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ATV Adventures: Mantua OHV Trails – A close place to get up high on an OHV

By Lynn Blamires - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Jan 19, 2023
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Chad Blamires passes a beaver lodge on a pond built by beavers on the Mantua Trails.
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On the 60-inch trail to Paradise Road. This trail winds through some beautiful country.
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Lynn Blamires

The Mantua OHV Trails exist as proof that you don’t have to drive long distances to enjoy a ride in the backcountry. I offer information on these trails in a continuing series of places to ride for new OHV drivers.

There are a lot of reasons I think these trails are so fun. Here are some to consider:

The name — Mantua

The town was settled by people from Denmark. So a name that looks easy to pronounce becomes a way to determine if a person is from out of state. If they pronounce it with a “t” sound and short “a” sound, they ain’t local.

Box Elder Campground

This campground is southwest of town. It is a beautiful place to extend your OHV trip for more than a day. Campers can ride for the day and then enjoy some outdoor cooking, time around a campfire, a night under the stars and then another day of riding. As long as your machine is registered in Utah and you have the new OHV Education Certificate, you can ride right out of the campground and onto the trails.

Sydney’s restaurant

I like to stop for breakfast when I go out on a ride, and Mantua has one of the best places to have breakfast or lunch. You will have to go back to your campfire for dinner because they close at 3 in the afternoon. Walking into this place, you feel a little bit country when you leave. The ambiance is country and the staff is top notch and personable.

The trails

Here is the real reason for going to Mantua — the rest just adds purpose to the trip. The Mantua Trails have three designated trail widths: 50-inch, 60-inch and open.

Open trails

Coming into Mantua from Brigham City, the road comes to a “T” with the Willard Peak Road. Turn right and you will find good places to unload about 2.6 miles up this road at Dock Flats.

It will wind up the mountain, offering breaks in the foliage with beautiful views of Pineview Reservoir. The mountain scenery on this trail is very peaceful.

The trail tops out at a wide area with a sign that explains some history on the terracing work that was done by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. Spring runoff was causing problems in the valley every year around Willard and Perry. The work they did successfully prevented soil erosion by retaining 75 percent of the water that fell in the form of snow and rain during the winter months.

Following this trail south will take you down into a bowl where the remnants of one of the CCC camps can be seen. The trail then climbs out of the bowl and to an open area with a view that is breathtaking. You can see all the way to the big smoke stack at Kennecott. This is fun to do at night because the lights of the city are even more spectacular.

Another option on these trails is a fork in the road back down lower. The left fork goes down by some ponds where you will see some good examples of beaver activity. The first pond features a beaver lodge. The way the sticks are placed to dam the water are unmistakably cut by beavers. You can see beaver-cut trees all along the trail.

60-inch trails

The ride along this beaver trail goes to a point where the trail has a 60-inch restriction. It has seasonal closures because of the snow pack. This trail also has some places that can get pretty muddy. It goes over the top and drops down onto Paradise Road and then into Liberty and Eden. If you are street legal, it is fun to go to town for lunch. You can also take the Paradise Road to the left and make a loop that will bring you back into Mantua on the north side.

50-inch trails

Go to the point where the road forks, then turn and face north. Turn off the road to the right before the curve. This is the top end of a 50-inch trail that winds down and comes out at Dock Flats. It is only about a 30-minute ride, but it is through the dark, beautiful woods and lots of fun.

These are the Mantua Trails and I am glad to have them so close. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down and say “Manaway.”

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


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