The Shafer Trail at the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park is an iconic road that descends 1,500 feet (457 m) through a colorful, massive sandstone cliff. Its function has changed through the years; from a route made by Native Americans to access resources on the mesa top, to a trail for sheep herders moving flocks to better foraging in winter time, and then a road for trucks moving loads of uranium from the backcountry to market. Today, the Shafer Trail is a challenging, unpaved backcountry road for recreational users seeking the experience of a lifetime.
High-clearance 4WD vehicles with a low range gear (4LO) are highly recommended. ATVs, OHVs, or UTVs are not permitted inside the park.
- Buckle up! Seatbelts are required on all roads.
- Obey the 15 mph (24 kph) speed limit.
- Watch for low overhanging rocks.
- Uphill traffic has the “right-of-way.” Use berms and pull-outs to allow uphill traffic to pass safely.
- Please stay on the trail so as not to disturb biological soil crust. Damaged soils are prone to erosion and invasive species.