Fun times in Moab and on the White Rim Trail

After hiking the Grand Canyon, George and I continued venturing east, but this time northeast to Utah’s Moab region. We heard great things about the off-road trails, mountain biking, and national parks (Arches and Canyonlands), and wanted to explore them all. When we arrived in Moab it was packed with 4×4 vehicles (jeeps, trucks, and vans like ours) because of some kind of Utah holiday weekend. We eventually found a spot to camp about 12 miles down a dirt road towards the BLM land campgrounds. We were handsomely rewarded with incredible canyon views and great mountain biking trails for George.

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Driving to our first campsite in Moab

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Our BLM Campsites in Moab, right in the mountains

Arches National Park

Arches is essentially in the backyard of Moab. You can drive through it in a day, and they have two defined day hikes that take you through gorgeous scenery and some of the most famous arches. Definitely worth a stop if you are in the area.

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Arches National Park

We learned from an arch-hunter in Moab (yes, you read that correctly, there are self-described arch-hunters) that there are actually over 2,500 arches in the park, and you have to go off the defined roads and trails to get to most of them. If you discover a new arch, you are immortalized by being able to name it! Sadly, we discovered no new arches on our hikes.

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The most famous Arch in the world, Delicate Arch

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Landscape Arch

On day two, George did some amazing mountain biking on some black diamond trails (I don’t even want to know!), and I got the last permit to hike the Fiery Furnace trail with a guide in Arches (due to someone cancelling last minute). The Fiery Furnace takes you through a winding maze of wall-like rock formations that have you scrambling over crevices and cracks. Unfortunately since I needed both hands in many instances and was by myself, I didn’t get any great photo-ops, but the hike was great.

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Best Mountain Biking in my life was the Amasa Back Trails in Moab!!

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On top of the HyMasa Trail

The White Rim Trail – Canyonlands National Park

The White Rim Trail is a 100 mile 4×4 (or mountain biking) road in Canyonlands National Park that winds through the canyons around the Colorado and Green rivers. Very few people a day are allowed on the trail, and people often book months in advance. For mountain biking and 4×4 enthusiasts, its a big bucket-list item.

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First look at the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands

Prior to hiking the Grand Canyon, George was able to get on the Sportsmobile forum and hooked up with a guy we came to know as Don, who had permits to drive the White Rim Trail. Don wanted another vehicle to accompany him on the trail (a smart thing to do when driving remote jeep roads), and we desperately wanted to drive/ride the trail, so it was a perfect match. I cannot describe enough how incredible Canyonlands and the White Rim Trail was. It’s like taking the most impressive parts of the Grand Canyon and Death Valley and mashing them together, but adding these white marble-looking chess pieces in the center (monuments). And to top it off, with these permits, you basically have the whole park to yourself; we saw very few people.

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Only 30 permits per day allowed for the White Rim trail, so we had the park mostly to ourselves

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The Monuments in Canyonlands

We also had an incredible time camping and getting to know Don and Ed on this trip, our White Rim Trail compadres. They have experiences and knowledge far beyond ours, and we enjoyed hearing about their adventures, as well as learning so many things about the inner workings of our Sportsmobile, and 4×4 driving tips.

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One of our campsites with Don and Ed

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Don cruising around Green River

Speaking of 4×4 driving, I ended up driving a majority of the trail while George mountain biked. This was an intermediate 4×4 trail with many steep, rocky, and hilly parts that really tested your 4wd low gear. The white rim trail should be called the white knuckle trail. But following Don and Ed on the trail, we were able to make it through no problem and also learned a great deal about airing down tires, what gear to be in when, etc. It turned out to be such a blast and I truly feel confident in Titus’s ability to handle any road conditions we’ll encounter on our trip.

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Getting our low gears some use

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The trail went feet from the edges

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Happy to have survived 50 miles on day one! Jenine drove Titus and I rode my mountain bike

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George on the final ascent back out of The White Rim Trail - 1,200' up

Up next we’ll be doing some hikes in Bryce Canyon, and are in search of some hot springs, possibly in Saline Valley.

