Content and Images by Mike Behrendt The White Rim trail is a 100 mile loop that stretches through the heart of Canyonlands National Park, just outside of Moab, Utah.  With stunning views and spectacular geological features around every bend in the road, it’s a bikepackers psychedelic dream come true.  The route is primarily on a double track road and after dropping down to the canyon rim you’re sure to put in some quick miles.  The terrain remains fairly flat with short climbs and gradual descents for the first 40 miles if traveling clockwise.  Expect steeper climbs from here on out, with the longest one being to the top of the Horsetheif Trail. Early Spring and late Fall are the best times to spend on the trail since the desert temperatures can be well over 100 degrees in the middle of the summer. mikeonabike1 Most people spend 2-3 days on average to complete the 100 miles by bike, but I could not help to think how much fun it would be to complete the loop in a day. This past week I spent 2 days riding solo and self supported on the White Rim trail. Being solo, I was able to enjoy the solitude and vastness of the park at my own pace. I constantly found myself detouring from the road to ride as close to the edge of the rim as possible.  Most of the trail is surrounded by cryptobiotic soil, so keeping your tires on solid rock off trail is a must.  Whether you decide to ride the White Rim clockwise (most common) or counter-clockwise, it’s sure to be a fulfilling trip! Mikeonabike3 Being in such an area as Canyonlands National Park is truly an eye opening experience.  I was amazed by how easily I could access such a remote area by bike and I constantly felt like I was lost on another planet.  The sandstone formations that I was surrounded by for 2 days, in combination with the feeling of being completely alone, put me in an altered state of mind.  I had a steep climb to my campsite at Murphy’s Hogback to finish the first half of the trail and took some time at the top to think about my day, where I was, and the current moment.  I started at the Shafer Trail switchbacks in the late afternoon and it was now only 6:00pm. There are 8 campsites throughout the 100 miles of the White Rim that provide many different options for trip itineraries.  The Colorado and Green River run nearby the trail but access can be difficult and they are not recommended sources for drinking water. This video of Mike on the White Rim riding close to the edge is sure to make your hands sweat!


  1. Sounds like a sweet mini-adventure! A great weekend trip, for sure! I’m looking forward to doing this ride someday soon. Thanks for sharing your experience, Mikey B.

  2. Super sweet, and one we’ll do for sure. Good write up, share, and sweet, sweet ride. We shared it on Southwestbackcountry’s Facebook page if you don’t mind.

  3. PS. we like the from placement, and will probably steal that.

  4. What’s recommended, 29 X 2.35 or 29 X 3.0 (fully rigid) or does it not matter?

  5. Also, did you pack 3 gallons of water and ride the whole thing or stash by car?

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