Family Adventures on The White Rim Trail

Adventures on the White Rim Trail

As one of our first big steps in preparing for our big trip, we recently bought a truck.  We knew we couldn’t afford a brand new $50k dollar pickup, so we were on the search for a good used one.  After some research and searching, we ended up buying a Chevrolet Silverado 1500.  This was a critical checklist item, since we needed a truck before we could buy a trailer.

And in true Rascal fashion, we waited a mere 5 days before taking our new pickup on a real adventure.  We took our Chevy 4x4ing in the Southern Utah desert.  Specifically, we took it on the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park.

The White Rim is a famous mountain biking and jeeping destination.  It is a ROUGH 100-mile road thru “Island in the Sky” – a remote piece of desert wedged between the Colorado and Green Rivers.  Most folks take 3 days to mountain bike it, bringing along a support vehicle with camping gear and WATER.

We had 7 adults on the trip–including my parents—plus Little P, which made it a 3-generation adventure.  Because we had the truck along, each adult was responsible for driving ~14 miles.  Due to the rough conditions, driving was sometimes slower than biking.

The White Rim with a Child

Biking the White Rim

So how did we manage to take a 4 year old on this trip?  Amazingly, he biked some of it on his own. (He’s pretty tough, and his Woom 2 is highly capable).

For portions of the trip, he also rode on the TykeToter with either Blair or myself.  This was nice because we were able to keep up a good pace but he was also able to get the real White Rim experience.

Finally, he also spent a good deal of time in the truck.  If you have kids on this trip, you definitely want to make sure you have room for them to ride in the sag wagon.

And how did the new truck fare?

As for the truck, I’m pleased to say it fared pretty well.  There are some crazy sketchy sections of road,  but we made it away with only a broken door handle, and it’s hard to say how that happened.  :-/   I think it’s going to be a great vehicle for all our upcoming adventures!

Adventures on the White Rim Trail

Here’s a little video I made of our trip.

Planning a White Rim Trip

The White Rim Road

If you are interested in doing the White Rim yourself, DO IT.  This is a bucket list trip, and a life experience you won’t soon forget.  Even if you have kids, it is doable and worthwhile.

What to Pack

  • One gallon of water per person per day MINIMUM. We used these water containers.
  • Camping gear
  • Plenty of food
  • Bike tools

Permits and Fees

  • To do this trip, you have to get a backcountry permit AND if you plan to do it in more than one day (highly recommended), you will have to reserve camp spots. These fill up VERY fast.  Plan on knowing what spots you want and go in at midnight on the day registration starts.  Here is where you can register online.
  • In addition, to permit and camping fees, you also have to pay entry to the park.  Entry fees can be found here.


White Rim Map

Other Things to Know

  • You need a high-clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle if you plan to have a support vehicle.
  • The best times of year to do this trip are in the spring and fall.
  • Most people do the ride clockwise.
  • Most people park at the junction of Highway 313 and Mineral Basin Road. There is a small but sufficient dirt parking area there.  Unfortunately, you will have to pay both an entry fee to the park for your vehicle PLUS an entry fee for any people entering separately by bike.  If you can fit everybody and your bikes in the car, do it to save some cash.
  • Each day will take way longer than expected due to sightseeing, slow driving, etc. We spent about 8 hours each day biking.