Utah ATV Adventures: Springtime in Tusher Canyon

Thursday , May 11, 2017 - 5:00 AM

By Lynn R. Blamires, ATV Adventures columnist

The Tusher Canyon Trail is not a new trail for me, but it was for many in the group riding with me. Since riding opportunities are still limited in the high mountain areas of Utah, we went south to Green River. The temperatures were very pleasant and there was no mud or snow.

As with other trails I have ridden more than once, the fun is in the adventure itself. I was with a group of people who had never been on this trail, so it became fresh to me as I saw the trail anew through their eyes.

Beginning our ride from the east end of town, we headed north along the east side of the Green River until we came to Tusher Wash. Turning east, we rode the wash until the walls of Tusher Canyon began to close in around us.

One delightful difference about this ride was that the sego lilies were out in full bloom on the benches of the Book Cliffs as we came out of the canyon. My wife is particularly fond of this little flower and its connection with Mormon pioneer history. The local natives taught the pioneers that they could eat the bulbs of this flower in their struggling first years in the West.

It has always been a surprise for us to find sego lilies in bloom. We have never been able to go to a given area and expect to see them. We have determined to make note of the place and time of year, hoping to duplicate our delight in finding them in bloom again. We have found them in July on the Skyline Trail above Bountiful and above Kanosh on the Paiute Trail.

Mike and Raline Southerland, longtime readers of this column, were along for their first ride. I was leading the ride so I could set the pace, but Raline was afraid I was going to leave her behind. Not being familiar with the drop system we use to keep track of the group, Raline wanted to hook a tow rope to the back of my machine. I assured her that she was not going to get lost.

The drop system allows each rider to ride at his own speed. When we come to an important intersection or turn, we drop the rider following directly behind the leader. That rider will stay at that point and direct the other riders in the direction of travel. When the tail gunner comes, the dropped rider will take up a position just in front of him.

The part of this ride that took us to the edge of the cliff overlooking the Green River was a little slower because of cross-ruts in the trail from runoff. It is worth the trip because the view provides a beautiful site to have lunch.

The ride that made up the rest of our loop was the best part. The trail hugs the rugged base of the Book Cliffs, winding in and out in such a way as to give exciting new views at every turn. The trail was smooth and curvy, making it like a go-kart track. I don’t think anyone was close enough to hear my whoops and hollers above the sound of my engine as I raced along the trail.

When I learned that I was riding at the base of the Book Cliffs, I was puzzled because I expected the edges of the cliffs would look like standing book ends. They don’t, but I soon realized that the horizontal layers in the rock face look like the pages of a closed book lying flat.

At least that was the way I read it.

The ride was 67 miles long and is suitable for the wider UTVs. This trail is best ridden in the spring or fall and has some spectacular scenery. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and see if you read the Book Cliffs the way I do.

Contact Lynn Blamires at quadmanone@gmail.com.

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