Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Shafer Trail in Canyonlands National Park

During our first trip to Canyonlands, we decided to exit the park via the Shafer Trail on June 17, 2008, a 4-wheel drive only road that we read about in our Moab trail book. The trail is rated easy and much of it was very wide. The trail begins at the top of the canyon. In the photo below you can see the Shafer Trail leading out of the canyon just left of center. It was just 18.2 miles back to the highway, but the drive took a couple of hours.
The switchbacks look terrifying, but they are actually very wide and not scary to drive on at all. The switchbacks do make for some awesome pictures, though!!

I know this looks scary, but I promise it's an easy road and nothing compared to the switchbacks on Black Bear Pass here in Telluride.

The trail becomes easier and easier, and eventually exits the park and onto a county service road.

The view of the Colorado River along Shafer Trail.

A mirage in the Moab Desert. These are actually the evaporation pools for the Moab Salt Plant, but the water is tinted such a bright blue that it doesn't look real, especially in these surroundings.

After finishing the Shafer Trail, we exited on Potash Road. These are petroglyphs that are right along the road and well-marked with a sign pointing them out.

As we drove along Potash Road we came upon the area of the Dinosaur tracks, which I unfortunately didn't get a picture of. We were surprised to find that this area is also the trailhead for one of the difficult Jeep trails in Moab called Poison Spider Mesa. Jay is really wanting to drive on this trail and I have no desire to!! For one thing, I've seen what the "easy" rated trails are like in the Moab area and I can't imagine what a difficult trail would be like. I also don't like poison spiders. HAHAHA!! Maybe sometime Jay will splurge on gas money and drive the CJ-7 to Moab and drive it in his Jeep. We have become spoiled to the new Rubicon because it does everything so effortlessly.

It was 103 degrees by the time we got back to Moab, which seemed really bizarre considering the Jeep trails around Telluride are still not open due to the large amounts of snow we had over the winter that still hasn't melted. Ophir Pass did open last week and hopefully we can make a trip to Silverton on it soon!


julie said...

Very cool! So I suppose the Indians used ash or something to blacken the rocks for the petroglyphs? Or, did they paint on top of the black?

Lisa Wilson said...

Good question, Julie. There was no information next to these petroglyphs, just a sign at the side of the road.

Colorado Guy (Steve) said...

Wow. I am just amazed!