Thursday, May 30, 2013

Potash Road to Canyonlands NP

Moab,  UT

 Last Sunday (5-26) Joe and I decided to take a "Sunday drive".  We just decided to go...without a plan or destination. We headed north on Hwy 191 and made a left turn on Potash Road, Hwy 279.
Colorado River

 The drive along paved Hwy 279 follows the Colorado River. It is quite scenic.

Rock climbers

Petroglyphs along the road

After about 17 miles, the pavement ends. We passed a potash plant on the left. We didn't think much about the plant until we saw the evaporating pools...they are so blue! And look so out of place.

The trail is a well-maintained road for stock, high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles.

 And at times the trail runs close to cliff edges along shelf roads.

Somewhere along the way, the road changed names...Potash Road runs into Shafer Trail (San Juan County Road 142).

 This is Dead Horse State Park in the background...

...and Thelma and Louise Point in the foreground.

The final scene of the movie Thelma and Louise was filmed here.

To us, this was just a beautiful view of the Colorado River and the canyon walls.

This is the back entrance to Canyonlands NP on Shafer Trail.

 We took a side trip to Musselman Arch on a stretch of the White Rim Trail.

The views were beautiful...

...the trail is narrow... you wind along the edge of canyons in the shadows of high cliffs.

 Musselman Arch is approximately 8 feet wide and 100 feet long. I would never do it, but you can walk across the arch. It is a 60 foot drop to the canyon floor.

Musselman Arch

Back on Shafer Trail...

...up, and up and up we went. This part of the trail is called the Shafer Switchbacks.

I enjoyed the non-stop breathtaking views...

...although, I have to confess I should have been watching for on coming vehicles.

The switchbacks take you up (or down depending on where you choose to begin) about 1,000 feet.

Once we reached the top, we turned left and visited the Island in the Sky Visitor Center. Then headed home.

It was an amazing Sunday drive....

...with amazing views!

Y'all come back!



  1. Loved that road! I know you had a great time. The pictures are great.

  2. I've camped at the group site called Gold Bar along that road and kayaked on the Colorado river. I LOVE that amazing area around Moab...

  3. GORGEOUS! thanks so much for sharing...We need to get back there!

  4. Wonderful drive! We enjoyed that road also. Beautiful views. Glad you had a great day.

  5. I wondered if the Thelma and Louise cliff was in that area. Now I know. Looks like your idea of taking a Sunday drive turned out great!

  6. Love sunday drives in the desert, thanks for taking us along, and the info on Thelma and Louise.

  7. We weren't around there long but we loved the Moab area. Heck, we loved Utah. There was so much to see and do.