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First time to try part of White Rim Trail in a Tacoma

Boulder, Colorado
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82 posts
20 reviews
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First time to try part of White Rim Trail in a Tacoma

I have been to Canyonlands and I am dying to try some or all of the White Rim Trail in my Tacoma, but it is NOT high clearance. I will be there the first week of October and trying to figure out what I can safely do and see. I have two days there, so would love to do the whole thing, but perhaps without a high clearance truck i should just do a day trip and just go down and back. From what I gather I can head down the Shafer switchbacks - but are these roads used both ways? I only saw cars going down and not up. What would be the best, safest, smartest way to see some of the White Rim Trail in a day or two? And if we did camp one night do we need to get a permit for that, or just a camping reservation? Any help is greatly appreciated, I have some Utah off road books but they really don't tell me the important stuff!

Park City, Utah
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for Utah, Winter Sports
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1. Re: First time to try part of White Rim Trail in a Tacoma

The White Rim Trail is a great bike trail. I don't know that you'll find it as appealing in your Tacoma. Shafer Switchbacks are easy. I feel a passenger car could do it either way. It's just switchbacks. Once you get out onto the trail itself, it's super uncomfortable to drive - very washboardy. I've never encountered anything that required 4WD on the east side. I have not taken it all around coming back up the west side so others may weigh in on that.

If you wanted to drive down Shafer, out to Musselman Arch or the Colorado River and back, you might find that a decent outing. It's certainly do-able to do the entire loop but I think there are better places to go. Just a super bumpy ride. If you do the out and back, you might also consider then driving back to Moab along the river. It's long but a nice drive.

FYI, we are driving a Jeep Wrangler or Rubicon, so different wheelbase than you have. Others may have a different opinion.

Have fun.

Santa Ana, CA
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2. Re: First time to try part of White Rim Trail in a Tacoma

There is an excellent visitor center in Moab and those volunteers know all the roads and condition. When you're in town you can stop by for any last minute questions.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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3. Re: First time to try part of White Rim Trail in a Tacoma

And yes you would need a permit to camp. This time of year is a popular time to get them:

nps.gov/cany/…backcountrypermits.htm

4. Re: First time to try part of White Rim Trail in a Tacoma

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