The Shafer Trail Viewpoint at Canyonlands National Park near Moab, Utah is an easy 0.1-mile out-and-back trail that features a stunning view of the Shafer Trail as its winds its way down the Shafer Canyon.
This is not a hike but rather a short out-and-back walk that leads to the cliff edge where hikers will find a stunning view. From the cliff's edge, hikers will find a view of the Shafer Trail -- a driveable trail that winds and twists its way along switchbacks to reach the base of Shafer Canyon.
Long ago, native people likely used this route (The Shafer Trail) to travel from the mesa to the Colorado River. In the early 1900s, ranchers drove livestock on it. Back then, the route was narrower and much more rugged. Animals sometimes slipped to their deaths. Imagine coaxing several hundred sheep along this path to find shelter in the canyons below or to graze in the grasslands above. The uranium boom in the 1950s changed the face of canyon country forever, beginning with the roads. The Shafer Trail was upgraded to accommodate trucks hauling mining equipment and ore. Abandoned mining roads can still be seen in narrow scars across the desert floor. After the establishment of Canyonlands National Park in 1964, the era of ranching and mining came to a close, but today's backcountry travelers owe their thanks to the pioneer of the Shafer Trail.
Visitors will find a small parking turnout at the coordinates provided, located on the eastern side of Grand View Point Road in Canyonlands National Park.
Dogs are not allowed on any trails at Canyonlands National Park. Please do not bring your dog here.
Sun exposure: This trail has very little shade and no water sources. Pack-in all water and wear sun screen and a hat to protect against sun exposure. It's smart to hike either in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the intense desert sun.
No water: This trail has no water sources so you must pack-in all water. A general rule of thumb in the desert is 1 gallon of water per person per day.
Rattlesnakes: This is rattlesnake territory, so be on the lookout and give any rattlers you find plenty of space.
Steep cliffs: This trail follows steep cliffs. Watch your step and give yourself plenty of space from the edge of the cliffs for your own safety.
Vehicle entry fees to Canyonlands National Park is $30 as of September 2023.
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