ATV Adventures: An ATV ride in the Manti-La Sals of Utah

Thursday , July 27, 2017 - 5:00 AM

By LYNN R. BLAMIRES

We call it, “The Iron Man.”

After traversing the trench, bouncing through the boulder field, getting drenched by a downpour, muddling through the mud pit, and clawing up and down narrow rain-soaked trails in the mountains above Manti, 18 rough riders headed for the showers.

When we gathered the next morning for day two, we were minus four riders and three machines. No questions were asked, and no excuses were given.

Once again we began our ride under cloudy skies — it was perfect riding weather. Our track out of Manti took us up Manti Canyon. Picking up trail No. 3, we began our climb to the Skyline trail. Even though there are multiple ways to reach the Skyline from Manti, it is at least a 4,000 foot climb to the top.

Trail No. 3 was still a little wet, and because of the altitude we needed to gain to reach the top, this trail had some steep climbs to negotiate. Those challenges were subdued by the beauty we passed as we made our way to the Skyline.

Climbing up the North Fork of Manti Canyon, we dropped into a lush meadow as we worked our way around Elk’s Knoll and across Loggers Fork Reservoir and dam. The trail continued to the Skyline as we topped out north of Snow Lake.

If fishing is your interest, this is a great place to go. The Arapeen Trail Map lists over 50 GPS coordinates for fishing holes, and some of them are best-accessed by ATV.

Riding the Skyline south, we jumped back on No. 3 to get around a huge snow field that blocked the trail. I have never seen that much snow on the Arapeen this late in the year.

Riding high on the tops of the Manti-La Sals, we continued our ride south, enjoying the spectacular views into the valleys on both sides. A rainbow of colors was displayed in the profusion of wildflowers in full bloom. The white columbine is my favorite.

Before the trail drops down to 12 Mile Campground, we turned off on a track that took us down to Ferron Reservoir, another great fishing spot. Finding a picnic table, we gathered around for a pleasant lunch break. Watching the cloudy skies, we had so far been able to avoid rain.

Back on No. 7, we worked our way east. Not far from Ferron Reservoir, we took a little side trail marked No. 76. If you ever find yourself on the No. 7 heading east, don’t hesitate to take the No. 76. It winds through tall pines and aspen on a narrow track through water crossings and beautiful mountain country. Climbing high on the ridge, we then dropped back onto the No. 7.

Passing Willow and Lizard lakes, we continued toward the town of Ferron. Feeling the first drops of rain, our eyes shot to the skies looking for signs of trouble, but the downpour never materialized.

Stopping at the Ferron Campground for a look at the map, we noticed a trail that would take us north to Joe’s Valley Reservoir – The Black Dragon Canyon Trail. The map indicated a 50-inch restriction, but in checking the trailhead, a sign stated it had been widened to 66 inches. We decided to take that trail to Manti another day.

Continuing our ride through Mill Site State Park, we checked into rooms we had reserved at Gilly’s in Ferron. Imagine our surprise when we learned there was no gas in Ferron — Gilly’s had run out. That was a dilemma. The closest gas was 10 miles north, in Castle Dale.

The fact that not all of our machines were street-legal attracted the attention of the county sheriff, who was kind enough to show us a fun back way to get to the gas we needed up north.

While there, we decided to have dinner at Big Momma’s Café. Only now it was called Fatty’s. The dinner was good, but we never did find out who Fatty was.

Making it back to Ferron, we finished another ATV adventure. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down and take the No. 76 side trail — you will be glad you did.

The mayor of Eureka has extended an invitation to the public for a night ride on Saturday, Aug. 5. Riders will meet at the city park, and the ride will begin at 9 p.m. There is plenty of room for parking and unloading at the park. The temperatures should be cool at that time of day, and we will be riding under a full moon. I will be there, too.

Contact Lynn R. Blamires at quadmanone@gmail.com.

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