As with all Moab trails, the signs are all different from the guides. GPS units measure 5.45 miles round trip and 1500 vertical feet. This trail is a scenic, trail to hike into the White Rim from Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands. The entire vertical is in one section, which, from the bottom will shock you as you look back up at what you came through. These trails in Canyonlands are feats of magic and master engineering. This trail will fascinate you in it’s making the seemingly impossible possible.
What Makes It Great
Many of the trails in Canyonlands are long and committing. This trail, as an out and back can be turned around on at any point. It is immediately steep and the destination is visible. If you don’t like it, turn around. You will immediately see your destination and once in the valley floor the trail follows a drainage out to the White Rim.
The views and the scenery in Canyonlands can be so overpowering in its impact and ability to inspire awe, it is almost hard to take it in all at once. As you go into the valley, the trail gives an intimate view to the relationship of the landscape to itself. The steep walls have penetrable paths. The drainage at the bottom is fascinating as it starts with taller walls on either side of you as you weave and wind towards the White Rim.
Make sure, on your way down, you are observant of the whereabouts of the trail, as you do not want to get disoriented on the route back. There are cairns to mark the trail but getting lost down in this area would not be fun.
Who is Going to Love It
The pitch and altitude rise and gain of this trail will be a huge indicator of one’s ability to hike it. Remember, if you go down, you have to come back up! It is a steep trail, with huge exposure in sections with no distance between hiker and the drop off. This is not a trail to do if you have a fear of heights. Hikers should be in good shape, not walk a mile or two a day shape, but enthusiastic athletes with keen knowledge of their ability.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From Moab, drive north on route 191 for about 10 miles, take a left on route 313 following the signs for Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park. Follow the signs into Canyonlands stopping at the gate to pay fee. In the winter and shoulder seasons, payment may be made at the Visitors Center further up the road. Gooseberry Mesa is just shy of the Grand View Point Lookout.
Entrance to the park is $10 for a vehicle and is valid for 7 days, Motorcycles are $5 each and entrance is valid for 7 days. Per person with no vehicle (bicycle) or parties of one are $5 and is valid for 7 days. Check the Park’s website as some days of the year such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Veteran’s Day are free.
There is no water on this route. Plan to bring more water than you think you need. Canyonlands National Park recommends a gallon a day for just being at the 6000 ft. altitude and more for exercising.
No dogs are allowed on this trail. Do not leave dog in car while hiking.