Potash Road, Shafer Switchbacks

Total Miles


1801.18 ft


4 Hours

Technical Rating



Best Time

Spring, Summer, Fall

Trail Overview

If you're looking for beautiful scenery, this route will deliver. Potash Road and its side roads are legal for ATVs and UTVs, but you have to stop at the Canyonlands National Park border even if you are licensed. Pay a small fee when you leave the trail, or stop at the fee station. No pets allowed in the park.


Easy. Under normal conditions, you'll want a little more clearance than an ordinary passenger car. Small ruts and washouts are possible after heavy rainstorms, during which time you may need 4-wheel drive. We made it through easily in our stock Trailhawk.


The evaporation ponds you drive past are man-made, rubber-lined lakes. Deep underground, brine dissolved potash is pumped to the surface and allowed to evaporate in the desert heat. Blue dye is added to speed up the process, which takes about 300 days. The bright blue color varies in inten- sity and can be seen from space.

Technical Rating


Access Description

Drive north on Hwy. 191 and turn left on Hwy. 279 about 1.5 miles after Colorado River bridge. Continue south another 16.7 miles. Pavement ends soon after you pass the Potash Plant just after turn for Jackson Bottom Boat Ramp.