Shafer Canyon Road wants to be driven by YOU!

This is one road that when you see it, you will get the urge to drive it and prove you have what it takes. Of course make sure the weather isn’t bad (raining, snowing or earthquake) and it’s wise not to drive at night otherwise, it wins and you lose.

VIDEO: Check out the drive!

You will find Shafer Canyon Road approxamately 1 mile north of the Canyonlands Island in the Sky Visitor Center. Before going, and this we highly recommend, drive to the Shafer Canyon Overlook just south of the visitor center. You won’t be disappointed!

Shafer Canyon Overlook
Shafer Canyon Overlook

The views are stunning and you will get the best possible vantage point of the switchbacks leading into the canyon.

Switchbacks
Switchbacks

Truly breathtaking scenery! Photos won’t do this justice. Spend a hour or two and just soak it all in then get up, get in your car and go do it.

One thing I will honestly say, before starting this drive we were a little concerned. Thoughts like how tight are the switchbacks, what if a car is coming up, is there room to pass, what if the car has a problem. The road is very intimidating! We stayed focused and just did it.

Once we made it to our destination, setup camp, and could relax, we realized it wasn’t as scary as expected. Don’t get me wrong, you should pay attention at all times, drive slow, have a spotter look for oncoming cars or even just get out and look around the sharper turns before driving through them. If you do all these things you should be fine. Oh and it’s recommended you drive a 4×4.

Beginning the Drive Down

The drive down will provide you with so many great sights unless you are the driver and as the driver you should ONLY be watching the road!!

Shafer Trail Sign
Shafer Trail Sign
Our Jeep
Our Jeep
Another Amazing View of the Road
Another Amazing View of the Road
The Road Never Ends...
The Road Never Ends…

Canyon Scenery

The scenery is incredible everywhere you look. Here are a few photos of rock formations, mountains, and layers of colors.

Getting Close to the Bottom
Getting Close to the Bottom
Layers and Layers of Color
Layers and Layers of Color
Interesting Rock Formations
Interesting Rock Formations
Boulders Larger Than Our Jeep
Boulders Larger Than Our Jeep
Common Southwest Scenery
Common Southwest Scenery
Close to Our Campsite
Close to Our Campsite

Our Campsite

Our Camp and Tents
Our Camp and Tents

Shafer Campground was in a great location. It is the ONLY campground at the very bottom of the canyon so if privacy is what you want then you will have it. Fantastic scenery in all directions, quiet at night and the sky was loaded with stars. We only stayed one night but could have stayed much longer.

Time to Enjoy the View
Time to Enjoy the View
Campsite Marker
Campsite Marker
Aimee Hiking Above Our Camp
Aimee Hiking Above Our Camp

Beginning the Drive Up

Starting the drive back to the top of the canyon. It’s hard to believe how intimidated we were yesterday, now we are confident, comfortable and excited.

Heading Back Up
Heading Back Up
Pulled Over for a Photo Op
Pulled Over for a Photo Op

By the way, we were so focused on driving we forgot that there are Indian petroglyphs and some arches to be seen. We don’t have any details exactly where they are located along the drive but when we find out we will update this.

One last note, Canyonlands is a breathtaking national park. If you have only a short time, get to the overlooks and do some short hikes. You won’t be disappointed.

We hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Now we are off to Elephant Hill to explore the Needles District!

More Area Information

Just a few useful notes
• It’s recommended your vehicle is 4 wheel drive / 4×4
• No water is available in the canyon so bring what you’ll need
• No speeding or passing

Shafer Campground
• $30 for a 14 day backcountry permit
• I believe we were told we could only stay two nights consecutively

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