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“Great Cheap Thrill”
Review of Shafer Trail

Shafer Trail
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Moab Combo: Colorado River Rafting and Canyonlands National Park
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Cattle trail which can be used by sport vehicles.
Level Contributor
21 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Great Cheap Thrill”
Reviewed January 27, 2013

Went on a solo motorcycle ride (BMW dual sport) in November and chose this trail, leaving from Moab, heading south on Potash road, then on to Shafer. What a great trip, espcially the climb out on Shafer road. Indeed, the road is challenging and inspires lotsa white knuckles and breath holding, but really there's no danger for anyone with a decent 4-wheel drive vehicle or appropriate motorcycle. I couldn't help but notice that there were NOT piles of crashed vehicles at the bottom of the road-side cliffs. Nor were there ambulances racing to and fro with loads of crash victims. Those in your party who are either inexperienced in off-road travel and/or easily scared will; however, probably get freaked out. More good news, when I was there it was very uncrowded, so I could pull over whenever I wanted and take in the scenery all along the route, including on the grade of the Shafer trail hill itself. I ate my PBJ on the cliff with my attached photo...could walk around comfortably with plenty of elbow room, worth noting if you are planning on going with people who may need to periodically get outa the car to spare your ears from their shrieking. The scenery is unbelievable, indescribable. For me, this real-life thrill was much better than a day @ Disneyland. Truly awesome!

Visited November 2012
1 Thank MrHilarious
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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148 reviews from our community

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Dousman, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Must drive!!”
Reviewed November 5, 2012

If you are looking for a trip off the beaten path, literally, the Shafer Trail is a must. Please keep in mind, you MUST have a high clearance 4x4 vehicle. Be cautious if it rains but it's a must drive.

We started the trail off of Potash Road, from Moab. The trail is slow going but worth the views. The trails change from sand to rough rock to gravel. The switchbacks, some may "white-knuckle" it but if you go slow, you're fine. Pack smart and come prepared as towing could cost you thousands to be rescued. To do the whole trail (which separates to the White Rim trail), you need 2-3 days but the drive up the Shafer to the main road into the park took about 3 -4 hours. It could take longer based on how long you stop.

Visited September 2012
1 Thank Da_Chz_Head
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Enterprise, Utah
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Piece of Cake!”
Reviewed October 23, 2012

I’m not sure what trail others are rating, but the Shafer switchbacks are NOT as scary or dangerous as others are making it out to be. They are more scenic than any picture can capture. The view is unreal, and the trail is graded, quite wide and safe with numerous passing areas. We came up from Potash in a stock 1998 Chevy Tahoe and climbed up the switchbacks. The next day we went down them. Every switchback has room to pass and the trail was very busy both days we traveled it. To be honest, I was a little disappointed it wasn’t scarier because these reviews had set me up to believe it was truly white knuckle. This is a MUST DO!

Also, be sure to check out Long Canyon trail as a shortcut back to Moab through Pucker Pass. It’s a short but breathtaking trail. Bull Canyon to the bottom of Gemini Bridges is also a great trail, very rough, but not difficult.

Visited October 2012
1 Thank Hirschifam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
York, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed October 3, 2012

We were visiting the U.S.A.from the U.K. last month (sept 2012) My husband wanted to go down into the canyons and I agreed. We stupidly did not get maps etc. We were driving a Nissan Murano. We had no idea what was ahead and once we were commited, there was no going back. I was PETRIFIED! That was indeed the worst and most frightening experience of my life. The drive down was totally hair raising and when we reached the canyon floor the fear of the great height was replaced by the terrible condition of the road. We feared we were going to write off the $45.000 car that we had hired. The car however, performed magnificently. It was only by chance whilst speaking to someone that we learned we must turn left at a junction or we would be on the trail for 11 hrs.!!! Jeez! My husband nor I could speak about it for 24hrs. We were in shock! We did not laugh about it for one whole week! You have to be very brave, very experienced or totally mad to attempt this. The trail did not kill us but I very nearly killed my husband for making such a choice. Can you imagine a middle aged English woman..never been in anything but a land rover on an English road..suddenly confronted with this?? Yes you can laugh. as we eventually did! But you Americans have really got some guts!!!

Visited September 2012
9 Thank hollypolly967
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kearney, Nebraska, United States
Level Contributor
18 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“White knuckle drive”
Reviewed August 13, 2012

The highlight of our Canyonland's visit in June 2012 was when we took our Ford Explorer and conquered Shafer Trail. We went from Moab to Canyonlands... all 30 miles or so in two and a half hours. The first part of the road is blacktop but features some great petroglyphs on the steep canyon walls. Once you get past Potash, it turns into a challenging one-lane 4-wheel drive road including big rocks, sand, some slick-rock, and other obstacles for the rest the trip . I note the one-lane because we met at least 50 vehicles going in the other direction... of course, most of those vehicles were from the film crew of the new Will Smith movie "After Earth" that was being filmed below Dead Horse Point... we hit them as they were apparently breaking camp having completed the filming... included in the caravan of vehicles was Will Smith's Escalade which, we assume, contained him. Beyond where they were filming we hit some of the most challenging terrain... the worst being a blind curve on the side of the canyon just below Dead Horse Point... it was a narrow one-lane that was barely wide enough for our Explorer with no place to go but back if you met up with someone... (fortunately we didn't) on one side was solid rock going up and the other side a sharp drop down and the road included loose gravel and rocks and a completely blind curve. Once past that, we stopped the car and looked over the Colorado River. After that, the road continued to present challenges included several areas where my wife had to get out of the vehicle to guide us over the large rocks which included drop-offs as great as 18-24 inches... we only scraped bottom once or twice... but clearly others had not been so fortunate as us. Crossing into the Park boundary we thought the road would get better... we were wrong, it got worse but we managed to work our way through it. When the road finally combined with White Rim Road, it did get noticeably better. The final challenge, which was the part I dreaded the most when planning this trip, was the ascent up Shafer Canyon. Steep, many switchback, but after some of the other places we had been not as scary (although my wife might differ with that opinion being in the passenger side looking at the sheer drop-offs). All and all a fantastic experience and deep sense of accomplishment (and relief) that I will long remember.

Visited June 2012
2 Thank Robert R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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