White Rim Trail - Canyonlands National Park - 2005 Outback Trip Report - Page 3 - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #21 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-03-2017, 10:59 AM
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Wow I thought Australia was full of do gooder tossers. Must be a global thing to be a self righteous vigilante. Bummer.

To the original poster, awesome trip! Well done doing it in one day too.
Pity you guys didn't get much in the way of low range in your models.
We get low range and still get told they aren't good enough even though I have proven time and time again that I can keep up and can even do some sections better than "actual 4wds" because a Subaru is way lighter than something full size. That and you have to know how to drive your vehicle, not just point it at a track and hope for the best.
You appear to know exactly what you're doing so you get a big thumbs up from me!

So no matter what happens, you can't win. Just have to ignore people and do your thing. Happy trails mate!

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post #22 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-04-2017, 10:17 PM
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Congrats, I can't believe you did that in an outback! I took my family through there over the summer. We camped at Murphy Hogback and it felt like had the entire canyon to ourself due to the flood warnings the morning we left. Took my wife's nissan frontier nismo which had new AT tires and a mild front end lift. We didn't have any issues, though I had the 4wd and hill descent mode to keep me comfy. We actually turned around after camping at Murphy since we didn't have the gas (or time) to go all the way back if mineral bottom was impassable (which it had been until a week prior, and it rained hard all night). The remains of a vehicle that recently fell off the cliff on the backside of Murphy was also good motivation not to push our luck. That place is simply incredible. We found mountain lion tracks about 100 ft from our tent when we woke up.

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post #23 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-19-2017, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Lightingguy View Post
As per the NPS Canyonlands website:
"A high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle (low range) is required for the White Rim Road."
I'd love to see what the violation would be on the ticket you wished him to receive. Violation of Precatory NPS Website Copy - Imaginary Federal Code § 3.14159

If I had a dollar for every busybody I've encountered on public land attempting to interdict, harass and/or bully other users based upon erroneous information, I'd have around $30. Pro tip: save the righteous indignation for actual violations.
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post #24 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 11:13 AM
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Ease up please. Enjoy this wonderful day outside and let others live as they please.
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post #25 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 12:31 PM
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This is so cool. Awesome photos and report!

We never took our '97 out there but I wish that we had, I think it would have had fun.

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post #26 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 12:45 PM
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Great trip report. The recent say 10-12 years due to cell phones and gps lots of quasi weekend adventurers have gone into areas they were not prepared for such as worn street tires on rocky desert roads, no shoes only flipflops, little to no water or clothing for cold temps. Pair that with not telling anyone where and when they will be at point X and when they will return and report in.
As a result our rangers can be very critical of people who are not prepared. Thanks to social media general population people can be very critical and have just enough knowledge to make them feel as if they can criticize others.

You were well prepared and never going to be seen as a search and rescue target by the local Rangers. So nice job! Before cell phones and GPS people drove far far less capable vehicles back into those areas but they knew they might need to walk out under their own power. They didnt risk weather situations etc.

I have run into what I call new users for instance MT bikers more and more who seem to have a higher number of "critical" types than say old users like pack outfits on horseback or 4x4 clubs etc.

The places we drove into with our vw to back country hike are places people insist you need lockers and a rugged 4x4. They might go faster than we did, they may never get out and do a little road building/rock stacking but in the end we were perfectly fine, prepared and that old VW did 180,000 miles with its original hubcaps and body panels. LOL
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post #27 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 03:31 PM
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Well stated Subie.

I was taken to task for some good reasons and some not good and opted to stop commenting (my foot tasted bad), but now need to clarify.

While I admired what the OP accomplished, I was somewhat alarmed that it would be taken at face value on this site that AWD's can attempt trails the NPS clearly states you don't belong on and that they have rules and regulations in place that are specific and for good reasons. I go by the assumption that the Rangers know the conditions better then me and if they don't want my car on the trail, I'm going to believe them and go with their judgement and rules. That's just me and if others feel that's being a self righteous vigilante or busybody, too bad.

The attitude of the OP expressed toward the NPS Ranger on a mt. bike - who was doing her job, seemed out of line. Certainly the Rangers are doing a difficult job and probably have their hands full keeping ill prepared motorists (not seemingly the OP in this case) off trails they underestimate. I suspect the mt. bike Ranger was unable to easily judge that the OP was clearly prepared and that they see Subie's all the time, thus possibly some attitude the OP picked up on.

And it's not just about a $1000 tow to civilization. When somebody goes missing, stuck, whatever, and the Rangers know about it, they are going to get involved. When they do so, they possibly are putting their lives at risk. Maybe they are going to help and at the very least get a tow started (who else might make the phone call) and the trail is now wet and slick as snot, etc.... Or they commit to helping somebody stuck and might thus be unavailable if somebody is actually in danger and needs help. All kinds of scenarios that happen daily and we are ill placed to be second guessing the jobs they do.

It is certainly well stated that Subaru's have (as demonstrated) exceptional off-road capabilities, but it's also true that they are not suitable for many trails in Canyonlands. The regulations are written for the entire park. You can choose for yourself which ones to follow.

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post #28 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 01:20 AM
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It would be beneficial to folks to first call and inquire about getting a WRR permit for their Subie before littering this thread beyond repair...

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post #29 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 02:15 AM
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Utah has to be one of the most beautiful state! I drove my sport bike in Zion National Park last November (spoiler alert, I went over the speed limit, but I guess I shouldn't say it here...) and I fell in love with the red colored canyons. Honestly need to return to Utah and visit other ones than Zion and Bryce, but it's quite far from Montreal...

