shafer Trail Road (on the right). Note that it is possible to just bike up Potash Road rather than driving.

Meanwhile, the park road, is well maintained, regularly shoveled (in winter) and has more traffic (it's the access point for Island in the Sky). The road starts 30 miles north of Moab on US191. Look for a prominent sign reading "<- Canyonlands National Park." As you enter the park, look for another sign which signals Shafer Trail. The trail is on the left.

When to Bike

This trail can be done year-round though ice may make things difficult near the top.


Shafer Trail Road (winter)Shafer Canyon Again