Elephant Hill Trail
Moab Utah / Monticello Utah
What is the best off road trail in Canyonlands National Park? In my opinion it has to be Elephant Hill. Sure lots of online pages will tell you that the White Rim Road is the best trail, I've ridden both and I would have to say that Elephant Hill had more exciting scenery. You will feel like you are exploring some undiscovered place, the other trail kind of just seems like an Instagram photo opp.
Though this trail is not rated as being extremely difficult for Jeeps the ride over Elephant hill on a dirt bike is! I think this is the most difficult Jeep Trail in Canyonlands National Park. Out of all the trails listed on this page, Elephant Hill was the most difficult for me on a motorcycle. The hill is steep and rough and it is very difficult to keep your momentum up. If you have really low first gear gearing you may not even notice the trail being difficult.
Most visitors that come to Canyonlands National Park see Jeep riding the White Rim Road and often ask are there off road trails in Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. The answer is yes, in addition to Elephant Hill, there is also Colorado River Overlook Trail and Confluence Overlook Jeep Road. Beef Basin Trail and Lockhart Basin Trails are also in the area.
Another common question people ask is, "Can I ride my UTV in Canyonlands National Park"? Sorry but the answer is no. Even if your UTV or ATV is considered street legal in your state, you are not allowed to ride them in the National Parks. I'm just stating the facts, don't shoot the messenger. However, street legal dirt bikes, aka dual sport motorcycles are allowed inside the park if you have a current tag.
On of my favorite things about riding off road in the Moab Utah area is the diverse scenery. You can go from open desert, to deep canyons to unique places like the Needles and this feature known as the Silver Stairs.
There is a spur trail that will take you to Confluence point. To reach this point will require a short hike but the trip would not be complete without it taking in the view from the edge. To the left of the photo is the Green River, to the right is the Colorado River. Even though the Green River looks larger from this angle the river takes the name of the Colorado River. The neatest part about this location is not the view, but rather thinking about the first white man to see this view. He was a wounded Civil War veteran that only had one arm, yet he managed to climb out of the canyon on his scientific tour of the Green and Colorado rivers.
As you approach the end of the loop you will return to Elephant Hill from a different angle. If always felt like these rock formations were giant mushrooms. I remember taking my daughter to this area and we spent all day looking at the rocks and imaging what strange shapes we saw.
To find the Elephant Hill Trail, travel south from Moab or North from Monticello on US HWY 191. Turn on to UT 211 west, this road will be well marked. Travel about 33 miles, the road will eventually enter the national park. From the visitors center follow the signs to the Elephant Hill Trailhead.