Your pictures are amazing and I must congratulate you on your writing sprinkled with humor.

And here's a picture of a non Subaru vehicle in Utah.

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post #30 of 30 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 01:41 PM
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This is an inspiration. You my friend are a champion. I have a 2002 5 Speed and honestly the only thing that keeps me from trying more challenging offroad places is trying to do hill climbs without a low range gear box option. Hats off to you sir.

Originally Posted by GeorgerinNH View Post
I just got back from two months living out of my 2005 Outback and bumming around out west. One of the highlights of my trip was traveling the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park. Below is a description, some pictures, and link to a hastily put together video from the WRT.

First, the car. It's a 2005 Outback 2.5 non-turbo, 5 speed manual, with approximately 180,000 miles at the time. All stock with the exception of King Springs all around which gave me about an inch of lift and 2004 KYB shocks all around. Tires were Pirelli Cinturato P7 All Season Plus with slightly more than 1/2 tread. Additional equipment included one full size spare, tire plug kit, air compressor, shovel, 30' 10,000lb tow strap, four quarts of oil, 2 gallons of extra fuel, duct tape, enough tools to fix almost anything on the car, and $200 worth of non-Utah beer purchased in Idaho (If you thought 4.2% Bud Light sucked, try 3.9% Bud Light...).

The White Rim Trail (or White Rim Road as the National Park Service refers to it), is requires more than 100 miles of off road driving to complete. Some quotes from the NPS about the trail include:

- "Under favorable weather conditions, the White Rim Road is considered moderately difficult for high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles. The steep, exposed sections of the Shafer Trail, Lathrop Canyon Road, Murphy's Hogback, Hardscrabble Hill, and the Mineral Bottom switchbacks make the White Rim loop a challenge..."

- "A high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle (low range) is required for the White Rim Road. Towing charges are very expensive. Visitors caught in the backcountry with disabled vehicles can expect towing fees in excess of $1,000."

Permits are required for the WRT, and the NPS recommends 2-3 days to complete the WRT by car. Overnight permits are typically sold out many months in advance. However, you can get a day use permit the day before, or day of, your trip for free! So, with my typical lack of planning, I crossed my fingers, gave the Subie a pat on the hood, got a day use permit, and decided to go for it.

I decided to do the WRT counter-clockwise for two reasons. One, it put the more challenging spots (Potato Bottom and Murphy) earlier in the trip so that if I decided to back out, the return trip wouldn't be so long. Second, it allowed me to travel the approximately 25 mile long Mineral Road the night before, reducing my off road travel the next day. I drove the Mineral Road in the dark and found a spot to camp off the one lane road about a mile from the park border.

The next morning, I made it through Potato Bottom with no issues. It was heavily rutted, but I didn't bottom out. It it was wet, my all-season tires would have had problems with the clayey soil. From there, it was relatively easy driving with some soft sandy spots and some rocky spots, but nothing really worth mentioning. The next challenge was Murphy, which due to my CCW direction, I needed to go up. It was steep and heavily rutted. Previous travelers had taken the liberty of attempting to fill the ruts with 10-30lb rocks. The issue for me was my manual transmission. In order to make it to the top, I knew I would need a running start and would need to carry as much speed as possible. There would be no crawling up. If I stalled it, I would be a hair raising ride back down in reverse with a rock wall on the right and cliff on the left. It was a rough ride, but I made it on the first go.

Other than Murphy, there were a few downhill sections that required some good wheel placement. Otherwise, it was fairly smooth sailing. I didn't ever bottom out, but did drag my hitch a half dozen times entering/exiting some dry creek beds. I was able to go 40mph on some sections on the second part of the trip. I started at 6:30AM and was back at the visitors center at 3:30PM for a total of 9 hours. I used just over a 1/2 tank of gas coming from Moab, doing the trail, and getting back to Moab. This (obviously) included quite a bit of time taking pictures and video. Keep in mind that I also spent a fair amount of time driving well over the 15 MPH speed limit and have a fairly high tolerance for vehicle abuse. That said, I didn't do any damage to the car, although I did just have to replace a rear wheel bearing and get an alignment.

I also had a run-in with a back country park ranger on a mountain bike who was not impressed with my vehicle choice. I believe her exact words were "That is an illegal vehicle out here". She took a picture of my license plate and told me should would give it to the front country rangers who would write me a ticket. At this point I was about 15 miles from being done, but I wasn't about to get in an argument with an early 20's girl on a mountain bike out in the middle of nowhere. I went up to the visitor center and talked to a "real" ranger who assured me I was all set. They typically only issue tickets to people who have "inappropriate" vehicles and run into trouble.

I would say the White Rim Trail is within the capabilities of a Subaru if you have the ground clearance (aka, don't expect to make it in a stock Impreza), a good awareness of your surroundings, know where your wheels are, and have a high tolerance for abusing your vehicle. I wouldn't recommend it in a Subie if there has been any rain or there is rain forecasted during your planned trip. My manual tranny did great except for the super steep parts. An automatic would likely have been a better choice. Not sure how a CVT would do on the super steep stuff as I haven't driven one. Obviously, you'd be better off with something with true 4wd and a low range, but hey, I don't have one of those, so the Outback it is!!

Youtube Video - https://youtu.be/pcRG3YOuG2A

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