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Canyonlands White Rim Trail


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Driving the Canyonlands White Rim Trail in Utah has been on our family's to do list for a handful of years and we think this is the summer to make it happen! Permits for the summer open on February 10 and I'm interested in seeing if there are forum members that have driven the loop that can answer some questions and share any advice from lessons learned.


It's my understanding that there is not anything particularly technical about the trail (there are YouTube videos with Chevy Tahoes on the trail), but that it is a 4x4 trail. It's also my understanding that we can take up to three vehicles. We are thinking we will take our 4x4 Comanche (of course right?) for gear and take our stock '95 Cherokee, leave the '94 Cherokee at home, and invite a friend (hard part will be deciding which one) to bring their Jeep.


As far as who goes, we would like to make this a family affair and take 7 of us (dad, mom, sons ages 16, 13, and 1, daughter age 5, and baby (mom is due in a month...)). We are a camping family so we aren't particularly concerned here, even with the wide range of ages.


For anyone that's driven the trail, do you have any tips about 1) getting a permit, 2) recommended itinerary (# of nights, recommended camping locations, 3) time of year to drive the trail, etc.?

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It is about a 100 mile trail. It has some switchbacks that can be tricky. Also some rocky bits. You need a high clearance 4x4. Low range and lockers are always good. I would never go solo without a winch either.  I would do it between April and October. You will need a day pass that you can get at recreation.gov. I think you also need a pass to camp. If it has rained a lot you need to be aware of high water in places, so keep an eye on the forecast.

Backroad Exploration has a great U tube video showing the whole trail, so does Ozark Overland Adventures. I didn't do all of it when I ran it 3 years ago. It is spectacular. You need to be very attentive due to all the mountain bikers who usually presume you can see/hear them!!

You Tube is a great resource when researching the difficulty of trails.

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Thanks @Limeyjeeperthat helps. I've looked at some information online and will continue to do so, but I appreciate the personalized information. If I may ask some follow up questions:

  • What Jeep(s) did you take?
  • Need higher clearance than stock XJ and MJ? 
  • Did you use the winch? If so, how many times?
  • How many nights did you camp?
  • Is there any reason not to take the family?
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I had a Wrangler with a 3" lift. It was overkill. Plenty of stock or mild lifts on the trail.

Never used the winch it is an insurance policy. If it is wet.

Ozark Overland did the trail using a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk I didn't experience any really technical stuff. Some of the trail is narrow.

I didn't camp but lots of great spots.

Absolutely take the family the views are spectacular.

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