Shafer Trail

4.9/5 (46 reviews)
Moab, Utah (Grand County)
Last Updated: 01/16/2023
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Trail Information

Highlights

Easy and iconic, the Shafer Trail is a must do when visiting Moab or the Canyonlands. The road was originally a cattle trail built by John Sog Shafer in 1917. Later in the 1940s and 1950s, it was constructed into a useable road for trucks hauling uranium ore from the benches below. Long gone are the remnants of the old mining days but the incredible and imposing rim walls still stand to remind you of just how grand planet Earth really is.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

An entrance fee for Canyonlands National Park is required which you can pay at the visitors center or online. The guide described here is running the trail from top to bottom for the view, but it can be run in any direction. The dirt road is relatively smooth with steep switchbacks and narrow in spots that either descends or rises 1,300' in 5 miles. Almost all of the switchbacks have a small area to pull over if you need to let someone pass. There are no guardrails so be sure to watch the road. The road will close quickly if there is rain so be sure to check the current conditions. This road can be combined with the White Rim or Potash Road to make for a full day or multi-day trip. While this road is suitable for any SUV, if you plan to combine it with White Rim, a higher clearance vehicle will be required.
This road could be very dangerous when wet and will typically be temporarily closed by the National Park Service during wet weather.

Trail Reviews

5/5 (46 reviews)
Official Crew
16050
Temporary Closure
Visited: 01/16/2023

Closed due to ice and snow.
Official Crew
104650
Temporary Closure
Visited: 12/16/2022

Closed temporarily due to icy conditions.
2200
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 11/23/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Wow - amazing incredible must-do trail with views views views but definitely not for the faint of heart! Almost entirely graded and well maintained with no concerns other than the side-of-cliff roadway. This trail is popular and because some parts are narrow and inhabited with less experienced drivers, you may find yourself backing up in places where you’d rather not. But all in all a definite can’t miss if you are visiting Canyonlands NP.
Trail Review: Shafer Trail - James C
Trail Review: Shafer Trail - James C
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 11/21/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

A trail I have been wanting to do for a while. Finally did it on an impromptu trip, and didn't plan on doing this until we got there. Took it all the way to Moab. Defiantly worth it and plan on doing it again.
Official Crew
29500
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 11/13/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Cold and a little sketchy at the top with snow and ice on the first few switchbacks but no issues.
Trail Review: Shafer Trail - Marcus Trusty
Trail Review: Shafer Trail - Marcus Trusty
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