Shafer Trail

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5/5 (67 reviews)
Moab, Utah (Grand County)
Last Updated: 03/25/2023
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Trail Information

Highlights

Desert Category Icon Desert
Iconic Category Icon Iconic
Overland Category Icon Overland
Scenic Category Icon Scenic
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.

Trail Reviews

5/5 (67)
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 12/19/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Amazing trail! Drove down it and then back up it instead of exiting on potash road. I then drove over to Long Canyon and down it to the town of Moab. Excellent views on Shafer. A few areas had some snow slush and ice but not too much overall and very doable. 4WD and low is great to control the decent/accent. Gorgeous!
Trail Review: Shafer Trail - Tyler Sauer
Trail Review: Shafer Trail - Tyler Sauer
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14600
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 10/24/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Do not let the fact that this trail is a steep shelf road with multiple switch backs scare you. It’s wide enough to pass another vehicle and there are plenty of stock rental cars going up and down the trail. The views from the top are awesome!
Trail Review: Shafer Trail - Tyler Genevish
Trail Review: Shafer Trail - Tyler Genevish
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 10/12/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Steep grade, but the road is great. Iconic views! It never gets old.
Trail Review: Shafer Trail - Rick Adleman
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/25/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

HOLY COW! Our first Jeep trail experience ever… what a way to start off. Totally affirmed buying a Jeep was the right thing to do! My 3yo son says, very nonchalantly, “Dad, don’t drive off the ledge.” I didn’t and we made some great memories today.
Trail Review: Shafer Trail - Marty Allen
Trail Review: Shafer Trail - Marty Allen
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/20/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Easy trail, amazing views. Many places to pull over for traffic.

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