The White Rim has been on the bucket list for about a year now. My buddy Mike had already done the route twice this year, and had been trying to get me to commit since the spring. Our schedules finally aligned, the weather looked good, and there was one campsite available. Our last minute idea was a go, I was excited to see this amazing land of the canyons. The White Rim is a route in the remote Canyonlands National Park. It navigates around ‘Island in the Sky’ and overlooks the Colorado and Green Rivers. It totals about 100 miles of some rough, sandy, and at times smooth road. We decided to mix it up and roll with Surly fat bikes, a Moonlander and Pugsley. Fatpacking has been a go-to this fall, and for good reason…it’s a blast! The White Rim We had to enter the park to pick up our camping permit that we purchased a few days prior, so we decided to park at the cul-de-sac just south of the visitors center on the left. We loaded up our bikes and were off by 2:00pm on Wednesday. Rolling down Schafer, I was in awe of the shear size of the canyons engulfing the road. We hauled down shafer and finally made our way to the rim, overlooking numerous large and small canyons.
The White RIm
Photo: Mike Behrendt
After stopping a bunch at the beginning to take photos, dial in our rigs and soak it in the views. We got in our grove. Our fatties, the sage, canyon walls and The White Rim. The clouds that were present lifted that afternoon, and along with that came some the heat. The conditions were perfect. We were in heaven. The White Rim You must purchase a permit for camping if you intend on sleeping on route. Anything in the middle from White Crack to Candlestick would do. Fall is the busiest time of year, so the only thing available a few days prior to our departure was the Candlestick campsite, roughly 55 miles in. The sun set as we started to tackle one of the more difficult climbs of the day, Hogback. There is something about riding at night in the desert with no one around, eerie at times, but mostly exhilarating – especially the steep descents on a loaded bike. The White Rim We made it to Candlestick at a decent time, enough time to cook up some veggies, pasta and summer sausage while enjoying some libations out of the flask. We bivvied up, looked in awe at the unbelievable stars and took in for the night. We woke up at 7:30am and slowly got our things together. We had 45 miles to go, and the majority of the tough stuff behind us. The White Rim It was a crisp but nearly perfect mid-October morning, hovering around 50 degrees. It gets pretty warm in these parts, lucky for us mid 70’s were as high as it was going to get that day. The cirrocumulus clouds, sun, and canyon walls made for a picture perfect morning. We followed the Green river through Anderson and Potato Bottom, and really enjoyed ourselves. We stopped and took photos while soaking in the beauty.
The White Rim
Lots of Stoke!
The route got much easier after one final steep climb out of Potato Bottom, followed by a fun descent. We reached Mineral Bottom Road, said goodbye to the Green River and the vibrant orange canyons, and slowly made our way up the switchbacky Horsethief Trail. Once you have reached the top and continue on Mineral Road, you would never know what is below. The road is a slog, but it just reminded me of how special it was down in the canyons.
The White Rim
Photo: Mike Behrendt
We took a cutoff (9 miles into Mineral Road) that shaved about 3 miles, but overall it was more difficult and we told ourselves we would never do it again. We finished in 23 hours on the dot, with about 14 of those hours actually in the saddle. The 9 liters of water that we conserved was quickly gone before we hit HWY 313, but we made it, and on fat bikes no less. Maybe it was overkill, but at the very least we can now say we fat-packed The White Rim. The White RIm

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