It’s no question that the famous White Rim Trail in Canyonlands is on your Bike-it list; So here’s a look at going clockwise on that journey over the course of 4 days. For optimum enjoyment, we suggest using our tour company, Escape Adventures. It feels great to fully enjoy the challenging terrain without the weight of your gear and it’s even better to end the day with delicious meals that you didn’t have to cook! For this 104 mile loop, we recommend making your adventures a priority, let us take care of the rest.
Day 1: We start the morning by meeting up in Moab. From there, it’s a drive to Canyonlands where we reach Island in the Sky, a big plateau with a skinny base that really makes it look like a floating island in the sky! On your mountain bikes, you’ll take Schaffer trail on a 1,500ft descent to the White Rim Trail. For those unfamiliar, the “White Rim” is actually a layer of rock in the geology of the area that you can follow all the way around the Island in the Sky.
By lunch time, you’ll be within walking distance of an overlook at the Colorado River. After enjoying a catered meal with a view as well as the company of Muscle Man Arch, it’s on to the campsite below Airport Tower (you might have noticed that there are some fun names for the rock formations, don’t worry. There’s more).
From camp, there’s a 10 mile bonus ride to go swim in the Colorado River. Usually pretty nice, especially in the fall when the current isn’t as strong.
Day 2: The new day brings more fun rock formations. In the morning, you’ll pass the Washer woman and the Monster tower (You’ll know them when you see them, and if you don’t your guide will point them out). Once you’re past Monument Basin, there’s lunch at White Crack. From the elevation that you’ve maintained, you’ll see some great views of the other districts in Canyonlands. More specifically, you’ll be able to see the Needles and the Maze district from your lunch spot.
After lunch, comes the first tough climb up Murphy’s Hogsback to camp overlooking some even more magnificent views.
Day 3: We’ll start the day by immediately descending on the other side of Murphy’s Hogsback! But don’t worry; the winding, twisting ride will be worth the rough climb the day before. From there, it’s 12 miles to Slot Canyon where you’ll dismount and shimmy through the ripples in the canyon, have lunch, and trek back out.
After lunch, we’ll follow white rim layer. As we turn North, we watch the white rim layer disappear below the Green River. Next is a scenic ride along the river, and then above the river up to Hardscrabble Hill on trails that were made for uranium exploration in the 1930s-1940s. Also, hidden in the cuts of the hillside you’ll see layers of petrified wood.
Kind of like the day before, once we reach the summit, it’s time to send the other side of Hardscrabble Hill to camp alongside the Green River.
Day 4: A short day! Enjoy a meandering 8 miles along the green river, followed by a final climb, up the Mineral Bottom (switchbacks included!). After the climb, a well deserved lunch and shuttle back to Moab, having conquered clockwise one of the top ten mountain biking destinations in the USA. Not too shabby!