The forecast for tomorrow was 80% chance of rain so we decided to try that road we had seen from high up on Dead Horse Point in case it gets washed out.
Long story short, we had no problem. This morning I measured how much clearance the CRV had so I could judge if I wanted to go over something. It has just under 9” from its lowest point to the ground. As a bonus the lowest point is a steel bar that goes right across the front at the bottom so if I hit that I know to stop immediately. I assume that is what it is for. Good for Honda.
The road says it is for recommended for high clearance vehicles only. The CRV is higher than most cars but not in the class of an off road jeep. There were two spots that made me a bit nervous but we didn’t hit. The 4wd did make me feel a lot surer on some of the steeper sections.
The one thing that was a constant worry was getting a flat. The CRV just has regular all season highway tires, whereas everyone else seemed to have honking big off road tires.
On the trail we saw all kinds of ATVs, Jeeps of all models, 4x4 pickup trucks, motorcycles and us, a Honda CRV. We just puttered along in first gear, probably at no more than 5 mph, letting everyone pass when then caught up to us. I was very impressed by the CRV’s ability to handle this rough a road.
The Shafer Trail is just a continuation of the road we took out of Moab yesterday that follows the Colorado River. Instead of turning off onto Long Canyon road we just continued to the end. At the Potash plant, that uses the blue pools, the road got a bit narrower.
And then turned to large jittery gravel. From here to the end it is about 18 miles. It took us 3 1/2 hours with stops.
There were a few smooth spots but very few.
The blue pools are built up on a small plateau. As we got close we could see some leaking out.
Climbing up to the pools.
We crossed this creek covered in salt.
When we first saw the formation below, we thought it was interesting how that crack had formed.
It turned out the two parts weren’t even close to each other.
A new flower to us.
Lots of interesting shapes for Jennie to check out.
We got our first good look at Dead Horse Point. The rounded section to the right is where the visitors center and walkway is located.
We seemed to continually catch up with a group on ATV’s. They took some side trips that I did not want to attempt.
We did follow them most of the places they went to catch the best views.
I was going slow enough that I stopped in time to let this guy cross the road.
Here is a section where you may think I tilted the camera but no, the road was tilted.
We were continually looking up at Dead Horse Point to see if we could figure out where we were based on our view from yesterday.
It is an imposing monolith.
You can see the viewing platform that Jennie was on.
We stopped for lunch at a spot where we had our first good look down at the Colorado River.
The sun was making an interesting pattern on the water.
Our next stop with the ATVers was the viewpoint right above the horseshoe bend that we could see from Dead Horse Point.
The panoramic view. It is distorted because it is so wide and close.
We moved away from the river and into Shafer Canyon
One last look back at the river.
The spot below may not look bad but it was so rough I barely crept across it. I didn’t want to shake our 14 year old CRV apart.
Once we entered the boundary of Canyonlands National Park they conveniently posted a speed limit, that was unobtainable.
There was, however, a washroom so we stopped for a break.
Somehow we are climbing that wall ahead of us. Yesterday we had seen the zigzags from above but we could not see them now.
Here is our approximate path.
Getting closer and it is still hard to see.
It was really narrow and we did meet a few cars. Jennie stared at the wall the whole time.
Some people were headed down on bikes. They are at that point center top, below.
Once we got to the top we headed to the National Park visitor’s center.
On the main park road there were some viewpoints back down to where we had come from.
Another distorted panorama to give you an idea of the overall picture. From above it does not look that steep but on some of the sections I had some wheel spin. Each corner was blind as well because the next part was so far above you.
I thought it was a lot of fun.
Our next stop was a short hike off the main park road to Mesa Arch. The park road did not seem to have a single straight section. The only reason I could come up with was to keep everyone’s speed way down.
It was only a 1/4 mile trail.
The view behind the arch.
The arch was not as impressive from the other side.
Our final stop was called the Grand View Point. Scroll right.
You can see a dirt road far below called the White Rim Road. It is around 100 miles long as it winds it way around the park. We saw a group of people biking it.
We will not be trying this road.
By now it was 4 pm and we were tired. We headed home via the highway. It was an hours drive from here.