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ATV Adventures: The old Arapeen jamboree is new this year

By Lynn R. Blamires - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Aug 11, 2022
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Riding the Arapeen Trails in the Manti La Sal Mountains.
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Riding the Skyline Trail above Ferron Reservoir.
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Crossing Indian Creek. This bridge has been replaced to allow machines with a width of less than 66 inches.

The Arapeen ATV Jamboree has traditionally been scheduled to begin the day after Labor Day. This year is no different — the jamboree is scheduled for Sept. 6-11. The host city is Ferron, Utah — population 1,475.

The difference is the old jamboree featured trails in two ATV trail systems — the Arapeen Trail System and the San Rafael Swell Trail System. This new event is split into two separate jamborees – the Swell Jamboree that was held last April and this new Arapeen Jamboree in September.

Another unique feature of this jamboree is that while the Mountain Man Run sponsored by Sanpete County accesses the Arapeen Trails from the west side of the Manti La Sal Mountains, this jamboree is sponsored by Emery County and the access to the Arapeen Trails is from the east side. Because of the size of the Arapeen Trail System, the jamborees present a different variety of trails that the Arapeen has to offer with little overlap.

Fees for the Arapeen Jamboree are $113 plus a processing fee and include three days of guided rides, three gourmet dinners and an Arapeen Jamboree hoodie. If you choose to attend the jamboree for one or two days, fees are adjusted accordingly as indicated on the website. You can also order sack lunches for the trail at $10 plus a processing fee. Information is available at https://www.emerycountyohv.com.

Three days of guided rides are included in the three-day package, but a bonus ride is being offered on Saturday in the form of a poker run, which is not guided. There are also plans for a night ride if weather permits for those who are interested.

Millsite State Park has been set as headquarters for the jamboree, a short ride from Ferron. Some of the rides leave from Millsite while others require some trailering. Accommodations are available at the Big Mountain Lodge in Ferron or you can camp at Millsite.

After reading descriptions of the rides, I realized that I have been on some of these and they are some of the best Utah has to offer:

The Hole Trail

This ride has a 66-inch restriction and is rated advanced. Riders trailer 23 miles to the trailhead in Emery. After crossing the Muddy River, the trail climbs up to Spinners Reservoir and then back down to the Muddy at the Lower Crossing. Climbing up to the Skyline past Blue Lake, this route takes the Skyline to the south end of the Arapeen Trail System and drops down through Black Fork Canyon to the Wildcat Knolls and back to Emery.

The Black Dragon Trail

There is also a 66-inch restriction on this ride, but it has a beginner to intermediate rating and leaves from Millsite headquarters. The trail climbs Horn Mountain to a communications site with an amazing view of Castle Valley and the San Rafael Swell. From the top, the trail makes a loop around the cap of Horn Mountain and then returns to base.

The Six Mile Ponds Trail

A 66-inch limitation on machine width is a requirement for this ride that is rated intermediate to advanced. The trail leaves from Millsite and goes up to Willow Lake at 9,650 feet. It then drops down to Singleton Flat to cross Indian Creek on a narrow 66-inch bridge. Climbing again past Cove Lake and Jet Fox Reservoir to the Skyline, it drops down to Duck Fork and Ferron Reservoir back to camp.

The Big Mountain Ride

This easy ride is on maintained forest roads. After passing Wrigley and Spinner’s Reservoirs, the trail travels along the south side of Big Mountain, the namesake of the Big Mountain Lodge in Ferron. Crossing Skyline Drive, at 12 Mile Flat, the trail drops down the other side of the mountain into 6 Mile Canyon then back up to the Skyline. Coming off the top, the trail passes Ferron Reservoir and Willow Lake back to base. This trail is one that showcases the spectacular Manti La Sal Mountains without the technical parts. This makes it so you focus more on the mountain scenery and less on the trail.

This is a great time of year to ride the Arapeen Trails. With only 20 people signed up, this jamboree is one to attend. When you go take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and enjoy the beauty of the Manti La Sal Mountains.

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

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