Shafer Trail

EASY 55 reviews
#6 of 67 trails in

Shafer Trail is a 19.2 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Moab, Utah that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for nature trips, scenic driving, and off road driving and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

19.2 miles
3116 feet
Point to Point

dog friendly

kid friendly

nature trips

off road driving

scenic driving


wild flowers

no dogs

Fun- Great Views Of Dead Horse Point

off road driving
29 days ago

Gorgeous. On this path as marked the road was definitely rougher outside of the canyonlands. Inside the park the road was pretty tame.

off road driving
4 months ago

Super awesome. Super easy too (when dry). Plenty of cyclists do this. Saw a honda civic driving it, although i could hear their indercarriage neing hit by 3” rocks.

off road driving
5 months ago

Very scenic, trail requires decent clearance in some spots. Recommend 4 wheel drive. Several lookout points over the Colorado River. We started at the top of
Shafer and went down to Potash and back into
Moab. Took roughly 2.5 hours to get to Moab from the top of Shafer Trail, but we stopped a few times to check out the views and for photos. Bring some snacks and some Cokes and enjoy the drive!

6 months ago

Need about 10 inches clearance in areas. November 2017
Locals say 2 people die on this trail every year.
It’s safe if the driver pays attention and let’s the vehicle do it’s job.
DO NOT force it.
There were areas we had to creep and angle the vehicle properly; go sloooow!

off road driving
7 months ago

Drove down the switchbacks in our front wheel drive Sentra almost to the bottom. Worried about traction on the way up but no problem with front wheel drive. High clearance not needed. Did it in dry clear conditions. Some guy in a super high clearance Jeep stopped me on the way down and told me I needed a high clearance vehicle. I've driven on more dangerous roads in the Cockpit country of rural Jamaica in driving rain in a rented Toyota Yaris and continued down the switchbacks without a problem.

7 months ago

Started at the backside of the potash trail and made our way up to the switch backs and up to the national park. I'm surprised this is labeled easy unless it's because they don't consider where it ts off to go to the potash trail it has some dips you have to climb up and down in the canyon.

off road driving
7 months ago

Great views and I recommend starting at the potash and go up the Schafer and up the switch backs for a little more challenge.

off road driving
9 months ago

We drove this trail in dry conditions with a stock Dodge Ram 1500 2wd pickup truck and we had a blast. If you know how to drive different terrain, you'll be fine. High clearence, a bit of torque and a straight head on your shoulders is all you need. I probably wouldn't do it in this truck in rainy conditions, the wet sand patches and slippery rocks would be a risk. But we had a bluebird and with that the best time sofar on our west-coast road trip!

PS: We drove from top to bottom, while this map takes you to the end of Potash Road first to end with the switchbacks. The GPS coordinates for the shafer trailhead are:
38° 28' 17.21"N
109° 48' 41.34"W

Still want to it bottom to top? Potash Road is on the left of the factory, straight on from the road. On the right is a Private Road.

off road driving
11 months ago

Just drove this in a 2WD Xterra; no problems but the clearance was appreciated. We drove down from Canyonlands on a lark in the afternoon and it was stunning. Strongly recommend doing it in the afternoon and towards Moab. Fantastic views the whole way.

off road driving
11 months ago

Was a little busy, mostly with guys biking, but for a lot of the trail we were alone. It's very long and pretty simple :) loved it

off road driving
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Easy off road drive on a narrow steep mountain switchback, beautiful views.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Very fun! Not a lot of traffic and a beautiful drive.

off road driving
Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Very exciting drive going up the side of the canyon. Amazing views! Easy to finish in my Prerunner Tacoma

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The trail was exciting although if you stared down, itll be scary. Very long trail, was exhuasting.

off road driving
Saturday, March 25, 2017

Beautiful view and easy off rod trail. Make sure you have enough fuel and supplies just in case

Friday, March 24, 2017

We went here on our honeymoon.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Easy. Awesome view. If you are scared of heights do not try this trail.

off road driving
Wednesday, August 24, 2016

I just ran this trail last week with my Jeep buddy's. It is a lot of fun and one of my favorite in all of Moab. Super easy to do. Super scenic too!

off road driving
Monday, May 02, 2016

Amazing!!! The best views of canyonlands hands down!

Friday, March 25, 2016

The views are second to none.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The road to Potash is ok but the really beauty begins a few miles past the Potash plant. The trail after several miles enters Canyonlands NP in which only regular vehicles are permited.

There are several beautiful views of the river and wide open vistas.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

This is one of Utah's iconic 4x4 trails. Not for the timid because you climb up some crazy switchbacks with no guardrails. You can do it 2 wheel drive but make sure you can committ to doing the whole thing because there isn't a lot of places to turn around.

If you fear heights, stay home.

off road driving
Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fun Easy trail. Great scenery of the canyon

Sunday, October 19, 2014

My husband LOVED driving down the Shafer Trail...but then again, heights don't bother him. Me? Suffice it to say I didn't enjoy it at all. Several vehicles on the trail. An Audi in particular was in quite a hurry to get down the trail. The driver actually tailgated us (WTH?!?) until we could get to a place to pull over. We took the trail all the way down to Lathrop Canyon where we had the canyon to ourselves. Beautiful drive. Musselman Arch worth the look-see.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I drove it from the top down after being recommended to do it that way from the Moab jeep rental place i went to. i figured they would know best. It was one of the most amazing things i ever have done. Bring lunch with you. I felt safe on the roads, i had to pull over a few times on the switchbacks down to let people pass. I would do it again

off road driving
Saturday, August 24, 2013

Driven this twice from the bottom up. The first time I kept saying where is the road there can't be a road going up their. Lots fun seeing where the road climbed back up to the mesa. Beautiful views.

off road driving
Saturday, March 23, 2013

We started in Moab, crossed the river, and took Hwy 289 to the Potash Ponds, and to the Shafer Trail in Canyonlands. A very scenic drive.

off road driving
Saturday, March 23, 2013

I've driven the Shafer Trail several times. This first time was from Moab out past the Potash Ponds, Dead Horse Point, and up the switchbacks into Canyonlands. It looked rather scary, but was not that difficult. Another time, we drove down the switchbacks to Musselmann Arch and back, and then we went down the switchbacks and all the way to Moab.

off road driving
Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Potash Road, aka Utah Scenic Byway 279, is reached in Moab heading north over the Colorado Bridge. You must proceed slowly or you will miss some fine views, slickrock formations, prehistoric Indian rock art and arches and side trails that are some of the most difficult in the area. It passes the Moab Salt Plant, where water is injected underground to dissolve Potassium salts and dried in evaporation ponds. Further the road leads to great views of the Colorado and eventually to a major junction of the White Rim Trail and the Shafer Trails. Quite a nice ride in itself. We continued down the White Rim Trail to Lantrop Canyon, and caught the Shafer Trail on the way back. A great day of Jeeping!

off road driving
Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Shafer Switchbacks are a series of steep and amazing switchbacks cut into the hillside that take you up and out of the canyon. They may be intimidating for people who are afraid of heights. I did this Jeeping trip with my sons Ron and Bob. We combined this adventure by traveling down the White Rim Trail to Lanthrop Canyon, a rather difficult experience in itself. On the way back to Moab, we took the Shafer Trail up to the top of Dead Horse Point and took Long Canyon Trail (scenic by itself) back to town. It was a beautiful day trip .

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