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ATV Adventures: Exploring the Mona Pole OHV Trail near Mount Nebo

By Lynn Blamires - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Aug 24, 2023
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Winding our way up the mountain on the Mona Pole Trail.
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Descending the mountain the Mona Pole Trail below Mount Nebo.
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Lynn Blamires

Driving on Interstate 15 by the town of Mona, you would never know that there is such a beautiful trail as there is northeast of town. In fact, you have to know where to go to find the trail because there is no evidence of its existence that can be seen from the freeway.

Our friends Terry and Michelle Maxfield of Farmington had ridden the trail and wanted to share it with us. We had to follow them to find it. Not wanting to be on top of the mountain until sunset, we didn’t leave Layton until 3 p.m. That is a round trip of over 200 miles, but we arrived at the right time to unload.

Finding the trailhead is another issue. We took the last Santaquin exit, which is on the south side of town, and turned right to the Chevron station. We then took a left on the frontage road heading south until we were near the north side of Mona.

We turned east under I-15, went by a rock quarry and found a good place to unload. On Google Earth, you can see the quarry and the road up the Mona Pole Canyon.

In 1984, when Mount Nebo was designated a wilderness, a corridor was cut up the canyon to give the mine owners access to their property known as the privateer mines.

We started up the canyon as the sun was sending its golden rays flashing through the trees. The start of this trail is gravel, but the rocks are about baseball size, so it is not as smooth as you would think.

Almost as soon as we entered the canyon and began to climb, we were in another world. Winding through forests of huge pines and large stands of aspen, it was such a contrast to the more arid valley.

One of the first things we noticed were several fallen trees. It was like some giant had used his fist to punch a path of destruction down the mountain. It took us a little time to realize that it was probably the effect of an avalanche. We found two more of these downed tree patches. We also noticed that there had been some work done to clear the trees that blocked the trail.

The mountain was lush with wildflowers in a beautiful array of colors. I don’t think I have to know their names to appreciate them. There were some blue ones that stood as tall as 5 feet. These wildflowers were a highlight of our trip.

The trail got prettier the higher we climbed, but it also got rougher. The spring runoff had exposed rocky sections of the trail that added a challenge to our adventure. The woods were dark and thick, made darker by the setting sun.

We found our way to the edge of an overlook and parked so that we could enjoy the view of the valley and the sunset as we enjoyed the food we had packed for the trip.

The Maxfields brought healthy salads. We, on the other hand, had our homemade egg salad sandwiches on whole wheat, fruit cups and some unhealthy Ruffles Flamin’ Hot Cheddar Sour Cream potato chips. I figure as long as it is unhealthy, I might as well spell it out.

As we watched, some dark clouds developed a silver lining against the backdrop of the sunset. In the valley, we could see part of Santaquin illuminated by the last rays of the day. We donned jackets as the sun set and its warmth faded.

It was getting dark and time to retrace our track to the trucks. The gilded rays of the last light of the day were even more pronounced as it streamed through the trees on our way back down the mountain.

Riding in the dark is fun with lights on. I was coming down the trail in a full blaze of glory with a light bar, pod lights and my green rock lights to match my green Kawasaki Teryx4 glowing underneath. Maybe there is a little bit of pride I need to deal with, but it sure was fun. I was probably the only one who noticed or appreciated it.

It was a short ride, but well worth the trip. We got back to the trucks as it was just about dark. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down and enjoy exploring the Mona Pole Canyon Trail.

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


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