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The White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park

Ralph gets back on his bike after stopping to check out the views of Shafer Canyon.

Click here to see a short slideshow of this adventure.

Last week I had the most fun I’ve ever had on a bicycle. My friend Sergio, invited me to join him and his two friends on the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park. This is normally about a 100-mile loop, but since part of the 4-wheel-drive road was washed out in a rain storm in August, we planned to do an out and back ride.

The trip began and ended as a tough-love kind of adventure. We left Colorado in a snowstorm, arriving in Moab, Utah at about 1 AM. We met up with the other two guys, Bill and Ralph, later that morning and packed up for a couple of nights of camping and three days of mountain biking.

The route is a 4-wheel-drive road with plenty of climbs, descents and sand bogs, which make for a fun challenge. The loop is on kind of an island of land between the Colorado and Green Rivers which made for lots of great overlook views. The name White Rim comes from the fact that the rim around the canyon is made up of a white rock that contrasts against the red sandstone of the Utah desert.

This was a research trip for me, as I want to do the entire loop next fall. I learned more than I expected about being prepared to go so deep into the wilderness. When you get on your bike in the morning you’d better have everything you need until you get to camp that night! Traveling with a sag vehicle is great for hauling all the water and camping gear, etc. but you need to have a tough, reliable 4-wheel-drive with a good battery (and perhaps a back-up battery) and a full tank of gas.

On the third morning we woke up to a dead battery and we were 65 miles from the Visitors Center! There was one campground open beyond ours and luckily there was one group camped there who came upon our campsite about noon, and we were able to get a jump-start. Then, when we were about 30 miles out, we realized that we had started with only three-fourths of a tank of gas and might not make it.

Somehow we managed to get to our next campsite at Deadhorse State Park. By then we were getting used to setting up camp in the dark.

Cheers, Kent

Sergio driving as we left Boulder on our way to Moab.

A snow storm we drove through in the Colorado mountains.

Bill shoots pictures as Ralph catches up with us on the White Rim Trail.

Ralph and Bill check out Gooseberry Canyon overlook.

Sergio plays around on the edge of a canyon overlooking the Green River.

Sunset at Candlestick Campground.

Sergio needed a bit of a shower before driving out on the last morning.

On the last morning we woke up to a dead battery and had to get a jump.

  • Heidi Knapp - November 11, 2010 - 1:15 PM

    Kent, the photos are alive! I’m a friend of Ralph’s and I’m jealous that I wasn’t on that trip…except for the car jumping part. I hate care trouble.


  • kent - November 15, 2010 - 4:45 PM

    Hi Heidi, you missed a great trip. Perhaps next year!
    Cheers, Kent

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