Much of the land that is now Canyonlands Park was once used for ranching and mining. Many of the roads built before the park was established in 1964 are now used by tourists. The Schafer Trail is one such trail.
Just past the Island in the Sky Visitor Center, look for the Shafer Canyon Viewpoint sign and a small parking lot on the left side of the road.
If you’re staying in Moab to visit Arches National Park, you can easily take a day trip to Dead Horse Point National Park and Canyonlands National Park.
Canyon Shafer Road
39 miles (63 km) from Canyonland to Moab.
The view of Schafer Canyon offers you a view of the Schafer Trail from above. Here is some general information if you decide to take the Shafer Canyon Trail.
The Shafer Canyon Trail is a dirt road that descends into the sky from Canyonlands Island to Shafer Canyon. The road connects to Potash Road, another dirt road that becomes Highway 279 and connects to Highway 191 near Moab.
I have read posts about people driving on Shafer Road in a front-wheel drive sedan, but I would not drive on Shafer Road in a vehicle with low ground clearance. You can rent a Jeep in Moab if you don’t have a 4-wheeler.
From Canyonlands, the road begins a series of curves as you descend into Shafer Canyon. Expect lots of depressions, rocky slabs and generally rough roads.
At the 19-mile mark, the Schafer Trail joins the Potash Highway and eventually paved roads. Along the road to Kaliningrad there are petroglyphs, dinosaur footprints, climbing sites and hiking trails.
Allow 2 to 2.5 hours for the one way trip from Canyonlands to Moab. You can also start in Moab and go to Canyonlands National Park.
Note that the Schafer Trail is often closed during the winter months when snow and ice make the trail impassable.
Canyonlands Plata National Park
The entrance fee covers the cost of visiting Canyonlands Park for 7 consecutive days.
Private car: $30
Cyclist/pedestrian : $15
There is also a Southeastern Utah Parks Pass, which is valid for one year and provides access to Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park, Hovenweep National Monument, and Natural Bridges National Monument.
If you also plan to visit other national parks, consider purchasing the annual America the Beautiful Park Pass. It costs $80 and provides access to ALL U.S. National Parks and Monuments for a period of 12 months from the date of purchase.
Are you over 62? It costs just $20 for a one-year subscription or $80 for a lifetime subscription.
In addition, free tickets are available for military personnel, U.S. citizens or permanent residents with disabilities, volunteers and fourth grade students.
Visit the National Park website for more information on park passes and to purchase a pass online.
Shafer Canyon Lookout, Track
The distance: .3 miles (.5 km)
Height gain: 30 m (98 ft)
Kind of a hike : Forward and backward
Weather: Give me 30 minutes.
Dogs are allowed to follow the tracks: No dogs on the trails or in the Canyonlands.
You can take your dog into Canyonlands National Park, but you may not take it to lookouts, hiking trails, backcountry areas, rivers, or other roads (even if it stays in the car), and pets must be leashed when they get out of the car.
Description of the walk from Shafer Canyon Viewpoint
From the lookout at Shafer Canyon, descend a flight of stairs and walk along the rim of the canyon with exceptional views of the canyon.
Hold onto your hat on a windy day. If you look at the canyon, you’ll probably see a few hats flapping in the wind.
I have a mild fear of heights, so I never venture to the edge of the canyon, but there are those who are more fearless.
Other National Parks in Utah
Arches National Park has over 2,000 natural stone arches near the town of Moab, Utah.
Bryce National Park for hikes and drives
Capitol Reef National Park is the least visited national park in Utah, but it’s worth a visit!
Zion National Park is the most visited national park in Utah and also includes the North Colobus Canyons and Springdale State Park in Utah.
Other things in Utah
Cedar Faults National Monument offers hudu, hiking trails and scenic attractions.
Cedar City is the perfect place to explore southern Utah.
Dead Horse Point State Park is located next to Canyonlands and offers breathtaking views of the Colorado River.
The Kanarra Falls Game Canyon is an excellent hike and a good alternative to the bottlenecks of Zion.
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Tags: National Parks, Utah
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