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This is the only marked trail that leads from the Island of the Sky to the Colorado River. The lower portion may have heavy biking, four-wheel driving and boater traffic.

This route descends from Grays Pasture, on the mesa top, to the White Rim Road, through Lathrop Canyon to the Colorado River. It provides sweeping views of the canyonlands as it descends to the white rim. The total elevation loss along the route is 2,000 feet in approximately eight and a half miles. The first stretch of this trail is the most physically challenging as it descends steep talus slopes. The latter portion of the trail follows the White Rim Road for a short distance then Lathrop Canyon Road to the Colorado River. An overnight night permit is necessary to complete this tread.

Begin this route at Lathrop Trailhead approximately two miles south of the Island in the Sky Visitor Center on State Highway 313. The trailhead lies on the eastern side of the road in an area of the mesa called Grays Pasture. The tread leads southeastward along the mesa top for one and a half miles, before making a sweeping turn northward to the canyon rim. The trail leads northward for nearly one half mile before beginning to descend steeply.

The route descends 560 feet leading southward then eastward along an arm of the mesa that ends in a 5,932-foot point. The track crosses this ridge and begins to descend while contouring the southern side of it. Roughly four and a half miles from the trailhead the track begins to descend the steepest point of the canyon wall into Lathrop Canyon. Switchbacks bring hikers to an elevation of 4,960 feet at the head of the canyon.

The track contours the head of the canyon and descends along its southern wall. Approximately a half mile before reaching White Rim Road the tread turns sharply southward then northward in a final switchback. Lathrop Canyon Trail reaches the White Rim Road at approximately 4,480 feet. From this junction to the Colorado River, the track follows four-wheel drive roads. Hikers can expect to see a considerable amount of biking, four-wheel driving traffic on White Rim Road.

Turn right on to White Rim Road and hike southward a short distance. On your right will be the Lathrop Canyon Road leading eastward to the Colorado River. Turn left on to this dirt road as it continues to follow Lathrop Canyon.

The next mile and a half on Lathrop Canyon Road is a slow descent. The road remains on the western side of the drainage during this portion of the descent. It reaches a tributary coming in from the west and crossed it before entering the goosenecks of Lathrop Canyon.

South of this confluence the road continues to descend steadily. It is two and a half miles to the Colorado River from this tributary through Lathrop Canyon. During this portion of the route the road parallels the western bank of the stream descending 160 feet. One half mile before reaching the Colorado River you'll notice another tributary entering Lathrop Canyon from the east. Expect heavy boater traffic on the Colorado River.

Directions: From Island in the Sky Visitor Center, Travel southward along Utah 313 2 miles to the Lathrop Trailhead on the eastern side of the road.

Elevation: 6,050 feet

Ending Elevation: 3,920 feet

Usage: Moderate

Difficulty: Strenuous

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Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Visitor Information

The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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