The ride is called an Iron Man because when the trail is smooth it is fun to go fast. You can ride so that you can see a lot of a little scenery, but you don’t go very far. On the Iron Man, we see a little of a lot of scenery and we go far. Threatening to ride fast reduced the number of riders to a manageable group of seven machines.
The NUATV Club plans to hold at least one of these per year and this year we chose the Arapeen ATV Trail in Sanpete County. We staged at 400 South just east of U.S. Highway 89 in Ephraim, which is the marked access to Ephraim Canyon.
I have gone up and down this canyon many times to access the Skyline Trail. The New Canyon Trail takes off the canyon road and it being an inviting looking trail, I have wanted to ride it. Locating it on the map, it appeared to connect with the Skyline Trail where we wanted to go.
After about 3 miles, we turned off onto this new trail, and what a fun trail it turned out to be. It is wide enough for UTVs and smooth enough to go fast. We zipped along this wooded path through some beautiful scenery. Making a half loop around Dusterburgs Hill, we crossed Fred’s Flat and Fred was not even with us on this ride.
Joining the Ephraim Canyon road, we made our connection with the Skyline Trail and turned north. I never fail to enjoy describing the Skyline Trail and how much fun it is to ride. This trail is a part of the Great Western Trail — a 3,000-mile trail system connecting Canada to Mexico through five western states. It is designed to be a multiple-use trail to accommodate motorized and nonmotorized users. While the nonmotorized part exists, sections of the motorized route are still in the developing stages.
The Skyline Trail is situated at an elevation of above 10,000 feet. From the time we joined it until we turned down Potters Canyon and headed east, it felt like we were riding on top of the world — the views were amazing.
When I say “we,” I mean the royal we, because I missed the turn and continued on for a couple of miles before I realized that no one was following me. Turning around, I backtracked and found them waiting for me at the turn I was supposed to have taken. Acting like I meant to do that, they let me take the lead again.
Our descent down Potters Canyon brought us to Potters Pond where we found a picnic table and broke out lunch. The pond is actually two ponds situated at the mouth of Bacon Rind Canyon.
After our break, we joined the Miller’s Flat Road and traveled south toward Joe’s Valley Reservoir. This was also a road that satisfied the need for speed.
Following Indian Creek and then Lowery Water, one of five creeks that feed Joe’s Valley Reservoir, we turned onto Highway 29 and passed by the west side of the reservoir.
Making a turn at a sign marking the Orange Olsen Cabins, we turned back north and followed trail No. 5 — the Reeder Canyon Trail. At the mouth of Reeder Canyon, the trail is restricted to 50 inches.
The Reeder Canyon Trail is one of the prettiest trails I have ever ridden. It is just challenging enough to be fun and the scenery is wonderful. The trail winds through tall pines and thick groves of aspen. Because of the challenges, the speeds are slow enough to enjoy a lot of a little scenery. The 50 inch restriction made the trail just as wide as our machines, which made the ride extra fun on this twisty trail through the woods.
Joining the Skyline at the top of Reeder Canyon, we headed back to the junction that took us down Ephraim Canyon. The horse had seen the barn, so to speak, so we did not take the extra time to ride the New Canyon Trail back into town. We were thinking about warm showers and hot meals.
We made it back to town finishing a ride of about 93 miles. Late summer is the best time to ride the Skyline to avoid snow banks on the trail. When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down and enjoy the elevation variation on the Arapeen Trail.