Adventure Catalyst: White Rim Trail

Words: Dylan Stucki
Photos: Dylan Stucki | Ben Kraushaar | Grady James| Sam Simmons

You know its spring in the desert when all the license plates turn green. The ultimate escape from a long, cold, and dark winter, it’s no wonder the red rocks are complimented by the blooming green plates and masses of people. Everyone seemed to be headed to the desert. Maybe we should go too? But where would we go?

After hours of research and one-star Yelp reviews, we learned that the White Rim Trail, located in the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park was, “quite boring for the most part, and a very long drive,” and “there was no point where I felt like I was standing atop an island in the sky.” It was a bummer to learn that we already had a backcountry permit for four nights on the White Rim. We should have opted for a Gilmore Girls marathon, but Ben spent six seasons worth on the permit so we had no choice but to go check it out.

Between the four of us we packed 6-8 cases of beer, which we figured would help with the boredom and at least get us through the four nights. We shuttled the trucks and packed all our gear in Ben’s truck that we planned to take turns driving through the week. Worst-case scenario, the boredom would become too much to handle, at which point we’d hop in the truck and cut our losses.

We dropped into Shafer from the main road and lit up the flat, gravel road corners with high speed drifting and laughter. The exposure was enough to keep the heart rate elevated and we instantly realized the reviews were bogus. We spent the next four nights in one of the most incredible landscapes accessible by truck and bicycle. We drank beer, basked in the sun, ate a lot of bacon, pioneered new lines all over the side of the road, explored a rad slot canyon, and ran out of beer.

For us and for many, this trip was not really about the perfect winter escape, or the brotherhood of four really good friends, or even the powerful experience of the desert landscape… It was all about having a good time. Lesson learned: bring more beer.