On March 30th, I decided to do what is known as the White Rim in a Day (WRIAD for short). The White Rim trail is a 100 mile loop in Canyonlands National Park that circumnavigates the Island in the Sky Mesa. "The 'White Rim in a Day' (WRAID) has been a classic for mtn bikers since it was first done (probably) by Buzz Burrell in the mid-1980s." The trail is most commonly done as a bikepack or with a sag wagon and broken up into a 2 to 3 day outing. The White Rim has been completed on a unicycle , single speed , and even hand cranked.
The White Rim has been completed by bike in just under 6 hours by Andy Dorais, which is mind blowing and truly heroic in comparison to my 9hr 38 min effort. I forget who said this first, but "The best bike is the one you have". I'd surely would of opted for a hard tail 29er if I had it at my disposal, but this wasn't an option. My tried and true gravel grinder would do the trick just fine. The terrain around the White Rim is fairly tame in terms of technicality. In reality, its just a jeep road with the rockiest sections lying between the Whitecrack and Airport campgrounds (East side of the loop). There were a couple sand traps, but they were practically all ridable and the longest stretch lasted only a couple hundred feet. That being said, I didn't care how rocky or sandy things would get. I wanted to explore the landscape and would hike-a-bike if thats what it ended up taking.
Below are some pictures from my trip around the White Rim.
A map of the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park. I rode the loop in the Counter Clockwise direction, which starts with 9 miles of road heading North and then a long 15 mile descent to Mineral Bottom and finishes with a 5 mile - 1,300 foot climb up the Shafer Trail.
My rig and weapon of choice for the White Rim trail.
White Rim two-track - The way forward in a sea of burnt orange.
On top of the Hardscrabble climb overlooking the Green River. The White Rim Trail can be seen on the right side of the river making its way through the sagebrush and cottonwoods.
One of the many breathtaking views while on the White Rim trail. A good chunk of the trail is actually on the surface that you see in the foreground. Riding along the snaking canyon rim makes for an ever changing perspective of the landscape.
on top of Murphy's with the Candlestick Tower off to the right.
The La Sal mountains off in the distance. The juxtaposition of alpine and desert landscapes is captivating.
Looking towards Monster Tower (tallest tower on the right) and the adjacent Washer Woman tower.
As I reflect back on this ride, I can't help but have a deep sense of appreciation for the landscape. A yearning to go back and explore every nook and cranny; to learn a place even more. My imagination flows through the many twists and turns of the landscape, dreaming of the next exploration. The desert is truly magnificent.
Bike: Fuji Tread 2.0
Tires: WTB Nano 40s
Oveja Negra Frame Bag (water), Revelate Designs JerryCan (food), Timbuk 2 saddle bag (bike tool, co2s, etc.)
2 hard bottles, 1 bladder, 2 soft flasks