Canyonlands and Arches National Park Off-Road Tour

Many people want to go off-roading in Arches and Canyonlands National Park near Moab, Utah. After seeing how rugged the terrain is and how easily it would be to get lost, I recommend booking a guided tour 100%During our epic Utah road trip, we booked the Full Day Canyonlands and Arches National Park Tour with NAVTEC Expeditions. I would highly recommend them if you’re looking to do a Canyonlands and Arches National Park Off-Road Tour! 

Canyonlands + Arches National Park Off-Roading Tour Review

The NAVTEC Arches and Canyonlands 4X4 full day tour and includes the Shafer Trail, Tower Arch, and lunch! On this tour, you’ll get to see all the Arches and Canyonlands National Park best sights and attractions, including: 

  • Shafer Trail
  • Island in the Sky Mesa
  • White Rim
  • Devil’s Garden
  • Doc Williams Point
  • Tower Arch
  • Eye of the Whale
  • And more!
off roading tour canyonlands

Due to the dangerous roads and hazardous terrain, without the proper vehicle (and knowledge), there is no way you’d be able to drive through many parts of the National Parks. NAVTEC uses badass 4X4 off-road vehicles that are specially equipped to handle this terrain. I cannot stress enough how much I recommend leaving this up to the experts.

4x4 off road vehicle for canyonlands national park

Off-Roading Tour in Canyonlands National Park

We started off the tour in Canyonlands National Park. NAVTEC took us to see ancient petroglyphs done by Ancestral Puebloans which are pretty cool, considering how old they are.

ancient petroglyphs in Canyonlands National Park
petroglyphs done by Ancestral Puebloans

The Moab area is also know for having tons of fossilized dino tracks! You’ll see them in both national parks.

Canyonlands National Park petrified dino tracks

Once you get into the national park, that’s when the terrain gets bumpy. The roads are also very narrow and have steep dropoffs. I would not feel comfortable driving that myself one bit, which would be a bummer because I would hate to miss out on this park… Canyonlands is absolutely beautiful.

Island in the Sky

off road vehicles in canyonlands

Thelma and Louise Point

Along the tour you get to explore part of the Island in the Sky, a mesa in the northern part of Canyonlands. One of our stops was at Thelma and Louise Point which has a great overlook of the Colorado river! 

canyonlands thelma and louise point
thelma and louise point in canyonlands
river running through canyonlands NP

Gooseneck Overlook

Shortly after you’ll stopat another great viewpoint spot in Canyonlands: Gooseneck Overlook. This overlooks a hairpin turn in the Colorado river, much like Horseshoe Bend in Arizona!

gooseneck overlook view - canyonlands
gooseneck overlook canyonlands

Shafer Trail - White Rim Road

Next you’ll start the ascend on Shafer Trail on the White Rim Road.

road to shafer trail white rim road

If you’re lucky, you’ll see a rare sighting of mountain goats! We got to see quite a few of them, including some cute babies! 

canyonlands mountain goats
mountain goats in canyonlands
mountain goats utah

Shafer Trail Switchback

Using the Shafer Trail switchbacks to get to the top was nerve-racking, but wow it’s worth it.

Shafer Trail start
Shafer Trail Switchbacks Canyonlands

Can you believe this view from the top?! Incredible and probably one of the best in the entire park!

Best view in Canyonlands National Park

It’s no wonder they call is Island in the Sky…

island in the sky canyonlands national Park

After driving along the White Rim and taking in the views, you’ll then head to the second part of the tour in Arches National Park!

Off Road Tour in Arches National Park

After Canyonlands, you’ll drive on on to Arches National Park and enter via a back entrance that’s only accessible by serious 4X4 vehicles. There was actually a small SUV stuck when we got there! 

off road trail arches National park

You’ll stop for a picnic lunch in Devil’s Garden. It is the starting point for many hikes in Aches National Park, however you don’t really do any hiking on this tour.

Devils Garden - arches national park tour

After lunch, we drove the loop on The Windows road which takes you past the Windows Trailhead and Double Arch Trailhead. 

The Windows Road loop in Arches
backcountry arches national park

Backcountry Off Roading in Arches National Park

Then it’s on to  the backcountry of Arches near Doc Williams point. This is where the trails get super steep and bumpy.

off roading tour in arches national park

Marching Men

The first major Arches National Park formation you’ll pass is the Marching Men.  These 7 towers get their named from being all lined up in a row on the Klondike Bludds area.

marching men formation in arches on tour

Tower Arch

When you reach the Tower Arch, you get to get out of the vehicle (which is honestly a nice break from the bumping around) and explore the area. You are able to hike to this point but it’s a 2.4 miles trail and very popular and crowded. It was nice to be able to get out via 4×4 vehicle instead.

Tower Arch = Arches National Park Off-Road Tour

Eye of the Whale Arch

The next famous arch in the park in the Eye of the Whale. There is a short hike to get up closer to the arch if you choose to do so. It was hot and I had a zoom lens so chose not to 😉

eye of the whale arch in arches national park

Arches Scenic Drive

The final leg of the tour is on much smoother ground. You drive through Salt Valley Road to the main Arches Scenic Drive. It’s an incredible road and you drive past most of the parks major attractions! Highly recommend even if you don’t do the off-roading tour.

Photos from Visiting Arches National Park | Moab, Utah
1-Day Tour of Canyonlands and Arches National Park | Utah National Parks
1-Day Tour of Canyonlands and Arches National Park | Utah National Parks

If you think a lot of these towers in Arches National Park look, erm, phallic, you wouldn’t be alone haha! Sometimes you gotta be childish and laugh 😉

phallic towers arches national park
1-Day Tour of Canyonlands and Arches National Park | Utah National Parks

Arches really is such a beautiful park, it’s unlike any of the other National Parks we visited in Utah. While you don’t get to hike as much with this tour, you do get to see a lot more arches than you would if you just drove by yourself through the park. 

I cannot stress how much I recommend having a guided tour for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, especially if you want to off-road (PS – this was in no way sponsored, Shelly and I paid for our tour fully). Along with NAVTEC ExpeditionsAdrift Adventures and Oars both offer NPS Authorized Canyonlands and Arches National Park Off-Road tour as well.

8 thoughts on “Canyonlands and Arches National Park Off-Road Tour

  1. Those pictures are ENCHANTING. And you’re so right about the cave drawings! But those dinosaur tracks look like they also could have been enormous chickens. Great post 🙂

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