La Sal Mountains

La Sal Mountains

Shaka Guide's La Sal Mountain Loop Itinerary


From red rock country to alpine forests and lakes, the La Sal Mountain Loop is a scenic adventure.

Winding roads take you to dramatic high overlooks and down into verdant valleys.

You’ll see fossilized dinosaur trackways and stunning rock formations featured in many Hollywood movies.

If you’re staying in Moab to visit Arches or Canyonlands National Park, you won’t want to miss this incredible scenic backway. 

la sal tour map by shaka guide

Driving the La Sal Mountain Loop will take 2 to 4 hours to complete.

That’s 2 hours of driving plus time for you to get out and explore.

With about 13 stops and 70 points of narration, this is more of a “driving experience” than our other Shaka Guide national park tours.

This scenic backway isn’t nearly as crowded as a national park but it does get its share of traffic, especially in the summer when folks from Moab try to escape the heat in the cool mountain air.

However, if you visit during early spring or late fall, you might just have the road nearly to yourself. 

Important Information

The La Sal Mountain Loop begins about eight miles south of downtown Moab.

There are no services along the route, so make sure you have enough fuel in your vehicle and bring all the food, water, and supplies you need for at least half a day.

Be aware that, due to the elevation, some roads may become icy or impassable during the winter.

There is also a lot of cattle grazing land along the loop, so please watch for cows on the road. 

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The earlier you go the less traffic you’ll encounter, but we don’t recommend driving these roads while the sun is down. 

1. Ken’s Lake

Approximate Time: 17 minutes

This is a popular campsite with a lake set against a stunning backdrop of the La Sal Mountains.

From the lake, you can hike a short distance to a small waterfall.

2. Brumley Arch Trailhead

Approximate Time: 30 minutes

The Brumley Arch trail is only two miles round trip, but it's pretty steep and strenuous.

You’ll also need to drive on an optional gravel road to get to the trail.

In the end, you will be rewarded with a waterfall and the Brumley Arch rock formation.

3. Oowah Lake

lake with pine treesby Marieke Peche from Getty Images

Approximate Time: 23 minutes

Oowah Lake is a small lake popular for rainbow trout fishing.

Sitting at 8,800 feet or over 2,600 meters, this Alpine lake often shows the reflection of the La Sal Mountains, which makes it truly picturesque.

4. Warner Lake

Approximate Time: 30 minutes

Warner Lake is slightly smaller than Oowah and is also great for rainbow trout fishing.

Both lake areas are pretty serene on most days, but during holidays or summer weekends you can expect to find a small crowd.

And although there are many trails in the area such as Boudreaux Pass and Schuman Gulch, the most popular trail is the 1.6-mile round-trip hike that connects the two

download shaka guide lakes. 

5. Castle Valley Overlook

Approximate Time: 26 minutes

This is a must-stop on the drive as you'll enjoy a sweeping panoramic view of the Colorado Plateau below LaSalle.

You'll also be able to see the Porcupine Rim, Castle Valley, Arches National Park, and Canyonlands National Park.

6. Bull Canyon Overlook

Approximate Time: 26 minutes

This place is famous for dinosaur tracks left in the ground around 200 million years ago during the Jurassic period.

No hiking is needed but you'll need about 30 to 40 minutes for the detour.

7. Castleton Towers

sandstone towersFen Kuntz from Getty Images

Approximate Time: 20 minutes

This is a series of sandstone towers with names like Castleton Tower, the Rectory, and Sister Superior, that rise as high as 1,400 feet. 

8. Parriott Mesa

Approximate Time: 5 minutes

The summit of Parriott Mesa stands over 6,000 feet or 1800 meters in elevation.

It looms over the Castle Valley like a guard. Stretching more than 1.5 miles long and a third of a mile wide, this sandstone summit is another magnet for climbers.

There is a three-mile, round-trip hike there, but it's pretty challenging and you need to be very well-prepared

9. Fisher Towers

tower like sandstonesby PaulBrady

Approximate Time: 15 minutes

Fisher Towers has a popular hiking trail that features beautiful sandstone formations like:

  • towers
  • spires
  • hoodoos
  • ravines, and
  • terraces

But there's more to Fisher Towers than just scenery.

In fact, there's a pretty good chance you've already seen Fisher Towers before as the backdrop to many Hollywood movies, like Austin Powers 3 and 6 Underground.

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10. Moab Museum of Film & Western Heritage

Approximate Time: 17 minutes

The museum is part of the Red Cliffs Lodge. Many films like:

  • Wagon Master
  • Rio Grande
  • Taza Son of Cochise
  • City Slickers
  • Thelma & Louise
  • and more than a hundred different television commercials were shot in the area

The museum has a great selection of memorabilia, including early pioneer artifacts and photos of Hollywood stars who worked on the motion pictures.

And there's no charge to go in, either.

11. Salt Wash

overview of desertby millermoutianman from Getty images

Approximate Time: 7 minutes

This is where the Salt Wash River joins the Colorado River.

If you have a kayak, you can follow the salt wash upstream and eventually pop out near Delicate Arch inside Arches National Park.

12. Take Out Beach

Approximate Time: 1 minute

This is where most of the kayaking and rafting trips end along the 13-mile Moab daily section of the Colorado River.

13. Courthouse Wash Pictograph

Approximate Time: 16 minutes

The courthouse wash pictograph was created by the Fremont people some 2,000 years ago.

It does require a short hike of about 500 feet from the parking area. 

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la sal itinerary

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We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at aloha@shakaguide.com.

Ready to explore the La Sal Mountain Loop? Check out our Know Before You Go article for all the travel tips you’ll need to plan your visit. And, don’t forget to take Shaka Guide along for the ride! Get our La Sal Mountain Loop Tour here.


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