Shafer Trail and Potash Road

MODERATE 3 reviews
#35 of 55 trails in

Shafer Trail and Potash Road is a 18.3 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Moab, Utah that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for nature trips and off road driving and is best used from March until November.

DISTANCE
18.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1522 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Point to Point

nature trips

off road driving

views

off road driving
10 days ago

Starting around 4pm in August the trail was infrequently trafficked, we only met 1-2 cars coming the other direction in the switchbacks (the only real spot where you're in trouble when you meet a car).

Once you enter the north gate of Canyonlands (about a 35 minute drive from Moab), the turn off is clearly marked just before the visitors center. You will immediately start narrow switchbacks down into the canyon. You may need to reverse back to a corner in some areas if the trail is not wide enough for when you meet a vehicle coming from the bottom. This will continue for about 4 miles or so with stunning views of the canyon. The only thing I would change would be starting this trail in the morning as the canyon faces out east and the light may be better on the rocks as it rises.

After the switchbacks the trail is well marked with signs and Potash Road continues for 14 miles of winding trails following the Colorado River for the majority. Some turn offs along this section provide for photo opp areas that you will not see from the majority of Canyonlands visitors.

Throughout the trail you will need to occasionally navigate around rocky obstacles. You will need 4x4 and at least 8-9" of ground clearance in some spots. We completed the trail easily in a 2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk 4x4. And though I did put it into Rock Mode for an area or two, I found that I probably could have just used the standard 4x4 mode, perhaps with a litter added wheelspin.

Once you get to the bright blue water, you may feel that you're on a different planet, but they are simply evaporation pools for the Salt company of Utah/Moab. You may find yourself passing multiple Hired-Tour company vehicles coming up from Moab but the trail is usually wide enough at this point.

Added bonus, as you leave the trail and join up with the main road heading back to Moab, you'll see a sign advertising Indian Markings, these were very cool 3-8000 year old sketches right on he side of the road, very neat.

off road driving
1 month ago

Incredible scenery and fun little ride back to Moab.

4 months ago

We took Shafer Trail and turned on to White Rim trail and to the Lathrop Trail to Colorado river, then back to Potash road and go to Moab. The White Rim part requires a permit which we got online (it's free). We drove a rental Chevy Tahoe which is Ok. The trip is bumpy but the SUV handled it well. White Rim requires 4WD with high clearance. The part from Shafer to Colorado took about 3 hours with stops at a couple of places including Musselman Arch. The return to Potash took 1.5 hours and maybe another 1.5-2hours back to Moab.