Shafer Road

Posted by on Apr 29, 2010 in Moab | 4 Comments

Frank and John Shafer needed a way to get cattle from the mesa tops, onto the shelf of open sage and brush—and the Colorado River—some 2,000 vertical feet below them. So they did what any ambitious cattle rancher in 1914 would have done: They built a trail. In the 1950s bulldozers widened the trail to facilitate the uranium boom. I can only imagine how many cattle fell to an untimely death in those early days of herding them off the top. Shafer Road is one of the most impressive engineering accomplishments in the United States. At least, it is from an improbability perspective. And while several jeeps and trucks creak and moan their way up and down the road each summer, I think it is most appreciated on a bike.

shafer canyonlands

shafer switchbacks

white rim trail

white rim shafer


  1. Keith
    April 29, 2010

    Or despised if you are coming from the wrong direction…Ughh. Next year (month) we go back to the Clockwise, yes?

  2. Brandon
    April 29, 2010

    Impressive photographs. It reminds me of my suffering. I agree with Keith, when are we going back? The current snow/rain needs to stop.

  3. Jonnie J
    April 30, 2010

    I missed out on the festivities this year. Let me know if you go down again this spring. This is one of my favorite rides.

  4. Greg
    April 30, 2010

    I agree, impressive photos! Looks like one heck of a climb!

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