What we are listening to:
Leonard Cohen – Slow

More photos from Arches and Canyonlands:

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Driving to our first campsite in Moab

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Our BLM Campsites in Moab, right in the mountains

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Arches National Park

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The most famous Arch in the world

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Picture under the Arch

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The slick rock canyons in Arches are amazing

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Jenine on the Slick Rock

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Posing up top of Delicate Arch

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Mountain Biking by Arches

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Primitive trails in Arches

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Such cool trail terrain to explore in Arches

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Picture frame

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Double Arch

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Jenine taking a breather

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Landscape Arch

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Best Mountain Biking in my life was the Amasa Back Trails in Moab!!

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MyMasa to Captain Ahab trail was incredible and very challenging

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On top of the HyMasa Trail

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messing up a drop

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Trail got significantly more dangerous when it turned into Capt Ahab - doing drops on a hard tail bike was brutal

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Fiery Furnance hike

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Skull Arch

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Rainbow over titus

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First look at the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands

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I opted to Mountain Bike most of the White Rim trail, while Jenine drove #Titus

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Getting ready for a 1200' decent

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Shafer Switch backs to start White Rim Trail. A blast on a MNT bike and very scary inside a monster van like Titus

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Our SMB companions Don and Ed take the trail first

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Shafer Switch backs - narrow road, right on the cliff

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Jenine eying up the descent

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The SMB Amigos + my Mountain Bike

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Canyonlands had some amazing views all along the white rim trail

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Don in his SMB viewing the canyon

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Don and Jenine crawling around the tops

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Only 30 permits per day allowed for the White Rim trail, so we had the park mostly to ourselves

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The trail went feet from the edges

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Descending into Lathrop canyon

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Stopping down at the Colorado River

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Crawling back up a side trail in Lathrop Canyon

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Get our low gears some use

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Rock ascent out of Lathrop Canyon

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The Monuments in Canyonlands

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Murphy's Hog Back - a very very steep ascent to camp

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Vistas look like chess pieces

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Mountain biking selfie

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On top of canyonlands at camp ground

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Our first night camp @ Murphys

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Happy to have survived 50 miles on day one! Jenine drove Titus and I rode my mountain bike

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Don's bad ass SMB

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Don with his Rig

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Potluck - Ribs and Chili

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Camp night 1

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Taking a break by Green Lake

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Hardscrabble hill coming up.....

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Night two camping

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Don cruising around green lake

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White Rim Trail Info

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George on the final ascent back out of The White Rim Trail - 1,200' up

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Exhausted at the top finally

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The White Rim Trail Crew in front of Titus

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Crew in front of Don's Rig

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9 comments on “Fun times in Moab and on the White Rim Trail
  1. Shawna says:

    I love the photos you guys! It is such beautiful country over there. Way to go, George, on scoring the pemit share with Don and Ed! Sounds like a great experience. Thanks for sharing!

    XO + GO GIANTS!
    Shawna

  2. Carolyn says:

    You two look so happy.
    I read your blogs to Uncle Paul. We are both enjoying your adventures.

  3. Don says:

    Had a great time with you guys on that drive.
    Very spectacular.
    Thanks for coming along.
    Don

  4. Chris and Christy says:

    Very jealous of your trip. We did a similar trip in Needles about 15 yrs ago when I had a jeep. I have always wanted to go back. Looks like the white rim trail needs to be on our list.

  5. Jim Wasielewski says:

    Yikes George. You look pretty close to the edge on that one picture!!! Guess you don’t have any fear of heights.

  6. Aldercrest says:

    Love the photos! Brings great memories of trips to Moab and our trip around the White Rim in the SMB (Vanna). What’s funny about White Rim photos is that the hardest, steepest, most exposed parts never show up in the photos. It seems that everyone is too busy driving their vans… or too scared to get out!

  7. OOOOOOOOOOOOH to be 50 years younger!!! Seeing and knowing what I know today. We love you both and look forward to more pics.

  8. Jeremy says:

    We missed you guys by about 10 days. We were out there in our SMB-esque Ford van 10/15. Would have loved to have met you 4 in person.

    -Jeremy
    Portland, OR
    (Go Beavs!)

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