This was the sentence that came out of my mouth as my husband, an experienced 4-wheeler, made the tight, narrow hairpin turn that caused me to see the sheer drop now on my side of the truck. The one he had been experiencing for the past however many miles on our way down the canyon on Shafer Trail. I could've sworn to you that the drop-off was about a trillion feet down, so I said, "Okaaaaaaayyyyy, you might want to maybe hurry this up a little." He informed me that if he did, we'd probably end up in the canyon, so I shut up and let him drive. Thus was my very first experience with 4-wheeling.
We had started from the top of the trail that begins right before the visitor's center in Canyonlands, and took it all the way down to Potash, then to Moab. I've read other reviews that say starting from the bottom and working your way up is the way to go. I heartily disagree, because at least when you're going down the canyon, you can see what lies on the road ahead. It took us about 2 1/2 to 3 hours to do the whole thing with my husband's stock 2002 Ford Ranger, "Bessie II" (or "Elizabeth the Second" as I call her), who did a very good job when put into low 4X4. We also did it a few days before Memorial Day, so we didn't have any contentious weather, and we also came across many other people on the trail as well.
It started off as a very nice ride. A little bumpy, but nothing to freak out over. Then all of a sudden, my husband (who is very very afraid of heights), clenched the steering wheel and gritted his teeth. I looked over and saw that the driver's side of the road had given way to a very steep drop-off, and also noticed that the road was narrowing. Since I was oblivious to the true nature of the drop-off, I thought it was cool, and made him stop so I could take some pictures. After a few miles or so, suddenly, the very narrow hairpin turn that dropped into what I was sure was at least a 15% grade, caused me to see exactly what I had been missing. For the rest of the ride down. It was a little scary, I'm not going to lie. Your choices are basically to run smack into the rock face or go over the edge with little room for error. Just take it slow.
Once down, you still need to be in 4 wheel drive as the road can get quite bumpy and there are still a lot of places that require it for navigation. The view makes the whole ride worth it, both from the bottom and the top. There are a lot of places to pull off at the bottom to take some really good pictures of the Colorado River and rock formations as well. We also happened to be lucky enough to drive by a film crew from Paramount Pictures wrapping up for the day on the highway back to Moab (we speculated they were there to film Mission Impossible IV, but only time will tell I guess).
All in all, a really great drive, great views, and a little bit of an adrenaline rush at times. I'd recommend it for at least the semi-experienced 4 wheeler and probably between the months of April-October if you don't want to deal with winter weather/slick conditions. It's a little on the scary side at times, but highly worth it for both the 4 wheeler (hubby) and shutterbug (me) alike.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.